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File:Jeannedarc 8304.jpg

A Turn-Based Strategy Role Playing Game for the PlayStation Portable from the very talented folks at Level 5. It's based on the reimagining of Saint Joan of Arc's involvement in the Hundred Years' War as part of a greater war between mankind and the "Reapers," demonic creatures from the Netherworld. Cue the Magical Girl transformations, the half-human warriors, magic spells and, of course, the mystical armlets that make all of this possible.

Often called Final Fantasy Tactics Lite (although it has much more in common with Fire Emblem, down to the "attack -> counter" style of melee), Jeanne D'Arc is a surprisingly fun and intuitive Strategy RPG, where the main appeal is the character transformations into mighty, armored soldiers. The transformations available to each character are limited to the gems on his or her armlet, and they last only a few turns; however, they come with increased stats, special attacks, and the ability to move and act indefinitely as long as the character keeps defeating enemies. In addition to this, players can take advantage of elemental affinities between allies and enemies, a huge variety of class-specific skills, and the "Burning Aura," a spark of light created by physical attacks on an enemy, and which the other characters can receive to enhance their own power. Combat is generally quick and easy to follow; unlike other strategy RPGs, where character order is determined by their agility or speed, battles are split evenly between "Player Phase" and "Enemy Phase," in which either side gets to move and act at its leisure. Although this allows the player to gang up on enemies or retreat to heal, the enemy side can and will be just as ruthless.

There are no "generic" characters, as everyone in the party is part of the plot at one point. Therefore, defeated characters don't "die," but merely fade away until the end of the battle (unless revived with an extremely rare spell from late in the game). Job classes are also ignored in favor of character-defined weapon classes: sword, spear, bow, knife, axe, staff and whip. Each of these classes can then equip Skill Stones, which can be bought from stores, earned through battle or synthesized by being fed to the game's mascot, Cuisses.

The plot, although not as complex as in other games in the genre, diverges enough from the historical Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War to provide a multitude of plot twists and shocking surprises. It starts off with Jeanne, who, with her childhood friend Liane and their companion, Roger, becomes embroiled in the horror of war when an English detachment of soldiers and inhuman monster razes her village --acquiring in the process a mysterious golden armlet, from which she hears the voice of God commanding her to save France from the invaders. Thus begins Jeanne's fight to release her country from the grasp of both Englishmen and the army of foul creatures they have somehow recruited. Along the way, she will meet with various historical figures such as Étienne de Vignolles, aka La Hire; Arthur de Richemont, and even King Charles VII, many of which appear as enemies, allies or even party members, though all have been equally reimagined to fit the fantastic setting of the game.

Jeanne D'Arc is an excellent game, straightforward enough to appeal to more casual RPG fans but with more than enough depth to please even hardcore strategy nuts. If you like Turn Based Strategy and own a PSP, this is a must-buy game.

This game provides examples of (please note that this list may contain plot spoilers):

  • Action Girl (Jeanne, natch. And does a damn good job of it, too.)
  • Aliens Speaking English: The therions, the Reapers, the elves, and the dwarves... and this is a game set in France with French heroes.
    • Fridge Logic when you consider that if it's told from Jeanne's point of view, wouldn't they actually be speaking French?
  • Amnesiac Dissonance (Roger)
  • Anime Hair (Gilles)
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You build up a party of 15 people, but each stage has an arbitrary limit as to how many you can take into battle. This limit tops off at seven until the Final Battle.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil (or they are useless)
  • Awesome but Impractical: Nearly any skill that costs more than 70 Magic points to cast (nearly because there are some that cost more than 70 that are worth it), but especially the "ultimate" spells. Sure, you gain Magic points every turn, but waiting for your magic user to charge up 5 turns of magic just to cast one spell, and by that time, you've probably already killed almost everything on the map already. The upside is that most of the ultimate spells hit everywhere on the map at once for large amounts of damage and don't hurt your allies. The downside is, you have to charge another five turns to do it again.
  • Back From the Dead (as a ghost, anyhow)
  • Bare Your Midriff: Rose. Surprising, since every other female character in the game is dressed rather modestly. (Except the female dark elves)
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Jeanne and Liane were ordinary girls. Then war came to town. They became near-fanatical, astonishing soldiers whose only goal was to drive the English out of France.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Some of them open during the main story and a lot more in the postgame.
  • Boss Rush (the Colosseum, the final gauntlet of plot battles)
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Beating the Colosseum's third level of difficulty gives you some gold and an item you probably earned elsewhere.
  • Break the Cutie: Not Jeanne. Liane. And how!
  • Burn the Witch: But of course. It doesn't happen to Jeanne... but to Lianne
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Cuisses. Revealed to be the real Henry VI.
  • Color-Coded Armies: HP bars are color coded so that you can tell your units apart from the enemy units.
  • Cosmic Horror (Gilvaroth)
  • Counter Attack: All melee attacks (which includes magical weapon strikes like Heaven's Gate) are automatically countered, as long as the attacker is within weapon's range of the victim. Additionally, the Counter and Counter 2 skillstones allow targets to preempt strikes and strike first for increased damage. Sometimes, entire strategies revolve around these two mechanics.
  • Creepy Child (Henry VI, after the possession by Gilvaroth)
  • Deal with the Devil: The game opens with this scene, and Bedford allowing the Devil to possess his nephew, King Henry.
  • Demonic Possession: The Reapers.
  • Doomed Hometown: The hamlet of Domremy is destroyed while Jeanne and Liane find the armlet in the woods.
  • El Cid Ploy: Gone horribly wrong. There's a reason the game continues after the English manage to "Burn the Witch".
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Sol > Luna > Stella > Sol. This applies both to elemental spells and to attribute stones that the characters can equip, gaining strength over some enemies but also acquiring weaknesses against others.
  • Escort Mission: The Dauphin is an idiot who walks into arrows all by himself.
    • Fridge Brilliance, when you consider that he wasn't that much of a strong person in real life.
  • Everything Fades: Upon defeat, both enemies and allies simply disappear in a swirl of light.
  • Evil Overlord: Bedford and Gilvaroth.
  • Expy: Cuisses is essentially the same character as Toady from Level 5's earlier Rogue Galaxy, except that he doesn't talk. Until later
  • Face Heel Turn: Roger. He gets better, though
  • Fallen Hero: Bedford was one of the five heroes who originally sealed Gilvaroth away.
  • Fauxshadow: Gilles is set up to betray you with his looks, air of mystery, and true historical record as a serial killer. However, not only does Gilles remain loyal but Gilles is also one of the most noble and levelheaded members of the party.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Roger, Liane.
  • Final Death, averted: Nothing dies, except nameless enemy units.
  • Five-Man Band: Jeanne and her pals
  • Five Races (humans, Reapers, therions, dwarves and elves)
  • Foregone Conclusion: Actually subverted.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The player can cast area-effect spells or skills at squares taken up by both enemies and allies, and only the enemies will be hit. Conversely, healing spells only work on allies.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite that Henry VI is shown as reclaiming his own body when Gilvaroth was forced out, Cuisses is still usable in the final battle
    • Also, in the part(s) where Jeanne and Gilles is separated from the rest of the group, they can use the shared inventory, and the rest of the group still gets Leaked Experience.
    • These both tend to veer on Acceptable Breaks From Reality, at least from a gameplay mode. Making characters who aren't available not gain experience wouldn't be fair, wouldn't it? And Cuisses is the Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Liane - any bit of healers is useful.
  • Gory Discretion Shot (a character being burned at the stake, although you see her outline as Jeanne comes up)
  • Grand Theft Me ( Gilvaroth just possessed the body of Henry VI and booted the soul out, instead of giving him power as Bedford presumably intended.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: All elves speak in alliteration: "Sit still for a spell as I soothe the silent sentinel spirits." They pick a letter, then begin almost all words in a sentence with it.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Jeanne, of course. Also, despite what he was in real life, Giles.
  • Heel Face Turn: Talbot. Despite how many times you kill him and how he finally appears to be Deader Than Dead...he comes back again, but this time helps you.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Would you believe that Roger is actually Yuri Lowenthal? You probably wouldn't know given the lack of voice acting on his part, and the fact that when he does speak, he has a (Pretty well faked) French Accent. (Liane's is actually legit; her VA was from Rome and spent her life in Europe before moving to New Orleans)
  • Important Haircut: Jeanne does this after her hometown is burned to the ground and she decides to join the army.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Averted since everyone uses real least until you fight the possessed Henry VI, who attacks by zinging his teddy bear at whoever is within range. (Which is actually kinda painful)
  • Knight Templar: Jeanne comes dangerously close to slipping into this, becoming increasingly insistent on driving the English out of France after having been "ordained by God" to do so. Liane is even worse.
  • Jeanne D'Archetype: Obviously.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind ( Jeanne and other armlet wielders go into Roger's mind to free him from the reaper that is consuming his soul.)
  • Jumped At the Call (Jeanne, of course)
  • Just a Stupid Accent (Colet)
  • Leaked Experience (Thankfully, especially since Gilles and Roger leave at one point, and you have only one other lancer.)
  • Level Five Onix
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards (Averted, but then switched around a lot. Mages in this game aren't really that useful other than Richard, so really the only mages one needs are for Liane or Bellatrix in case of emergencies to cast Heal, and the only thing keeping Richard from being benched is the armlet from Having only two possible defined mage characters in the game, one of them being optional, doesn't help either, since Liane and Beatrix are hybrids. And while everyone's stats are technically linear, it's actually the archers who wind up becoming some of the most powerful characters, since Sky Dart can make them attack from anywhere on the battlefield and they can attack without fear of being countered, although they don't create burning auras, which can be an utter Game Breaker. Rose and Rufus, too.)
    • Colet fits this trope to a T, actually. He's not that useful early in the game, but upon getting better weapons that have a higher critical chance rate as well as the useful abilities that hit multiple times.
  • Mad Scientist (the Soldats Laboratory)
  • Magikarp Power: Rufus is a minor character with godawful starting stats. If you level him up he'll trump characters who possess the Game Breaker armlets which make everyone of the same weapon type who doesn't have one useless.
    • Colet is also rather mediocre at first, not being a very good attacker outside of his high critical hit chance; but once you get the Two Hits (or three hits) ability and he gets better weapons with higher damage output, your patience will be very well rewarded by not benching him early on.
  • Messianic Archetype (Jeanne D'arc)
  • Mission From God (subverted, as the voice from the armlet was actually a previous hero)
  • Mysterious Waif (Sort of. Male version of this trope with Roger. He has forgotten past and mysterious power that has a connection with Big Bad, which become important to the plot. However, his personality and role in battle are the exact opposite of this trope.)
  • Name's the Same: The Reapers are also the name of a street gang in In Famous and an ancient alien race in Mass Effect, both of which came after this game.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Cuisses. The therions Rufus, La Hire and Bartolomeo probably count.
  • Non-Lethal KO
  • No One Could Survive That (A character falls from a Great Height... into a river. Said character is believed dead for an entire chapter of the game and then comes back.)
  • Obviously Evil: Bedford, he even looks like he could be related to a certain whacko of a Catholic judge. Subverted, though. The guy was one of the heroes who defeated the Big Bad in the past. In game he's actually more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist who just wanted to protect Henry from the dangers of noble politics — in the worst way possible.
  • Optional Party Member: (You have a set of two characters who can be recruited, either another mage, or a completely unique character who attacks with a whip and actually acts as a thief)
  • Petting Zoo People: The therions are basically anthropomorphic animals, like lions, gazelles, panthers, dogs, bulls, rhinos, tigers...
  • Plotline Death (probably not the one you're expecting)
  • Poirot Speak: Colet again. Mon dieu!
  • Randomly Drops: Good luck harvesting those Heaven's Gate and Mobility skill stones.
  • Recurring Boss: Talbot, most annoyingly. Also Mawra, Blaze, and Slinker.
    • Despite appearing to be killed off for real much earlier on, he makes a Heel Face Turn
  • Revive Kills Zombie (averted)
  • RPG Elements
  • Sadly Mythtaken: So Joan of Arc was a what?
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Reapers are sealed inside human hosts.
  • Sealed Good in a Can (the armlets and their gems)
  • Seven Deadly Sins: A few of these are represented by the major Reapers: Superbia, Ira, Luxuria and Avaritia.
  • Standard Status Effects
  • Status Buff
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Cuisses is this to Liane, having the same stat growths.
  • Talking Animal (Cuisses, after a major character death)
  • Team Pet (Cuisses, during the first half of the game)
  • That One Boss (Tiamat. Also every enemy in the Colosseum II and III after Round 8, but Luther takes the proverbial cake and Counter 2s it into oblivion.)
  • That One Level: The Escort Mission where you have to escort the Dauphin to the church. He only goes in a straight line, and walks into the range of arrows This unfortunately makes this level quite annoying, as no amount of leveling will help you get past this.
  • The Lancer: Gilles. Literally as well.
  • The Legions of Hell: The Reapers and their assorted Skeletons, Fiends and Orcs.
  • Timed Mission: You have only a limited number of turns in each mission, which makes certain battles, particularly in the postgame, extra difficult. (Although some are a little more generous than you think)
  • Transformation Sequence: All armlet-wielding characters but one get a fully animated transformation sequence. During combat, they all get a brief lightshow when transforming into and out of their special forms.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: the dramatis personae, many historical events (such as the siege of Orleans, the assault on Les Tourelles,) and the circumstances of Jeanne's capture all correspond with the true history of the Hundred Years' War. We missed the part where the English army was led by an Evil Overlord and his Legions of Hell, though, and the hidden war between mankind and the Netherworld. And where did all the Petting Zoo People go?
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist (Arguably Bedford. After his defeat, Bedford states that his making a deal with the devil was to protect Henry VI from assassination. However, the said deal with the devil resulted in deaths of countless English and French people. Moreover, Gilvaroth actually booted real Henry VI from his body.)
  • Whip It Good: (Rose attacks with whips, and has the most flexible attack range in the game.)
  • You Should Know This Already Subverted. Given that the real Joan of Arc was burned to the stake, you could expect this version of her to follow the same fate. But she, um, she didn't. That was Lianne. Funny that Roger said that Jeanne's the one who should have burned.