Star Ocean Universe

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth Review

Valkyrie Profile borrows from Norse Mythology. Your role is to play out the story of a Valkryie by the name of Lenneth. As a Valkyrie you have a mysterious power that allows you to listen out for souls of mortals on the brink of deaths. From here the Valkyrie can materialize their souls to fight at her side, which she trains to potentially be really to fight at her masterís side, Lord Odin in his epic wars against the Vanir. As time progresses you must find more recently deceased mortals, which are know as Einherjar, some of these will have to be sent to lord Odin before the final battle.

Itís clearly not your common linear style story line, there is not exactly a typical save the world plot, nor is the story highly fixed in terms of go to one place then another immediately after either. Another factor you must face is the Chapters & Periods which represent time. Time is not of a limitless supply and must be used resourcefully if you with to succeed, particularly to get the games best ending.

Gameplay: Youíre travels revolve around a god like overhead 3D view with Lenneth while searching for a new area to visit and listening out for troubled souls. At all other times it features a 2D view while you roam in towns and dungeons. The movement is quite real time, you will see your enemies on the battle field, giving you the option to either fight them, strike first, freeze them or avoid them. If youíre stuck in a dungeon you can avoid fighting until you either find the sanctuary of a Load Point or Exit. In a way itís almost like an old school platform game, you will have to jump over obstacles and at times skilfully maneuver yourself through tight situations with great timing and use the aid of your freezing abilities at times as well.

The game progresses in more of a semi-linear plot, in that you get a choice of where you want to go, and when you want to. While at the same time having essentially time restrictions in place and required to at least finish some dungeons and recruit some Einherjar to move on. If you perform too poorly in missions by rushing and sheer laziness Lord Odin may even revoke you right as a Valkyrie resulting in a prompt bad ending! I know for a fact this does turn some away from the title, as you donít get a limitless supply of time, experience, training etc. Those familiar with the Fire Emblem series may be able to understand this better then most RPG gamers.

Personally, I think the gameplay is fantastic, a great combination of older style 2D environments, with a few 3D elements added in. The way the game progresses is smooth, and you will often find about 2 Load Points per dungeon, so youíll get plenty of opportunity to save your game! 9/10

Characters: At all times you will play as Lenneth, having turned down Einherjar Arngrim at your side. You will encounter a host of different characters on your travels, all with their own unique personality traits and abilities. The way the game is designed by making you send warriors to Asgard is actually not such a bad thing, if you wanted to you can transfer the Einherjar you donít like, and keep the ones you do!

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth offers a host of ways to develop your Einherjar. Via Capacity points allocation to various skill types (not too different to that of Second Story actually), via bonus exp stored in an Exp Orb (similar to bonus experience in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance), via items equipment which can be both found & created with Materialize points, and of course by defeating enemies in battle. Even if you rarely use certain characters you still some options to train your Einherjar to be suitable for transfer to Valhalla without even using them in battle!

The game offers a great range of characters, and ways to develop them. Allowing you some room to move while developing your characters and not restricted to training everyone fight after fight. 9/10

Battle System: The battle system is basically a left (enemy) vs. right (your party) face off. From here you can select items, magic etc, as usual in most RPGís. Although the unique aspect is timing, on your turn you can attack an enemy in sequence to try filling your HIT gauge to allow for further special attacks. One notable special attack is the powerful Nibelung Valesti for Lenneth (sound familiar Till the End of Time fans?). Your attack sequence & timing also has the ability to determine whether the enemies to fall into Feint status, drop items or to piece an enemy guard, as well as perform counter attacks and other useful support skills during battle. Then on top of that you must be aware of your usage of Special Attacks and Magic as it will increase your Charge Turn, making them unavailable for use in further rounds, you can still make use of those turns, just not as effectively. Choose your attacks wisely; when to attack, and who to attack for the greatest success in battle, a sound attack sequence can defeat even the strongest of opponents.

The other element which can play a huge factor in battles if your skill setups, alike Till the End of Time a sound skill setup, First Aid for a member or two etc are all worth considering to offer your team the best balance for success. With a range of character development options the timing battle system is quite enjoyable, fast passed and challenging. The battle system is yet another rather unique, but outstanding aspect to the game. 9/10

Graphics: The PSP remake has certainly not disappointed, sprites, dungeons etc are not too different from what you would expect from PSX. But also added in are some eye popping cut scenes. Personally, I think this is perfect for an RPG; I donít think RPG's need to have state of the art graphics anyway, they just need to flow well and have the awesome cut scene in between along the way. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth covers this with ease, hard to believe itís a PSP title sometimes. 9/10

Voiceovers: The voiceovers are satisfactory and are not too frequent, without been overly amazing. Although considering they are similar to that of the original Valkyrie Profile and not overused they actually blend in quite well. Certainly wonít make you block your ears like those in Star Ocean: The Second Story anyway! 7/10

Replay Factor: If you can get hooked on the unique experience Valkyrie Profile offers you will easily find yourself wanting to replay it at least once. Try a few different things with your rating with Odin, sent some different Einherjar to Odin and train others you previously didnít use all that often. Well worth at least one more try if you can get into the style it offers. 8/10

Final Thoughts: Overall, itís just a truly unique gaming experience, and I honestly mean that. Iíve easily played 30+ RPG's and itís quite hard to compare this to any other, if your up for a story and style which is different to your average RPG itís hard to be disappointed with Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. If you love your RPG's try get your hands on a mates copy or rent one at the least, it will be very hard to find RPG's that can compare to this unique experience, let alone on PSP.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Opinion by Fayt.