Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth


Review by · February 7, 2023

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have “the return of Valkyrie Profile” on my 2022 bingo card. Last year saw the release of the slightly underwhelming Valkyrie Elysium, but more importantly, we got a port of Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, the PSP remake of the tri-Ace-developed Valkyrie Profile for the PlayStation. Given modern-day Square Enix’s penchant for high-quality rereleases of their classic games (between ill-fated live services and cryptocurrency nonsense, that is), I was excited to experience this cult classic JRPG for the first time. While the quality of this port might not be up to snuff with something like, say, Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition or Tactics Ogre: Reborn, Valkyrie Profile remains a unique JRPG experience that is well worth playing on PS4 and PS5. 

Valkyrie Profile, as the name implies, is a game steeped in Norse mythology. It stars Lenneth Valkyrie, one of three sisters that serve under Odin and the Aesir. The Allfather has tasked Lenneth with gathering the souls of the dead to raise an army of Einherjar in anticipation of Ragnarok, the prophesied war that will end the world. As Lenneth travels the land, the player experiences the last moments of their prospective party members in the form of short vignettes and (if you play your cards right) uncovers the truth about Lenneth’s mysterious origins. 

Valkyrie Profile is one of those games where the narrative isn’t necessarily at the forefront of the experience. The plotting itself is a little disjointed, with a lot of information on the Aesir and various plot MacGuffins relayed in a massive info dump toward the end. Still, the story is rewarding for those who stick with it and are willing to dig a little deeper. The game has multiple endings, and unlocking the “true” ending requires extremely specific requirements that I wholeheartedly recommend using a guide for. Lenneth’s tale is achingly romantic and tragic. I was legitimately affected by it, but newcomers could easily miss out by sticking to the critical path.

The game also isn’t afraid to tackle heavy subject material, such as slavery and the indifference of the divine toward the suffering of mortals. Unfortunate circumstances usually punctuate the numerous vignettes for your future Einherjar. In these vignettes and the tragic tale of Lenneth, Valkyrie Profile really blossoms, showing glimmers of hope and humanity persisting in a grim, dark world of gods and monsters. 

Screenshot From Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth Showing Belanus Discussing The Slave Trade...poorly.
There’s actually quite a big difference, you dolt!

Valkyrie Profile’s gameplay utilizes a unique time mechanic, not unlike the one in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Each of the game’s chapters consists of “periods” that indicate the time remaining until Ragnarok, and each town you visit or dungeon you explore takes up a couple of those periods. Once you reach the end of a chapter, a “Sacred Phase” begins, with the goddess Freya weighing in on Lenneth’s progress. Don’t be intimidated by the ticking clock. You have more than enough periods to see and do everything available in each chapter, and you have the freedom to zip around Midgar and determine the order of sites you visit for each chapter. Navigating the overworld map is simple, with new locations (and recruitable party members) becoming available as Lenneth uses her “spiritual concentration” ability.

To get a positive evaluation from Freya, you have to send at least one of your available Einherjar to Valhalla to contribute to the war effort. The requirements for the chosen Einherjar vary from chapter to chapter, requiring you to boost their “Hero Rating” by giving them the appropriate skills and traits. These can be obtained by spending skill points you get by leveling up, and there’s a stash of experience in reserve on the party menu that makes boosting newly recruited Einherjar a breeze. During the Sacred Phase, Freya will reward you with Materialize Points (basically currency to spend on new gear and items from an omnipresent in-game store) and a complimentary host of artifacts from Odin. While permanently giving up a party member can seem daunting, you’ll recruit enough Einherjar during your adventure that it never becomes an issue. One of your party members, the sword-wielding Guts wannabe Arngrim, can’t be sent to Valhalla and was a permanent mainstay in my party. Aside from rotating out one of my magic users, I was able to maintain a relatively consistent party. 

Screenshot Of The Sacred Phase From Valkyrie Profile
Freya often has very specific requirements for the Einherjar you send her way.

One thing that sets Valkyrie Profile apart from its contemporaries is that once you enter a town or a dungeon, the game becomes a 2D side-scroller. Lenneth navigates on a two-dimensional plane, where she can jump, swing her sword, duck and shoot a crystalline projectile that can create makeshift platforms. Her movement wouldn’t be out of place in a typical Metroidvania, as navigating the game’s labyrinthine dungeons is a key part of the experience.

I do have a couple of gripes about the gameplay. The in-game map is positively useless, quickly becoming an incomprehensible mess of rooms layered over each other, with no way of telling them apart. The unreadable map becomes a real hassle in some of the more complicated late-game dungeons, where you have to memorize a lot to figure out where to go (or, y’know, use GameFAQs). A few out-of-the-way treasure chests require you to use Lenneth’s crystal projectiles in precise ways. While there is a tutorial early on about using the crystals as platforms, it isn’t immediately clear that destroying a crystal with your sword can boost Lenneth’s jumping capacity or create a temporary invisible platform in midair.

Exploration is rewarded richly in Valkyrie Profile, but getting the best loot can require frustrating trial and error. Speaking of loot, finishing a dungeon will net you a couple of rare “Artifacts” that can either be sent back to Odin for a small boost to your evaluation or kept for your use. The penalty for keeping Artifacts is negligible, so it’s usually not worth sending anything back to the Allfather. 

Enemies are visible in the field, and by making contact with them, Lenneth will initiate combat. Valkyrie Profile’s unique battle system utilizes the PlayStation’s face buttons, with each button corresponding to a different party member. Pressing that party member’s button will cause them to attack, and you want your party to all attack in unison to perform combos and build the gauge at the bottom of the screen.

Screenshot From Valkyrie Profile Showing A Combat Encounter With A Necrophiliac
Combat in this game is satisfying and… wait, that enemy is a what?

When the gauge is full, every party member who participated in the combo can perform a “Purify Weird Soul,” or PWS, attack. Each consecutive PWS attack does more damage than the last, so you’re encouraged to keep chaining attacks together to inflict the most damage on your enemies. After using their PWS attack (or after casting a magic spell), that character will be on a slight cooldown before they can use that attack again, although they can still perform normal attacks. Doing more damage to enemies knocks loot drops and extra experience out of them in an incredibly satisfying way.

It’s worth briefly touching on the port itself. Many of Square Enix’s recent rereleases have been HD remasters, with retouched sprites and other quality of life improvements added. The PS4/PS5 version of Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is more-or-less a straight port of the PSP version. This is immediately obvious by the slightly blurry resolution, which was a bit jarring on my television until I adjusted it. It helps that the game still looks great, with lush and detailed sprites and an elegant mix of 2D and pre-rendered 3D that was commonplace in the PSX era. The PSP version also added a smattering of CGI cutscenes for key story moments, and while these are excellent, they clash a bit with the existing art assets. They have suffered the most from the transition to modern consoles, with visible artifacting from video compression. The emulator that Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is running in does include a rewind function and the option to make save states, which can be helpful for some of the trickier platforming challenges in the game.

As for the game’s audio, Motoi Sakuraba’s score is fantastic, with wailing electric guitars punctuating your dungeon runs. The voice acting also deserves special mention, as several anime mainstays from the 90s, such as Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, and Ted Lewis, make welcome appearances, giving Valkyrie Profile a unique charm. 

All in all, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth holds up remarkably well in 2023. The game’s mix of 2D platforming and RPG mechanics wouldn’t be out of place in today’s indie scene, and ditto for its slightly opaque nature. Valkyrie Profile hails from a time when games weren’t afraid to have mysteries, and while you’ll have to do a little digging to see everything this title has to offer, the experience is well worth it. So if you’re looking to experience a classic RPG from the days of yore, look no further. 

Screenshot Of Valkyrie Performing Nibelung Valesti In Valkyrie Profile.
It shall be engraved upon your soul! Nibelung Valesti!

Now, can we please have Valkyrie Profile 3: Hrist, Square Enix? 


A tragic and dark fantasy tale, gorgeous spritework, satisfying combat.


Useless map, some frustrating jumping puzzles, slightly low resolution.

Bottom Line

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is an excellent game and worth revisiting, despite being a slightly below-average port.

Overall Score 87
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Peter Triezenberg

Peter Triezenberg

Peter is a reviews editor for RPGFan, and quite possibly the spooniest bard you'll ever meet. He's also the site's resident Kingdom Hearts fan, Final Fantasy XV apologist, and Yu-Gi-Oh! enthusiast. In between playing video games or writing news, he can usually be found drinking unsafe amounts of caffeinated beverages. He also really likes cats.