With Square churning out Final Fantasy titles like they were going out of style recently, Valkyrie Profile may already seem like a distant memory to most people, since it came out for the Playstation in 2000 and was largely ignored. Therefore, it makes a certain amount of sense for Square-Enix to bring the game back to players via the PSP with the upcoming port of the game, titled Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth.
Telling the tale of a valkyrie named Lenneth (obviously), Valkyrie Profile makes good use of Norse mythology and slick artistic direction to bring this adventure title to life on the PSP, though the new game does not take advantage of the superior hardware in any way. Much like Square's tendency to port older SNES Final Fantasy titles to the Nintendo GBA and DS without any graphical upgrades, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is essentially a strict port, at least visually speaking.
The game may not look great by today's standards, but the actual gameplay still holds up, with a rather original story and satisfying combat and puzzle solving elements. Lenneth, servant of Odin, is sent to Midgard to recruit warriors to aid in the "sacred war" between Aesir and Vanir, and in the process players controlling Lenneth will undergo lots of random battles, with a bit of platforming and exploration thrown in. Most of my time with the demo was consumed by story elements, but when I was finally able to get into battle, it was most satisfying. In battle I was able to chain together attacks to create impressive combos, and each character in my party was assigned their own face button making switching between party members easy and efficient. Combat wasn't terribly complex, but it was fun nonetheless.
The overall feel of the game is more in line with Square's older Final Fantasy games, at least in terms of presentation, so any fans of old school RPGs looking for a good PSP title can probably scratch their role playing itch later this summer.
5/17/2006 Ryan Hartmann