The VPL port doesn't look as bad as I'd been led to believe, at least at the beginning. Some environments might show the stretch more than others. The Jelanda-Arngrim senario has fairly forgettable backgrounds in my opinion - the dungeons are where it'll really show. The tinny quality of the sound is kind of weird, too. Their voices sound completely different from what I remember, but... then again, I've been playing the original lately too, and that's probably messing with my perception.
This goes without saying, but JP Jelanda and Arngrim are easier on the ears than the NA versions. It isn't always the case, but this time... ugh. Jelanda grates on me in English. Both of them over-act. I'm not looking forward to ten-year-old Llewelyn, either. >_> What were they thinking? He doesn't look that young.
Anyway, whatever. This is going to be sinfully easy - I'm playing on Normal so I can blast through the game and get my coveted FMV scenes. I've never tried it at this difficulty level. I know it has a few different dungeons, but I get the feeling all the stuff Normal mode doesn't have in chapters seven and eight will lead to boredom.
... I can't keep jumping back and forth between the different versions like this. It's fsking weird.
2. Unnecessary VP speculation
Like whoa, I almost feel like working on my story. I should keep playing. :D
At the beginning of the game, Freya implies this is the first time Lenneth has set foot on Midgard. Now, we know the seal prevents her from remembering her mortal life; since she says nothing about the land is familiar, yet we're told that valkyries are incarnate as humans until they're needed, I assume it must be suppressing more than just Platina. My question is, does this include memories of a previous task on Midgard as a valkyrie? Has she actually been there before in her official capacity?
We can't answer this, but why not throw the question out there? Now that we have Silmeria's game... dammit, I want a timeline. Where is the new Material Collection, Tri-Ace? WHERE.
If you consider only what the games confirm, we have this:
- Silmeria's awakening, at least as early as year 146, until 802 or later -- but how the calendar relates to Lenneth's game, I don't know. She gathers einherjar for over six hundred years; the gaps between einherjar deaths are such that I think she could have been wandering around the whole time. Only the second century is lacking in suitable corpses. :D This is interesting though, for reasons I'll explain below... if I remember. The Mists of Nifelheim happened on her watch if I'm right.
- Hrist's awakening. It's unclear when this happens, but at the latest she would have been sent to Midgard when it became clear Silmeria was not completely sealed. However, there's talk within the game that part of the reason Hrist is after Alicia is because Silmeria is breaking Odin's Big Important Rule that only one valkyrie can be active at a time. This says to me that either a) Hrist was already there for some reason, or b) this has been a problem with Silmeria more than once. (I'm in favor of her deliquency, personally.) Could be both.
- Shortly after the above (in the mid 900's), Silmeria is sealed and held hostage by Brahms, and Hrist is apparently wisked back to Valhalla, courtesy of an interrupted Sovereign's Rite. (Freya didn't try very hard, did she?) Forget Lezard's interference for now. His timeline is obviously going to be as screwed up as he is. :P
- A nice, vague "hundreds of years later," Lenneth awakens from her life as Platina to harvest souls for Ragnarok.
So, we have one awakening per valkyrie. Regardless of how many times they've been to Midgard, they know what goes on there; Hrist has a lot to say about Silmeria's mishandling of a certain einherjar (I assume Brahms - that's the implication), but she couldn't have been there personally if we believe Odin restricts their movement. Lenneth is mysteriously ignorant, but she obviously knows her way around Asgard, so she must have been awake there at one time before her "first" mission. Do they get to take breaks from their endless cycle of reincarnation, or something? NO IDEA.
Hrist's claims have to be considered, too. In VPL she's implicated as the valkyrie that sealed Genevieve, and aside from the scuffle over Silmeria, she and Brahms have issues that need to be resolved. (Oh gods, has anybody written them as a pairing? I'm morbidly curious.) She tells Arngrim they fought a long battle against the undead - I suppose this could be what happened after Silmeria was kidnapped in Dipan. There's nothing to tell us whether or not Arngrim would have deserted her without Lezard's interference. His decision depends heavily on what Alicia and Rufus would have done after Dipan, and we have no idea.
I toyed with the idea that they went after Brahms instead of going to Yggdrasil - it kind of makes sense to me, but whatever justification I came up with for that is at least a year old, and I'd have to look back at my old entries. ^^ While they have good reasons to dislike Hrist, I think they could have gotten over their differences for Silmeria. They managed it for Lezard, after all. It's possible they would have gone after him to get some answers too, since he was their companion for a while. Rufus was kind of pissed off. :p
Of course, if they don't go to Yggdrasil, they don't need the ghoul powder, which means Alicia would be alive. That would severely limit her capability, if gameplay is anything to go by. She had to be undead to pull off a complete divine attack. There's also the minor problem that she might be killed-- and wouldn't it be delightfully ironic if Hrist made use of her, then? Ahahahah. That's an ugly idea.
Well. I guess what I'm really thinking about is Brahms.
I can't decide if Silmeria knew where he was hiding or not. Why wouldn't she? Can einherjar hide anything from their valkyries? It doesn't seem so. There's also the question of how she "helped" him - what favor it was that he wanted to return. The game says Odin was after him to replace the Orb before Silmeria was put out of commission, and that he transferred himself into Dylan - who died in 800, right around the time Silmeria stopped gathering warriors - but while it says he concealed his identity and implies she doesn't know, I find that hard to believe. Taking him as an einherjar means taking him into her own soul, and the games keep hitting us over the head with hints that this connection is something special.
And then! Forgetting their common goal (giving Odin an ass-kicking), what other connections are there between them? I can't believe the game didn't tell us anything about this. I'm actually fond of the fanon assumption that he has a crush on her. There are various doujin and fan art pieces to this effect in Japan. XD But, I mean... we keep getting instances of einherjar doing extraordinary things for their valkyries, and sometimes even the other way around. It seems to be a revolving door for most of them, but there are always those few special humans that form a real connection with their... err, host? It's interesting that Hrist's situation is the other way around - while I don't get the sense that her einherjar are very close to her, nor that she's the type to let that happen, she herself is clearly attached to them.
I'm not even sure where this is going anymore. To think all of this came from the MC's reassuring confirmation of Artolia's demise after Jelanda dies, and I didn't even touch on that topic. Stupid Brahms. :p