If this all sounds a little pressured, Valkyrie Profile quickly settles into an enjoyable rhythm that focuses the journey through what is undeniably a dense and complicated forest of unique gameplay. Before each story Lenneth hovers above the khaki, washed out 3D plains of Midgard and, by pressing the start button, can focus to hear if there are any humans - be it prince or pauper - near death in the proximity. If so, you'll catch snippets of spoken and leading conversation to entice you into their world of relationships and problems.
Next you fly down to them, slowly witness their story via cut-scenes and exploration, possibly work through a mini-Castlevania-style dungeon, up until the character's inevitable death. Then that character can be brought into your team to play on through the next story. Once in your ethereal squad it's not just a simple case of levelling each character up.
Human attributes such as selfishness, kindness, cuteness and bravery must be upgraded and downgraded with accrued points to make them better, more heroic people. You then have a choice- either send the character off to Odin to fight in the final battle - or keep the fighter with you to work through the next story on earth.
The player constantly has to make key management choices and, while occasionally bewildering, this ensures that each player's experience of the game is near unique - as evidenced by the multiple endings available. The dungeons themselves are unique for an RPG. Viewed like a sideways platform game each is relatively short and full of simple key and fetch mechanisms, punctuated by treasure chests and enemies. Lenneth the only character visible in the field must nimbly jump to and from platforms to solve each dungeon.
An ice crystal shot move allows her to build temporary platforms to reach new areas. The platforming is simplistic and offers little precision - the controls often feeling slightly laggy and inexact. Enemies are visible in the dungeon and, once attacked and defeated never respawn - a pleasing choice that greatly compensates for any difficulty in actually getting around.
As well as Lenneth you can take up to four characters into battle - all would-be heroes you have rescued and chosen from your travels - and each one's primary attack is assigned to one of the four face buttons on the PSP. Offensive moves are triggered by pressing the corresponding button - there are no menus to negotiate and as a result, all strategy is focused on the timing of your button presses.
By successfully completing combos a special attack gauge at the bottom of the screen fills which, if you manage to max it out, allows a far more powerful move to be executed. There's much hidden depth to the quick-fire system - varying bonuses being meted out for whether you hit an enemy in the air or on the ground during a combo and, thanks to the immediacy of the menu-less interface and vastly customisable and augmentable offensive options, it's a long time before battles get tiresome.
Indeed, the game is so full of gameplay nuances that the deeper, more complex layers of the experience are never really explained well either in-game or in the instruction manual. This is manageable for experienced RPG players who can feel their way about or trade information with peers; for anybody trying out the genre alone it can often be confusing. Likewise, the stifling, over-dramatic language and relentlessly sombre mood can grate after a while.
Watching tragic death after tragic death coupled with the lack of any comic relief and the game's inescapable tendency to be overly verbose is arduous. You can tell a lot about a game from the song titles of its soundtrack. Such juxtaposition typifies the line between strutting silliness and compact profundity that the game constantly hops over.
But, in the main, Valkyrie Profile creates a stark but beautifully lined atmosphere. The orchestral midi score sweeps the player into its world each time the PSP is turned on and the character design is, in places, undeniably iconic - Lenneth's winged helmet and perfect proportions in particular the stuff of character design pixel beauty. This is far from a Final Fantasy-style RPG game and buyers expecting similarities, based on the score below, will be sorely disappointed and lost.
But, if we absolutely must have videogame genre distinctions, then let's accept that their boundaries are wide and deep enough to embrace more than one excellent but wholly distinct expression of the form. Valkyrie Profile Lenneth is exactly that - wholly distinct from the rest of the crowd, a niche within a niche, marvellously thought out and mostly brilliantly executed. If there were other comparably innovative and inventive Japanese RPGs to set this against, then its flaws might cause it to be judged more severely.
But it stands alone, a rare original expression of Japanese role-playing individuality, and as such, this thick and dense forest of an experience is worth every cut you suffer along the way. Although no European launch has been officially announced it's highly likely it will hit Europe early next year to tie in with the forthcoming PS2 sequel.
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Storyline Edit. Add content advisory. Did you know Edit. Connections Followed by Valkyrie Elysium User reviews 2 Review. Top review. Better than Final Fantasy X. I instantly bought Final Fantasy X for it but never really got hooked, so I looked further. When I saw this title in someone's list of favorite JRPG games for the PS2, I started checking out video's and reviews, and despite the sometimes less than enthusiastic comments on the game, I kept being drawn to it.
Critics claimed that many characters did not have enough depth, that there was cringy voice acting and that the story was not always interesting. I've been playing it for at least 10 hours in total now and it's got everything I appreciate about JRPGs: -music that grows on you; -complex but fun battle system; -over the top special attacks; -breathtaking cut scenes; -vulnerable, flawed non-macho characters; -numerous ways to tweak and optimize your group and gear; -slow pacing of the story where you don't have to pay attention to a hundred things at once like in some games, where you at once need to read text quickly AND listen to someone filling you in on your mission AND watch a quickly edited cut scene at the same time.
Another nice thing about the game is that it introduces platforming with puzzle elements, requiring smart usage of your "photons" and a good eye for the environment. This is a hardcore RPG that requires you to study every aspect of the game in order to keep winning your battles and the gameplay is not one that is easy to master. Many battles are needed to climb the learning curve. I was warned that the rewards for all this hard work were not always substantial enough so it is definitely recommended to use a walkthrough with good pointers, but I am looking forward to this.
Finally a game where you don't just go through the motions but must concentrate and make the smart decisions. There's still some button-mashing but it's definitely not a hack'n'slasher nor a horribly slow turnbased game. FlorisV May 25, Details Edit. Release date September 26, United States. Tri-Ace Inc. Production I. Technical specs Edit.
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The Valkyrie Profile series is developed by tri-Ace and published by Enix (now Square Enix). It was created by Masaki Norimoto, one of the founders of tri-Ace. Valkyrie Profile or Valkyrie is a series of role-playing video games created by Masaki Norimoto, primarily developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix. The series is notable for featuring elements from Norse mythology. Valkyrie Profile has a unique turn-based battle system. The two sides wage.