GOTD – Valkyrie Profile

Valkyrie Profile – RPG (PSX)
Tri-Ace / Enix

So here I’m going to start re-iterating part of what others have already said – but I truly hope it is only a part.

Valkyrie Profile is simultaneously one of the most well-known and rare games that there is. It’s been hailed nearly universally as an example of an RPG everybody should play and that should be remade (and it was!). Unfortunately, the game is not all awesome, but it is good.
There are several good points to the game. The story, although filled with unrelated, usually depressing sub-plots, is carried across very well. The game as a whole is incredibly non-linear (in a good way) and contains a good deal of variety. The meshing of the action in dungeons with the battles works pretty well, and the music is great.

Unfortunately – as with any game, no matter how good otherwise – it has its flaws. The English voice acting, though better than you might expect for the time (i.e. Grandia), is nowhere near the quality of more recent games’ and will probably grate on your ears. In addition to this, it’s not possible to skip through any of the scenes. If you’ve played through the game already, you may want to see some scenes again – but probably not all of them, particularly if you had to see any of them multiple times.

Combat is a mixed bag. You’ll either enjoy it or you won’t. It looks relatively simple – and it is relatively simple – with a couple of tricks to it that you’ll have mastered by the time you get your 3rd or 4th Einherjar.

Speaking of which, the Einherjar system is really cool, but it’d be nice to see it used more. As it is, you send appropriate members of your party to Valhalla and you hear about how they’re doing, but you don’t really get anything from it. While you still have them, however, developing skills is, similar to in Star Ocean, a fun part of gameplay.

And along with Einherjar (a term I had heard once before this game), the Norse mythological themes to the game are generally cool, but specifically lack. Such as switching of gods’ gender, numerous Aesir/Vanir/Jotun mix-ups, Norns == Valkyries? Although it’s pretty neat to see all this stuff, even with my lack of knowledge on the subject I found it annoying from time to time. I’m the kind of guy who finds that stuff hard to ignore, though.

Overall – an interesting game, but perhaps not worth the $100+ price tag that it will likely require. The game sells for less than $20 in Japan – if it were the same price here, it would definitely be worth it. The PSP version is supposedly good, too, although I haven’t tried it.

A last note – if you do play the game, do so on Hard Mode. You can get all the extras and the difficulty is negligible anyway. The other modes are just an annoyance.

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