Drawing from history but adding countless fantasy elements is Jeanne d’Arc a game for the PSP in the tactical role playing genre. Choosing to focus on smaller combat engagements there is all the depth you need to stay invested from start to end in this 2006 (2007 in North America) released title.
The heart of the story line is the 5 magical armlets that were created in the past by powerful heroes to help them in the great war that was fought against the demon army. Fast forward hundreds of years a new war has now arisen between the French army and the demon controlled English military. This is where Jeanne comes into the picture after discovering one of the magical armlets she takes it upon herself to lead the French to victory.
Starting from a small village in the regional areas of France of which Jeanne is one of only three survivors with her friends Roger and Liane you’ll rally an army to your cause and push back against the English demonic threat. The unique blend of historically accurate locations and fantasy is unlike anything else in the genre and ensures you have something that feels both relatable and special. With many of your objectives in each battle requiring the defeat of all enemies while not letting Jeanne fall in battle players are also constantly reminded of this theme.
In order to achieve your goal players will travel the fantasy game world that is reminiscent of a historical France in order to rid the locations of Orcs and other dark creatures that belong to the English army. These battles vary in size but generally involve up to 5 allies that each come with their own skills and stat development which can be further customised through all sorts of weapons, armour and skill gems which are found from fallen foes. Whether it’s the core story skirmishes or one of the various side skirmishes each battle takes place in a different map layout and is interspersed with visits to cities to purchase upgrades.
At its heart Jeanne d’Arc is a turn based tactical title with players moving their characters across the battlefield and performing actions from attacks, items or skills. Combining these standard tactical elements with a simple rock-paper-scissors affinity system (Sol, Luna and Stella) there is enough strategy to sink your teeth into from start to end without ever being overwhelmed. This strategic depth also builds up slowly as you recruit additional party members beyond your starting 3 that provide alternative playstyles for you to consider.
These special characters like Jeanne can use the powerful magical armbands to activate gem powers once per battle although aren’t as flexible as Jeanne who has access to a broader range of gems through her amulet. These gems each have a MP cost to activate the transformation and a set number of turns to charge while providing deadly powers such as extra turns alongside a raw stat increase.
Other unique notable tactical elements that Jeanne d’Arc features including a burning aura mechanic that allows heroes to line up behind an initial attacker for a bonus strike. On the defensive side there is also a unified guard mechanic that operates on similar terms to reduce the chances of being hit by an attack. Combined these two mechanics encourage broader positioning decisions than similar tactical titles and encourage a party focused playstyle rather than powerful single hero carries.
- Blends elements of history with fantasy for a familiar but unique setting as you fight across France.
- Create your team of heroes with Jeanne at the centre as you customise them heavily for a specific role.
- Use special gem powers to transform into powerful forms for new stats and skills to overcome tougher foes in combat.
- Unique tactical combat mechanics that blend rock-paper-scissors affinities with bonuses for grouping your heroes together for attack and defence.
- Available on PlayStation Portable.
Review Platform: PSP