To be brief, this semester has been regrettably busy for me. Mixing together a full-time internship and classes took a toll on my free time, but even after it ended near the beginning of this month, I was so worn out that I was quite lazy about coming back to GitM. Not much else to say besides “sorry.” Anyway, I’ve got my energy back, so here we go!
In the few opportunities I’ve had for gaming, I’ve been enjoying the tactical RPG Jeanne D’Arc for PSP. In terms of storyline, I wouldn’t call it mind numbingly original, but the two leading female characters keep surprising me. Jeanne is headstrong and zealous on the battlefield, and she doesn’t succumb to the patriarchy’s expectations for a woman. Her best friend Liane slid into the background early in the game, but near the middle she bursts forth with her own courage and insecurities that have kept the plot engaging.
In particular, I’d like to take a quick look at one of my favorite aspects of many games—the transformations. Jeanne and some of her allies are able to tap into ancient gems to unlock God’s power, and the first change is accompanied by an anime cut scene. The clip below contains the scene when Jeanne transforms for the first time by unknowingly activating the gem. For comparison, it also contains a scene where her ally Gilles purposefully activates his gem.
Thank goodness for a transformation scene that didn’t involve an upskirt or awkward close-up!
To me, the two transformations are essentially the same. There’s a little Sailor Moon-esque spinning, a ring of light moves from head to toe, some shiny glowing, and bam! Bad ass armor and weapons! Not bad, huh?
There’s still a small difference, though—did you catch it? Jeanne ends her transformation with her hip slightly popped in an America’s Next Top Model pose, whereas Gilles spins his phallic spear before striking an aggressive battle pose.
In the game’s defense, this is Jeanne’s first time using the gem, so she’s surely a little confused about what happened. After all, she didn’t even realize she was activating it! Gilles also has experience with the gems, so you could say he’s more likely to be ready for action.
Still, Jeanne had proven herself to be soldier material before she ever transformed. I would have imagined her immediately hefting her broadsword up and giving it a practice swing or two. She certainly didn’t hesitate to do so when the game resumed after the cut scene!
That certainly has been enough to ruin the game for me, though. While more serious, Jeanne D’Arc is about as historically accurate as a Shadow Hearts game and draws out frequent, unintended laughter. It's also got a solid battle system with nice optional stages. The skill synthesis can be a little unrewarding sometimes, but that's part of the fun. If you haven't checked it out yet and you're a fan the tactical RPG genre, you're definitely missing out!