I’ve got to hand it to Mastiff, after the superb job done on Disgaea: Hour of Darkness by Atlus last year they go for the gusto and pick up its prequel; La Pucelle Tactics. After an initial review of Mastiff’s track record I was a bit apprehensive of the job they would do, but after sinking my teeth into a preview build I’ve got a bit of crow to eat. Mastiff has done a wonderful job localizing the title and has provided the game with a very good English voice cast, and has injected the game with a good amount of comedic dialogue.
I’ve you’ve played Disgaea then you’ll be able to slip right into La Pucelle without much trouble. A lot of the gameplay elements from Disgaea are present. But at the same time there are enough different aspects of the game that make it stand apart from Disgaea. Gone are the Dark Assembly, Prinnies, and demon princes. In are the holy church with a mini skirt clad female staff, purification practices, and a smart mouthed heroine who you might recognize if you played enough of Disgaea.
La Pucelle follows the story of Prier and her brother Culotte in the town of Pot au Feu, they are members of an elite demon hunting squad known as La Pucelle, they rid the land of demons and the like but are at the bottom rung of the hunting chain so they take care of little things like zombies and ghosts. There is a legend that goes a little something like this…
"Legend warns that one day the Dark Prince, beloved and powerful servant of the fallen Angel Calamity, will rise to cover the world in darkness. But where there is darkness, so must there be light. When the Dark Prince appears, so too will a girl known as the Maiden of Light, servant of the Goddess Poitreene and worker of miracles…"*
Of course Prier being the darling little servant of the goddess that she is, wishes to be this Maiden of Light, and the game follows through her epic adventure to do so.
If you’ve played Disgaea then you’ll notice that the graphics aren’t all the hot but at this point it’s not going to be something that is a deciding factor in picking up this game, same goes for the sound, both musically and effects wise you can taste the flavor of Disgaea that runs strong in this game, but it’s not really something you’ll be comparing it to.
The battle system is where things get shaken up the most. Gone is the ability to create your own allies. If you want friends you’ve got to make them the old fashioned way, through purification. While out on the field your human characters have the ability to purify monsters and with enough purification they will join your forces. Purification also has a second function. If you remember the Geo Panel system from Disgaea then you’ll feel a little familiar with the Dark Portal system. Think of it as a river of energy you and your opponents can control the flow of. Get that river to go in a complete circle and watch the devastation that ensues.
By the time you read this La Pucelle should be just arriving in stores, if you’re a fan of Disgaea then don’t miss out on another Nippon Ichi classic. If you haven’t been able to snag Disgaea but would like a small taste of what all the fuss is about then be sure and give this game a look as well, then you’ll get to see them in order. Unless the rest of us.
* - Taken from the La Pucelle Tactics manual.
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