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Valkyrie Profile Review:
Title: Valkyrie Profile
Publisher: Tri-Ace and Squaresoft (Square-Enix)
Release Date: PS1 2000; PSP 2006
Platforms: Playstation 1, Playstation Portable
Overall Score: 51/70 72.86% C- Good Game For Girls
Where to Buy: The Playstation One Disc is Regarded as a Collector’s Edition and goes for upwards of $400 on places like ebay and amazon. You can see the current value of this edition here: LINK
Meanwhile, the PSP version is a more reasonably priced alternative, at just $50 – It’s also very rare, at time of this writing only one copy was available on Amazon which you can track here: LINK
Overview: Valkyrie Profile is an old playstation 1 rpg, which later got remade with additional cutscenes on the playstation portable. The game focuses on collecting different characters and leveling them up before sending them to Valhalla to battle in Ragnarok. It is steeped in Norse mythology and each character has it’s own little side story. The trick is that time is passing as you explore the dungeons and if you want to get as many characters as possible you’re going to be hard pressed to complete everything in enough time. This also increases the replay value of the game allowing you to meet new characters each playthrough. You play the game as Lenneth, a valkyrie who is responsible for guiding the souls of brave warriors after their death. Lenneth herself has a troubled and tormented past which is slowly unveiled as you play through the game.
Gameplay: 9/10 The gameplay is a combination of action-rpg / platformer while exploring the dungeons, but it turns to turn based rpg combat when encountering an enemy. Enemies can be seen on screen and can be avoided, or engaged early to try and get the upper hand in battle. The battle is fast paced even though it’s turn based. You can chain your characters’ attacks for big bonuses and hit combos. This makes combat feel fluid and dynamic. There’s also special finishing moves which can be executed if your group has enough energy when the enemy is knocked down. You command each character with the push of one of the buttons (Square, X, Triangle, or Circle), I do not believe that the battle animations can be turned off, and after awhile, they do tend to get repetitive and slow down the combat some. The dungeon exploration gameplay feels fun and intuitive. You will jump, slide, climb, and build while traversing the dungeons. It is reminiscent of castlevania in this regard. The dungeons also feel adequately large and have lots of hidden goodies for the would-be explorer. At save points you can divine items and save your progress, there’s generally 2 or 3 save points per dungeon. And for those looking for a challenge, the game offers 3 gameplay modes, easy, normal, and difficult. If you play on easy, you are penalized into only having a few characters available to recruit. Aside from the basics mentioned here, the other main gameplay mechanic is the recruiting of characters for Ragnarok. Time passes as you explore dungeons and so you must decide where to go and what to do. It’s almost impossible to recruit every character in a single playthrough which makes this game highly replayable since a majority of the storyline is told through these characters you recruit.
Story: 9/10 The storyline has 3 different endings for you to achieve, and as mentioned above, depending which characters you successfully recruit you are shown different “side” stories which help bond and endear the cast to you as you play. Due to the nature of the theme, death, and rebirth, etc, there are lots of tragic melodramatic moments. The story borrows heavily from Norse Mythology while throwing in a few unique twists and turns along the way. You control the story mostly through your valkyrie seal level and evaluation level (two separate features). The other story mechanic involves who you send to Ragnarok and when you send them, and if you yourself decide to go to the final battle as well. Many people consider the “good” (or happy) ending to be very difficult to receive without referring to a guide or walkthrough. There’s one I found on Google here: SPOILER WARNING IF YOU CLICK HERE http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Valkyrie_Profile/Endings
Concept: 10/10 The unique blend of action and traditional rpg elements as well as the ability to find dozens of unique party members, and the replay value of this game, earn it a 10/10 for overall concept and design.
Characters: 8/10 There are many characters in this game, and some are more fleshed out than others or have more interesting tales, but I think by and large, each story is unique, and collecting all of the characters is one the main attractions of the game. Therefore I give the characters 8/10.
Graphics: 4/10 – I don’t want to be too hard on this game, really, I don’t. I love love love this game. If I was going simply by how much I adore this game, everything would get 10s. But sadly, I must try to be objective. The graphics are old of course, since the game is now 15 years old, and even it’s remake is 9 years old already. That’s not the real problem, my problem is that not only are the graphics oldschool/retro style, but just really low quality. the textures look bad, grainy, pixelated, the sprites don’t look much better. The portraits for each character are nice, they give it a storybook, or painted feeling, but the environment textures and character and monster sprites are just very low quality. I also dinged it a few points for not being able to disable the battle animations which can be lengthy and repetitive. I also was personally not impressed by the remakes cut scenes, which other reviewers have cited as the highlight of this remastered edition. The textures also seem low quality even in these new cut scenes. I think they could have used more shading and some more details especially in things such as clothing or hair, or even her wings they just don’t have enough detail. And it’s not just a tell of the times/limitations of the hardware, as I’ve seen other PSP games with crisp and clean textures and more details.
Music: 10/10 I really like the music in Valkyrie Profile – what can I say, it just works, it helps set the tone in the both battle and dramatic or heart-moving story sequences. It’s varied enough that it doesn’t feel repetitive nor annoying, and several tracks remain memorable even after you finish playing the game.
Voice Acting: 1/10: CRINGE WORTHY voice acting. You can find patches online to “undub” this game, and I highly recommend it! The english voice acting is so bad…. like… 80s/early 90s anime kind of bad. It’s Baaaaadddd….. lol. The first warrior you meet to recruit, reminds me almost of william shatner with his dramatic random pauses. He also doesn’t seem to have a good range capable of emotion, his performance is flat and monotone. I wish that he were the exception, but many other characters are also just as bad. It really detracts from the sentimental impact of the story, because their delivery is just so off. It doesn’t seem like it matches the same emotions the characters are experiencing and really kills the mood of the game for me at times. Also to note: In the original Japanese version EACH character is voiced by a different actor. In the English version, they use about 6 actors to voice a cast of over 30 characters 🙁 That’s just cheap and lazy if you ask me. Do yourself a favor and download the Japanese voices and patch them back into your game. 🙂 It really enhances the entire experience.
Conclusion: Looking past these few flaws, I would encourage you to give this game a chance if you have yet to experience this cult classic in rpg history. It’s fun fast paced gameplay and heartfelt storytelling will hook any gamer. There’s also a sequel called Valkyrie Profile 2 Slimeria
Voice Acting: 1/10
Overall: 51/70 72.86% C- Good Game For Girls
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