Valkyrie Profile

Come join the Ride of the Valkyries!

By Denise Paolucci

Valkyrie Profile

There seems to be a recent trend -- a good one -- in RPGs of taking a setting, character, or world from any one of a number of mythologies, putting a little bit of a modern spin on them, and using them as a source for an RPG. It gives a lot of detailed background to a game, and makes for a pleasant bit of time for the player in tracking down the source for each of those references. In Norse mythology, the Valkyries were warrior maidens, Odhinn's chosen, who shepherded the dead to Valhalla for their eternal reward. In Valkyrie Profile, you play a Valkyrie as she collects the souls of the dead and marshals them into an army to fight. Norse traditions are a fascinating and rich source material, and Valkyrie Profile looks to be worthy of that mythos.

Running through town
"They'll never know we were here."

Valkyrie Profile is loosely plotted. The game is divided into "chapters" and "periods," a chapter being the particular segment of the game and a period being each new adventure. Fans of the non-linear style will be intrigued by the ability to follow periods as the mood strikes. The story does not suffer from this non-linearity, however. Each character introduced comes with a detailed backstory of just how that individual died. Valkyries do escort the dead, after all; your army is, alas, just a little worse for wear.

Anime-style female
Does she look pleased to you?

Valkyie Profile offers an interesting mixture of dungeon-crawling, action, and cinematic beauty. The battle system is incredibly detailed -- timing, positioning, and special attacks all play a crucial role in victory. It has elements of fighting and action games blended with the more traditional RPG fare. The actions of various party members can be combined to unleash devastating attacks. You can "map" each character to a controller button, and pressing that button will launch an attack. Each character gets three attacks a round. Those attacks can be combined to unleash any number of potential arse-whupping moves.

"This won't hurt a bit..."

The graphics, entirely 2D, are finely detailed, and make the game a pleasure to look at. The sprites are beautifully rendered, and the backgrounds combine to set the mood of the game. The text bubbles are smooth and unobtrusive. The game does have dubbed voices. Reports say that they are not as grating as some previous RPG efforts, and the translation is rumored to be excellent.

Valkyrie Profile will fit a number of gaming niches. Look for it from Enix on 8.29.00.

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