Six hit combo.
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria for the Playstation 2 had four open stations with the demo playing, so I decided to spend a little bit of my time at E3 giving the game a shot. Having never played Valkyrie Profile, it was brand new, but really exciting.
Firstly, the game, as the title implies, is set in two-dimensional worlds; the character you control will have to make sideways jumps and traverse through old-school feeling corridors to progress throughout the game. "Two-dimensional", however, is a bit of a misnomer, because despite the flat movement, the graphics are beautifully rendered in smooth three-dimensional goodness and the game looks awesome.
As I walked along inside a cave of sorts, I discovered several other features about the game. By press of a button, my character could jump, slash with a sword, or shoot photons. Instead of engaging in battle when an enemy appears, I could shoot a well-placed photon to encase them in a crystal, and then use the enemy as a platform. Shooting them with another photon would immediately swap my character's and the enemy's locations. These small elements created a kind of built-in depth to the exploration.
They look like they just stepped out of Middle Earth.
Coming into contact with an enemy transports the group to a fully three-dimensional battle arena in a vaguely Star Ocean-like battle system (though not really.) In battle, I controlled four party members, who were each assigned to one button; by pressing that button, that character would attack the closest enemy, and by chaining attacks together, massive strings of damage could be inflicted. I could make all party members dash towards or away from the enemies with the R button, and I was even able to split my team into two groups using the D-pad in order to create more strategic battle plans. The menu can be accessed during combat to cast a spell or use an item, but doing so renders the menu unusable for about ten seconds, so a certain amount of budgeting is immediately involved, making things a bit more interesting. Also, every battle had a "leader" which upon defeat would grant the party victory; thus, not all enemies necessarily have to be destroyed in every encounter. The battle system seemed a little bit complicated at first, but progressed very smoothly. Combat was usually pretty involving, in a refreshing way.
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria looks like a lot of fun, and has some real potential to be a great game that's a bit "off the beaten path." I'm looking forward to playing more upon its release!