Combat is initiated through the swing of Lenneth’s sword. Once battle has started each character in the party is mapped to a face button. Standard fighters can attack up to three times, depending on the weapon in hand. Or you have a magic user who can target individual enemies or a group depending on the spell. Each character can attack at any time, and figuring out combos is half the fun. In order to outfit the Einherjar, you must craft weapons, either at a save point or out in the world map. There are no shops in the game so weapons and armor must be found or created. Weapons can also be modified in to other weapons, equipment or items, or can be broken down in to more materialization points to create new items.
There is also a great deal of effort that goes in to building the members of the Einherjar, for if their personal traits aren’t up to snuff, then they cannot be sent to Asgard. As the members of your party grow they must also mature and learn new skills, it’s a silly addition that really doesn’t seem to add much at first, but you’ll quickly see that raising a characters survival skill will be absolutely vital in the grand scheme of battle. You’ve also got to make sure they are properly equipped for the trip up, otherwise they won’t grow and rise in the ranks. It’s quite interesting to see how your little gods in training are doing as chapters go by.
Time is also of the essence in Valkyrie Profile, each action takes up time in the game, and Ragnarok is fast approaching. The game is divided in to eight chapters which are broken down in to periods. Checking for Einjerhar members and exploring dungeons and towns will eat away at your periods so manage your time well, though it really is difficult to tell if you are managing your time wisely. The difference between the good ending and the so-so ending is not much more than a few button presses. The trick is knowing when to time them. Which is also a slight peeve I have always had about this game, it’s a very exact process you have to go through to get the best ending. And to do even that you’ll have to play on Hard mode. Which to me was never all that hard to begin with. Though give this game a go on Normal first or even Easy if you’re feeling overwhelmed. But be aware that you won’t get the full story or even the full roster of party members.
At the end of the day, you’ve got a fairly good port of a PS1 title with a few new bells and whistles which are greatly appreciated, but are left with a few old nagging issues. Save points are few and far between, I’ve already lost progress three times from having my PSP battery die out. The improvements made to make text more readable only accentuate how poorly the in game art was ported over. But the game play is still solid, the story is still enjoyable and I will continue to play this game year after year. It may not always be on this version of the game, but it will always be in my library. Now that this title has been released a lot more people don’t have to put their soul on eBay in exchange for a PS1 copy. Make sure you don’t miss it a second time around, and if anything, pick it up to prep yourself for the sequel that will be released on PS2 later this year.
At the end of the day, you’ve got a fairly good port of a PS1 title with a few new bells and whistles which are greatly appreciated, but are left with a few old nagging issues.
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