Jeanne d’Arc, PSP

This interesting 2006 release is based loosely on the story of Joan of Arc and her struggles against the English occupation of France during The Hundred Year War of the 15th Century.

Jeanne d’Arc is a cutesy fantasy adventure with magic and tactical combat sections (in the style of Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics), developed by Japanese video game developer Level-5.

While the dialogue is somewhat simplistic, Jeanne d’Arc does have some excellent characterisation, and the combat is very good, so it’s a game very much worth exploring.

As the opening of the game progresses Jeanne finds a magical bracelet that transforms her into some kind of knight in shining armour, but its use appears unreliable. Finding out what the bracelet does is key to the story.

Jeanne d’Arc is essentially broken down into three different sections. The first is the overhead map screen, from which you choose places to visit. The second is an isometric (and fully-rotating) battle map, upon which combat takes place. And finally there are the cut scenes, which drive the story along, and are either anime-style videos or in-engine dialogue scenes.

Battles are turn-based and are played-out by the player using a simple cursor and select system. What is good about combat is that it contains a number of useful features that aren’t seen in other, similar games, such as ‘Burning Aura’ and ‘Unified Guard’. And these are all explained with title cards as you progress. Combat is very enjoyable overall and is more subtle and detailed than it might first appear.

Jeanne d’Arc is a memorable game on the PSP – one of the best even. It is apparently still available on PlayStation Network in North America and Japan although I’m not sure about Europe and elsewhere. Look it up if you like tactical combat games.

More: Jeanne d’Arc on Wikipedia

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