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Review – La Pucelle: Tactics

posted on June 20th, 2006 by jay

The plot is decent. It wanders for the first quarter of the game before fully kicking in. I really enjoyed the villain because he was very human (as opposed to super villains who are emotionless, not aliens) and the cast of good guys was also nicely done. The game does tend to get a bit too mushy, sappy, and Tiger Beat, though. The emotional connection between a young brother and sister is good material for a plot, constant “Gee, I wonder if she likes him?” and “What’s this feeling I’m having, could it be love?” is not unless you’re writing episodes of Full House. In which case, I hate you. (And no, Bob Sagat is not funny. I don’t care how many times he says shit and smokes pot in a movie, nothing he can ever do will convince me he has a soul.)

Story takes a backseat to fighting in La Pucelle, like in many RPGs. The hours I put into leveling and the way the battles flow made the plot feel really disconnected. Most SRPGs, like say Final Fantasy Tactics, have plot before and after each battle. La Pucelle introduces a new area then allows you to fight on half a dozen maps before giving you more of the story.

Ahhh. 2D.

While the battle maps being in 3D, character and enemy art is all 2D and all high quality (besides the young boy who everyone mistakes as a girl). Enemy designs are cute but not Hello Kitty nauseating. There are a large number of attack animations for each character, though they are unskippable (which you’ll become acutely aware of after watching a giant cat fall from the sky for the 500th time). The soundtrack is quite nice, especially the boss theme. Unfortunately, there seem to only be about half a dozen or so tracks in the game. This becomes an issue after you’ve put over 50 hours into the game.

Despite its shortcomings, it’s easy to recommend La Pucelle. If you insist on characters being maxed out before promoting them, if you always fight until you have enough money for weapons in the new town, or even if you have ever just spent an afternoon leveling an RPG character, you should find a lot to enjoy in this game. The item and character building mechanics are robust and very enjoyable, and its numeric pleasures come nicely wrapped in high production values and a pretty good plot.

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  1. Stefan said on June 20, 2006:

    La Pucelle means “The Virgin” in french. I suppose that fits in with the whole theme of purification, but it still seems like an odd title.

  2. jay said on June 20, 2006:

    La Pucelle is the name of the church that the good guys are a part of. There is a lot of French in the game besides that, too. From wikipedia:

    “The Goddess “Poitreene” (which is a mispelling : it should be “poitrine”) for example, would literally be “Goddess Breast”. Prier is the verb “to pray” (while the translation in Disgaea, “Priere”, would be prayer). A culotte is a kind of short pants or underwear. Croix means “cross”, Homard is “lobster”, Papillon is “butterfly” and Eclair means “lightning” or “flash” (also, éclairé means “enlightened”).”

  3. Christian said on June 20, 2006:

    And if the review doesn’t hook their interest in the game, there’s always the fact that the heroine has a chest bigger that would make most grown women jealous. That freaked me out first time I saw it.

  4. jay said on June 20, 2006:

    What, there are 16 year old girls who don’t look like this? At least the staff isn’t obscenely phallic.

  5. Christian said on June 20, 2006:

    “What, there are 16 year old girls who don’t look like this?”

    Jay, there comes a time in a man’s life when…

    “At least the staff isn’t obscenely phallic.”

    Absolutely not. The developers had no intention of pleasing japanese and american otaku in the slightest :p

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