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Valkyrie Profile: Covenant Of The Plume Review

Tri-Ace shakes a tail feather on the DS

Valkyrie Profile is a series that has been around for ages and has always been a great experience, yet for some reason it has never garnered itself the success it deserves. Ever since it first appeared back on the PlayStation, it's had a constant stream of critical praise with those in the know quietly, smugly nodding in approval and stroking their beards. Maybe the distinctive brown tint overlaying the stylish graphics is an acquired taste, or maybe the Norse mythology plots were too much effort to crack. It doesn't matter. It's here on DS now, so you can put all that right by getting to know it for yourself.

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Yes, Covenant of the Plume is decidedly poo-like in overall colour, and it follows recent RPG trends by having a silly subtitle too. Don't let that put you off. This turn-based RPG offering is a great experience, even though the series' traditional visual grandeur has been reined in for the DS. Another franchise trademark, its side-scrolling adventuring in between battles, has also been cut, in favour of an isometric viewpoint seen in other DS RPGs. It's a shame a fundamental part of the series' character has gone, but it's not enough to derail the game.

Human Sacrifice

With a party of four at any one time, you'll take main character Wyl and his comrades on a journey of vengeance through what is a deceptively adult story. There's a nice contrast between the cutesy sprites and the sometimes demanding plot. No punches are pulled; famine strikes, disease kills and central characters are bumped off. In fact one of Covenant of the Plume's great ideas is having you kill off certain characters. The plume in the title allows you to bestow upon a member of your party a massive stat boost for the duration of a battle, which is particularly useful against larger enemies (and there are plenty of those). The catch? They die when the battle is done, so you must choose carefully who you sacrifice and when. When they kick the bucket, it stays kicked.

Disgaea's idea of having members team up on enemies for powerful attacks is the other key mechanic here. Strategy comes in the form of figuring out where to move your allies on the grid-based field so that all four can attack an enemy. As soon as one ally moves within range of the other, both allies' attacks can be used. Each of the four members is assigned to one of the DS's face buttons, and an attack meter ensures it never gets too random - when you manipulate it to 100 you unleash a super-mega-ultra epic slapdown.

Addictive, grown-up and rewarding, this sits neatly in the gap between Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics. Sure, it sits at the more hardcore end of the gaming spectrum, but this deserves to win a wider audience.


9 comments so far...
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  1. lui_gui Friday 3rd Apr 2009 at 10:55

    Is it anything like FF Tactis A2. If so, this should be amazing.

  2. MIIMAN Friday 3rd Apr 2009 at 11:25

    Is it anything like FF Tactis A2. If so, this should be amazing.

    So true. I love most SRPG or RPG'S.

    I might get this, looks intresting.

  3. Slayso Friday 3rd Apr 2009 at 11:31

    I wonder if my parents would be willing to buy me this, Fire Emblem and Disgaea for my birthday? They'd keep me going for forever.

  4. PsychoPikmin Friday 3rd Apr 2009 at 15:37

    Valkyrie Profile always interested me.

    May as well look at this...

  5. Starchaser Friday 3rd Apr 2009 at 18:43

    I can't decide what to get. This, or Disgaea. Depends on how much they are and what money I have...

  6. Mama Luigi Friday 3rd Apr 2009 at 18:58

    I'll have to get this over Disgaea since it's a new game and not a port.

  7. BOWIEtheHERO Sunday 5th Apr 2009 at 21:06

    O_O It's OUT?
    I've heard word after word. But nothing else. No hint of release date or anything else.

    I've played and completed both Lenneth and Silmeria. Why they didn't name this one after another Battle Maiden, i'll not know, but whatever, i'll roll with it. I'll get it as soon as possible then ^_^

  8. darkandy666 Tuesday 7th Apr 2009 at 18:36

    do wht makes me sad when i go into my local game store and i can never find any of these good games im still lookin for the fire emblem ds (i don't hav a card to buy stuff online yet) it annoying it happens with other stuff as well all these good games will never sell its stupid

  9. noodle link Wednesday 8th Apr 2009 at 11:00

    is it out now?
    i might get this or big bang mini from game when i trade in mystery dungeon darkness and portrait of ruin

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