Alright, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. A game with a cult following. I'd classify this is as one of the "Greatest games that no one played", but not due to unpopularity to gamers, not being received with non-X-play reviewers, or another hyped-title overshadowed it, but because of its limited run in the U.S. I could have gotten the PSX version, which is considered superior, but it's an old PSX game with a limited span, so thus you'll pay at least $150 for it. Heck, that game costed more than my Game Boy Advance SP did. Heck, I think it even costs more than my DS LITE did.
Now this is about the PSP version released in '06 to help hype-up the upcoming release for Silmeria...and to give the PSP a much-needed Square-Enix title...And to allow people who missed the PSX game to play it. ;p Unfortunately, I think I missed my chance to get that game as well...it went for $50.00 in a store. Back then, my family and I thought that $50 was a little expensive for a UMD, especially since I could get Tron for only $8.00, and by the time I got it, Lemmings was going for $25. Fortunately, you can get it for MUCH cheaper on Amazon.
Price aside, this game was ahead of its time. The story may not be entirely original, being based heavily off of Norse Mythology, but for the time it was released, it was a pretty original setting. You see familiar faces from Norse Mythology, notably Freya, Odin, Surtr (Called "Surt" in the game) and Loki. You will also hear of the Norse Apocalypse called "Ragnarok". You play as Lenneth Valkyrie, whose job it is to retreive the souls of the dead and shape them into warriors to fight in the war between the Aesir and Vanir. (This also happened in Norse Mythology) One of the Einherjar (True in the game) is named Arngrim, a berserker in Mythology but he can't be sent up. (Okay, so Arngrim and Mystina aren't true Einherjar, but Lenneth calls them Einherjar. )
The way Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth was ahead of its time was how it was a combination of Platformer and an RPG. It was a rather basic forumula, but for the time it was made, it was really quite a new style of gameplay, notably the battles. It was somewhat like Super Mario RPG, only 2D.
One of Valkyrie Profile's flaws is also inherent in the 2D Platforming-style of gameplay. There are some very annoying jumps in the game (The triangles in the Tombs of Amenti. ARGH!). Another of the flaws are in its general design. In Dipan, you can explore the castle in the present or you can find the bosses and fight them once you return from the past. Now, in order to get to the bosses, you have to jump up and slash at a differently coloured piece of stained-glass about 50-feet up from the floor. Wow, EVERYONE's observant enough to be looking up THERE. Also, Clockwork Mansion and the Tower of Lezard Valeth are just...UGH. It is WAY too easy to get lost in those towers, and that's one of the reasons I really reccomend going to Gamefaqs.
The notable thing about Valkryie Profile: Lenneth is the characters' health (Replaced by Divine Manifestation energy, or DME) values are increased. Instead of ending at 9999, they can enter levels that would make them an early boss in other RPGs, and they can hit for damage that way exceeds the Vegeta level. (In the final battle, Lenneth once hit for 65,000 health with Nibelung Valesti...and that was the final blow) There is no MP, instead, there is Charge Time. Special attacks such as the PWS (Think of them as the "Limit break) also take Charge Time. But fortunately, you don't have to wait a certain number of turns before Lawfer can use Justice Stream or your mage to be able to use her magic, during combos, you can knock an enemy down and attack them while they're down to get the CT-reducing jewels. This can also yield jewels that will give you more experience, which is always good.
There are over twenty total characters you can recruit to your party, all of which are available on "hard" mode, but there's an unfortunate imbalance playing on Normal and Hard Modes can create. You can find an item that will transmutate into the creation Jewel (Or Gem of creation...I forgot which one) and when you have that, you can create a Crimson Edge(Spear) or a crimson-heavy-arm (Never got it), and this makes Aelia, Lawfer, and Arngrim ridiculously powerful. In fact, you can get two very strong spears at about mid-game. There are some characters like Jun, Jayle, Janus, and Suo who are pretty good, but they just don't compare.
Unless you're using Valkyrie or Janus as your archer, archers in this game stink. For most of the game, Valkyrie with a bow is actually better than Valkyrie with a sword, and Janus is a very good archer.
During the Seraphic Gate, swords outclass pretty much everything so Lucian turns out to be one of the strongest characters, simply for his attacks. (Which drops a HUGE amount of purple gems, VERY useful)
The sound for the game is pretty well done. The composer for the soundtrack was Motoi Sakuraba, the composer for other game series such as Namco's Tales of Series and even Golden Sun. Motoi did pretty well with this music, though some of it doesn't really match the background. The music that plays when you fight Akhetamen, the evil undead pharoh, was probably the most catchy tune in the game.
For the time this game was released, it had an impressive amount of voicework. The voicework may be considered very horrible by today's standards, but some of it was actually done pretty well. Would you believe that many of the voice actors for this game work for 4Krap entertainment? That doesn't automatically make them bad...The voice actress for Lenneth did a VERY good job, probably the best out of anyone. In fact, you can recognize some voices from Pokemon and Slayers if you listen to the characters. Mystina's voice actress did Jessie (If you can hear her...). And for Lucian and Grey...
Lucian: I sound like Brock and James from Pokemon! Screw the rules, I'm in love with Plat-I mean Nurse Joy.
This game was released in 1998, so just having this amount of non-distorted voice work *Cough*STAR OCEAN 2!*Cough* was impressive. And even despite being employed by 4Krap, they're pretty good voice-actors...okay, so some characters sound like they need some work. *Cough*LAWFER*cough* Some voices in Japanese are just better...Yumei's japanese voice is much better than her English one. Her Japanese voice is like the characters in Azumanga Daioh...Sounding cute without being annoying. (Like Nanami's U.S. voice. That's why Nanami's one of my favourite characters. )
Now, despite what you may think, you won't actually be constantly-switching characters in and out and won't be budgeting your time if you're playing hard mode. You just have to give your characters some traits and abilities and level them up to increase hero value before sending them to valhalla...And with the event EXP, you can level some characters up without sending them into battle. All characters start on level 1 in hard mode, but that's what the event EXP is for.
As a warning, if you want the "A" ending, which actually completes the story, I reccomend you take hard mode. Once you give your characters some crimson weapons, it becomes very easy. In fact, I had MORE periods (How long the chapters are) in HArd mode than I needed. You'll want to look up an FAQ on how to get the "A" ending, because it involves doing a bunch of sidequests and it's very easy to screw up. The final boss on the "A" ending makes the final boss of the "B" ending look like a joke in comparison. Hard mode will also give you access to all characters and dungeons that give you the "Flame Jewels" for the Seraphic gate. Oh, and in the Seraphic Gate, you can recruit bonus characters.
"Easy" mode's actually considered to be harder than the Hard mode, since you can only get the "B" ending and can only go to a few dungeons. Don't be fooled...Hard mode's actually easier.
Another thing I will give this game credit for is that it is one of the closest games that made me very sad while playing. The character Celia and Yumei have the saddest stories...Celia is because all her friends die and leave her alone.
When Yumei's scene played, I thought that was the saddest story.
YouTube - Valkyrie Profile Yumei Recruitment Scene PT. 1 <-- Part 1
YouTube - Valkyrie Profile Yumei Recruitment Scene Part 2 <-- Part 2 (Fuyuki: Gotta catch 'em all!)
I've never actually cried during a video game, but the sad ending to Mother 3 and Yumei's scene definitely would have if I hadn't been steeled up by the RahXephon anime & Manga. :(
Another thing that separates the PSP from the PSX version is that, instead of some anime-scenes, there are CGI-scenes. You get a CGI-FMV whenever a seal value reducing scene is played (Key to the "A" ending), and when Jelanda dies (Ugh I hate that one), and the anime-scenes on the PSX are replaced with FMVs. As typical, they are all very well done, but I've come to expect no less from Square-Enix after Advent children.
In all, this is a pretty good game. It's got some slowdowns from the version, and some inherint flaws in design, but otherwise, I highly reccomend this game if you like RPGs. It may not be the easiest to find, but if you can find it and you have a PSP, pick it up, shake the dust off your PSP, print the FAQ, and enjoy.
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