Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
This game immediately captivates with it's (to date) unique premise of leading a party drawn from the ranks of the recently-deceased.
From a narrative point-of-view this offers the prospect of quite emotional situations, though I only found the prologue and 'Chapter 0' plotline to be especially moving (with the latter managing to elicit more sorrow from me than nearly any other game I've experienced.)
Sadly, this does not seem to continue with the events relating to the other protagonists' deaths. Many of them tend to pale in significance due to the sudden and hollow demise of your first two recruits, not helped by many of them being a little comical, unexplained or prefaced with so much melodrama that their culmination feels more like a relief than a tragedy.
The combat is very engaging and probably one of the most satisfying I've tried. No sign of the more familiar regimented and orderly assignment of actions with each character in turn, here the emphasis is squarely on the entire party combining their attacks in devastating coordinated assaults. Should sufficient hits be struck this will enable the characters to perform their signature special attack (or supercharged versions of their equipped spell in the case of magic-users.)
A chronic lack of in-depth documentation and tutorials does hurt the game. It is not overly complex but many players will no doubt wilt when presented with the skills, inventory and equipment windows. Perseverance is really the only way to appreciate the various nuances, but it is worth it. The developers wisely decided to include a practice option which is very useful for better understanding the combat and developing tactics with different character combinations.
Overall a faithful port marred by the inclusion of a of a cutscene displaying in gut-wrenching detail the effects 'Ghoul powder' has on a 14-year-old girl, which I would have been perfectly happy to never have witnessed.
Game Traits applied to Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP) by Alasdair