Jeanne D’Arc Review
Jeanne D’arc is a strategy RPG by the now legendary RPG developers Level 5. Level 5 has taken the story of Joan of Arc and adopted it to a fantasy setting to create this amazing game.
(I Apologize in advance for the lack of accents on certain words)
The story of Jeanne D’Arc starts in Jeanne’s hometown of Domeremy during a celebration. Jeanne’s father tells her and her friend Liane to head to the nearby Chapel to look for their friend, Roger. When they reach the chapel they do not find roger but a fallen knight instead with a frog and a glowing bracelet in the bag. Jeanne goes to see if she can help the man and the glowing bracelet quickly binds itself to her arm. Shortly after this occurs, fiends that were pursuing the knight find and attack the two girls.
She and Liane handle the fiends with ease with Roger joining up soon after. They head back to town to find it ablaze with more fiends. The three head in battle where Jeanne hears a mysterious voice that tells her to use the bracelets power. She does this and transforms into magical armor. The voice tells her she needs to save France and this starts the story. Along the way you will eventually end up with 14 allies for battle, ranging from normal people, a rouge with a French accent that is so strong it is hard to read what he is saying, and a few animal/man creatures, one of which talks like Scooby Doo.
The gameplay is that of a very simple Strategy RPG. It is nowhere near as complex as Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea no matter how much of the gameplay you master. The game uses a turn based system where the player has a turn first, then the enemy. There is a limited amount of turns that can be taken in any given level but this isn’t an issue at all. However Jeanne D’Arc does take some nodes from the games I mentioned earlier. Similar to Tactics skills are not permanent to a specific character, they have to be equipped. To this end the game uses a Skill Stone system. At the beginning of the game the characters start with 3 slots and as they level up they will gain additional slots.
There are a variety of skill stones throughout the game, some useful, some not. One set of skill stones can make, break or do nothing for a party. Similar to the old style of elemental balance, this beats this which beats this which beats the first this (sorry if that’s confusing) with the game containing three elements. They are Sol, Stella, and Luna. Sol beats stella which beats luna which beats sol. You can equip Skill stones that increases one of these to a certain level and if you encounter an enemy of Stella and you have Sol equipped you will do extra damage, the opposite is also true and you can deal less damage. At a certain point in the game you will gain the ability to combine skill stones to create new ones. This is extremely useful to create more powerful attack techniques or support skills, such as more HP or MP.
You will encounter more bracelet wearers throughout the story, others who can transform like Jeanne. These bracelets have sockets for gems. Each gem gives a new version of their armor with new abilities. Having multiple gems means you can transform multiple times. I should also mention that when anyone who has transformed kills an enemy, they are given another turn within the turn. This is called Godspeed, where they can act without waiting for the next turn.
Jeanne D’Arc, unlike other games of this genre does not use 2D sprites, it instead uses 3d sprites. These sprites work very well and add a taste of originality to the game. Instead of 3D cut scenes the game uses Anime styled sequences to depict certain story elements. In the anime sequencers voice actors are used and they are very well done, they are of course in English but with very authentic French accents. (the game takes place in France remember?) The music is good but nothing that will become iconic.
Jeanne D’Arc is a fantastic game for the Psp. Its fun, engaging and simple. Anyone can pick this game up and master it fairly quickly. Its not quite at the same level as Tactics but its a great game on its own.