Ride Of The Valkyries

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth
Reviewed On
Available For

If you’re a serious RPG fan who happens to own a PSP, who happens to live for the thrill of a challenge, who happens to be a new comer to the VP series and who happens to appreciate the purest elements of a role-playing game such as innovation, motivation, a provocative original story line, depth, heart-wrenching audio, top-notch graphics, highly addictive game play, and a killer cast of characters then your eyes have fallen upon the right place my friend. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is a fulfilling experience and "thee" must have RPG for the PSP platform period.

Based off the classic Playstation game title originally released back in 2000, Valkyrie Profile depicts the life of Norse Maiden Lenneth, and her unselfish destiny to collect fallen souls for a war between the gods. The game is a work of art boasting all-new cinematic cut-scenes, a detailed, polished and distinguished cast of heroes, rich, colorful and thought provoking backgrounds, and a dynamic musical theme to help bring it all home.

The game focuses upon main character, Lenneth, who is summoned to Asgard, the realm of the gods by Lord Odin, King of the Aesir. The eternal struggle between the benevolent Aesir and the demonic Vanir has prompted Lord Odin to call Lenneth to his side to carry out a divine mission. A mission that if completed could turn the tide of battle in the Aesir’s favor and end this ongoing Sacred War.

Calling on the powers of his right-hand servant, Freya, the goddess of fertility, he has Lenneth transformed into a Valkyrie or "chooser of souls." Charged with the divine objectives of Lord Odin, Lenneth sets out across the land of Midgard approaching brave souls at their time of death. Lenneth must convince these combatants to join her in this ultimate battle against evil. With time drawing nearer and the end of the world fast approaching Lenneth must seek out, train, and command an army of fallen soldiers in preparation for the final battle against Lord Surt, the leader of the Vanir.

In the beginning Lord Odin sends Freya with Lenneth to give her guidance on her new journey. Freya first teaches Lenneth how to use the new powers endowed upon her, one of the first lessons being spiritual concentration. By pressing the "start" button players can make Lenneth spiritually concentrate and connect with heroic souls, later defined as "Einherjar," who are near the brink of death. During this concentration sequence the world map spins around Lenneth and players will be able to hear brief dialogues and conversations, mostly sorrowful or tragic, followed by the name of the city or dungeon becoming highlighted on the world map.

Once the location has been pin-pointed on the world map, Valkyrie can fly across Midgard and enter that city/dungeon. Usually, the first entry to a new area kicks off a real-time cinematic cut-scene depicting the last day(s) of a potential Einherjar’s life. Every newcomer has an intriguing storyline of their own, but they all seem to ring under the same banner of sadness, sacrifice, or tragedy. The stories are all heart-felt ranging from a samurai seeking a cure to heal his sister of blindness or a great pompous warrior who’s seen too much bloodshed to true love vanquished by the horrors of war or the tragic death of a childhood romance. Often times Valkyrie will step in and bargain with the Einherjar in their last moments of their life or even save them from a horrible fate in exchange for their services in the realm of Asgard.

While collecting Einherjar for the Sacred War is Lenneth’s prime directive there are other matters that will arise and must be dealt with from time to time. With Midgard shrouded in darkness, evil defilers of souls such as undead, vampires, and necromancers have been able to wander the land and flourish. In between recruiting Lenneth will have to take out time to cleanse dungeons or other places that have been overrun of dangerous monsters and purge any greater evil that might lie within. Not only will these kind of situations give players a chance to train up their newly recruited Einherjar but even more so players will get to try out the game’s new real-time turn-based battle system which has proved itself to be both innovative and also a lot of fun.

Valkyrie Profile’s new real-time turn-based battle system allows players to attack enemies with multiple characters at the same time during a combat sequence to help create various combination attacks. Timing and the order in which the characters attack both play an important role in the success of a battle as the right attack strategy can trigger a bonus attack turn depending on the situation. Players can experiment with different party combinations to discover new devastating attack sequences to help give them the edge during battle.

To help keep things interesting during combat, the enemy will sometimes be able to successfully pull off a "Combo Guard" which will make any attacks made by the player’s party ineffective. Therefore you’ll always want to have a "Plan B" attack strategy if the current one isn’t working. The most effective way to keep an enemy from combo guarding is to toss them into the air and then hit them while they’re vulnerable.

Vice versa when an enemy attempts to perform a physical attack on any party member, players will have a chance to counter attack if they press the corresponding button of the party member being attacked at the exact time that a sword-shaped icon appears above the characters head indicating they have a chance to parry. When performed successfully players will block the attack and then finish up with a counter attack of their own.

If players land enough continuous attack combinations on an enemy to fill up the "special attack gauge" then they will be able to pull an onslaught of super attacks with characters who hit successfully on the previous turn. These super attacks can knock off thousands of hit points on an enemy party or member.

The "select" button can also be used to access the command menu during a battle which will allow players access of up to six different options including change of equipment, formation, and use of items and magic.

Outside of a solid and innovative battle system is one of the most extensive character customization systems seen in an RPG game. It’s up to the player to distribute any skill or experience points earned from either battle or completing certain events to help develop traits of the Einherjar and shape their "hero value" as warriors. In order to enter into the realm of gods, players must meet a required hero value for each party member before they can be sent off to help take part in the Sacred War. There are a ton of skills you can use to help develop individual party members including skills like leadership, identifying items, monster intelligence, fighting, counter attacks, parrying, survival, and several others all of which are at your disposal to help shape hero value and boost the strength and abilities of your party.

After so many periods have passed, Valkyrie will receive a visit from the goddess Freya who will update her on the current status of the ongoing Sacred War and occasionally give special instructions to develop Einherjar with specific skills so that they can later be used as military assets for the war back home. Once given instruction Valkyrie will have an allotted number of periods to produce these much needed warriors and their special talents. Of course, it always hurts your party to lose strong characters but with great sacrifice comes the chance of better game endings barring the Aesir victory over the Vanir.

Even more of a bonus is the fact that underneath of the main story line of the game is an underlying plot involving Lenneth beginning to search in deep within herself to find out who she really is. Ironically, with every Einherjar she comes in contact with and the tragic stories they bear she finds a little piece of something lost in her soul long, long ago"her humanity and intimate memories of her former life. It’s a nice and compelling little twist to the overall storyline to help inspire players to finish the game through to its finality.

The bottom line is that Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is the must have RPG game for the PSP handheld console. It’s has great revamped next generation graphics as well as sharply detailed cinematic scenes and a solid audio engine. It boasts a hot new real-time battle system that takes turn-based fighting to the next level and it’s a game that’s proven itself to have a lot of depth when it comes to character development and customization. Add to that a solid compelling storyline with a chance for multiple endings based on player performance and you’ve got yourself a very challenging and well-rounded role playing game.

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is most definitely worth its weight in gold as it rakes in a solid 4 1/2 GiN gems.

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