As time continues to move forward, certain games are known more for their legacy than content. Some of these are unique situations, such as Red Earth, with others being built on a foundation that few explore. Recently, Square Enix has gone to great lengths to revisit several titles that fall under that category, with the most recent being Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. With the original release making a splash, does the classic live up to its history, or was it better left forgotten?
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth starts with a young girl passing away. She later awakens in-front of Odin, who reveals she is now a Valkyrie, who needs to defend against the looming threat of Ragnarok. Despite the interesting initial premise, the adventure shift focus to those Lenneth meets on her journey.
All Things Considered, This is Pretty Nice Looking
These characters have their own adventures, which start to explain the world around her. What makes these stories stand out is smart writing. Things are often alluded to instead of stated, with the journey itself being more about discovery, than a specific destination. This motivates players to really explore, something that Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is happy to let players do, assuming they manage their time correctly.
At the time of release, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth was a notable RPG. As a result, it aged fairly well by today’s standards. Players need to explore villages, recruit einherjar, and finish quests. Each of these use a period of time, which varies based off difficulty, and will determine when the next section occurs. These sections are fairly enjoyable due to the aforementioned narrative, which eventually leads to a dungeon, or other combat situation.
What the Average Fight Looks Like
When exploring a dungeon, it isn’t particularly different from modern games. Enemies will roam, which you can freeze, and avoid, or engage in combat. Hitting them will let you go first, whereas a miss/getting touched will risks enemies having the advantage. At this point the fight will begin, with the strategy varying depending on the situation.
Every character will be able to perform a predetermined action. Some of these are magic attacks, others melee, with it varying based off what you give them. Every action has a different turn rates, so determining who to attack when is pretty important. If a certain threshold is reached, an additional attack will appear. These are far more complicated animations, which depending on the situation, can be chained to deal a devastating amount of damage.
Outside of fighting enemies, dungeons also have alternate paths, and secrets to find. Some of these things are alluded to, with most treasure being hidden down paths that require creative use of your crystal power. These optional tasks make exploration fun, as there is usually something to find.
As for downsides, due to Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth being novel for the time, there are a lot of tutorials. At the time these were new concepts; whereas now most of the concepts are expected. There is also a lot less direction, something that can potentially cause confusion. For example, there isn’t an indicator to show when you can move, nor is there one for optional conversations. Once you figure that out it shouldn’t be an issue, though it can throw some players off.
Some of the Scenes Can be a Bit Goofy
Since this is based off the PSP rerelease of the classic, the performance can sometimes be poor. Be it the opening movie, or just exploring a more demanding town, you’ll notice frames being dropped. I wouldn’t say this is a big deal, though it’s very noticeable. The same is true for graphics. All things considered, it looks great for its age, though some will be put off by dated designs, cheesy sprites, or poor animations.
That being said, there are some further improvements. Being able to save at any time is nice. It counts as a different save, so you can end up in a situation where you saved one way, forgot, and now seemingly lost progress, though I imagine this choice was the best way to implement it without vast changes. There is also a rewind feature. It goes back a fair amount, but I don’t know how useful that would be beyond maybe deciding against giving Odin something, or sending a specific einherjar to their next adventure.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth Review Verdict
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth: Overall, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is an experience worth playing. Not only did it age fairly well, it has a gripping narrative that will keep you interested. It would've been nice to see some of the graphics updated, or issues ironed out, but the overall product is absolutely worth consideration regardless. So, if you're a fan of Square Enix, or just want to experience one of the better RPGs from the past, you'll almost certainly enjoy Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. – Mark