Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth
Ebay sellers weep: Valkyrie Profile is back!
Just about six years ago, an RPG developed by Tri-ace, called Valkyrie Profile, was released on the PlayStation to overwhelming critical acclaim. Even now, in the age of HD and next-gen consoles, it still easily fetches well over 50 bucks on the online market (in the hundreds if it was still sealed). This somewhat ridiculous price tag is present for two reasons. The first is that the game was only given a limited run, making it highly sought after among hardcore collectors. The second is simply because it was an absolutely kickass game to play. No surprise, then, that it should be honoured with a sequel and a revamped port on the PSP, which promises to mirror the success of the original.
Valkyrie Profile was most often remembered for being unique from all the other RPG's on the market at the time - it borrowed heavily from Norse mythology to create the game's atmosphere, while it contained features not touched or thought of anywhere else. It also made use of beautiful side-scroller-esque 2D graphics, which suited it perfectly. The game put you in the role of Lenneth, a Valkyrie/battle maiden, who has been entrusted by the God Odin with the task of gathering the souls of dead soldiers who are fit to fight the evils of Ragnarok (the end of the world) at Asgard. Unfortunately for her, she only has a short time to find and deliver the souls to Asgard before Ragnarok begins. Lenneth would find the souls by exploring Midgard, and using something called spiritual concentration to pick up the last cries of the soldiers. Hence, your party is born. This process could also be used to discover new towns or dungeons to enter, learn how your party members met their ends, acquire special weapons and items to use in the game, and find areas where evil is present, such as dungeons or caves.
In these evil areas, you would almost certainly find several hideous monsters that disagree with you and your cause, resulting in a fight. Like most RPG's Valkyrie Profile uses a turn-based battle system for fighting, only with a realtime twist. You are allowed a maximum of 4 party members at any one time. Each party member is allocated a button (either X, triangle, square or circle) which, when pressed at just the right time, unleashes a combo from a character, which will send the enemy flying. You also have a "hit meter", which, if successfully filled in one round, can enable you to use the "purify weird soul" attack for enormous damage.
Valkyrie Profile was also famous for its transmutation feature. Using this, you can transform a weapon, artefact, or item into another item, cutting out the need for shops (cheapskate.). Equipment can also be made into potions and MP if needed. There are some artefacts that you cannot transmutate however, which bestow your party members with special powers and abilities.
There are two main differences between Valkyrie Profile and Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. One being that they're on different platforms, and the other being that Lenneth has improved, smoother graphics and sound quality, as well as newly added CG cut scenes, which look to be a pleasure to watch. Lenneth is an exact port in terms of story and gameplay, but it just looks a bit prettier, and is now portable.
Incidentally, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is out this week, so, of course, we'll have the full scoop on it very, very soon. Watch this space.