Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (Nintendo DS)

Even though the game is third in its series (being preceded by Valkyrie Profile and VP 2: Silmeria), players do not need to be familiar with the previous efforts to enjoy Square Enix’s latest offering for the Nintendo DS. The title, which was released only in November of last year for the Japanese market, surrounds Wylfred, which has been given a bad lot in life. Rather than merely accept that, Wylfred spends the game joining up with allies in the hope that ey can turn eir life around.

The interesting thing about Valkyrie Profile comes in the mapping of characters to specific buttons in battles; where most games would have individual attacks be the norm, Square-Enix has really changed up the familiar style. This gambit is a winning one, as it combines with the game’s solid (for the DS) graphics and innovations (the EN gauge) to make a title that stands head and shoulders beyond other titles in the series. The soundtrack to the game may sound familiar to individuals; Motoi Sakuraba has matched well arrangements with the tone of the game, just as ey did during the previous two efforts. A particularly good set of instrumental creations come forth during the aforementioned battles, which properly imbue the gamer’s experience with something that few other titles can truly bring to the table.

For me, the game reminds me of Shining Force, both in terms of overall quality and game play style. If you like classic RPGs in that vein, you will find a solid chunk of game play to be had in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume. While the third game may have been a few years in waiting, the numerous additions and tweaks that Square Enix has placed into the title more than merits any delay in the title. With a number of solid efforts this year already, 2009 is shaping up to be one of the best Square-Enix years in recent memory. Kudos.

Rating: 8.6/10

Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (Nintendo DS) / 2009 Square Enix / http://www.square-enix.com

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