Danbol Senki (aka Cardboard War Machine) is a PSP RPG that allows kids to build custom robots and battle them in a virtual arena. The art looks strangely reminiscent of another PSP game ... Jeanne d'Arc. The kids will probably want to look out for this one.
Level-5's Tokyo Game Show booth featured a Closed Theater presentation (much like their competitor, Square Enix). However, unlike the other JRPG overlord, Level-5 encouraged us to actually let you watch these trailers as well by endowing us with a DVD (courtesy of booth girl). Our favorite trailer of the three new games unveiled at TGS this year is for PSP: Ushiro, a horror-themed RPG that has you playing a ghost haunting his darling (in a not-so-Patrick Swazey way).
[Thanks, Jon C.!]
Level-5 is known to produce some of the best looking titles on the platforms it works with. For example, Rogue Galaxy is still one of the finest looking titles on the PlayStation 2. The upcoming Dragon Quest IX looks to push the boundaries of Nintendo DS graphics to limits we never imagined possible. Jeanne d'Arc, already nearly a year old in Japan, manages to still look marvelous by today's standards. The cel-shaded graphics and expansive levels certainly look impressive on the PSP screen. Add beautiful anime cutscenes, and you have a game that provides a visual feast for its players.
From the opening moments, the game tries to wow players with an impressive anime cutscene that sets the stage for the events to come. Although a bit lengthy, as many of the game's non-playable segments are, we were compelled by the high quality of the animation. The story, very loosely based on the classic Joan of Arc tale, strays so drastically from its inspiration, that it manages to surprise the player ever so often. King Henry is possessed with some demonic power, and Jeanne not only hears the voice of God, she finds an armlet that lets her transform into a armored warrior.
Level-5 didn't want to create the dark, brooding world that other adaptations of the Joan of Arc story had already taken. "We could have used all human characters, but we felt that it would make things too dark. By incorporating non-human characters, it's visually more stimulating as well, so we chose to put in Therions (beasts) like La Hire and Rufus."
Although this new story avoids being too grim, it does still have a variety of dramatic moments. But, will Jeanne's infamous death-by-fire be included in this PSP tale? We're just going to have to wait until the game releases to findout.
Level-5 is known for producing high-quality RPGs, and their foray into the PSP realm doesn't stray far from their previous works. Players are treated to a beautiful anime introduction, which segways into some impressive cel-shaded graphics. The production values are through the roof: the voice acting is superb, the graphics are colorful, and the story is filled with intrigue. Most impressively, the load times are brief, lasting only a second or two between each segment of the game.
The game's SRPG gameplay is a bit simplistic, but admittedly--we're early in the game. Regardless, the game does a great job at explaining the options you have available, and the interface is easy to navigate. As in other SRPGs, players must position their characters and try to attack enemies. It's highly advantageous to go behind an enemy: this increases your potential damage, and lessens their ability to counter-attack. Having multiple characters swarm around a single enemy has proven to be quite effective so far.
There's a lot more to see and say about Jeanne D'Arc, but it's pretty obvious that we're already quite impressed with this PSP exclusive. Unless the game progresses far worse later on, Jeanne D'Arc is easily on its way to becoming a must-own PSP game. We'll have more info on the game closer to its release. Until then, enjoy the new screenshots in our gallery below:
The upcoming PSP SRPG, Jeanne D'arc looks incredible. Three new videos showcase the beautiful anime cutscenes, graphics, and accessible gameplay. It looks to have all the things that make Level-5 games so good. We're still a bit iffy on the voice acting, but color us impressed by everything else. The RPG will hit the handheld towards the end of summer, in August.
Check out the two other videos, after the cut.
If you haven't yet, you should get really excited for this project. The team at Level 5 is known for their excellent Dark Cloud games and Dragon Quest VIII. Their upcoming game, Rogue Galaxy, is featured in the screenshot to the right. Hopefully, we'll get more news on this game around Tokyo Game Show.
[Update 1: Included an image from Famitsu scan. Gallery is available here.]