50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2006
My experience with developer tri-ace's games dates back to the original Playstation era with Star Ocean:The 2nd Story. Like most gamers on this side of the world, this was probably the one of the first tri-ace titles that had and created enough of a buzz to form a niche of fans. The other game, which is credited with a simular yet even bigger buzz, was the original Valkyrie Profile.
Unfortunately, the yield from the initial pressing run of that game was so low (so tri-ace wouldn't lose to much if the game didn't sell or catch on) by the time I had heard the hype surrounding VP and wanted to give the game a try it was much too late... copies of the game were selling at astronomical prices on e-bay much like how sealed copies of Final Fantasy VII are selling now. Because of this I was ecstatic when a sequel - which in this case is actually a prequel - was announced so I could finally experience what I had missed out on the first time in one form or another. Granted, VP2 is not a complete carbon copy of the original, but the majority of the gameplay elements cross the game/generation gap, so in essence this game should probably give you an idea of what the original itself was like.
So, would I say that I was blown away or impressed by what I missed out with missing the original VP? Not really.
To start with, the game is simply beautiful. There are some dazzling effects, from leaves and grass waving in the breeze to various types of weather pounding some of the locals. This is what one should expect from a last generation PS2 title. Sure, every once in a while the battle camera might clip some polygons so it looks like your characters are standing on air, but that is so minor it doesn't matter. The only gripe I have is I wish the characters weapons changed depending on what they currently have equipped. However, since the character designs are so dependant on the default look of the weaponry, the above simply wouldn't work very well.
Combat is Valkyrie's claim to fame, much like it is in other tri-ace games like Star Ocean. This is a good thing, considering the amount of time you'll spend in battle mode leveling up the game's massive number of characters (of which only a handful are actually involved in the story, the others just seem to be there). At a quick glance, the battle system seems to be a button mashers dream, but like a good 3D fighting series (Soul Caliber or Tekken) those who know what their doing will always get further or have less difficulty as things can be difficult enough. Other combat related issues also sprout up: reviving an ally requires you to be near the ally's body and status effects are so not your friend - especially when the whole party is inflicted at once (especially with poison) *shutter* .
As fun as combat is, there are quite a few hitches to be aware of, such as wasting AP on a dash and getting nowhere because your party is caught on the edge of "something" in the environment or when party members become separated for the same reason, limiting your attack options until you take the time and go back and get them. This becomes especially aggravating when you're trying to finish battles as quickly and efficiently as possible to receive experience and crystal bonuses. The change from a 2D fighting environment in VP to a 3D one in VP2 works, but the above issues make you yearn for 2D battles of the original which would probably be devoid of these problems.
The game's skill system is another area that initially seems interesting and clever but quickly becomes quite cumbersome. You'll form rune words with your equipment and accessories to unlock new "potential" skills. Note the word "potential" in the previous sentence. Unlocking a new skill doesn't grant the character the skill automatically - only though battle can the skill be used and permanently learned. At first glance this is a good thing since it prevents abuse (think FFIX skill system here), but the player then quickly finds out it "may" (well, usually) take a long to learn said skill. Instead of being awarded a set amount of points towards your skills after an enemy defeat like in most normal RPGs, a percentage earned towards potential skills based on the average level of your current party and that of the enemy(s). Because of this you'll constantly be seeking out stronger and stronger enemies and you'll hardly ever find an "undeniable great place" to level up. You'll also be contending with the never ending equipping and unequipping of equipment while doing this and often means your party is usually far from wearing the strongest available equipment at all times - something that is usually a given in most RPGs.
Traversing dungeons is probably the most noteworthy aspect of VP2 after the battle system. The first few are a complete cakewalk and teach you the ropes, the later ones can really test you sanity and your brainpower. Correct sealstone usage and photon know-how go a long way towards completely clearing them of all their contents. Kudos to tri-ace for the awesome auto map feature - features like this need to become an industry/genre standard!
In the sound department, Motoi Sakuraba makes a rather subdued yet solid entrance, seeming to ditch his rather unique yet unorthodox style of composing. It's not until much later until you hear a piece and you know "yeah, that's Sakuraba, no doubt". The voice-overs are good, but at the same time just a few tiers above decent.
Valkyrie Profile 2 also falls victim to problems that are prevalent in other tri-ace games. Some moments of unbalanced gameplay creep up on the player as the difficulty goes up a few notches without much warning. The story is once again slow to start (is this even a surprise anymore with tri-ace games?), and some of the story twists you can see coming a mile away (the one revelation at the end of Chapter 3 was so freaking obvious!).
All this said is Valkyrie Profile 2 worth playing if you've never experienced VP? Yes. However, now having experienced it, I honestly think I could have had waited for a price drop instead of buying it on day it came out. Despite this, I still look forward to playing the re-release of the original on the PSP.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2007
I bought this game on nothing but pleasant rumors about Valkyrie Profile Lenneth and the fact that the box looked pretty, it was a Square Enix production and it was on sale. Yeah, on one hand, its a dumb way to buy video games. On the other, I booted up the game with absolutely no expectations and absolutely no information about the first game. That said, I was utterly blown away by this awesome game.
More than an RPG, this game has a heavy puzzle aspect that breaths new life into every battle. Every dungeon has its own quirks and every battle is different, so its very hard to be bored by it. The side-scrolling took me by surprise, but I got used to it, then later admired the way it got implemented into the puzzles. Yeah, there's that crappy lip-synch thing, but I quickly stopped caring because I was having so much fun. I think I enjoyed this game more than Final Fantasy 12 (blasphemy, I know, but FF12 is very awesome too).
I understand, however, this isn't a 100% Square Enix thing, but rather a Tri-ace production. If so, I look forward to their next RPG, because as far as I'm concerned, this game is up there with the best the PS2 has to offer. The only thing stopping me from picking up the first game is my lack of PSP. (There's just no way I'm gonna buy that thing... but if they re-released VP1 for the PS2, I'm so there!) 5/5!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2006
I never played the original and don't really want to. This game was such a treasure to find with it's phenomonal music and graphics, engrossing gameplay, twisted plot, and the variety of characters possible to play. I have lost a lot of sleep over this game and I'm not even half way done.
If anything, it has some of the best show of PS2 graphics I have seen-something to expect from a Square-Enix production. The wind moving through the environments, the water trickling, the sort-of dream-like haze in the towns. It all culminates into an eye-pleaser if nothing else. But the gameplay and game engineering is also top quality. The character designs are very diverse with many periods of time and cultures represented. There is a fairly even mix of female and male characters as well as classes like archers, light warriors, mages, ect.
The menu navigation and ability to load different game data at anytime (other than combat) is a serious perk that many take for granted. You can keep loading a game when you don't get the einherjar you want until the randomized selection gives you the perfect group you are looking to adventure with. The ability to instantly travel to any location on the map without lengthy travel from location to location keeps the pace nice and brisk giving you only what you want, buying equipment and battles.
The difficulty is right where it needs to be, if you do a quick run game, you will have a tough time beating the boss. It's nice not to have leveling forced on you but rather as an elective thing so that you can get through the story when you want to. The battles are clever, mixing tactical RPG with action making it very engaging and actually fun. There is a degree of button mashing, but then again, it's not a static or boring as the your turn, my turn, cast a spell, drink a potion. It's actually combat, like it should be.
I can't praise this game enough...I don't care how good the first was, it can't be better than this one. This will certainly go down as a best title for the PS2. If I had any complaints, it would be the recycled voice-commentary for different einherjar and the fact that they really aren't involved with the main story-line. Oh, and since they would be stupid not to make a third one, customizable armor would have been the cream of the crop. VP2 is a solid offering for the last PS2 has to offer.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2007
At first, I thought this game was amazing. The visuals are done very well and the game itself plays exactly as I hoped a sequel to Valkyrie Profile would. However, the same problem the first game had is here in Valkyrie Profile 2: The voice acting during battles is somewhat annoying, repetitive, and doesn't always make sense.
The good news about this is that you're given the option to turn off the voices in battles if you want to. It wouldn't be as annoying if the characters were saying things that didn't sound so dorky all the time; things like "Might makes right, think about that." When I hear this, I just laugh at it, because I can't take the game seriously anymore; this is a flaw because the game itself has a very serious atmosphere to it.
The other problem with the dialogue in the game occurs with the various einherjar that you find in the game. You'll start to notice that many of the characters are saying exactly the same thing during battles, but there is a different voice actor for each character. To me, this shows a lack of personality between characters. It's sort of annoying when you discover a new character just to find that their personality is exactly the same as the last character you found--this is actually a new flaw that wasn't in the first game.
The only other flaw I noticed with the voice acting is in the cut-scenes. The voices don't flow evenly with the mouth movements. There are times when you'll hear a character talking, but their mouth never moves at all. Most gamers would agree that this is simply laziness on the developer's side and it makes it more difficult to enjoy the game completely.
So, if you can look past some of the basic flaws and try to enjoy this game as a work of art (the visuals are very well done and the surround sound/music is fantastic), then this game is well worth the price and I recommend it for anyone who has played through the first game.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2007
When I first ordered this game based on everyone else's reviews (I know, not always a good idea, but sometimes you got to gamble, right?) I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm a big fan of the original Valkyrie Profile, but from all of the reviews I read, it didn't seem like the developers were going to be true to the original in either gameplay or storyline. Well to my surprise, they were, and this sequel (or prequel, I should say) has actually surpassed the original on many different levels.
Story 4/5: Okay, the story is pretty hard to follow. This is the first game I've ever played where the story has made me go, "huh?" I'm not sure if it was because I got so engrossed in the gameplay and lost track of it, or if the story is just that convoluted. I had to ask a friend of mine about it to figure out what was going on. When I got back on track, I thought it was a neat story. Nothing spectacular, but cool. For those of you who are expecting the depressing themes of the first game, you might be disappointed. Whereas the original Valkyrie Profile had a very mature storyline that deviated from traditional RPGs, Valkyrie Profile 2 has a story that pretty much defines "traditional RPG." This is why so many people said this game has lost the "feel" of the original. It has in some ways, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Gameplay 5/5: Amazing! I was skeptical about the battle system at first, but after a few battles, I was in love! You don't need to have studied Sun Tzu to win fights in this game, but you do need to plan your attacks out carefully. One thing, though. I was led to believe this game was incredibly hard - it wasn't. In fact, compared to the original Valkyrie Profile and other games by these developers, such as Star Ocean 2, this game is very easy. I'm guessing a lot of people having trouble with it are rushing through it and not taking their time; to those people I ask, what's the rush? There are a couple of times where you do need to level up, but not for more than a couple levels. Dungeon crawling is pretty standard for the series; the puzzles are basically freeze enemy-stand on it-jump to higher ground-get treasure chest. Not at all hard.
Graphics 5/5: This is as good at it's going to get for the PS2, folks. These graphics top even Resident Evil 4. The level of detail is so amazing, in fact, my little 13" television couldn't handle it and everything came up choppy, so I had to switch to a larger television set.
Sound 4/5: Motoi Sakuraba's music has changed so much over the years that I have mixed feelings about it. The soundtrack fits, but it's completely forgettable. Since it's Motoi Sakuraba, you get your egotistical progressive rock music with pseudo-intellectual titles. The soundtrack is above average at best, but not because the music is really good, but because the music fits so perfectly. Don't expect this to live up to the original, though. Voice acting is professional. It was nice hearing familiar voices in the game, such as Johnny Yong Bosch, who also played Vash the Stampede in Trigun.
Overall 5/5: Why 5/5 instead of 4/5? Because I'm partial to this game. I love the characters, I love the acting, I love the battles, and I love the dungeon crawling. The story serves its purpose too, and it's nice seeing Arngrim getting more attention. Want a good RPG? Get this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2009
Pros: Novel battle system, wonderful graphics, great voice acting, memorable characters, good sound
Cons: Battle system has some irritating flaws, story kinda blows, music is forgettable, equipment creation system is irrelevant
Other thoughts: Living up to the original Valkyrie Profile was very unlikely, so it is no surprise this game falls short. The story is kinda dumb, and includes characters that probably don't need to be there (shameless fan brown-nosing is my guess.) Einherjar have no back story really, except for a brief summary buried in the menu - there are none of the memorable (and depressing!) scenes as in the first game. The battle system has problems with idiot AI running into walls and getting left behind - this will frustrate you to no end. There is also a strange bug where characters will start floating randomly, and will in some cases float directly into an enemy line of fire. There's an (optional) equipment creation system, but finding the right parts to build these weapons is tedious (I never bothered.) Still, it's a fun game and worth buying, for the right price. Just lower your expectations from Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth standards and you should mostly enjoy it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2007
This game tells events that happened before the first Valkyrie Profile (Lenneth) and then the timeline changes to continue with the events that happened after the first game. The story itself it's good but it doesn't "feel" the same as the previous game. The biggest change it's the Einherjars that now you do not see how it was before they get killed. You can still read a bit about their previous life but it's different from the previous game were you had an animated short (and sometimes even participate in it) telling you how they became Einherjars. As for the game itself, well as a RPG game... this game ROCKS! The new figthing engine is just awesome! It's not just the usual: attack, use healing/support magic, attack again, rinse and repeat. This time you have to pay attention to your equipped skills and where the enemy is distributed in the field.
If you are a fan of the previous Valkyrie Profile game, you will enjoy revisiting previous cities and dungeons. If you haven't played the previous game, but you are into RPG games, this is a MUST play game that you are going to enjoy for sure.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2014
Forget "Greatest hits" This game is RARE PLATINUM. When you want to find a Game to cover EVERY aspect, Benefit experience AND a complete feel of a Straightforward classical- yet Highly "Unique" Combination of combat, Skill Building AND Storyline progression.
"Perfect" English Voice acting.
"Fantastic" Visual art.
With its Own Classic Side-scrolling Playthough, Highly Uniq Combat system, Highly appealing Translation Into Norse Mythology With Powerfull Retrospective You can Truly be thrown INTO the game!
Valkyrie profile Simeria brings the term "Classic" Into a Very Essence carved Into Very stone itself, Undetected And Filled with Hope and Mystery.
Valkyrie profile Truly is On a Plateau of its Very own.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2009
I love this game. I had it a long time ago but i traded it in. I recently bought it again, new, and loaded it into my original 60 GB PS3. The game would not boot, and i would lose the ability to get to the ps3 menu. Apparently you have to run the audio over an optical cable, and not over HDMI and change the multi source something-or-other option to YES. I dont know. Even when i did that it would boot just about every other time. So frustrating since the reason i bought the original PS3 was for the hardware emulation for ps1/2 games. Truly a sad day.
Still, a great game if you loved the original and own a ps2.