La Pucelle: Tactics

February 28, 2005

[floatleft][/floatleft]The tactical role-playing genre has finally started to catch on. The years past have seen some games fly below the radar only to end up with nines and tens in the review listings. Nippon Ichi’s [i]Disgaea: Hour of Darkness[/i] won many accolades and is one of Snackbar’s must-haves. Well Nippon Ichi has done it again with its latest incarnation of humorous tactical role-playing in [i]La Pucelle: Tactics[/i].

[heading]This game has a lot of moxy[/heading]

One of developer Nippon Ichi’s trademarks is over the top characters and game play. [i]La Pucelle: Tactics[/i] is full of both of those. You are part of a special ops demon-hunting squad fresh out of training. Your group consists of the sassy Prier, her brother Culotte, and the teacher Alouette (see a French theme). Together they are on a mission from their God, and it’s up to you to control the party.

Gameplay is simple in execution but deep in development. Much like [i]Disgaea[/i], your team gets its turn before the enemy, and each character gets a certain amount of space in which to move. Basically, the frontline bad guys get a whooping first. You level, learn new abilities, and gain stats and items that affect your characters. Unfortunately, you cannot pick up your allies and toss them around. But that doesn’t take away from the cool stuff you can do.

[floatright][/floatright]Each character has special attacks and techniques, but it’s the ability to purify that takes the cake. You can purify enemies and have them join your team. Think of it as on-the-spot rebuking evil. If you purify an enemy successfully, they join your ranks, be it as fodder (go bats) or as a bad-ass comrades. Purification, however, doesn’t stop at enemies. Dark portals are scattered throughout the battle maps. Dark portals allow monsters to spawn into the fray, as well as affect characters that are standing upon them. Needless to say, you want to get rid of the dark portals ASAP. You can use them to your benefit by changing their direction and purifying them, sending an attack on all the baddies that stand upon them. Of course, it’s a hell of a lot deeper than that, but I would be here all day writing about the battle system. It’s deep, good, and everything you expect from a tactical RPG. Trust me.

[heading]OG 2D 2 Thumbs Up[/heading]

Old-school graphics return to create a colorful world of demons and ass-kicking. The animation is simple, but simple is better than overdoing it. If you can look past a non-flashy, 3D bells-and-whistles-laden game and see what [i]La Pucelle[/i] truly has to offer, you will find a game that begs to be played. The graphics, sound, and incredible voice-acting all score high marks. While [i]La Pucelle[/i] is the simpler and lesser of the Nippon Ichi family, that is not a bad thing. This is a great game to start the genre on. I highly recommend it to add to your library.

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.