on 19 January 2008
This game is novel, fascinating, and takes some getting used to. The first few sit-downs I had with this game frustrated me. It was hard to grasp when I've spent so many years playing your bog standard RPGs and FF series. But don't be put off! Stick at it and you'll soon find yourself compelled to play. When the game-play clicked, I loved it!
I don't know why some "reviews" complain of lacking plot. You have it coming out the wazoo. This game combines a unique RPG format with a beat-em-up style and strategic battle plan. Intriguing story line and endless replay-ability with up to 40 extra chars (though you only get given 20 at random during the game. So the second time around you can end up with utterly different characters).
And as for graphics, they're gorgeous. You won't be disappointed by the flashy wonderfully rendered gameplay. I haven't played such a refreshing RPG in ages.
on 23 August 2008
There's certainly a lot to do in Valkyrie Profile 2. Although the meat of the gameplay is kept to quite a strict path (and not a very long one at that), the level of depth and customization is immense. It's quite a challenging game simply because there is so much to take in. But if you are the type who loves menus, equipment and stats, then you're going to go cross-eyed with excitment at this game, and I recommend you take the plunge immediately.
The story of VP2 is a little obscure. A young princess called Alicia seems to hold the personality of a Valkyrie goddess inside her body, one who is guiding her towards a destiny that will save/change/destroy the world (I forget which). The princess meets up with a few team-mates and together they explore the world, venturing into many dungeons in search of mystical treasure and sacred items which are required to defeat some all powerful evil, etc etc. Enough of that, although as plots go, the story is quite basic although the amount of characters you have to meet and get to grips with can be quite bewildering.
Anyway, lets get the basics out on the table. Firstly - be prepared for the rather unusual step this game has taken of making everything SIDE -SCROLLING! Yes that's right, in nearly every part of gameplay exploration, its strictly left-to-right action against a scrolling backdrop, with jumps and leaps across gaps or up and down the terrain. You know, the type of thing you would have done on a SNES or Megadrive 1o years ago? Of course the graphics look absolutely gorgeous but it's still quite a shock when you first try and make your character (Alicia) move about. So that will take some getting used to. But, despite the lack of 3 dimensional screen depth, the game has instead made it's other apects far more full of depth to make up for it. And once you are used to it, you'll soon forget that as a drawback anyway. But it's still very odd to see Alicia running through a town in constant left to right motion as the streets and houses peel past her.
Anyway, let's talk about the battles, because that's what we need to know. I like to explain the combat in all RPGs I review because for me it's often make-or-break in a game if the fighting is done well. And here it pretty much is. Fighting is done anytime you bump into an enemy on screen. You can run into them, or let them run into you...side-scrolling, of course! If you want to avoid one you have to make a well timed jump over it, or run back in the other direction. You can also slash at it to ensure you get the first move, but whatever happens, as soon as you touch it, the screen goes WOOSH (as they do) and you are in battle mode. The slash to get the first go reminded me a bit of Breath of Fire - Dragon Quarter, if that helps (but thats the only similarity).
Once you are on the battlefield, things change drastically. The arena is in full 3D (hooray!) with slopes and obstacles and everything! Enemies are dotted around semi-randomly, and you need to knock 'em out to survive. Now here are the main facts about fighting:
Fighting is real time. Characters have a button each - you get four to a team max, so each of the right hand side controller buttons is assigned to a team mate. Characters have up to three attacks, so what you do is rush up close to an enemy, and start pressing the buttons. Once you start, you can go mad, as each press makes a character attack with their own special moves and they might have up to three goes each...or as many as you can get in before you run out of attack bar. The attack bar starts at a maximum of 100 and runs out as each attack is carried out, and it takes around 10-30 points to do an attack, depending on its power. Points are re-gained for clever chaining, critical blows and bits of enemies breaking off. Once the whole bar is empty, it's kind of the "end of your turn" and you have to run around to build the bar back up again. You can only attack with sufficient attack points, and so attacking is always best when the bar is at full 100 points, because if you chain attacks well enough you can gain a special "limit break" move called a Soul Crush (great name!) which does mega damage. The enemy will attack you too of course...usually when you have zero attack bar left of course. But being hit also makes it go back up again so a nice balance is kept.
Now you could go through the whole game just doing that, but there is A LOT more to it than just that. Fighting can give you more rewards than just experience points and money if you are skillful. By attacking certain enemy body parts (how you aim is quite difficult to work out, but certain attacks seem to point at various levels, and you can also run around to the back or side of an enemy), you can break them off, and this gives two important bonuses - special item drops that can be traded to make rare equipment, and extra points in the form of crystals that can be spent later on in the complicated "Sealstone" system (more on that later).
Now to make these fights easier there is a HUGE array of equipment available in the game. Some can just be bought in shops, some can only be found, and some can only be made as a trade for rare found (or battle-drop) items. Each piece of weaponry, equipment, armour or clothing will affect your stats, strength, resistance and HP totals, and wearing certain combinations allows your characters to learn skills, which are only learned if the combination is kept in place for a fixed amount of battles (a bit like in Final Fantasy IX). After the skill is learned, you can swap all the accessories around and learn the next lot of skills...phew! There's all sorts of things like this, so menu navigation can get very time consuming. There's an absurd amount of customization, and because everything can potentially be traded to make something else, you will never sell anthing just for cash so your inventory will very quickly spiral out of control. As I said, this game is going to be heaven for stat-geeks but it can be quite a chore if that aspect's not particularly interesting for you. I just about managed it, despite the actual menu screens being very hard to navigate - check the screen closely to see where all the options are because several sub screens are within other sub screens and you do need to know them all to get the full benefit of all the stuff you are accumulating.
Anyway all that takes some getting used to and there's really no easy way to undertand it right away so you will just have to be patient if you want to play this game to the maximum.
So, now back to the dungeons, and the designers have put in several fiendish puzzles, a lot of which revolve around jumping. Alicia can fire "photons" which immobilize enemies. These can then be jumped on or pushed around, or switched places with. In such ways, Alicia can do very complicated jumps and mid air warps to hard-to reach places, which is of course where treasure chests often are. This photon warping/jumping can be teeth-grittingly hard and you may not have the patience to reach every secret place in the dungeons, but most of the time it's fun. The other thing about the dungeons is Sealstones. Put simply, all the main dungeons contain one or more Sealstones in them. They have either a positive or negative effect, and it's up to you to get the good ones and leave the bad ones alone. Let me try and put this simply...somewhere in a tough dungeon there may be a Sealstone that grants the holder double attack power. While you are not carrying it, all the enemies are attacking you with double power. Now, you may find another Sealstone early on in the dungeon that cuts the holders defence in half. Carrying it gives you a big negative effect in battles, but you need survive the dungeon with this impediment long enough to seek it out the good one, grab it and replace it with the bad one and turn the tables on the enemy, so that by the time you reach the boss, all the favourable effects are held by your party and all the bad ones are affecting the enemies. Sometimes a well planned set of Sealstones is the only way to beat a boss. Are you starting to see how much you have to do in this game yet? There's more...any Sealstone can be bought and owned permanently, so you can use the ones you like a lot in later dungeons, but they can only be bought with the special crystals that you get awarded after battles, and these crystals take a LOT of skill to earn. Phew!
Well that's a taster for you. There's loads to do, so chances are you could be wrapped up in this for weeks. I don't really have any big gripes except for the character system which rather cruelly takes characters out of the game and brings in new ones at most unexpected times, so you could level up your favourites only to lose them all of a sudden due to the plot. And there are a lot of them...for a game that lets you use a team of just four to fight with, there are an absurd amount of temporary characters to choose from...it's very hard to stick with a winning combination. Especially towards the end when new characters come at you thick and fast...!
Everything else is standard RPG fare. Lots of plot twists. Lots of mean status effects in battle. Side quests in the shape of optional dungeons that only appear after talking to the right people - actually you really need to do these as they have vital rewards that make the main game much easier, so make sure not to miss any.
I really liked this game. I spent a lot of time on it, and even though I got frustrated trying to do double and triple jumps onto secret platforms for treasure, or repeat fighting enemies in the hope of breaking the right body part for a rare item drop, I still had fun. Recommended, and even if you don't know what a Valkyrie is or what "Nibelung Valesti!" means, you will still find this one addictive and rewarding.
on 15 November 2009
I played the first Valkyrie Profile game (Lenneth)on PSP, after seeing it advertised in The FF Tactics manual. I discovered the PS one version has a cult status and commands top dollar due to limited availability. The game was quite charming in my opinion and unique in many ways, harking back to the days when people played games because they loved them, before the mainstream got involved and led developers to pander to their fickle whims using over-the-top violence and gimmicks.
I decided the sequel (technically a prequel) was worth a punt; having read mixed reviews. Valkyrie Profile Silmeria should have been a massive hit, but alas, was largely ignored. Firstly, their is massive scope to customise the characters: Monsters yield items when specific body-parts are broken, items which have status effects that can be combined to form skills, not to mention weapons, armour and accessories.
The graphics, although last-gen, push the PS2 further than most games I have seen. The game is spent navigating towns and dungeons in a 2D plane, whilst battles are on a 3D map, so whilst not an open-world affair, it works well for this style of game. This game will appeal to those with a fondness for strategy and statistics as there are a plethora of options and approaches. The game is deeper than I initially suspected. The difficulty spike can be quite harsh at times as you progress through the story; so you can't expect to mash through without paying careful attention to the set-ups of the characters. There are also side-quests and optional dungeons to help you get the most out of the game.
At first I found the battle mechanics quite cumbersome, but soon came to find that with planning and thought I could make life easier for myself. I imagine this game would not appeal to everyone, the plot is convoluted at times and those looking fro quick thrills will probably end up being disappointed.
There is too much to say to write a comprehensive review; so in summary, I loved this game. It is unique in many ways and one of the best RPG'S I have played. What's more, you can pick it up for next to nothing, I have no doubt that it will appreciate over time. I even managed to find a guide for it - which was second-hand but in good condition. Once you spend the time to work out all the nuances, the sophistication of the game becomes clear. The voice-acting is quite good and the cut-scenes are great. If you want to power through you can probably finish it in 40 or so hours, but if you become obsessive, it can take longer.
If you are a casual gamer or looking for something to pick up and play I would not recommend this game. If you are looking for something to sink your teeth into then this game is well worth a look.
on 23 March 2008
Lezard makes this game. That is the best voice-acting I remember hearing in a game ever. I love his voice. And it just gets better near the end. Most of the other voices are decent to good as well.
The story and dialogue are nice, using elements from Norse mythology.
There are many interesting cutscenes, but unfortunately the characters' movements and expressions in them look unnatural.
In fact, compared to the lovely looking environments, the character models are rather horrible. And it's a bit silly how they made Rufus look like captain Jack Sparrow and Lezard like evil Harry Potter.
Some people might complain about the 2D-scrolling, but it doesn't bother me. In dungeons enemies appear on screen (no random battles) and the ability to turn them into crystals to use as platforms is interesting. It's a nice change of pace trying to figure how to reach treasure chests using those platforms and the teleportative ability.
The battle system is a refreshing deviation from the standard. I much rather have the option of walking around the field and mash buttons, watching different kinds of attacks, until my hands/wrists literally hurt, than have my characters stand in a stupid row and repeatedly choose the attack command watching the characters perform that boring same slash through the game. That's been done since NES.
I don't know if I'd give this game 5 stars unless I laughed at Lezard all the time. But it's a really good game and quite original. And it doesn't fizzle in the end like so many other RPGs (it actually gets better I think).
on 5 August 2008
First of all, be patient. The game gradually gets better. The storyline is strange but it is a very beautiful game. You might want to play Lenneth first to understand some of the story in Silmeria.
The battle system and the puzzle are all about the angle and observation. Therefore, you really need to think about the strategy to play this game successfully.
Some of the reviews talking about the battle system are boring and no changes during the course of the game to the end. I don't know why you say that but I think you are probably not a big fan in combos and mashing the buttons to win the battles. I truly think you will struggle against some of the end game bosses. Otherwise, you have your characters to boost up that you don't need any set ups. I have released 10 of my Enjarias and yeah I am pretty strong now but one mistake in planning, I still get game over (Dragon Rib is really a frustrating accessory sometimes).
Try understanding the moves of your characters, combo them up and learn you way to the end. I had lots of fun in exploring the combos. Be patient, wait until you have Freya in your team. She is the sexiest character in the RPG history.
on 18 September 2007
Starting a new RPG is always a tremulous experience - especially an RPG as different and brave as this one.
Being a semi-sequel/prequel to Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, you would expect this game to be "different", and it certianly is.
Whether it's the sidescrolling platform adventure system (where you can avoid the enemies if you can hit them with a crystallising photon beam), or the 3D strategy/action combat system (which is both frantic and challenging) the game is full of fun.
The production values are obvious: the graphics are nothing short of spectacular, and the music is moody, soaring and appropriate in tone.
Last, but not least, is the story, and it's a ripper of betrayal, friendship and "doing the right thing". More mature than you would expect, it's full of pathos, and all wrapped up in a skin of Norse mythology.
Overall, this is the one of the better games that I have played this year, more than anything else the sense of wonder and fun has not let up throughout.
A fine legacy for the dying PS2, and better then FFXII to boot.
Buy it now, along with Global Defence Force, and re-ignite your love of gaming.
on 20 December 2008
Looks great plays great and battles only get better the more you play and level up etc, unlike alot of RPG's where battles tend to get boring after a while and your only playing for the story.
The storyline is good also and if you like Suikoden you'll love this as there LOADS of characters you can get or not its upto you. The main characters have great backstory and after a while i got to like them all but the sub characers have good backstorys too and whle they are not featured in the main FMV they do have little events and texts relating to them thoughout the game world. The best thing about this game is that you pick the characters you want to play with, for example you can have a team of sub-characters as your main team all the way through the game if you want to. And trust me most of the sub characters will become some of you fav's as you play.
story - 9
Characterisation - 9
Replay value - 10
Graphic - 9
Sounds - 9
Due to the amount of characters you can play with an teams you can create the game has lots of replay value, you can also redo any quest or boss (with a couple of exceptions) and there is a MASSIVE extra multi-level dungeon you can go to if you choose near the end of the main story. I loved this game and i liked Lenneth aswell Can't wait for number 3 on PS3.
on 5 October 2012
This review will include both information and personal opinion based off of experiences please excuse my harsh tone about the first game for it isn't a bad game however i will give you my input on the first game in order to support my review on the second game just so you know what i'm talking about.
No matter how hard I tried I could never get into the first Valkyrie Profile and i kinda gave up on it altogether. Valkyrie Profile 2 could be considered a great example of a possible re-vamp of the original Valkyrie Profile which fell flat on it's face not because of it's content (which is great i might add) but because of the maze of choices that were thrown at you combined with it's action timer which the game gives, though it may be a good idea it hinders the game greatly to the point that the player gets frustrated and under pressure when trying to get the "real" ending which extracts the fun out of the game and without the option for new game plus. This means that making one mistake can screw you such as leaving a dungeon, missing a scene or even following the plot. The main problem with Valkyrie Profile is that the game doesn't give you a direct path to follow making it near impossible to get the "real" ending and trust me, it's not worth playing for the other endings, and if you get those endings, prepare to be disappointed. Another thing that screwed me over was the materialized points. When i reached the final dungeon I was given 20000 materialized points to spend only to find out that after I spent it all I was completely skint and unable to buy items because enemies don't drop them so I was completely screwed which led to a major game trap since i was level 19 and unable to fight any encounters and/or beat the final boss only to throw away the game and never to play it again.
Anyways I later found out that there was a sequel and out of curiosity I saw some game play and decided to give it a try, that was one of the best decisions I ever made, the game literally improves every single aspect of the original game whilst keeping its traditional style. It's a completely different style to the original with a linear, easy to follow plot despite its complex theme. Though some may not understand some of the main plot elements of the game if they haven't played the first game, they can easily be picked up by simply watching game play videos since the original game is simply not worth playing without a guide.
Despite it's more linear approach, Valkyrie Profile 2 feels a lot less streamlined and open perhaps not in exploration but in the game play. You can actually grind in Valkyrie Profile 2 unlike it's predecessor which allows the game to be more easily accessible for new players and grind-o-holics such as myself as there is a massive stat range which starts you off fighting with a bunch of weaklings with limited attacks but by the end of the game your guys can be come unstoppable gods. But the game doesn't give it to you, you have to work for it, depending on how much of a life you have you may wish to put more time into this game as it can be somewhat amusing to take down a super boss in 1 hit especially after the countless game over screens you had against them in the past. There are also lots of items to collect and a few side quests here and there, there are also seal stones, a new feature which affects the area or the party with certain conditions ranging from stat changes to exp bonuses though be careful as there are also negative seal stones that can harm your stats though you can put them in a dais which allows them to rain on the enemies parade, though these seal stones are often more useful later on in the game.
The presentation is simply divine, there are no other words to describe it. The level design combines with the music perfectly making games like Odin Sphere look like a complete joke especially considering that it's presentation is it's selling point. Ironically the game was released a year after, both games follow Norse mythology also. I smell a hint of inspiration from Valkyrie Profile 2 right there, sort of speaks for itself really. Even to this day, Valkyrie Profile 2 is still comparable to most modern games in terms of presentation, it could very well hold it's own on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (HD remake please
The platforming aspect of this game is rather gimmicky with the occasional trapped chest/puzzle etc but it seems to work well for the most part though it's a bit too easy, personally I'd rather remove the gimmicks and replace them with obstacles which range from simple to complex. Some of the seal stones assist with the platforming element allowing for super jumps and multiple photons (bots of energy which turn your enemies into crystal and allow you to switch places with them allowing you to traverse certain areas of the dungeon which are otherwise inaccessible) and some dungeons have special gimmicks unique to said dungeon such as lightning pillars and elemental towers which shoot elemental magic at you dealing damage to your party. There are also damage floors to watch out for such as lava and poison, some floors can slow you down such as swamps and there are also some areas that require seal stones to open them.
The combat in this game has improved a lot. It is a wait time battle system which is very similar to roguelikes such as the Mystery Dungeon series where the game moves simultaneously with the player. Battles take place on a 3D battle area In which you expend AP to perform actions, whilst moving around/waiting refuels it, similar to the rage gauge from Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time though it affects the entire party and requires strategy to manage. Whilst the combat itself rather lacks diversity, the positioning and the set up takes a lot of strategic planning which may leave new players spending hours on one boss battle. Though Valkyrie Profile 2 has a wide variety of options and equipment at your disposal to allow you to refine your strategy as well as certain seal stones that you may have thought to have been useless in the past but serve to be somewhat helpful during later battles so you may wish to backtrack to certain areas to obtain them again with your magic crystals.
The storyline is rather unique as it directly follows Norse mythology though despite this the plot structure is rather lacking and can be repetitive at times especially halfway through the game due to a recurring plot element which is poorly implemented into the game. The story makes up for this with its accurate depiction of Norse Mythology and it is told in a far better standard than the last game in which the plot only manages to develop near the end of the game. The story develops slowly but due to the lack of plot ideas the plot seems a little short though the game play makes up for this with plenty of dungeons to plunder through. The plot starts to expand near the end however and the climax is very well done, one of the best I've seen having referred to the previous game. The music in this game is beautiful, one of Motoi Sakuraba's best works in my opinion though some Star Ocean 2 fan out there is bound to disagree, whilst the first game focused on more dynamic tunes, this game has wide variety of different melody's on show each one being great in their own way. Each piece excels in its category giving this game a great all round score at least one of the songs will catch your ears and will stick in your head for hours on end, especially if you liked the music from the first Valkyrie Profile.
The voice acting is particularly good especially considering the fact that this is a Japanese title (most Japanese games are known for their bad English dubs), which has some of the greatest voice casts on show, some you may have heard in the persona series, in most cases the voice acting adapts to the games theme very well though some of them aren't very well placed though this shouldn't be a disappointment for most since the voices are of a very high standard and are often impressive and really drive the story well. The main cast of characters are very slim in terms of personality but they get the job done, most of them are key to the plot whereas some are just there to fill in the gaps though despite this there is a fair selection of characters to choose from in battle as you can use einherjar (materialized souls of the dead that heed your every order) though they aren't important to the story they generally have higher stats than the main cast though some aren't worth using and have terrible stats. You also get a little background information about them in the status section but nothing more, just consider them the background cast, as you watch the main cast in the storyline you're beating up enemies with your einherjar in battle.
Another thing to note is that this game has up to 50 difficulty levels which can only unlocked with each play through (complete the game on 1 difficulty, unlock the next difficulty etc). Each difficulty multiplies the enemies stats depending on the difficulty making this game quite possibly one of the most challenging rpg's out there. If you are a perfectionist you will spend a long time on this game. The game also has a bonus dungeon which butchers the games storyline deliberately (you can tell the developers had a lot of fun making this) which provides a real challenge for the dedicated players. The bonus dungeon has 5 floors each packed full of mini-bosses and tough super-bosses and lots of loot. Much of the side content takes place here and the developers worked hard despite having limited resources to make it a somewhat interesting bonus dungeon compared to the conventional bonus dungeons many rpg's implement which tend to be rushed, dry and tedious. Valkyrie profile 2 carries on the trademark super-bosses of the Tri-Ace franchise as well as adding it's own, allowing players to recruit otherwise inaccessible characters in the main story. Sadly most of these characters have already been playable beforehand so you won't find many surprises here except maybe for one but you'll have to wait and see.
There is also a 2 player co-op function which can be accessed in the party screen however the co-operative function is slightly disappointing due to the lack of actions the second player can take in battle as they are unable to move around as their character if they are the party leader which is a shame. Nevertheless this is definitely a welcome add on and can be fun to play with friends so long as you swap the controllers around every now and again to give them a chance to play.
Overall Valkyrie profile 2 is a true gem of a game that you don't know you're getting, unless you read this review, either that or you are going to be disappointed by it if you actually enjoyed the openness of the first game since playing Valkyrie Profile 2 will literally cover up the first game forever as it literally beats it to a pulp and throws the remains into the furnace. As a game however it is without a doubt a great game if not one of the best out there. If you enjoy Tri-Ace games but want a change of tone, or are simply a die hard console style rpg fan like myself give Valkyrie Profile 2 a try or you'll never know what you missed.
Game play: 9.5
Replay Value: 10.0
Overall score: 9.6
Buy this game to get the most out of it
on 7 February 2010
I played through and loved Valkyrie Profile Lenneth for PSP and loved it. I had to get this and it was so worth it; the platform move is not that noticeable other than the cool additions like the 3D-ness and control over the party. Definitely a good buy =)
on 17 June 2016
I own two copies of this game. One super special awesome Japanese edition and this English release. I was and am a huge fan of the original Valkyrie Profile on the PS1 and was so excited to see it get a sequel (and get answers to questions the original game never answered...)
I must say that, much as I love the game, the first four chapters are very much so 'Your dragon orb is in another castle' and.. Lezard. Also Lezard. Chapter 5 and 6 are just amazing. Story wise.
I personally love the gameplay and the graphics are so darn pretty. I liked the weapons and soul crush system still and .. just... I just love this game. So much. Buy it RPG nerds.
..I want a Valkyrie Profile: Ahly.... I do.