My Top JRPGs ~ #1 ~ Valkyrie Profile

Many of the most interesting stories in history stem from different myths and legends. Many RPGs have tried to use these same sources to create their stories, and many failed. If you’re looking to find a game that did it right however, you need not look any farther than my favorite RPG of all time, Valkyrie Profile.

The story is based around Norse mythology, putting you into the role of Lenneth, a Valkyrie who is charged with choosing the strongest souls near death that she can find and sending them up to Asgard to train and fight in the war against the Vanir. Throughout her travels she comes upon a few oddities that make her question her orders. You can either continue to follow orders, or you can pursue the answers to these questions and uncover the truth behind the war and what is really going on in Asgard.

The game involves two basic types of gameplay that are broken up into 8 chapters. First, you use your powers of Spiritual Concentration to zone in on these spirits and watch their stories unfold. When you’re not picking up these souls (called Einherjar), you’ll be going into different dungeons, called there by the evil spirits that dwell within. You use these battles to strengthen your Einherjar until they meet the requirements that are given to you at the beginning of that chapter. You can send up one or two Einherjar per chapter, but if they don’t meet the requirements, they may die later on.

The battle system is simplistic and downright brilliant. Each character is assigned to one of the famous PlayStation shape button (Square, Triangle, Circle, or X), and hitting the corresponding button makes that character attack. Each character has three possible attacks, and different weapons use one, two, or all of these attacks. You must keep this in mind and use this information to time your attacks so that they fill up the hit gauge in the lower left corner of the screen. Fill it up entirely, and you will be able to unleash a Purify Weird Soul attack, a special super-powered attack that differs from character to character. Making all of these elements work together is essential for dominating your enemies.

Dungeons are presented in a 2D platformer style. The monsters are on the screen and you can either strike them to get an advantage or use your power of crystal creation to freeze them and pass them by. You will also use your crystals to create platforms and perform other tricks in order to traverse the sometimes difficult terrains you will face. You will also find massive amounts of treasure, although some chests are booby-trapped with arrows, poison gas, or an ice mist that will freeze you for a short period of time, so its always smart to be careful when plundering!

Lenneth and her Einherjar take on any vile creatures that defy the Gods!

In addition to leveling up your characters, you also gain Capacity Points (CP) in battle, which are used to level up different abilities that are either inherent to the character or are learned via an item that teaches it. This is a fun way to up your stats and gain new abilities, but once you gain the abilities Guts (which gives you a chance of surviving an attack that would normally kill you) and Auto-Item (which you can set to automatically use Union Plumes to bring you back to life when you do die), it sort of breaks the game and makes it rather difficult for you to perish in battle. Don’t fret if you do die, however; the Guts ability exists for a reason, and that reason is that you are going to die. A lot. It’s par for the course in this game, regardless of the difficulty level you’re playing on.

Ah yes, the difficulty levels. You can play on Easy, Normal, or Hard mode. Easy mode is for beginners and only gives you access to the C Ending (where you lose the game) or the B Ending. Normal and Hard modes give you access to the A Ending, which is the best and ‘true’ ending to the game, but these modes are tougher. Hard mode in particular is difficult. In the two easier modes your characters join you at a certain experience level, but all characters start at level 1 in Hard mode. Also, some characters and/or dungeons are only available in Normal and/or Hard modes. Normal is the mode I would suggest; it gives you access to the best ending without making the game frustratingly difficult.

The A Ending is also a big problem. It is a fantastic ending and should not be missed, however you really need a walkthrough to get it. Valkyrie has a Seal Rating that goes up or down depending on certain actions you take. In order to get the A Ending, you have to do certain events in a certain order and manipulate things in such a way that you have a certain Seal Rating at a certain point in the game. It is most definitely not something you can stumble upon or figure out by guessing. Once you learn how to do it, however, it isn’t too difficult to achieve and is more than worth the payoff.

As far as the graphics are concerned, they are amazing and the backgrounds are breathtaking. Even more incredible is the music, which is absolutely superb. Mixing the audio and visuals with the intense and emotional storyline delivers a completely satisfying and unforgettable package. You will find yourself reluctant to send certain Einherjar to Asgard for sentimental reasons, but you can check on their progress in between chapters, so you can see how they’re doing from time-to-time. Seeing their stories and adventures adds another level of depth to an already beautiful game. If that isn’t enough, beating the game unlocks the Seraphic Gate, a final dungeon independent from the main game that is full of surprises and will truly test your party’s strength.

Yes, without a doubt, Valkyrie Profile is my favorite JRPG of all time. It is one of the more rare PlayStation titles out there, but tracking it down is absolutely worth it. If you don’t feel like doing so however, you can just pick up Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth for the PlayStation Portable, which is a direct port of the game with brand-new animated cutscenes that breathe a sweet new life into this game. Either way, this is the one title that I would suggest to every single gamer out there, RPG fan or not. It just might make you a believer!

Purchase Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth via this link, and you’ll be supporting Chu*Blog at no additional cost to you!


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