aerb (aerb) wrote,

Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria

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That is, Uncharted 2.

That is, I left it in Colorado, which means, instead of Uncharted 2, I'm playing Valkyrie Profile 2.

I'm something of a raving tri-Ace follower. I'll play anything they churn out, including the mediocre Resonance of Fate.

All right, it wasn't that bad.

For whatever reason, though, I have yet to get around to Valkyrie Profile 2. I adored the first installment, struggling to choose between it and Star Ocean: the Second Story for my favorite RPG, and I ground my way through the first two dungeons of this one before getting distracted. In that case, it must not be very good.

Well, I can't remember, so I started over.

The first game followed the Valkyrie, Lenneth, as she gathered einherjar, or dead warriors, to fight for Odin and Valhalla. This game is called Silmeria because it follows a different Valkyrie, I assume. The main character isn't a Valkyrie at first; she's Alicia, and it turns out she's the princess of Dipan (not a low IQ version of Japan; I see how you might get confused) with what appears to be a split personality--except that her second personality is Silmeria. She's not supposed to be outside Valhalla, as Hrist, dark Valkyrie from the first game, is still there, and having two Valkyrie among humans at once violates Odin's laws. Hence the cover.

That's fine. What isn't fine is how annoyingly incompetent Alicia is. Silmeria must come out to handle things whenever she's rendered useless and stuttering by a complicated situation, which seems to happen every time someone so much as looks at her. Case in point is Rufus. Silmeria tells Alicia to recruit him to travel with her after they learn they must take the underground path to Dipan to avoid Hrist, who has managed to shut down the harbor in Solde. She says "Ummm... Maybe you could go with me," and Rufus balks for good reason. Silmeria pops out "Bitch, I'm a princess, and I'm gonna take you to my castle and give you money and a house and have my daddy give you a job, and I'm gonna fuck your brains out," or something less Kevin Smith.

That was too hard for Alicia.

Silmeria then repeatedly reminds Alicia that she can't tell Rufus her second personality is a Valkyrie--or anything else he doesn't need to know. This is important because Silmeria ruins this herself in less than an hour.

In the mean time, I wander around, learn about status ailments and making weapons (I love you, tri-Ace), read a poem, read things I already know about the mythology from the first game at the chapel, and leave Solde. In the forest, I'm taught to use crystals, which you can't just throw at the ground, you have to hit enemies to make them, which should make dungeon puzzles more challenging. Then the battle tutorial. There's a lot more complexity here than in the first installment.

Each character gets a button and a set number of attacks depending on level and party AP, as in the first game. There's also Break Mode, which gives the party free hits. This time, however, turns are replaced by AP and a positioning element, where you guide the party across the field, avoid enemy attack zones, recharge in safe zones, use dash to be stealthy, and even split up your group to get the jump on the leader. All one must do to finish a battle is kill the leader, and the faster the battle ends, the more EXP and items you get, so there is incentive to sneak and actually use the new mechanics instead of rushing in, all guns blazing. Plus, it doesn't fall apart in favor of mashing "Auto Battle" like in Final Fantasy XIII.

There are reasons I love this developer.

The area itself is something of a tutorial, as I have to use crystals to jump, switch places, and bag treasure. The tricky one is the top ledge, which you can see on the map, but there doesn't appear to be an enemy. Still, aiming up there rewarded me with a chime sound, and I switched places with some kind of statue to get the goodies.

Back to the story. It would appear that a random staff lying around is all Silmeria needs to blow her cover, as she heads toward it, and a dead guy walks out of the crystal around her neck to grab it. A bunch of other personalitieseinherjar ask to be released, and she tells them to shut the fuck up. Luckily, Rufus can see all this, so he doesn't just think Alicia is losing it--like he already did--and it's clear he gets it. The only thing I can deduce is that Silmeria got tired of dealing with Alicia and is preparing to take over, full swing, regardless of Hrist or anyone else knowing.

That, and Rufus probably dies and becomes her love slave. Calling it.

So this game is fun so far. The plot feels kind clunky, like the Star Ocean sequels. Plot and visuals really aren't tri-Ace's talents, which was good during the SNES and PSX generations, but puts them behind moving forward. The gameplay is just fun, generally, and that's true here as well. We'll see what else I think when I pick this up again.
Tags: games
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