Jeanne d’Arc is a tactical role-playing video game developed by Level-5 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The game was released in Japan on November 22, 2006 and was localized for a release in North America on August 21, 2007. Jeanne d’Arc was Level-5’s first role-playing video game of this kind, as well as the studio’s first production for the PSP. The title’s narrative makes use of various fantasy elements, and is loosely based on the story of Joan of Arc and her struggles against the English occupation of France during the Hundred Years’ War in the early 15th century.
The game met with positive reviews upon release, with praise directed at the storyline and historic significance of its events.
The player controls Jeanne and her party, moving them between major cities and features on a semi-historical map of France. Most new locations will lead to cutscenes and battles. Select points on the map are cities, allowing the player to shop for improved weapons, armor, and skills; other locations offer skirmish matches not part of the main story but allowing the player to improve their characters through battle.
Each character and enemy has an affinity to one of three phases; Sol, Luna and Stella, each which have strengths and weaknesses against the other phases, in a manner similar to rock, paper, scissors. For example, Sol is stronger against Stella, but weaker against Luna. Each character also has a number of skill slots; skill gems that can be purchased, won in battle, or produced by combining other gems together. These skills can improve a character’s stats or bestow offensive, defensive, or recovery skills.
The battle system is turn-based. Prior to battle, the player can manage character equipment and abilities, and then select which characters to bring into battle. On each turn, for each character, the player can move and then perform an action such as attacking, using items or skills; each action awards a number of experience points to the character. Attacks can be met with counterattacks, and the facing of the attack will also influence how much damage is done. Unique to the game is the creation of a “Burning Aura” which forms on the space immediately behind the target of the attack; a second character can move into that space and strike for extra damage, or if a character is already in that space, the Aura will move with that character and increase the power of the attack on that turn only. Burning Auras disappear after one turn.
Once the player has moved all their characters, the enemy turn proceeds in the same manner. When an ally is targeted, all nearby allies one space away from the targeted ally or anyone already supporting them, participate in a “Unified Guard” that can reduce the chance of a hit or reduce the damage taken. This guard also applies to any counterattacks made during the offensive part of the player’s turn.
Unique to Jeanne and selected other party members is the use of a magical armband that can be infused with gems. Each gem on the armband can be used once per battle, and only after acquiring an amount of power gems from battle, allows the character to become much more powerful. For example, Jeanne’s first transformation gives her a higher attack value, and while in this form, she gains another turn immediately after killing any foe. Transformations are limited to a few turns and the character reverts to their normal form once the effect is over.
Most battles have a required victory condition, such as defeating all foes or to move the party to specific spaces on the map. There are also specialized defeats, such as letting Jeanne fall in battle, or by failing to meet the victory conditions within a fixed number of turns. Upon winning the battle, all characters in the party gain some experience, and additional spoils of war can be obtained.