Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth

Valkyrie Profile is one of the most nontraditional games I’ve played recently. As with most anticipated games on my backlog, I went in with almost no knowledge, I’d only heard it was an action-style RPG, like Tales or Star Ocean. Of course, I also knew that it had some Norse mythology references, that the main character was a goddess, and I’d actually watched the bizarre opening scene some 7 years ago. As gameplay started, I was quite surprised to find out that it was a kind of side-scrolling RPG with a very unique battle system that’s not quite action-style, but not a traditional turn-based one, either. Furthermore, Valkyrie’s mission is to gather the souls of dead humans, not before the player witnessing their respective ends… Making it also a quite depressing game, even if Valkyrie is giving them “a second chance” – in reality, that is simply using their skills in the war between Aesir and Vanir, the war of the gods.

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth Cover

Game: Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth
Developer: tri-Ace
Platform: PlayStation Portable
Release: 2006 (PSP remake)
Original release: 1999 (PlayStation)
Territories: All

Valkyrie Profile is a strange game, but with numerous merits. There is a good main storyline within it, but sadly it is a bit too well-hidden. Much as I hate needing to use a guide to beat a game I’m playing, I must thank Erunion from Backloggery who warned me that playing the game normally would merely earn me the “second best,” and non-canon ending. The particular sequence of actions required to get on the path to the best ending could only be discovered by a first-time player by pure chance, so I have to recommend that anyone starting this game consults a guide in order to see the best storyline. It is a story of gods, but not the almighty, flawless beings humans see, but rather ones who, much like humans themselves, would wage war between each other, not afraid to put even the whole world at risk in their quest for ultimate power. Aside from the story, Valkyrie Profile’s gameplay is also a great deal of fun, even if it takes some getting used to, as it’s so unlike any other RPG.

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Final Fantasy VII PC coming to Steam!

Recently, Square Enix registered the FinalFantasyVIIPC.com domain, so we knew they were up to something. Today, thanks to Google’s cache, we have found out what. The PC version of the RPG classic is coming to Steam!

Final Fantasy VII Steam

The Steam version will apparently sport:

  • 36 achievements
  • Cloud saving (get it? :))
  • “Character booster” option – allowing you to increase HP, MP and Gil values with the click of a button (kind of like the fan-made cheat utilities that modified your save file in the original PC version)

The price is set at €9.99/£7.99.

No release date yet, but we should hear about that soon enough!

Source: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://dev.finalfantasyviipc.com/en

The page is password-protected now, but just click “Cancel” a few times and the text on the page will load. While nothing about Steam is explicitly mentioned, the fact that there are achievements and cloud saving, coupled with Square Enix already using Steam when selling downloadable PC game copies on its site, leaves little room for doubt.

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Vagrant Story

The second review of a game on the original PlayStation I will do is of a game that came out relatively late in the console’s lifespan. Like Xenogears, Vagrant Story is one of the less known Squaresoft gems. It is a single-person dungeon-crawler action RPG with a really unique concept and design choices. It’s also not a very long game – it took me under 30 hours of playtime to beat. Playing through it was a very interesting experience, and I will elaborate why.

Vagrant Story box art

Game: Vagrant Story
Developer: SquareSoft
Platforms: PlayStation; PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita (PSOne Classics)
Original release: 2000
Territories: All

Vagrant Story is set in Ivalice, the world of Final Fantasy Tactics, however, it takes place many years in the future and the two games are practically unrelated. The setting is medieval, with dukes, knights, swords, all that jazz. There is, of course, also magic, and already in the intro you see some very strange things happen that make you wonder just what kind of world is this game throwing you into.

You take the role of a single protagonist named Ashley Riot, and that sets Vagrant Story apart from most other RPGs – you have to watch over your character carefully because, if he dies, it’s an immediate game over. You do not have party members to revive you. Nevertheless, once you get used to that, you can immerse in the really rich gameplay and start looking for the best ways to use the particular mechanics for your purposes. An interesting thing to note is that Vagrant Story features a bunch of fascinating cube puzzles. You encounter them occasionally, and solving them is necessary to progress further in the game. But I’ll get to the specifics in a bit.

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Video Game Music of the Week – 11-17.06.2012

This week’s game music is rather special – it’s my favourite song from my favourite video game soundtrack… Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a single-disc game and, if you put the CD in your computer, you would notice that about 3/4 of the data on it was the music! The sound quality was absolutely stunning, as well as the quality of the songs themselves. There were classical compositions, there were more modern sounding ones – they varied, but all were top-notch. There was even the neat bonus of an extra track if you put the game disc in your CD player.

The Tragic Prince plays in one of the best stages of the game, the Clock Tower. A fitting theme for the badass protagonist, Alucard, to show off his abilities and destroy his enemies.

Composer: Michiru Yamane
Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Song: The Tragic Prince

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona

The best time to write a review for a game is after you’ve recently finished it, while it’s still fresh in your mind. I’ll usually stick to that rule on this site. My second review is of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona PSP remake.

Persona PSP

Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona
Developer: Atlus
Platform: PlayStation Portable
Release: 2009 (PSP remake)
Original release: 1996 (PlayStation)
Territories: All

I decided to get into the Persona series after I read unimaginable amounts of praise for the third and fourth installments on just about every game forum I’ve visited. And since I like being able to play through a series and observe its development in every next installment, I started at the first game, if by playing its PSP remake as opposed to the original PlayStation version.

Persona (or Revelations: Persona, as the original PS1 game’s name was) is a traditional JRPG by Atlus with turn-based combat. The game’s age certainly shows, with some of the mechanics being outdated, but there are also some very interesting ideas I had not seen before. The story is focused on psychology, if only on a fairly juvenile level, as the main characters are high school kids, still searching for their purpose in life.

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Xenogears

The time has come for my first review. For such a special occasion, I have chosen one of my favourite games of all time, Xenogears. Before I start, it should be known that my rating scale is in the 0-10 range, with 5 being average. I also do not give high scores very easily – for instance, only about 25 games I’ve played have earned a score of 9 or more in my eyes.

Xenogears

Game: Xenogears
Developer: SquareSoft
Platforms: PlayStation; PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita (PSOne Classics)
Original release: 1998
Territories: Japan, North America

Xenogears is a science-fiction RPG by SquareSoft for PlayStation. The main writer and mastermind behind the game is Tetsuya Takahashi, who later also became known for the Xenosaga series and, more recently, Xenoblade Chronicles. The game is considerably long, even for an RPG, taking 60-80 hours to beat. It is a considerable investment of time.

Xenogears is also a complex game. But, even if you are not a big fan of games that make you think, do not let that scare you away. Playing an RPG, one expects a considerable focus on the story. In Xenogears, that is also correct, of course, but things are taken one, no, many steps further.

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The Beginning

Welcome!

My name is Vlado and I am an independent video game journalist from Bulgaria. I am a newcomer in the game journalism field, having only written my reviews and articles on several forums on gaming sites like GameFAQs, GameSpot, Backloggery, UnikGamer and Netrunner2k2. Nevertheless, I have always received generally positive feedback regarding my writing and the content of my work. The goal of this project is to have a single point where my materials will be shared, and to establish another independent viewpoint on the gaming world, safe from any influences but my own impressions of games and the industry.

My systems of choice are PC, PS3 and PSP, meaning I will cover games on many systems from NES/Master System to PS3/Xbox 360/Wii. My preferences currently lie with the PlayStation brand, so expect reviews of games on PlayStation systems more often than others. I will comment about games I’m currently playing, write reviews of games I have finished, and occasionally post news and comment on the video game industry as a whole.

I truly hope you enjoy my work. Feel free to leave a comment, if you’d like.