Valkyrie Profile - Retroview

You Shall Be As Gods...

By: Red Raven

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 10
   Interface 6
   Music/Sound 5
   Originality 7
   Plot 5
   Localization 5
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 5
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

50-90 hours


Title Screen

   For all the countless references and allusions to classical Norse mythology present in just about every RPG in existence, it is about time they actually made one that was about Norse mythology. From the creators of Star Ocean 2 comes just about the only game that manages to center on leveling up large amounts characters while remaining fun at the same time: I present Valkyrie Profile.

   In fact, in battle was exactly where I wanted to be the entire game. You enter battles by touching an enemy, and how you touch them determines which side goes first and which side receives a handicap, if any. Combat puts you at the controls of up to four party members, which correspond with the four Playstation controller buttons. Hit one button and that character will run over to an enemy and do their attack. The fun part comes when you have weapons equipped that allow your character to do up to three attacks in a row: very insane combos become possible. So, for example, you start hitting buttons in a semi-ordered fashion: the first guy runs over and attacks twice, launching the enemy into the air, and then the archer nails him to the sky with seven arrows in a row, and as the enemy falls the wizard nukes him back into the air only to be chopped down and cut to ribbons by the fourth guy with the big sword. And no, we're not done yet, as by this time we have filled the combo meter to the max. All the characters that have participated in the attack get a chance to do their combo-finisher, and many times that refills the combo meter a second time, which means more combos, etcetera, etcetera. And that's all for just one particular enemy in one particular battle.

My Sword Is Bigger Than Your Spear
My Sword Is Bigger Than Your Spear 

   The rest of the game centers on the main character, Valkyrie, and her orders from Odin to recruit the souls of the recently slain to fight for the gods during Ragnarok. See, the End of the World is coming, which means you only have so much time to beat the game. The game is divided mainly into chapters; each chapter has a number of individual periods, which represent one action. For example, entering a town would be considered one period of time, while entering a dungeon would be two. Now while the time limit might be intimidating at first, it does not give a competent player any trouble by the end of the game. In fact, most of the time toward the end is just needless extra.

   Besides the inherent coolness of playing as a god (or goddess in this case), you also get to take into consideration the rather interesting side stories and different endings. For Valkyrie to recruit the souls of the slain, they obviously have to die first, and you get to locate them and watch the last few minutes or hours of their lives. While some may say otherwise, I thought the whole story system was very well done, and very entertaining to boot. Mainly, I was only disappointed in the fact that there were not more deaths to see (as morbid as that sounds), than by their length or perhaps pointlessness in the grand scheme of the game.

Messing With The MiB Is Generally A Bad Idea
Messing With The MiB Is Generally A Bad Idea 

   I stated "only mainly disappointed" because the only things about this game I was disappointed in were the graphics and sound. The graphics are entirely 2D sprite-based, and while not so bad in of itself, it just seemed as though they could have been better done, considering the technological level achieved with other Playstation games at the time of VP's release. And while the music certainly wasn't horrible, it didn't stand out very often either, which is something one wonders about when playing a game full of gods and the lengthy battle combos I mentioned previously.

Flight 604, Now Boarding From Midgard To Valhalla...
Flight 604, Now Boarding From Midgard To Valhalla... 

   All in all, however, I was very much pleased with Valkyrie Profile. Raising stats for the numerous souls you recruit actually gets pretty fun after a while, and the insanely addictive battles do not hurt that process one bit. As stated before also, between the genuine novelty of playing out Norse mythology as an important character, and multiple endings / difficulties, this is one game that can expect some serious replay value. While some might be put off at first by the time limit and retro 2D style, it would certainly be a shame to see such an underrated game go unplayed by anyone with an ounce of RPG-loving spirit. This will definitely be considered, at least in this reviewer's eyes, as one of the better cult classics of this genre.


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