The Valkyrie Profile series has always hidden its quiet inventiveness behind a muted colour palette and melancholic ambiance. In part that’s due to the subject matter. The eponymous Valkyrie is, after all, the Norse personification of Death - scythe replaced by silver saber, black hooded cloak swapped for the blue, white and gold armour of a Scandinavian goddess.
Developer tri-Ace has always cast the player in her role. The task is to usher mortals into the afterlife while their loved ones crumple in mourning on Earth. But for this, the first DS instalment in the series, the roles are reversed. Players assume the role of Wylfred, a young man whose father perished on the battlefield and was carried off by the Valkyrie. The family then fell into poverty and Wylfred's sister died of starvation.
He has become fuelled by existential rage, a bloodlust that will be satisfied only with the death of Death herself. With murder in his heart Wylfred is taken under the wing of another nefarious supernatural being who grants him control of a deadly feather. This tool that can be used to end the life of any of his comrades, and each execution carries the boy one step closer to his improbable quarry. So begins one of the darkest and most remarkable revenge tales ever told in a videogame.