Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is the port of the original Valkyrie Profile, which was on the Sony PlayStation. Thus, it is the same game as the PlayStation version, with a few added touches such as CG movies. Overall, if you’ve played the PlayStation version of the game, you can move on. However, the original PlayStation version is very rare and currently sells on eBay for upwards of $100, making it hard for people to get their hands on it.
Valkyrie Profile pits you as a goddess Battle-Maiden whose role in a war is to go to Asgard (or Earth), and train Einherjar (or Humans), to send into Valhalla and help fight in the war. The game is divided into 8 chapters, each divided into 24 periods, all leading up to what is believed to be the end of the world. The game offers 3 difficulties: Easy, Normal, and Hard. You’ll get more dungeons and characters based on which difficulty you play on, so to fully enjoy the game you’d have to play on Hard.
In each Chapter, you’ll recruit a couple Einherjar then depart into a dungeon or two before ending the chapter by sending up an Einherjar who meets the demands of Lord Odin. Every time you recruit a character, you’ll watch a cut scene of the events leading up to their death. While these added a lot to the game’s storyline and were overall enjoyable, they tended to be lengthy, some as long as 10 minutes. When combined with the fact you’d often recruit 2 characters at the beginning of a chapter, I felt I spent almost as much time watching a movie as I spent playing the game.
At the end of each chapter, you’ll receive an update of how the warriors you’ve sent to war have been doing, and the game will list any accomplishments they have made. This is all just for show, as they don’t affect game play in the slightest. You’ll also be updated on a troop count of the war, and given material points (money) and artifacts from Odin based on how well you performed in the chapter.
The battle system in VP is very simple, consisting of simply pushing the characters assigned button (You’ll fight with 4 characters per battle, each assigned to a face button) to launch combos on your enemies. The magic system lacks a wide variety of spells, and when using a magic attack which you haven’t assigned to your character, you won’t add to your combo meter. This will keep you firing the same spell over and over throughout the course of the game. Each hit builds up the combo meter, which, once at 100%, will allow you to perform a finishing attack. These finishing attacks do massive damage and can be performed once by each person as long as the meter keeps hitting 100% and the character has sufficient charge (Finishing moves and magic are the only things which will use up charge).
Dungeons themselves are a mix of fighting monsters and performing jumps to get to where you need to go. The Valkyrie may shoot crystals which serve as steps to get to where she needs to go, and may also break those crystals and use the fragments as steps to get the extra distance needed. I found most of these puzzle segments extremely annoying, as it was difficult to get the crystals to stack properly, and I found myself attempting the same jump dozens of times. Each dungeon ends in a boss, which, once defeated, will leave behind several rare artifacts for you to decide to keep or send to Lord Odin. You’ll also get a hefty amount of distributable experience points, something which will make the act of sending Einherjar to Odin extremely easy, as you don’t have to use a character in order to level them up.
There are a lot of items in the game, both equipment-wise and item-wise, and you’ll find a lot of solutions when you’re having trouble in a battle. A lot of the time, if I was having difficulty beating a boss I could just switch up my weapons and armor and give it another go and do fine. This allowed for strategies based upon a certain item or weapon, and really is one of the games strong points. Certain staffs would allow the use of “Great Magic”, which does a ton of damage and which has a CG movie for each spell every time a spell is used. The issue here is that the CG movies would last 30 seconds in the middle of a battle, and after seeing them once they would become a bit of a nuisance.
The game features an excellent soundtrack which captures all of the moods the game encompasses, and great sounds to supplement the spells and attacks. However, the voice-overs are hilariously bad. It is incredible how cheesy they can make an otherwise well developed game seem just by adding these terrible voice-overs. The game would have been better if they had just passed on the voices altogether and just let the great writing do the work.
The graphics are, obviously, PS1 looking. At times the environments can look incredible and other times you are blatantly reminded you are really playing a PlayStation game. The newly added CG movies are very nice looking, but they are scarce and sometimes will only last a few moments. Attack and magic animations look great, but overall the graphics were only mediocre.
The game took me approximately 35 hours to complete on Normal difficulty, and hard mode features even more dungeons and characters. Overall, you probably won’t want to go through the game again due to the lengthy movies and character bio’s, and the fact that there aren’t that many hidden treasures throughout the game. All things said, it is a rather long campaign which will keep you occupied for quite some time. The strange thing which must be noted is that this is a handheld game, and most people look towards pick-up and playability when it comes to handheld games. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is anything but pick-up and play, and will require many recharges of your PSP’s battery to finish.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth features an excellent story, well developed characters, and a myriad of weaponry and armor to choose from. Yet the game falls short elsewhere, such as a lack of dungeons in the final half of the game compared to the first, and the lack of an in-depth magic system. Poor voice-overs hurt the experience, as do the CG movies which tend to be too lengthy in battles. Overall, Valkyrie Profile is an excellent pick-up for RPG lovers who enjoy a strong storyline and are looking for a game to occupy a lot of time.
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