Note: This review is based on the Japanese version of the game.
Enix has always produced awesome RPGs and Valkyrie Profile is no exception. For fans of the Star Ocean games, Valkyrie Profile is a must. The game is based mainly on Norse mythology and players take the role of a Valkyrie sent to Midgard the realm of Humans, to collect the souls of fallen warriors to aid in the battle between Valhalla and Ragnarok. But as you progress through the game, and if you had bothered to watch the Prologue, you’ll also uncover a bit more on Valkyrie’s past.
The game utilizes the Skill system which fans of the Star Ocean games are probably used to now. Warriors and Spellcasters have their own different skills to learn. This time, however, learnable skills are gained only after each Chapter in the game, or found as books in dungeons. Each skill adds different characteristics and also makes characters more deadly in battle!
The battle system is a mix of action and turn-based. Four characters at a time, one of them being Valkyrie, can participate in battle and each character has his or her own action button. Simply saying, pressing the triangle button will get your topmost fighter to attack. This allows for crazy combos and mayhem, and if you get the combo gauge to 100, all the characters that participated in the combo attack can do a Purify Weird Soul, which is something like a brutal Limit Break, and you can bet they are awesome!
The game is mainly side-scrolling and you can see enemies in the dungeons. Valkyrie can initiate preemptive attacks by slashing at enemies to start battle, or freeze them to run away. The game has several simple puzzles too as an added challenge. The graphics in the game are awesome and really make the world of Midgaurd come alive. The sprites of each character are also well done, allowing characters to blink, smile and take many other types of actions. The music is awesome, you can’t help but to hum along, and the battle music really sets the mood for pounding undead, monsters and demons, the three main classes of enemies in the game. The controls are smooth and responsive, and even though the game supports analog, it isn’t really necessary since, as I have mentioned before, the bulk of the game is side-scrolling.
The game is set in 8 Chapters with 24 Periods each and at the start of each chapter, Valkyrie is given the profile of the character Odin needs for the battles ahead, and before the end of the chapter Valkyrie must send up one character with the requirements fulfilled or risk having your Favor rating go down. At the end of most dungeons, Valkyrie must also retrieve some holy artifacts and send them back up or she could keep them, but that will mean Favor going down a bit. If favor goes down to 0, Odin will send Frei down to wipe Valkyrie off the face of existence. For Star Ocean 2 players, it’s something like a level 1 Claude going up against an out of the trumpet Iseria Queen…
Overall, Valkyrie Profile is one of Enix and tri-Ace’s better titles and the game every true RPG fan should have when it is localized. Or, if you can’t wait, you could always import it. I’m lucky enough to get the Special Edition that comes with the pocket watch. Lets hope that Enix will release a special edition when they localize this awesome game!