It all boils down to death. Every character who joins you, from the toughest of warriors to the most innocent of newcomers, will face their final moments in a world full of conflict, bloodshed and grief. Death is not a relief for them as they take up arms for the gods and the imminent end of the world.
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
That is the angle of . The success of PlayStation and Final Fantasy VII ushered in a new era of RPGs 1000, most of which depict death at some dramatic moment. Maybe every story happens in one way or another. Few games, however, are so directly confronting death and its aftermath—even rarer ones that do so through the Valkyrie of Norse mythology.
The creation of Enix and tri-Ace started when 2000 debuted Made it happen. Puts the player in the role of an ethereal Norse female warrior, recruiting dead warriors known as Einherjar to join Odin’s army and take part in the apocalyptic wars The Battle of Divine Ragnarok. It also launched an RPG series that would consistently gain a cult following and linger before major success.
Valkyrie’s name is Lenneth, and the intro to the game makes it clear that she is somehow related to an ill-fated girl named Platina. Summoned by Odin, Freya and other Norse gods, Rennes soars over a desolate, war-torn medieval fantasy realm and adapts himself to the imminent demise of heroic mortals. Before she can collect any souls, the game introduces them into a tragic and interconnected tale: a haughty soldier clashes with a mean princess, a swordsman sacrifices everything to heal his tormented sister, a naive young archer travels to War and meet the swift fate of reality, evil thieves find redemption, a woman disguised as a guard seeks revenge, and a group of warriors join the Valkyrie.
The game tells the wider The story goes through these short stories. Each future Einherjar’s inevitable morbid vignette engages a deeper struggle with Lenneth, who finds human beings in turns pathetic, noble, arrogant, stupid, and charming. It was probably the bleakest game of the era: no matter how well they performed in Odin’s service, all of Lenneth’s allies died, only in limited ghost communication with their loved ones. To quote Grim Fandango, the game has a more humorous vision of the afterlife, “Death makes us all sad stories.”
Like Grim As in Fandango , however, death is not the end of things in . To prepare these diverse souls for battle in the afterlife, Lenneth must lead them through dungeons and battles. The stage of is a side view maze where Lenneth runs, jumps, slashes enemies, and creates ice crystals to solve puzzles. The actual combat invokes a novel concept: each character is mapped to different action buttons on the PlayStation controller, and success depends on clicking those buttons correctly, So that you can set up combo attacks.
also looks like a grim Viking saga. It uses hand-drawn 2D sprites and a muted color palette, all with some gorgeously illustrated character portraits by the animators Kou Yoshinari and Yoh Yoshinari (the latter will continue with anime like and ). It also benefits from an extensive voice-over and Motoi Sakuraba soundtrack, made long before the composer was working on seemingly every other RPG . From the moment Lenneth wakes up and walks through the verdant fields and castles of Valhalla, Sakuraba’s music perfectly complements the game’s somber and brilliant tones.
if is unique, it doesn’t bend over backwards to please everyone. It’s a game that does things its own way. Some players have accused SquarePlayStation of the AgeFinal Fantasies of “more movies than games” for putting hourly The gameplay is paired with about two minutes of cutscenes, but like Square’s own Xenogears, Really committed to its narrative. There’s nothing wrong with having players go through relatively long story scenarios before recruiting each character. It doesn’t make it easy to see through the story either. The best ending (and the only satisfying one) is hidden behind such precise and seemingly random requirements that it’s hard to imagine any player without a strategy guide reaching it.
This creative, frustrating and strict vision of Norse mythology may be destined to be geared towards far less than the latest Final Fantasy
Audience or Dragon Quest . late 2000 but not until 1999 Autumn, PlayStation Market is full of major RPGs. Everything from Final Fantasy IX to Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete was the focus of that holiday .
at least got producer Jeremy Blaustein and translators (and former Gamefan writer) Nick Des Barres and Casey Lowe . The voice acting is also done reasonably well, although there is a sense of repetition, as most actors have double or triple duties when playing multiple roles. Many of them (and still are) are also instantly recognizable as the same crew from the original animation.
Attractions of is more prominent when paired with the creator’s other work. Masaki Norimoto, Joe Asanuma and Yoshiharu Gotanda founded tri- Ace ) in the mid 1500 era, their first two games were a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid Xinghai and . Fantasia and Xinghai both introduce fast-paced combat systems, but neither pushes the RPG genre Topics and storytelling outside of comfort.
Even so, Interstellar Ocean and its Star Trek – Inspired by space operas that have always been a signature series for tri-Ace, is unique. It inspired some anthology manga and Yu Hijikata short manga series) , apparently he had to rush the second volume to fill the game’s ending. A fan-made fighting game called Valkyrie Fight Tag uses the game’s sprites. However a few years have passed and there is no sign of a new tri-Ace.
with indication of a one-time experiment. The game takes things through to Ragnarok and brings Lenneth’s story to life. However, the loose ending was conceded following the credits about the terrifying King Brahms, the scheming (and Valkyrie-obsessed) wizard Lezard Valeth, and Lenneth’s Valkyrie sisters. In a bolder break from textbook Norse mythology, unites the battle maiden with three norn goddesses of fate. The original game showed brief glimpses of two other Valkyries: the imprisoned Silmeria and the ruthlessly submissive Hrist.
That sowed enough seeds for a sequel. tri-Ace let sit still for a few years, busy with the sea of stars , let a few Character cameos and jokes in and Star Ocean 3: Til End of Time . However, in 1500, Square Enix and tri-Ace announced the porting of the original to the Sony PSP and all-new PlayStation 2 Sequel, 2: Silmeria. Many names from the first crew returned for the sequel, although the director’s duties fell to the newcomers: Vagrant Story The planner must be black filial piety.
: Lenneth put the original game on Sony of an earlier version 2016 for handhelds with newly rendered cutscenes and little else. This also prepares the player for cite> 2. The first game has ended Lenneth’s arc, so attention now turns to her siblings. Ignoring Odin’s laws and angering Herist, the Valkyrie Syrmeria ended up in the mortal vessel of a timid princess named Alicia. Although the gods intended to keep her in a coma, Syrmeria would not be suppressed, and she and Alicia were forced to share a body as they discovered a conspiracy that spanned the earth and the heavens.
like Many RPGs from the PlayStation 2 era, 2 were built from 3D polygonal graphics, but The game retains the side-scrolling approach of dungeons. Alicia jumps and slashes like Lenneth, but the princess/Valkyrie magic of choice is Crystal Shot, which allows her to swap places with enemies. It led to some dodgy staging, and tri-Ace didn’t give up. Combat takes place in a 3D environment where players can manage their position and movement as well as their character’s keystrokes. It builds nicely on the reflex-driven combat of the original game, giving players the feel of an action game without losing the way its more complex works.
While 2 excels in gameplay, it ignores some of the original’s strengths. Sylmelia, despite having her name in it, stays in Alicia’s mind for most of the game, and the docile princess’ gradual journey to power isn’t quite as interesting as the underlying story of the traitor Valkyrie. . Even stranger, 2 modifies Einherjar by itself. No longer introduced through their own brutal tales, dead warriors are now simply collected by Alicia while examining objects in the dungeon. Their stories are reduced to text on menu screens, and their personalities only appear in battle quotes and occasional conversations.
2 in Japan and North America by another Square Enix release, the long-delayed Final Fantasy XII , but it still arrives with great localization and modest marketing. In Japan, it enjoyed Fumino Hayashi‘s four-volume manga series, but 2 Like its predecessor, in a market full of RPG games such as Dragon Quest VIII, Final Fantasy XII, and Try to get attention .
With the advent of a new generation of home consoles on the Xbox, competition won’t stop tri-Ace’s RPG ambitions and PlayStation 3. Developers working on big budgets RPGs, including Xinghai 4 and Infinite Exploration , the latter daringly made into an Xbox exclusive. Meanwhile Resonance of Destiny is a follow-up to 2 in the game, just like Suguro and others from The team’s expansion of the idea of free-roaming, combo-heavy 3D combat. How does
fit into these ambitious plans? Well, triple A hedge bet there. A new is finally on the DS with a smaller budget and less risky sequel to the most popular. Once again, the familiar trio of ace talent is on the credits, while the directorial duties go to the relatively unknown Shunsuke Katsumata .
The game has also made a bold change: it is a without a Valkyrie protagonist.
Logic and fan demand suggest that the third should be about the ruthless and loyal Hearst, but : Covenant of Feathers tells a different story. Wilfred, a young and reckless ignorant warrior, blames Lennis for his father’s death on the battlefield and the trouble his family has suffered because of it. Before anyone can tell him the truth about the Valkyries (they only recruit from the dead, you don’t know), Wylfred himself falls in battle and makes a Faustian deal with the underworld queen Hel. Thanks to a magical feather and a charming demon maid named Alice, he gets his chance for revenge.
If the Valkyrie itself is ignored, Covenant of Feather at least returns to the idea of a strong supporting character from the original game. Instead of collecting deceased warriors for Einherjar, Wylfred encounters a memorable and still-living lineup of mercenaries, assassins, rebels, bickering mages, troubled nobles and general misfits to join his cause. His demonic feathers allow him to send their souls to the underworld at any point in battle. This causes the game to develop along three possible plot arcs, depending on how many of Wilfred’s companions are brutally sacrificed.
Right there, Covenant of Feather upholds another creed of the first : Makes the player feel bad. Katsumata cites Matsuno Yasumi’s landmark 382 strategy-RPG tactics Ogre as a pair Covenant of Feather, it’s not hard to see how this is The side stories stay true to that grim inspiration: whichever way you go, you have to watch Watching some good people die.
Much like Tactical Ogre , Covenant of Feather also takes a straightforward strategy RPG approach. Wilfred and his allies roam the battlefield grid, preparing for a combined attack. The series tradition of hitting a button for each character is in full force, and it greatly enhances the usual attacks and spells of a tactical RPG. The game requires players to recruit each ally through all three avenues, and as with the previous Valkyrie Profiles (and almost every other Three Aces game), there are ample rewards dungeon.
Covenant of Feather in the strategy-RPG mechanism with Tragic themes and dynamic combat, but that’s probably not what fans of the series really want. Some expect the luxury production of Xbox 382 or PS3 rather than DS games, and Others questioned Wylfred’s focus. The game’s own extra labyrinth mocked this, as Hrist showed up and complained that the entire production was more of a “human profile.”
The battle for shelf space also resulted in a Covenant of Feather minor impact. The RPG market is flooded again as many companies flock to the DS, as PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or Wii games. However, tri-Ace didn’t, and their bet on making a massive RPG for the home system didn’t pay off. The company downsized, not a priority. One of the endings of Covenant of Feathers saw Lenneth go into a mortal slumber, and it unknowingly predicted a long hibernation for the series itself.
In the years since DS debuted, a new type of profitable mobile game that relies on random allocation has emerged to provide players with “gacha” rewards. Square Enix did not hesitate to adapt several of their big names to this model, and in 2016 or even have a chance.
Valkyrie Anatomia: The Origin offers a roundabout prequel to other titles despite its premise Much the same as the original: Odin summons Rennis to recruit valuable humans in preparation for Ragnarok. It also goes back to the traditional portrayal of Einherjar, as Lenneth watches every mortal she chooses stumbling to an untimely death, whether it’s an ill-fated dragon slayer, or two young princes who sacrifice themselves for the kingdom, or Archer never saw a battle of his life. Playwright and producer Bun-Ō Fujisawa handled the script, which is an ambitious mix of mature legends, familiar legends, even Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” Rhine maiden in . If composers can play Norse mythology quickly and easily, why not ?
GAMEPLAY Valkyrie Anatomia presents simple levels connecting islands and letting the player move around them like a board game. Gone are the challenging side-scrolling mazes of the first two Valkyrie Profiles , though developer Dokidoki Groove Works retains the series’ signature combat system : Foursome at time with the player’s button click.
As a free-to-play mobile game, Valkyrie Anatomia is destined to be more simplistic and more mercenary. Players can get bonus characters from the whole and other Square Enix properties, but of course the real The rewards are often found by paying a lot of money. Even for a Gacha-powered mobile RPG, Valkyrie Anatomia is priced high.
Like Einherjar itself, Valkyrie Anatomia has limited time. The Japanese version was launched at 2000 and the English version was launched at 2019 Launched , but Square Enix decided to shut down servers soon: International version ends in August 2020, Japanese after eight months.
This is the end of Valkyrie Anatomia . Only the most successful mobile RPGs will have more specific versions, and there will be no deluxe Switch or PS Vita ports of Valkyrie Anatomia . At least Square Enix released a : Lenneth mobile version, which is still available.
Some homage to should be mentioned. Spike Chunsoft and tri-Ace’s own Exist Archive, released at , pays unique homage with button-click combat, side views and stories of late heroes exploring strange worlds. Lab Zero Games 2019 RPG Indivisible is also unabashed The inspiration behind side-scrolling levels, four-player battles, and a lineup of warriors for the heroine to summon.
itself didn’t sleep that long. Earlier this year Square Enix announced Valkyrie Elysium as ) PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC (ports with original: Lenneth). Like Valkyrie Anatomia it does away with the “Profile” part of the header, and like Valkyrie Anatomia it is Made by an outside developer, in this case the relatively new Soleil.
Elysium is a 3D action game, not a pure RPG, although its premise is familiar: a new The Valkyrie is up to Odin to deal with Ragnarok and its aftermath. Hints from older games popped up in other ways, including Valkyrie’s Einherjar summoning ability and a warrior with a slight resemblance to Hrist. Maybe one day she’ll get her own game.
has an undeniable following but never knew of a mainstream breakout – it didn’t even get the most popular standards The anime adaptation of the role-playing game gets at some point. tri-Ace and Square Enix are often confident in Xinghai colorful sci-fi adventures , and even now Valkyrie Elysium arriving a month before the new Star Sea: Divine Power . Maybe the game is too demanding, too complex, even too depressing and over-dramatic.
However, this also sums up their strengths. Even in the clunky outing, there’s something about and its follow-up. Here’s how the battle mix button mashes up to satisfy the player’s lizard brain while providing strategists with more complex background mechanics. This is how dungeons provide puzzles in a creative 2D environment. This is also how the game embodies the Valkyrie mythology in many ways: the fleeting comfort of noble death, the fragility of human life, and even the hope of transcending this mortal plane. This is a rare combination in any field – the reason still resonates with so many.