Tell us about games you are currently playing. "Quick hit" reviews.
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I got this last year and played it for a couple of hours before drifting off towards other titles. I decided recently it was worth revisiting and started again from scratch. This is a shooter in Turrican/Metal Slug/Gunstar Heroes mold. While lacking the personality of Gunstar Heros or Metal Slug, Valfaris stands on its own as a fairly epic shooter of uneven difficulty. Many of you might be familiar with Slain and this game has a similar design (albeit as a shooter rather than hack'n'slash). It features a hard rock/metal soundtrack, pixel graphics, gore, violence, and a highly non linear difficulty. As in Slain, there is no difficulty ramp, some levels are a cakewalk, some levels are utterly unforgiving, while earlier levels are not necessarily easier than later levels. I think both the graphics and music are better in Valfaris. While Slain had a grindy Slayer / Iced Earth vibe to it, the soundtrack to Valfaris appears more bombastic. It reminds of the works of Manowar with some added symphonic black/viking metal influences like Bathory or Emperor (less the screechy vocals). It is debatable whether Valfaris is worth the $30 or so you pay to get the hard copy. It is a great game but like Slain, it is a 3-5 hour endeavor. Whether that is worth $30 is up to you. I still have not finished this game but I have sunk 3 hours into it and it feels like I am close to the end. I would say this is B/B+ territory.
Well I am done and it took just over 8 hours to complete it. At 3 hours I was 2/3rd's through and the last 5 hours was dedicated to the final 1/3rd of some of the hardest motherf*****g mini bosses and boss fights I have encountered in a long time. In Slain: Back from Hell you had that block parry move which significantly eased the difficulty. In Valfaris they have a similar scheme with your block ability but the margin for error in the timing leads to numerous deaths - just a split second too slow or fast and you are toast. If you cannot master the nuances of this ability the few challenging sections ramp from a 7 out of 10 to around a 9.5 out of 10. Now that I have completed this game I can no longer call it a shooter that deserves the same sort of recognition as Contra or Metal Slug. At best this game is B- territory and maybe that is too generous. The latter part of the game's pacing is less enjoyable than the earlier part of the game. You play through a short level segment only to hit a boss that takes 20 or so attempts to best, then move onto another short level segment for the next boss to take another 20 or so attempts to figure it out. Rinse and repeat. The frenetic action makes it difficult to get immersed into the game's atmosphere - you never get a moment where you can take it all in. While anyone can complete and master this game I am no longer the gamer of my youth where a coinop style worked fine. Pile the quarters in, game initially hard as hell, get good, and then prove mastery of the game by beating it on one credit. The desire of mastering a game to this degree no longer holds my interest, thus Valfaris proved to be a short lived experience packed with cheap thrills. Some of you are going to love this game, some of you are going to be on my wavelength, and some of you are definitely going to loathe the game's pacing problems and difficulty spikes. I say spikes because the game is not difficult on average, just difficult in small segments or boss fight (many bosses are easy but some are Silver Surfer level of difficulty).