Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Jeanne D'Arc is a strategic RPG made by Level 5 (Rogue Galaxy, Dragon Quest VIII) on the PSP. Level 5 did an amazing job by re-creating the historical events of Joan of Arc by adding some fantasy in the game. It's not a well known game but give the game a chance and you'll be easily hooked.
Jeanne D'Arc is a quite simple SRPG game, it's nothing too complicated but still enjoyable. The system is pretty standard if you've played different SRPG games before. The game features with a "Spirit System" which each character belongs to an affinity (Sun, Moon or Star), it works in an A > B > C > A fashion. Personally, I didn't bother to equip my characters with an affinity and it takes a skill slot, but if you play your cards right, you'll finish battles even more faster. Speaking of which, battles are fairly easy and it's easy to level up. You deal more damage and accuracy if you hit on the sides, more if you're behind the enemy. You might find there's a lack of challenges but it's still enjoyable to play it through the end.
Every character you get is a storyline character and if they die in battle, they'll reappear in the next one. You can equip armors, weapons, stat-ups and skills along with magic in skill slots. Later in the game, you'll meet a purple frog (if anyone played Rogue Galaxy, you'll automatically recognize him and does the same kind of job in Jeanne D'Arc!) and you get the ability to combine skills to make brand new, powerful ones.
Certain characters in the game are "armlets" wielders, they can transform into a powerful unit for a few turns. (Kind of like a Power Ranger o_o) In addition, while it raises your stats, they also get a strong spell that costs a bunch of MP but it's nothing compared to "Godspeed". "Godspeed" is an ability that pops up when a character kills an enemy, you get another turn. If you play right, it's excessively overpowered and you can wipe the entire map by yourself which your character might be overleveled.
There's something I found it odd while playing this game; it's the limited number of turns in a map. Even though it's not quite a problem but it still bugs you because you cannot take your time to explore and find hidden treasures especially some maps are quite big and if you run out of turns, it's game over. For no reason, most of the time.
The main character is a female heroine named Jeanne that lives in a small town called Doremy. They are having a festival and suddenly, Jeanne hears a voice and goes to check out with her friend Liane. They find a dead soldier on a horse and suddenly, an armlet gets attached to Jeanne and they get surrounded by fiends. When she comes back, her town is set on fire by the English and Jeanne swears that she will save France from the war waging between those two. Jeanne has acquired a mysterious power, hears the voice of "God" and her quest begins.
The story is mostly straight forward, it might be slow to get into the game at first but the story gets better later in the game. The story is not quite solid or breathtaking and the dialogue is left to be desired sometimes. I think anime cutscenes are cool, I liked the way the characters are using a french accent, it's amusing.
The soundtrack represents well the medieval atmosphere. It's quite catchy but not memorable. The voice acting are well-made but sometimes I felt the voice actors were forcing their fake french accent on their character. It's not terrible but noticable. The sound quality is good the PSP.
Wow, the graphics looked great on the PSP! I was amazed and Level 5 definitely put their efforts into the graphics. The environments are great, no awkward black-offs in like most of the SRPGs. The characters are well designed and the weapons! You won't be disappointed.
I'm giving this a 8.5/10
"Follow Me!!!" - Jeanne
Happy Gaming! ^_^
Game Traits applied to Jeanne d'Arc (PSP) by Namzorz