|| Valkyrie Profile - Review
Back to Basics
By: Jake Alley
| Battle System
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
Nearly all RPGs feature fantasy settings. The stylings of fantasy, first
assembled in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit are inspired by Norse mythology. In a move long
overdue, tri-Ace has finally cut out the middle man to create Valkyrie Profile.
The story of Valkyrie Profile stems from the Nordic myth of Ragnarok. Odin foresees
a war between the gods, and therefore sends a Valkyrie to earth in order to gather and train the souls
of heroes to lend a hand. Depending on how much the player chooses to carry out these divine orders,
and how much effort is put into uncovering Valkyrie's past, the game culminates in one of three very
The world from which you collect your holy warriors is a very tragic place. Over
the course of the game, its scattered cities are beplagued and destroyed by demons and warlords.
This brings about the senseless deaths of dozens of innocent and heroic people, who then join your
party. As each character is introduced, a scene unfolds depicting the last moments of their life,
along with some insight into their motivations. The end result is for each character to start out
|I love anime intros
Valkyrie Profile is divided into eight chapters, each of which is comprised of
roughly twenty-four periods. After the full half hour of plot at the beginning of the game, these
periods may be passed however you see fit until the end of the eighth chapter, at which point you
must proceed to the final dungeon. Two periods are consumed when searching for new characters and
dungeons, or when exploring dungeons. Entering towns consumes only one. New things become available
to search for each chapter, but only enough to consume roughly half the available time, leaving the
rest to character build, or explore towns. This system makes the vast majority of the game completely
optional, giving it a minimum time of three hours, although winning under such circumstances would
require unbelievable luck. It also leaves more obsessive players time to do everything that can
be done with time to spare.
While the world map is 3D, with controls similar to the airships of the Final
Fantasy Series, towns and dungeons are, oddly enough, side scrolling. Controls are exactly like
any 16-bit platform game, right down to the difficult jumps. However, unlike some games, these are
all guarding optional treasures, rather than impeding one's progress through the game. Monsters
appear on screen, and, with few exceptions, don't come back after being defeated. This makes experience
points a fairly valuable resource. Fortunately, the last dungeon is one of the few places where
defeated monsters return, allowing for some last minute character building.
|Divinity has its advantages
Combat is perhaps the most interesting aspect of Valkyrie Profile. Pressing select
brings up a menu to use items, cast spells, and so forth, but attacking is simplified to a single
button push for each character. Each character has their own attack button, and begins attacking the
exact moment it's pressed. While each character may only attack one to three times each round,
this system allows these attacks to be timed, resulting in combos that can earn extra experience.
Additionally, if a combo is significantly long, each participating character may use a special
move which can do as much as twenty times their regular damage. Such special moves, and also spells,
fill up a meter which fades over time and must be empty to use another. This system allows players
to dish out unbelievably high amounts of damage, but healing is rather difficult, and defenses
don't balance out. While even later bosses can therefore be defeated in as little as a single round,
they can often wipe out your entire party just as easily.
Battles, as well as most plot points, are permeated with voice acting. Strangely
enough however, unlike nearly every other RPG with voice acting, it's quite good for the most part.
Text is also translated well, giving more insight into the backgrounds of the characters.
|Swords can't be too big
Over the course of the game, it is necessary to send warriors away to the great
war of the gods. Between chapters, a list of desired traits is given. While these occasionally
specify certain types of characters, such as archers, more often certain skills and traits are
asked for. When a character gains a level, they receive a certain amount of points to spent on
these. Skills are acquired over the course of the game which allow characters to perform special
actions such as countering, improve stats, and simply affect their wartime performance. Each character
also has a unique list of traits, such as elegance or a sacrificing nature, which solely effect
characters at war.
When characters are sent to war, they are removed from your party until the final dungeon. However,
between chapters, it is possible to read up on the actions of each character you've sent away,
adding more personality to the characters than they would have if left in your party. This feature
makes the difference between a flow of faceless characters coming and going and a growing cast
of interesting personalities, adding a nice bit of color to the game.
Speaking of color, Valkyrie Profile features breathtakingly gorgeous graphics. Both the highly detailed
sprites and the rich backgrounds convey an interesting visual style, blending Nordic myth with
flare. The music also blends these two themes, using mostly somber flutes and electric guitars.
On top of everything else, Valkyrie Profile offers three difficulty levels, each with different
available characters and dungeons. With three levels of difficulty, three endings, and some very
open ended gameplay, Valkyrie Profile can keep players busy for quite some time. All in all, it's
one of the best games of the year.