Review by Shogain

"Viva la France!"

Level 5 is a pretty well known developer, and a very well received one at that. Responsible for the makings of the million seller, Dragon Quest 8, and the Dark Cloud series, they bring you Jeanne d' Arc. Jeanne d' Arc is a surprisingly fun game, with a bit of a problem. Especially if you prefer anime drawings instead of...the arts in this game. I'll explain further on in the review. Anyway, to start this review off, I'll do the story section first.

Story - [7.5]
You start out as Jeanne, a simple villager living in Domremy. Living with her are Lianne and Roger, who're very important to her. Right away, the village gets attacked by the English army, and Jeanne seeks to avenge her hometown, with Roger and Liane. As the story progresses, the story gets significantly better. It's really nothing special, in my opinion. The characters have their own personality, and don't seem lifeless. But really, I can't take the story seriously with the character art. It's like they wanted to take the history of France, attempt to do a half-assed anime drawings of the characters, with a typical Japanese rpg story. Overall, the story isn't bad, nor is it boring. I give the story a solid 7.5 out of 10.

Gameplay - [8.3]
Ah, the highlight of the game. Not only is the gameplay charming, it's rather fun and user friendly. If your familiar with strategy rpg games, then you'll easily get used to Jeanne d' Arc's premise. First of all, its a grid-based tactics game, and you choose the units you want to pick for the battles. After you pick them, you move them and strategize ahead. Whether attacking them from behind or using one of your characters as bait, it's all here. Simple, isn't it? Well, there are elements that enhance the game. Such include the burning auras, armlet form, and the unified guard system. First of all, burning auras increase the amount of dmg you inflict when your in a panel that has a burning aura in it. To make a burning aura, you'll simply have to land a hit on the enemy, and a burning aura will appear in the panel behind it. Another element is the armlets. These armlets let the wielders change into a more powerful version of themselves. Only a select few have such armlets. These armlets give them a new look, and new attacks. For the guard system, when your units are together, they take lesser damage than normal, if they were alone. All of this may sound simple to you, but they're actually pretty neat ideas. The gameplay doesn't get boring, nor is it too difficult. I didn't find the difficulty in this game hard at all. In conclusion, I find the gameplay the main attraction.

Graphics - [8.5]
Amazing. The 3-D environments and character models are done very well. They pop out in color, and feel very alive. Level 5 did a fantastic job with the 3-D graphics. But, what they fail at were the 2-D arts. Not only did the character designs annoyed me, the way they attempted at a different approach bothered me more. I really don't know what they were thinking about the character designers they hired, but please, no more. They aren't as bad as I say they are, but wow. Overall, I give the graphics an 8.5 out of 10.

Sound/Music - [8.0]
Outstanding and annoying at the same time. The way they made the music related to France is very good, but it can get pretty annoying afterwards. Like, you'll hear the occasional corny, happy-go Irish/English jig. But enough of that. The soundtrack is still good, and I had no problems with it. The voice actors did a pretty swell job. They matched the characters and their personality pretty well. For the sound, it's nothing too special, but it's still good. You'll hear the gusts of wind as you use a wind spell, or the crushing of ice. In conclusion, the sound/music was good.

Final Word -
If your looking for a fun, and lengthy strategy rpg game, then this is the game for you. Whether you'll like the characters or not, it's your opinion. You really aren't missing out much if you don't play this game, however. Even so, the game was fun while it lasted.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/13/09

Game Release: Jeanne d'Arc (US, 08/21/07)

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