Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni has landed on Steam after its initial Playstation Vita release, and it’s another localization of a Japanese game by publisher PQube – providing excellent fan service to fans of the genre.
The genre in question doesn’t need much explaining to those familiar with the Senran Kagura brand of videogames. If you’re not familiar, odds are that this isn’t the game for you and you won’t enjoy the sexualized depiction of young woman on offer here. Valkyrie Drive moves the series into a slightly different direction than the Senran Kagura games, emphasizing lesbian interaction and providing an interesting story backdrop that introduces a mutating virus.
This virus only affects young girls, and changes their bodies into lethal weapons. It’s become a government concern, and several islands have been classified as treatment centers the island of Bhikkhuni being one of them. Starting off on the island, you quickly learn that doing battle with other girls is the key ingredient to the “treatment” – and the gameplay is a mix of visual novel style interactions with others and fighting sequences much like what you’d see in a Senran Kagura title. Along the way, you also find out more about the story – which is a fun and interesting tale for games of this type with its sci-fi/thriller elements.
Special skills called Drives can be used in battle, and these can be upgraded as well. Combat isn’t too intricate when playing in the game’s easiest mode, but it’s surprisingly complex one you start stringing together combos in the game’s harder modes. This is hardly surprising when you consider how good the combat in Senran Kagura usually is when you look past the source material, but it’s nice to see that the formula has carried over despite a slightly different approach. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s solid.
Of course this is a game originally released for the Playstation Vita, so it was always going to be interesting to see how the conversion was done. Very well, in this case – the game has been remastered in 1080p at a solid sixty frames per second, and supports higher resolutions as well. Of course you can still tell it has handheld origins by the relatively bland backdrops and empty environments, but the character animation and combat mechanics are both extremely smooth.
The thing about games like Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni is probably that a lot of gamers already know if they’re interested in getting it before ever reading a review. If you’re fond of the Senran Kagura games, then you’ll enjoy Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni and you’ll probably hope for more games in the series. For now, be happy that this is no longer exclusive to Vita owners.