Aerothorn / Member

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Valkyrie Profile: A Failed Experiment

So I've been playing Valkyrie Profile on the PSP for the vacation. The game is very distinctive and does a lot of things differently from a typical RPG, and this makes it interesting. Unfortunately, it has a number of flaws, most of which come down to the same problem: a lack of information transmitted to the player. At some level, all gameplay revolves around making strategic decisions. The player is given information, and uses that information to choose a course of action that will be most beneficial to them. But Valkyrie Profile does not give this information to the player. One example is artifact collection. At the end of each dungeon, there are a few artifacts, which can either be kept or given to Odin. The player cannot keep every artifact he finds, so he must make strategic decisions on which to keep and which to give up. Yet the player is given no information on the items until AFTER he has taken them; and even then, sometimes the usefulness of an item does not become apparent till much later in the game. The end result is that there is no strategic decision; the decision is somewhat random, and this leads to frustration. For instance, in one dungeon there was an object called "fairy bottle". I choose to give it up. It ends up that this item is necessary to get all the good weapons in the game, and so I've made the game considerably more difficult for myself by not getting it. This is another problem. A single small decision should not have a huge impact on the game unless it is made clear to the player that it will. Otherwise, the player just feels screwed over. I could go on, but this is representative of most of the problems with the game; it's as if it was designed to be played with a guide at your side. To get a decent ending, you have to do a bunch of semi-random and unintuitive stuff. The entire battle system is never properly explained, nor are the stats on the weapons. This game makes me want to be a playtester. If I had been testing this, I would have caught all this stuff; I can only assume that either the playtesters were incompetent, or the developer chose to ignore them.