The long-awaited follow-up to tri-Ace's 2000 Playstation cult classic was finally released in September 2006, as a prequel of sorts to the original. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria features a revamped tactical battle system, a "break" system for collecting items, and the addition of photons and sealstones for new platforming puzzles. Silmeria, the youngest of the three Valkyrie sisters, has been banished by Odin into the body of Princess Alicia of Dipan. Together, they decide to join King Barbarossa in his fight against the gods.
Best time: 2:21:08 by Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols on 2007-05-30, done in 40 segments.
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Before I get to discussing the game, let me share a little about my experience with the Valkyrie Profile series. I knew a little about it from discussions between members of an old forum I used to go to, but the most notable thing I heard from THOSE discussions was that it was one of the most expensive games to find. From there, I didn't know much more until Josh posted his original Valkyrie Profile B-ending run. It was at that point I actually read some more about the game and found out quite a bit. (I have not actually played the original, but thanks to FAQs I have a decent amount of knowledge on it.)
The rest of my family found out about this game through a quite humorous incident. While my mother tried to play some of her music from my computer one day (I think it was during Thanksgiving weekend in 2006), she accidentally turned on music from the original Valkyrie Profile that I'd acquired a while before. On full blast. (I think the specific music piece was "The Joke of Truth", which plays during the Surt fight in the original.) I later showed her part of Josh's original run (the Surt fight specifically) and she commented that the game kind of reminded her of some of the 'books on CD' she listens to. Yes, an essentially 'book geek' and a 'computer geek' can have interest in the same subject matter.
Anyway, flash forward to Christmas. My brother had no idea what to give me, and he thought this game would be something I liked, so he got it. Oh, I was ecstatic. Among the things I got from my parents, I got a DVD recorder (took some adjustment, but let's just say it's helped). It wasn't much later that Alkaiser's run got posted, which I refused to watch fully until I completed the game. At first, I thought improvements over his run were minor. THEN tri-Ace Fanboy learned more about how the battle system worked and spilled the beans on it. Eventually I made a practice run, which got stuck on Arectaris.
Fast-forward roughly to late April, where Enhasa spoke up and provided a lot of notes. A lot of small notes, but the two that helped the most were a different Audoula route (this note I actually disputed with him before I tested it and found he was right) and a different Forest of Spirits route (I didn't question this one at all; I questioned OTHER Forest of Spirits stuff). Not much later, tri-Ace Fanboy made a suggestion regarding the Brilliant Peacemaker and Dragon Rib accessories, listing a specific setup against Dragon Zombie to demonstrate. One of his details on that setup turned out to be quite the bombshell, but I didn't find that out until I restarted my test run. Further details on the run strategy were not fully established until the test run and a half were done (that's right, my final test run before recording only went partway).
Anyway, if you want to read more on strategies and stuff, an entire topic exists. My serious entry into the topic is around the bottom of page 5.
As for the run itself:
I'm going to keep it brief for reasons that are explained a bit later. This is a segmented run of Valkyrie Profile 2 that beats the last published run by over 20 minutes. I can sum up the improvement in the following ways:
- fewer einherjar releases
- better choice of main combat einherjar
- proper use of battles
- more aggressive battles
- critical skills
- one REALLY nasty sealstone
- different routes through some areas
- slightly better menu manipulation
You'll notice that nowhere in that list is 'improved platforming skill'. I am mediocre at best as far as the platforming element of this game goes. And I definitely want to say that the previous runner, Alkaiser77, was WAY better at photon transfers than I ever was. You're looking at my better attempts.
Rather than spoil everything, as this is one of the few times I've beaten someone else's record and I want to savor the moment rather than write a book about it, I'm going to make short notes. But first I have some people to thank:
- Alkaiser77: He's the previous runner, and early on he did attempt to help me out on improvement. I'll admit, I used some of his segments to refresh my knowledge on routes through areas.
- tri-Ace Fanboy: Without him, I don't think this improvement would even exist. There were a few solutions and improvements I'd come up with myself, but in my opinion, most of the planning work was done by him. You REALLY ought to see how much he knows about the inner workings of tri-Ace games (Star Ocean, Valkyrie Profile, Radiata Stories... there's probably others) for yourself (hence his alias). The only reason I can't list him as a co-author (which I want to) is because all of the actual playing in this run was done by me.
- Enhasa: Among other random helpful notes, he came up with the idea to push the block the other way in Audoula Temple on the Lake, saving us some time.
- rashreflection: Without him I probably would never have paid ANY attention to the Valkyrie Profile series.
- Other supporters: This includes spineshark (random advice, which I'm in no mood to sort out right now)
and getter77 (emotional support), and there's probably others.
- My family: For actually being understanding about my speedrunning. Specific thanks to my brother who got this game for me for Christmas.
Okay, my short notes:
- You might be surprised at some of the einherjar we skip. In reality, it may have been okay to even skip Sha-Kon, but I decided against it because I wanted someone I could use to release Silmeria's Crescent Arrow. No one else could be skipped, either because they're mandatory (Mithra) or because not getting them would have disastrous results (Kraad, Celes, Zunde).
- Zunde was chosen over Phyress because Zunde has more heavy-hitting attacks and too many bosses in the later game resist fire (Phyress's element of choice). This also helps our einherjar problem because I don't need to release mages constantly.
- You might notice there are MORE battles in this run than the last (which is not typical of an improvement run as far as I recall). I needed crystals and accessories, plain and simple. Some battles are also done very differently - there was research put into each and every one. (I said I wouldn't spoil things, but I will point out one example - Dylan is used instead of Arngrim against the Kraken because Dylan has more damaging attacks.)
- You might also notice that I'm a bit more gung-ho about most battles. This was my major gripe with Alkaiser's run - he looked a bit timid. Sorry, but in a segmented run (of ANY game, especially this one), I prefer to have some CONFIDENCE in the domination (of whatever I have to face). You can always do it over.
- The three important skills that helped this run were Beast Bludgeon (for Griffon only), Giant Killer (which Zunde starts with for free), and Magician Slayer (for many late-game bosses). Descaling Might would have been used, but Dylan dealt half the damage Zunde did, blow for blow, against Hydra (hence why you don't see me use Dylan there).
- Unlike a prior practice run, I picked up a Great Eagle Heart early on to boost the damage of the main attacker. It gets use until Valhalla, when a second Power Bangle is finally within reasonable reach (a Great Eagle Heart is essentially half of a Power Bangle, although it doesn't stack like the bangle does). Other than that, a lot of accessory choices were pretty simple - early I needed stuff for critical skills, but later it's all the heavy-hitting equipment.
- This run is also a testament to one of the most dangerous sealstones available - Wrath of Forcefulness. Not available until Palace of the Venerated Dragon, it triples ATK but adds a 20% weapon break chance to all hits. I do lose a few weapons to it, but when paired with Zunde, this is basically half of the improvement.
- In a few areas, we changed our path routes, whether to get something (in the case of Royal Underground Path the first time) or because a different route was faster (Audoula, for instance).
- My menu stuff might have been slightly better than Alkaiser's, but IMO, it's not by much. I also forget to do things on occasion and have to re-enter the menu, though I tried to minimize this.
- Wyvern took many, many tries to get right.
- A very lucky Evolver fight happens in this run.
- The Walther/Gyne and Hrist/Arngrim fights were supposed to be separate segments, but I had thought there was an extra save point closer to Hrist/Arngrim. The segment was kept because of how well both fights went.
- Heimdall's the only non-pushover after this (due to lack of sealstones), but he went fairly well.
- The last segment goes a bit better than the demonstration I posted on YouTube some time ago.
I'll note some things that I think could be improved:
- It may be better not to bother with Descaling Might at all - I'd planned on using it but Dylan simply dealt too little damage for me to consider it worthwhile.
- Make absolute certain that you can fit Dylan in during the Wyvern battle and still get Kraad to release level. I didn't think I could do it and I had to fight two extra battles in Ancient Forest because of it (Dylan ABSOLUTELY needs Beast Bludgeon for the Griffon boss).
- Check to see whether keeping Sword Blessing against the Hydra is really necessary. I was doing it hoping Dylan would be useful.
- While we're on the subject of Dylan, if we're going to stick with Descaling Might, maybe get two Great Eagle Hearts from battles in Serdberg instead of one. That might put Dylan in range to help during the Hydra fight.
- Fewer purchases, particularly in Solde the last time we go there. I'd reduced them from a practice run to account for my reduced need, but I still wound up buying too much.
- This one's really out there, but maybe use several Warrior's Arcanum instead of one Apothecary's Arcanum when healing. The reason is that lower current HP will boost the abilities of the Dragon Rib accessory - the combination of Dragon Rib and Bloody Patch works optimally at about 20-25% HP.
- Determine when Alicia should get the skills that will be needed by Valkyrie. Early might not be better.
- Find a way to get Zunde to level 10 before Evolver. This would allow him to use both Fists of Iron AND Giant Killer - possibly speeding up that fight.
And that's all. I've been discussing plans for a single-segment run of this game, but I wouldn't do it for a long while because I've got other games I need to finish.
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