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ManWithNoName avatar 9:23 AM on 10.23.2012  (server time)
Forgotten Treasures: Valkyrie Profile

Valkyrie Profile is a role-playing video game developed by tri-Ace, same developer of Star Ocean, and published by Enix, before it made a wrong fusion with Square fucking up both comapnies, for the PlayStation One. An enhanced port of the game was later released for the PlayStation Portable under the name Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. unfortunatelly, neither versions are up as digital downloads, meaning you need either an original PS1 disc to run it on the PS3 and PS2 or a UMD for the PSP. A sequel, subtitled Silmeria, was released for the PS2, but it is not as good as the original version. A DS sequel, Covenant of the Plume, was also released in 2009, but I haven't played this one.

Although called a JRPG, it mixed a platformer element. All the dungeons are showed in a 2D perspective, with you jumping around to transverse it. Enemies are visible in the dungeons, instead of the traditional random fights, and when you touch or attack it, you are transported to the fighting screen. Fights are done with the four face buttons, each controlling one character, allowing you to make combos. If enough combos are made, you can use powerful special attacks.

The fun gameplay is just one of the highlights of this gem. The story is one of the best ones ever made from its time. You assume the role of Lenneth, one of the valkyries, whose job is to gather the souls of fallen warriors and turn them into Einherjar, strenghten them and send them to fight alongside the Aesir, the race of the gods against the Vanir and avoid the end of the world.

So, Lenneth travels around the world, recruiting dead warriors whose tragic deaths are told to us in cutscenes, highlighting the usually tragic lives they lead and their sacrifices in order to help others. many of those are heavily emotional ones, painting most characters in shades of gray instead of easy black and white, while showing that anyone can have the necessary qualities to be a hero.

When the characters are leveled up enough and have their moral flaws fixed, Lenneth can send them to Freya and Odin, making them soldiers in the Aesir army to fight against the Vanir. Time is limited in the game, so events, dungeon exploration and recruiting Einherjar will consume time, getting you closer to Ragnarok and the end of the word. Managing time and deciding who to send to Odin is crucial. the game also have multiple endings, meaning your choices also influence the final outcome of the game.

All that made Valkyrie Profile one of the most memorable game I have ever played. It is one of the few games to have a less cliche, more emotional story in its time. The gameplay and aesthetics was great, and the overall story have many cool twists and moments to give you dozens of hours of fun.

Lenneth, the main character, was one of the few main heroines in games to be not only badass, but also to have a personality and character development. It is weird that with so many people complaining about how bad female characters are portrayed in games, many forgot about her. But again, it seems people are so busy getting angry instead of looking for the good examples as her.

All the secondary characters and their personal stories are deep, albeit short and dealt with themes like slavery, loyalty, honor and war. There was clearly a lot of dedication over their development, and to make their stories meaningful.

The sprites are colorful, the scenarios, albeit a bit repetitive at times, were all well crafted. Some of the monsters, specially the big bosses, are incredible well done. It is one of the few JRPGs were battling never become a chore. And with limited time to advance in the game, grinding was never one of the things that would bother you.

It is funny how this game have no option to download, neither as a PSOne classic or the PSP version digitally. Maybe because nobody ever mentions this game anymore, there is no interest from Square-Enix in re-releasing it. A shame. This is one of the greatest JRPGs and one of the best games ever made. If you are a fun of the genre and cross over a copy of it for a reasonable price, I can't state how worth playing this game is.

Deep, engrossing story, likable and meaningful characters combined with fun gameplay. I don't know how what more you can ask for a game, but Valkyrie Profile is the closest game can get to be perfect. And Squenix, I would pay for a chance to play it again.

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