|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tri-Ace||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Although I do take issue with the rules system presented in Covenant of the Plume, I have to say that the simplistic control scheme and semi-active battle mechanic were a good fit for the handheld. Despite menu-based gameplay being quite familiar and natural-feeling for RPG enthusiasts, I was happy to find something unique, which gave me the freedom to plan my tactics in advance yet attack on the fly. This is one of the best facets of Covenant of the Plume, and though the single-button controls make take some time to get used to, the simplicity certainly makes the gameplay interesting and I appreciate this unique approach.
As far as graphics are concerned, Valkyrie Profile looks about average for a DS game in terms of in-game visuals. Characters are represented by little sprites onscreen, and the different environments have a nice 3D look to them, reminiscent of older Valkyrie Profile titles. However, where this title knocks it out of the park in terms of visuals is in the pre-rendered cinema scenes. The opening cutscene was quite impressive and has to be the most visually impressive opener I have ever seen on the DS. Characters were modled with an amazing amount of detail, and the animation was top-notch. Although the opening cutscene does create quite a discrepancy between itself and the in-game graphics, I am always excited to see the DS hardware pushed in terms of graphics, even if it is only for a few minutes.
The sound in Valkyrie Profile is also very good. The music certainly fits the games moody elements and the dark, melodic theme music is quite catchy. Although character voiceovers are sparse, when you do encounter them, they are nice and authentic-sounding.
Generally, there are two things that make an RPG successful: story and gameplay. These two elements go hand in hand and as long as they are balanced and work together they will create a memorable experience. However, even though Valkyrie Profile: Covenant has a great story (one that is well worth experiencing) some of the more obtuse elements of the battle system (particularly the out of place Sin system) keep it from being a truly great RPG. While it is a shame that I can only really recommend Valkyrie Profile based on its narrative, the story is good enough that by the fourth or fifth hour of gameplay you probably wont even care about the issues with the battle system. Im not entirely sure if that is a good or bad thing, but with more than 20 possible endings, knowing what will happen next definitely kept me in this game, and I am sure it will hold the interest of anyone who picks this title up as well.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor