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Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth - PSP - Preview

E3 2006 Hands On Preview

Square Enix’s booth was home to many wonderful games at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. After perusing the floor and playing a few titles, one stood out above the rest: Valkyrie Profile Lenneth. Don’t get me wrong – Final Fantasy XII looks phenomenal. Its story is going to rock, and I know I’ll buy the music because Final Fantasy soundtracks are a must-own item. 

Irrespective to Square Enix’s biggest game of the year (FFXII), Valkyrie Profile Lenneth is the title that left the longest lasting impression. That’s in part due to the surprising variety of action-oriented gameplay. I expected an RPG. However, I did not expect to be playing an action/adventure that resembled Castlevania. But that’s exactly what I got. 

Valkyrie Profile Lenneth has two forms of distinctly different gameplay. The first occurs outside of battle. Or rather, outside of the battle arena, which is triggered any time you are touched by an enemy. The game is 2D with basic 3D visuals. Nothing spectacular, but the gameplay makes the lack of visual luster irrelevant. Character movement is akin to a side-scrolling action game (walk toward either the left or right side of the screen, climb platforms, etc.). 

I took a couple steps back after discovering this just to make sure I was playing the right game. “This is Valkyrie Profile Lenneth, isn’t it?” I thought to myself. Yes gamers, it most certainly is. 

Then I dove head first into the game and began exploring. An enemy appeared – an evil spirit in a black cloak. I ran up and started pressing buttons. The X button launched my character into the air, while the square button resulted in a standard attack. I struck the enemy several times, eventually killing it. Then I moved onto another, killed it, and continued my hunt. 

And then, when I least expected it, an enemy was successful in lunging toward me. The game faded out and into a new scenario – a turn-based battle arena. New attacks, new gameplay. This portion of the game feels like a traditional console RPG, while the former was clearly inspired by Konami’s relentless franchise. 

Four characters appeared in the turn-based arena, while only one is controllable during exploration. But the exploration portions have a lot of combat as well. The gameplay is balanced, varied, and very entertaining. 

The demo didn’t reveal much in the story department, but since this is an upgraded port of the first Valkyrie Profile (for PSone), players can look forward to the same high-quality storytelling as the original. New gameplay elements are planned, and Square Enix confirmed earlier this year that they’d be adding additional computer-generated movie sequences. Some of the scenes are even going to contain links to the story of Valkyrie Profile 2: Slimeria. With Square Enix’s renewed interest in the series crystal clear, it’s likely that this duo of games will not be the end of the series. 

Developed by tri-Ace (creator of the Star Ocean series and Radiata Stories), Valkyrie Profile Lenneth is a classic waiting to happen. It’s due for release sometime this fall, and has guaranteed that my PSP will be permanently attached to my body as soon as it arrives.

 

For All E3 2006 Previews

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