What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game is based on the life of Jeanne D'Arc but takes exceptional liberties with recorded events. Numerous references are made to God and heaven, and Jeanne believes God is the "Heavenly Voice" that guides her to take up arms against the English and to use a special armlet that grants her extra powers in battle.
What's it about?
The game puts a fantasy twist on the story of Jeanne D'Arc, the 15th-century French peasant girl who, guided by "divine voices" in her head, participated in several key battles that helped to drive English invaders out of France during the Hundred Years War. Although Jeanne D'Arc references historical people and places, it quickly evolves into a fantasy epic complete with elves, dwarves, and talking beasts. After demons controlled by an English commander burn down Jeanne's village, she decides to raise an army to confront them.
Each side takes turns guiding their soldiers' movements on a grid that represents the battlefield. Players can lose it all if their soldiers are defeated, if Jeanne falls in battle, or if they run out of turns. New character abilities are introduced gradually by way of tutorials, and players must constantly come up with increasingly sophisticated strategies for different terrains and scenarios.
Is it any good?
There's something about turn-based strategy games that works particularly well on portable systems, and JEANNE D'ARC is no exception. With more than 40 well-designed and beautiful environments to play, 14 playable characters, and fully voiced animated cut scenes, Jeanne D'Arc deserves to become a classic. It strikes the right balance between being challenging enough for strategy buffs but not overwhelming players with too many unit types, menus, and skills.
The only time Jeanne D'Arc gets tedious is when you have to "level up" characters between battles by fighting in a series of random encounters. Unfortunately, if you've saved just before a major confrontation but find that your army isn't strong enough, there's no way of exiting back to the map screen -- so essentially you're stuck. If you're patient and willing to spend the extra time, however, Jeanne D'Arc is a strategy title with rich rewards – even if the plot will give your history teacher a fit.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the historical figure of Jeanne D'Arc and why she's considered to be such an important symbol to the citizens of France. Why was she not taken seriously at the beginning of her career, and how did she overcome people's prejudices? What was life in France like during the 15th century?