La Pucelle: Tactics
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-10-10 PS3 Strategy/RPG E10 (Everyone 10+) Mastiff / Nippon Ichi

I really appreciate thats ome companies are taking the time to re-release older games on current platforms. It's always a great occasion to relive the adventures or introduce them to some who may not have played them. Recentely, La Pucelle: Tactics was one of the candidates for re-release on the PS3 via Playstation Network.

La Pucelle: Tactics revolves around the adventures of members of the Church of the Holy Maiden, Prier and her companions Culotte and Alouette. Their job is to exorcise demons and dispose of lost souls and other monsters. On the opposite end of the character spectrum, we have Angel Calamity and the Dark Prince representing evil and corruption. Good versus evil isn't an original plot, but the characters deliver the story in nicely making it pleasant and amusing.

The combat in La Pucelle takes place on a grid, much like in Final Fantasy Tactics. The terrain offers different levels and some obstacles, and the goal is always to move in on your opponent in order to defeat all the enemies within a limited number of moves. The limited moves add an extra layer of strategy to the battles, much like in Jeanne D'Arc, making you think twice before you act so that you can optimize your attacks. Never leave a character exposed from all sides, make use of high ground, and attack from the sides and back are tips you want to keep in mind at all times.

Allies in adjacent squares may also aid you when you attack, but the same goes for your enemies. Supporting Attacks are a great way to dish out extra damage in a single move.

The combat also differs from other strategy RPGs in a few ways, one being visually, when you attack a member of the opposing faction. When this happens, the isometric battlefield view is replaced with a side view where you see the characters attacking each other. While these are only short animated sequences, they do slow down the pace of the battle when you're playing through scenarios that take quite a while to beat.

And then there are two unique features that make the battles more interesting, Dark Portals and Purification. Some scenarios will have portals which must be purified in order to get rid of them. Leaving a dark portal unaffected may cause more enemies to appear, making battles much more difficult. Purifying the portals will cause damage to the creatures standing in the respective colored squares, and it will also give your equipped items experience (with bonus experience if the items are of the same element as the portal).

You can also manipulate the colored streams to cause elemental effects, such as fire damage, healing, purification of monsters and more. If you manage to loop the stream around, you can create a Miracle, which is basically your epic weapon of mass destruction. But doing this is time-consuming and definitely not easy to achieve, considering terrain obstacles and that characters or enemies can become obstacles as well.

Purification can also be used on enemies in order to capture them, but keep in mind this may take several tries before you manage to catch one. Captured monsters can then be trained and level up just like your main characters, but you must keep an eye on their happiness or they will leave your army. Happy monsters may help recruit other monsters too!

Just like in every strategy RPG, you can't be in a hurry to finish it. There will be times where your enemies will simply act too clever to be defeated, while other times they will just have tons of HP, which will make you go back and level up before you attempt them again. This fact alone may turn off the less persistent gamers.

So how does La Pucelle: Tactics stands up so many years later? Overall, I'm pleased with my experience. I've grown fond of the silly over-the-top anime characters, the pleasant artwork, the funny banter and sense of humor, the uniquely strategic gameplay. While it could have used a visual facelift to go with the re-release (mind you, it is a PS2 Classic release for PSN), this is a game I'd recommend to fans of the genre.