As a role-playing game Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is distinctly different. In contrast to Square Enix's well known Final Fantasy series, the combat is less tactical and a time based threat will keep you on your toes, making Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth a unique experience and rare gem for PSP.
A heady mix of Norse mythology and anime art style, the game is a re-mastering of the acclaimed Valkyrie Profile on PS one, which was never released in Europe. Seven years on, with the inclusion of stunning, new CG cinematics, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth still has the power to not only engage and impress, but to weave a poignant tale of life and death.
Central to the story is Ragnarok, the last apocalyptic battle between the Aesir and Vanir that will decide the fate of gods and mortals alike. Charged by Odin to recruit heroic souls to the Aesir's cause, Lenneth must travel to Midgard where her power to hear the emotions of the dying will aid the Valkyrie goddess of war in her quest.
Soaring over the world as Lenneth, listening to the sorrow, anger and hopes of the fallen, immediately sets this game apart from others of its kind. Sombre and grandiose, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth takes a very compassionate stance when examining the last days of potential recruits. There is no outlandish violence but many different stories to follow.
Many paths to glory
At the heart of gameplay is choice; which souls will you recruit and when will you release them to join the ethereal ranks of the Aesir's army, and how will you train them and balance out their traits - Brave, Selfish, Optimistic, Naïve, etc - to forge worthy heroes.
Set against these almost unlimited options is the weight of time - the day of reckoning draws near and there is nothing to prevent it. Every town you visit, every dungeon you explore is one more step towards the Aesir's ultimate fate.
Exploring towns and dungeons moves the action into gorgeously drawn, 2D environments reminiscent of many side-scrolling arcade adventures. In this view only one character, usually Lenneth, is visible and can interact with the surroundings.
Combat is quickly paced, with the control of different characters being assigned to different buttons and timing of attacks crucial. Well timed combos will fill the Special Attack Gauge, allowing the characters who contributed to unleash spectacular Special Attacks.
An apocalyptic beginning
Innovative in both storyline and gameplay, the driving force behind Valkyrie Profile is the ticking clock of armageddon. An ever present Sword of Damocles, this mechanism does not stifle but enhances the experience of playing. Not only does it deliver a sense of urgency to the proceedings but it means your choices are real; there is no turning back, which makes every journey you take into this world unique.
Role-playing fans will take to Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth quickly, while those unfamiliar with role-playing games will discover an experience that cleverly reworks and opens up an established genre.