Game Review: Valkyrie Profile

What happens when everything you have believed turns out to be all lies? That everything you have been fighting for all this time has been for naught?   Albeit these, you must still finish the fight to the very end- for honor, for justice, for love.

This is the main conflict of Lenneth, the main protagonist of Valkyrie Profile. A game I have personally loved and brooded upon. First released in Playstation X, it spawned a sequel (Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria–  this time about her sister, the youngest of the three) in the Playstation 2, and a revamped version in the Playstation Portable.

Lenneth- the main protagonist of the game
Using a Norse Mythologyslant, the story opens with the Goddess Lenneth summoned by Odin- the all-father and ruler of the Aesir in the halls of Asgard. She is informed that Ragnarok, the end of the world is inevitably drawing near and that she needs to gather the most powerful warriors in Midgard, the realm of the humans, to fight alongside with them in the ultimate battle against the giants of Jotunheim.  The recruitment process however, requires one thing: the chosen warrior should first die before Valkyrie can harness his/her soul (apparently, physical bodies are of no use in the divine war), taking it to Asgard to train. The bullk of the story therefore includes Valkyrie witnessing the many deaths of the Einjerar, like a vulture waiting for the prey to die first before consuming it- (ugly simile). Almost all characters die tragically: some a with a touch of humor (Badrach), romance (Jayle, Yumei [a real tear-jerker!], Llewelyn) and others a total wuss (Kashell, Grey). You can call Valkyrie therefore a Death/Warrior Goddess.

Watch Valkyrie Profile Intro

I found the storyline very engaging: gods having ulterior motives, humans used as pawns (as always) and decide to liberate themselves by challenging the gods, gods whacking each other, humans falling in love with gods. this is sooo Edith Hamilton.  There are major twists in the story too. Although they don’t have the “Whattt????!!!” factor, they don’t insult your intelligence either.

As for the gameplay, I found it as something quite unique. Though it is an RPG, it involves much puzzle-solving (every dungeon has one and you cannot advance unless you solve them) and side-scrolling (unlike the other RPG’s where you can traverse at any angle of the area). Though you can pretty much fly across the globe (yay!), the number of places you can visit is very limited. Also, the game is divided into eight chapters (before the end of the world), each containing a certain amount of periods which is spent whenever you visit a village or a dungeon. However, each period must be spent wisely since this is a countdown. Therefore, you cannot just enter all places like a tour itinerary (awww… killjoy). When all periods of a chapter is spent and dropped to zero (with the exception of the final chapter), you enter a “Sacred Phase” before proceeding to the next where the goddess Freya will give you updates about the recruits you have sent to the upper realm, reward you with items, equipment, and Divine Materialization Points/ DMP- energy you need to create things out of thin air (some sort of a currency) depending on your performance (she berates you if you accomplish the chapter poorly).

The battle system is turn-based. Each character is assigned a button (X, square, triangle, and circle) and will attack when you press their corresponding button. Chaining attacks is very critical in defeating enemies as you have to correctly time your pressings to effectively make every attack hit the target (button mashing is a cardinal sin). It also has the “Purify Weird Soul”- some sort of an extended special attack when your chain combos fill the battle gauge. Each character becomes a super saiajin and performs their unique blows (many are super cool, some are just pure joke). Most battles are ended with these powerful moves.

The graphics is decent. It’s not jaw-dropping nevertheless the artworks are very detailed and a real eye candy. I really like the music too. Most dungeons have a synthesized-like orchestra- upbeat, radical, and angry (but in a good way).

The goddess and the human. Another case of star-crossed lovers- this game has one too!

It is not the best game on the Playstation platform. I could not even categorize it to the top 20 best games. But there’s something about Valkyrie Profile that slowly creeps to your system, making you play it to the very end, urges you to repeat the game after completing it (I’ve repeated the game more than ten times), download its soundtracks, and obsess the colorful characters, side stories, and the myth where it was based from. Maybe it tackles issues which I can relate with. Maybe there’s always something new every time I play it again. Maybe because it’s both stereotypical and unpredictable at the same time.

It’s charm is dark, deep, and deadly.

The game had a very limited release but gained a cult following.
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