DS Review: Valkyrie Profile – Covenant of the Plume

Why don’t you come on over, Valkyrie?

The protagonist is a young soldier, Wylfred, who harbours a hatred for the Valkyries, especially Lenneth Valkyrie, who used his father as an Einherjar when he was ten years old. To seek revenge against the gods, he accepted power from Hel, the Queen of Niflheim, in the form of a black magic feather. In Midgard, however, the two princes of the Kingdom of Artolia are enthralled in a battle for succession to the throne, with neighbouring nations Villnore and Crell Monferaigne monitoring the situation, ready to strike at a moment’s notice.
This is the first game in the Valkyrie Profile series that I’ve come across, I’ve heard about it over the years so I had quite high hopes for Covenant of the Plume. Square-Enix usually does a good job in bringing great RPGs to the DS, some remakes in 3D and others with touch-screen support. Oddly, Covenant of the Plume offers none of these and besides using two screens, I can’t see much justification for it being on Ninty’s handheld.

The top screen usually shows your stats or helps you remember what buttons represent your characters during combat, while the lower screen shows the game itself. The combat for the game is more strategic than most, but it’s not challenging in the slightest. You can just move your characters around an enemy and attack him as a unit using the buttons on the DS to deliver multiple, powerful blows. You’ll get a few extra spells during attacks which are pretty to look at, but nothing special.

The story of this game in the series is particularly good, I’m not familiar with any other but it didn’t matter in the end. I was gripped to the story, but if truth be told…it was the only thing that really interested me about the game. I found combat to be too simple and the rest of the game to be as basic an RPG as it gets, there’s nothing else about it that is really good, there’s nothing innovative about the game at all and ultimately it became a bit tedious at times.
As an RPG, the game doesn’t break any rules…it just doesn’t write new ones. The rest of the game is pretty standard and the only thing that really lets it down is combat, which is far too easy. But having no stylus control is just a mystery; it would have made moving characters so much easier than working out with direction on the d-pad moves them which way, it can be a little confusing at first.

There are some nice cutscenes in Covenant of the Plume, but the rest of the game is purely 2D and basic to look at. There is a lot of dialogue in the game, but it’s mostly just text. The only voice-acting really only occurs during fights and there’s even an option to turn it off if it bugs you, not a good sign.

There’s no multiplayer component of any kind to be found in the game, no local…no online, nothing. The game might have benefited from allowing some form of co-op, even if it was local. Maybe then it would have something unique that would be worth mentioning, but as it stands the game doesn’t have anything that great to see. It follows the RPG formula well; it just doesn’t do anything groundbreaking or different.

The Verdict

Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume is disappointing for a few reasons. Combat is simple and easy, while the rest of the game doesn’t innovative in any way. It’s a pretty standard RPG, which is ok if you are looking for genre fans looking for a game to pass the time, but those looking for something special will have to look elsewhere.