- August 23, 2007 00:00 AM PST
Jeanne d'Arc is a pseudo-historical strategy RPG that follows Joan of Arc through the last stages of England's siege over France--only in this rewrite of history, England's bratty child-king Henry VI becomes possessed by an ancient demon and calls upon monsters to aid the English in their attempt to dominate France. Talk about revisionist history!
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The unfortunate thing is that Jeanne d'Arc doesn't necessarily do anything new for the strategy RPG genre. However, what it does right it does well, and it doesn't weigh you down with some of the more cumbersome aspects it shares with other titles in the strategy RPG genre.
The visual style of Jeanne d'Arc is split up nicely between fully 3D environments and character models that resemble classics like Legend of Legaia and Final Fantasy VII. The anime cut scenes are also well rendered--as we've come to expect from these sorts of titles--they really lend to the game's charm, much in the way that the sequences found in Lunar did. The voice acting is also solid, which is yet another nice surprise. This also arguably marks the first time in video game history where a game's cute anime characters are depicted with funny little French accents, which is of no historical importance but is fun to mention anyway.
Battling in Jeanne d'Arc will remind many of Final Fantasy Tactics, but the complexities seep in slowly and are never confusing due to the localization team's awesome (and oftentimes very humorous) help menus. Every playable character has a specific weapon type that they are suited for, and from there are easily customized using three slots which can hold different spells, special attacks, stat enhancements and elemental attributes. The fact that developer Level 5 kept things relatively simple compared to the complexities of many of Jeanne's strategy RPG predecessors makes this game easy to jump into and hard to put down.
While basing much of it's gameplay off of previous games of its genre Jeanne d'Arc doesn't bring many new things to the table, but it does offer up solid game mechanics and a really nice visual presentation, while leaving the door open to casual or new strategy RPGers. At the least, it'll keep you busy while you wait for the Final Fantasy Tactics remake that is scheduled to hit the PSP soon.
Pros: Excellent presentation. Solid strategy RPG gameplay in the Final Fantasy Tactics mold.
Cons: It doesn't bring anything new to the table.