So, did you miss me? In all seriousness, though, I totally did not intend to disappear for so long, again. Unfortunately, David Bowie, my birthday, and severe headaches all contributed to my delinquency. Oddly, I was actually working on a review for La Pucelle when my unplanned vacation started, and I’m going to give it to you this week, sort of. Well, strap yourself in, put on the Slipknot, or something else if you aren’t a maggot like myself and Yeager, and let’s get started.
La Pucelle: Tactics…
Nippon Ichi, the other woman in my life, took almost 100 hours of my life with the beauty that was, and is, Disgaea. Nippon Ichi, the game company who taunt me with the forthcoming Phantom Brave in the Fall. Nippon Ichi, that saucy pirate crew of strategy RPG goodiness who have seen fit to master my favorite genre. Nippon Ichi, the makers of the game I most avidly looked forward to all Spring, La Pucelle. La Pucelle, in the grand and mighty shadow of Disgaea, has to contend with the fact that it is not only a more serious and non-parody game than Disgaea, but is also quite a bit older. So, yes, if you lay down the $50 for La Pucelle, you do so knowing that you are buying a fairly old game. Not a knock on the game’s quality, just a minor caveat. That in mind, is La Pucelle worthy of it’s sequel?
Before you even look at La Pucelle, erase memories of Disgaea’s crazy super powered level 1000 demons, insane Geo Panel combos, and generic human characters. Those are all a part of the world of Disgaea and have no part to play in this game. (Well, technically, you can have level 9999 characters in La Pucelle, but I cannot fathom why you’d bother.) What La Pucelle does is provide a more down to Earth set of characters, powers, and fights. Prier, Culotte, and Alouette aren’t ever going to be demonically powerful…
Look, here it is in a nice simple metaphor: If Disgaea was a cute little goth girl with more humor and heart than she would ever want to let on, then La Pucelle is her pretty older sister that’s a lot of fun to be with and has a less cutting sense of humor. Unfortunately, Pucelle has a black belt sporting pair of ex-boyfriends who pop up when you aren’t ready or expecting it. You don’t HAVE to beat them, but you probably won’t get as good a time out of La Pucelle if you take the easy way out. There, a nice, spoiler free overview.
(If spoilers don’t bother you, there are two bosses that show up largely out of the blue that are way higher in level than your party. It is possible to get by without beating them, but you don’t get certain items and you don’t get a second shot at them. Ugh.)
As far as the Item World vs. Dark World debate goes: the Item World wins, hands down. While some Item World stages were impossible to completely clear, the majority of Dark World stages are unclear-able without a very difficult to obtain item. The Item Wold was filled with steal-able items and could be exited via Mr. Percy’s Exits. The Dark World is inescapable and there is no steal function. Trust me, that was a closer competition than the Geo Panel/ Dark Portal debate.
That is not to say La Pucelle is a BAD game, just the opposite. It is a very good game. Unfortunately, with Disgaea already out, as well as Fire Emblem, Front Mission 4 on the horizon, Growlanzer Generations, and Phantom Brave coming soon, La Pucelle is only a stop gap. Ask me again in December and you’ll probably get a different answer, but right now, La Pucelle stands as a pretty big let down.
Sorry about the short column, but I’ve got something cooking for next week. No, really