La Pucelle: Tactics
|a game by||Mastiff|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 2 reviews, 3 reviews total|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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If you liked last fall's offbeat hit Disgaea, chances are youre some sort of demon fetishist. Odds are youll also want its pseudo-prequel, La Pucelle: Tactics. Though it focuses on demon hunters rather than demons, the same risque humor and quaint hand-drawn graphics will be there for those who fear change. For those who dont, expect a very different battle system that focuses on directing the flow of energy and enlisting monsters midbattle.
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If you played last fall's cult hit Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, you'll experience an odd bout of deja vu with La Pucelle: Both games hail from the same developer and feature similar-looking characters, enemies, items, and battles. And tragically, in this case, "similar-looking" translates to "looks like a Game Boy Advance game.
La Pucelle's story line can't quite measure up to the devious hilarity of its acid-tongued cousin, but it's still pretty easy to get wrapped up in this anime-influenced tale of ass-kicking holy crusaders battling a rival church. While the narrative's great, combat provides the game's true source of addiction--coordinating team attacks, monster recruitment, and a wild series of Dark Energy summons makes every tactical melee a blast. Plus, this seemingly little game belies massive depth: Questing after each chapter's "good ending" and exploring the entirely optional Dark World stages will keep completists in the fray for eons."]
Just as I was doubled over, puking because of this game's sickly sweet, made-for-idiot-toddlers dialogue and characters, the story line jammed an ice pick in my back with terrifying plot twists, including murder victims with their hearts torn out. Is this a kid's game or not? No matter--the gameplay will keep hardcore gamers sated for weeks, long after the sugar-and-spice candy coating has numbed their brains to death. This game has it all: monsters to capture and raise, upgradeable items and spells, and incredibly rich character customization.
Really, it's hard to find a game in which the normally tedious process of raising your party's stats is such unbridled fun. What's the secret? A mixture of innovative game rules (the "dark tiles," like Disgaea's geo panels, turn some battles into miniature puzzles) and nearly endless army customization. Of course, you'll be completely befuddled for the first hour or two, but once it all clicks, you'll find La Pucelle difficult to put down."]
Tactics titles, although often somewhat behind the times on visuals, present an addictive and entertaining style of gameplay. That said, I don't think I've ever seen a tactics game as 'cute' as La Pucelle: Tactics, from the simple animation style graphics to the catchphrase on the back of the box, 'You can only be so darling when you're hunting demons.'? Demon hunting is the name of the game, and set amidst an RPG backdrop, you'll be engaged in tactics style gameplay for what the publishers claim could be upwards of 120 hours. Now, I haven't been able to play through all that length, but starting out at just a few hours, it's already providing a rich gameplay experience.
In terms of gameplay, La Pucelle: Tactics is deep in the same way that Mt. Everest is high. There's a rather massive amount of stuff to do with each character, and a great number of ways in which you can combine these actions. For starters, LPT makes your job much easier by practically forcing you to take advantage of teamwork. It's hard to actually not use the group tactics because of the way the game is built. Additionally, special areas of the map work as creature spawn points, but can also be used to create powerful combos and special attacks. The graphics could certainly use some work, although each fight in tactics mode switches to a side perspective fight animation, something to keep one entertained.
Although newer, La Pucelle: Tactics is actually the older cousin to Disgaea, and as a result, is not quite as advanced as the older, very successful title. Still, the developers of this title knew what they were doing with both games, and I think this shows that they had the formula down from the start. La Pucelle: Tactics still looks quite dated, but it performs quickly, efficiently, and with a great deal of seriously hardcore game mechanic goodness. If you're into jacking monsters out of their XP, treasure, and items for hours on end, La Pucelle: Tactics is for you.