Jeanne d'Arc is a tactical role-playing video game 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 has an amount of historical accuracy when it comes to the cast of characters, and contains many who were contemporaries and allies of Joan of Arc. This contrasts starkly with the many fantasy elements of the game, such as characters possessing magical armlets that give the wearer special abilities, and the suggestion that King Henry VI of England was possessed by demons and used them to aid his armies in destroying France during the Hundred Years' War.

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This review contains spoilers

Jeanne D'arc is a game that's been bouncing around in my mind for over a decade now. I played it at a friend's place on his PSP when I was little, but never got back to it until this April. I always thought that the game had neat systems from what I remembered, and Fire Emblem Engage's release brought it back into the spotlight for me due to similar mechanics in some ways, so I thought hey, what the hell, time to give it a shot after all this time.
Starting with the positive, from the perspective of a Fire Emblem player mostly when it comes to SRPGs, this game has a few very interesting mechanics. The bracelet transformations are similar to the engage mechanic, but more and less limited at the same time. They last less turns and cannot be used on turn 1, which is weaker, but they also give Godspeed (take another turn every time you land a killing blow) for those turns, which is about as strong as it gets. They also give huge stat bonuses and access to unique skills to boost your damage output. The final difference is that it can only be used once per map, per gem that your bracelet has, which is locked behind story and free quest progress. It's a pretty neat system, and I really like how strong it is since it ties into the gameplay pretty well. Bracelet holders are meant to be insanely strong, and not only is the act of transforming powerful, it also gives you an incentive to get a bunch of finishing blows with those units, giving them a level lead which further feeds into the whole "they are your strongest units" thing.
The mana system is IMO better than anything Fire Emblem has ever come up with for combat arts. While in those games you are either trading HP (easily recovered with a heal from a different unit) or weapon durability (literally just money, who cares) for a boost in power during battle, in this game you are trading the finite resource that is your mana. While in theory you could wait an extra turn to gain more mana back, because every map has a turn limit, you really do not want to do that if you can help it. There are items that let you gain MP back, but you'd waste one of the unit's turn to get it back, since there is no dedicated mana transfer type character. At best, you'd waste someone else's turn to use one such item, but then again, these items are limited so you don't want to use them if you can help it.
A lot of the maps in this game are pretty good. Making you walk up a fortress while being pelted from archers from the top, chasing down a boss who spawns enemies until you kill his first phase, escaping past enemies on a desert plain, and so on. But despite this, if I had to give it a ratio, I'd say it's around half of the maps being pretty good, and then the other half are unremarkable at best. I've never really had a map that made me go "Aw man, this map stinks, I hate this, I never want to play this game again because I'd have to play this map again", but just... Nothing maps. Where you go through the motions, clear enemies out, and finish the map without really thinking too hard about it.
Lastly, moving on to the story, I actually quite like it. Jeanne's characterization is really the highlight here, and this is where spoilers start. She's a commoner. She knows very little of the war. She knows that the English are bad, that they kill her countrymen, massacre her village, and have been invading France since before she was even born. Of course they're the enemy, of course she wants them dead, and of course she is more than eager to put herself in harm's way to fight them off. Anything else would be improper. And for a while, this works out pretty well for her. Until she learns the truth behind the war. The English nobility is nothing but an offshoot from French nobility, which makes this a petty family feud for control of France. It is nothing but a conflict between rich men vying for control of the country, making the common folk suffer for their own benefit. She supported the dauphin, yes, but this war isn't nearly as righteous as Jeanne believed - it is nothing more than a territory dispute, and killing her fellow man over it is a tragedy, one that she has been outright eager about for a while now. Her worldview is shattered, and it's just a pretty great character arc.
Likewise, I like where they went with Liane, her friend. At some point, Jeanne took a dive off a cliff and Liane ends up replacing her as Jeanne, pretending to be her to be held up as a figurehead to continue rallying the French behind. However, Liane is not Jeanne, and in trying to be her she ends up being ruthless, aggressive, vengeful, amplifying all of Jeanne's bad traits as she tries to be her. She is credited with the failed attack on Paris, and is the one who is captured in Jeanne's stead and burned at the stake. Seeing her go from meek village girl to this was likewise a fun arc.
These two just carry the story for more or less the entire game. I don't necessarily care about the plot all that much in itself, "Hundred years war but with demons/fantasy elements" and slight changes don't appeal to me that much in reality, and those fantasy elements feel undercooked, but I don't care all that much about that when Jeanne herself is there to carry everything. She works really well as a protagonist.
Moving on to the bad, then, and to why this game is "shelved" rather than "Completed". I decided to take a break from this game around chapter 27, but these issues started to show up a little earlier than this. While this game can be beaten with no grinding, and having peeked ahead at the endgame, my units are nearly leveled up enough for it just off of natural exp thanks to the generous amount of rubberbanding the exp curve affords you, it's also starting to feel like a slog. Enemy HP values have skyrocketed, and some of their defense stats have as well. The deployment limit is inconsistent, and this means that you'll often end up deploying underleveled units due to them having been benched for a few maps. If you don't grind free quests, or at least do a couple, you'll end up having a 6th or 7th unit that's just woefully underwhelming as a result. If you're the kind to do grinding maps, then this is probably fine, but for me it kinda took the wind out of my sales because I treated them similarly to how I would treat skirmishes in Fire Emblem - entirely optional, only if you want to grind. On a future run, I'd definitely do at least every grinding map once just to get the bonus reward once and keep up in levels on more units that way.
Next up, the game is frustratingly unreliable at times. By this I mean the reliability of your strategizing can be thrown into chaos due to random chance. I'm not saying the RNG is bugged, but rather that there is too much variance. While I haven't looked behind the curtain to see what kind of RNG the game uses, it feels like it uses the actual displayed chance (as opposed to lying to you like Fire Emblem), but those chances in themselves are not as high as I'd like them to be, particularly when fighting bosses. Bosses are already HP sponges as it is, so having to choose between hitting them with a normal attack for 150 damage, or having a 50/50 of missing the big special skill from Jeanne's bracelet that does 400 damage, it's just frustrating to have such low reliability where you're either guaranteed to do meh damage or likely to miss . While there are abilities with guaranteed hit - spells - they also don't hurt nearly as much, and are limited by mana, not to mention some units just not making very good mages. On top of that, the game has inherent damage variance, so if you read for instance 50 damage on attack 1 and 50 damage on attack 2, for a total of 100 damage for an exact kill, if one or both roll under the 50 damage listed, you'll miss your kill. If this messes with godspeed, it can be incredibly frustrating. Bare minimum, it'd be nice to be able to see the entire range. Instead of showing 50, she me 45-55, or whatever the variance actually is.
Actually, just in general, this game lacks a way to preview enemy damage. While you can verify their standard attack damage by attacking them and seeing how much damage they do on the counter, there's no real way to verify the damage they'll do to you if you can't reach them to preview the forecast, and even less so if they have a skill they're using on you like helmsplitter. How much damage does helpsplitter add? Who knows!
Next up is the skill system. I don't really care for it. I think it's nice that you get more slots over time, and having to choose from the high amount of skills with the small amounts of slots you have can be nice, but the actual way that you obtain skills is a little annoying to me. Most skills are earned through killing enemies, and then you can get ahead of the curve by fusing them, but you can't know what it'll give you utnil you make a fusion, and the actual way to fuse them UI wise is bad. You need to select one skill, then scroll through the entire menu, all 4 menus in fact, to see if it has a combination with something else. Then, when you cancel the fusion to pick the next skill, it'll keep your cursor where you ended rather than go back to the start, so you need to go back to where you were, select the next, then keep going. It's just a little too tedious to check everything, and the only thing saving this system is the existence of a guide that lists the fusions. It's still a flaw within the game itself, though. A potential solution would be to only show possible fusions rather than your entire skill list once you select one of your stones.
My last major complaint is with the game's run speed. It feels incredibly sluggish at times. Not only does the game encourage ball of death strategies through enemies that are so strong that you need to gang up with nearly your entire party, but the actual act of moving your units is just sort of slow. Rather than have animations in their own screen for full fancy animations, and then fast on-map animations if you turn off the fancy ones, this game only has on-map animations that are not particularly fast. Coupled with death animations, loot dropping animations, enemy fading away animation, the actual slow movement over the map, and it can just feel somewhat tedious to move your units to where you want them to be, especially if you have to move through a stretch of empty map which has happened to me a few times.
All in all, this is a very interesting game. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. It had a lot of moments that I really loved, but that was balanced out by tedium in the late game and in some of the systems. The skill system particularly feels worse as the game goes on, as you get more and more options for fusion which makes the flaws appear more obvious. If nothing else, it was a memorable game to revisit, and I really enjoyed the story, so I'm still shelving this game with a positive mindset. Will I continue from this save? Will I play it from the start and just do free quests a few times to smooth out level curve a bit? I'm not sure, time only will tell, and hopefully I have a better time on the replay now that I'm more familiar with the systems and quirks of this game. I'd definitely recommend at the very least giving it a try, especially if you like me are willing to drop a game once it outstays its welcome.

Great game. The gameplay was pretty good, a mix of Triangle Strategy and Fire Emblem: Engage but not as good as either alone, still great. Unit positioning mattered like in TS which I love, the maps use verticality well although not as impactful as TS. The Gem Stone transformations were cool as an "Engage" style mechanic, limited turn use and not super uber op despite how they seem which each one gaining Galeforce essentially.
Maps were overall great, creative aesthetically and utilize the 3D well making no Maps really feel like blank spaces. The addition of a turn count limit on each map seems a little strict at first, but 90% of the time I felt it was all right and easily manageable adding to the strategy you need to take into a map.
The skill merge and build system was cool, buying and combining skills to get improved or random skills was fun. Weapons and armor were simple enough, no complaints there. Low deployment slots on most maps is annoying, but non-deployed units get exp too so it balances that well.
Bosses while they appear to be damage sponges the game gives you ways to deal with them and if you play smart you usually have plenty of turns to beat them, plus a basic axe skill can negate def.
Story, was not amazing for the first half, pretty standard free France from England with some fantastical elements. But the second half I found great, (a fairly decent Spoiler ahead) love a good protag switch, Liane was great and I loved how they showed how different she was from Jeanne, a big arc culminating in Jeanne having to resolve herself after what Liane has to go through in her absence. Didn't want to spoil but that's kinda my main big talking point story wise. It's the only event that left a big impact in me. It affected the only three characters I love Jeanne, Liane and Roger(rest of the characters are fine-good tho). So I really felt I had to talk about it.
The monsters and animal people might throw people odd aesthetically and may effect your perception of the seriousness. But they didn't bother me. The trio I mentioned are all still great and their stories are handled with good respect to intensity and tone.
Voice acting isn't amazing but hearing Yuri Lowenthal do a French accent sold me on it. It's good for clearly non French and English people trying to do those accents, nothing bad, I like Jeanne and Roger.
The 2D animated cutscenes all look great, the designs are cool, especially love how expressive the portraits are, especially Jeanne's, helps convey her emotions well. Her transformed designs are all great too.
Overall great game, certainly enjoyed my time with this. You win this time France.

I really took my time with this one, thankfully, this game is really easy to pick back up after awhile despite its complexity as a strategy game.
I really enjoyed it, the difficulty was pretty well balanced and the story and characters were quite charming. Such a great game that I will definitely play post-game for a while too!

Replaying this for the first time in years.
While there were some aspects which could've been done better, I still enjoyed this as much as the first time I played it.
As a person who rarely plays SRPGs, the difficulty was just right and even when I first played it, it's pretty easy to grasp and pretty beginner friendly to people who haven't played the genre all that much.
In some instances, the limited turns are a little annoying and could lead to a few potential game overs, but I'd argue they're a necessary evil. The game isn't hard at all and while at first glance it seems like the limited turns make you rush the stages, they're more so there to make you avoid cheesing your way through stages by baiting enemies one by one, kill them, wait a bit, heal your characters, and repeat, thus eliminating all the difficulty and fun.
Sometimes certain characters will leave your party temporarily, which could be seen as annoying, but also emphasizes you should not neglect other characters or over invest in a certain character. This of course also leads to more overall grinding, which is unfortunate. On the positive side, the side content, although more gimmicky in nature was pretty fun and gave some pretty good rewards.
The armlet mechanic was pretty fun to use although it felt like it wasn't implemented in the best possible way. Characters with armlets are way better than those without them, making armlet users pretty much mandatory picks most of the time.
It's a little annoying how certain stages have visibility issues and how there isn't an option to skip animations, but it luckily isn't game breaking.
The setting takes place during the time period of the 100 years war and blends a part of real life history, though it's mostly fantasy. It was good for what it was and I liked a large part of the characters.
An overall pretty enjoyable and fun SRPG, although veterans of the genre might find it way too easy and if you care about historical accuracy, might be quite annoyed at the liberties they took with the story.

Jeanne d'Arc is a solid tactics game with some interesting ideas. I had a good time playing through this, but it drags, gets a bit scattered, and runs out of ideas towards the end.
Gameplay in Jeanne d'Arc is fairly standard Final Fantasy Tactics inspired gameplay with a couple of interesting twists.
The most important difference is the bracelets that the game introduces for certain characters. These allow the character to change into a Sailor Moon-esque alternate form (historical accuracy is discarded pretty early in this game, despite the name) which grants them improved stats and a special ability. Additionally, every character in this mode has "God Speed", which allows them to immediately take another turn after getting a killing blow. This leads to some interesting strategy where you are more successful if you weaken enemies and then finish a bunch of them off with your bracelet wielder. Not only do the bracelets make these characters more powerful in the story, but they also end up being mechanically more powerful because they are getting all the kills, putting them many levels above the rest of your team. This is a cool little piece of narratively coherent game design that I think is pretty neat.
One small critique here is that it really feels like the bracelets should be freely assignable, letting you adjust your character's abilities in a more extreme way, but they aren't. It is unfortunate, because it would open up the combat system quite a lot and allow you to put more focus on the characters that resonate with you the most, rather than making the bracelet wearers the defacto best characters for every map.
Character classes feel very freeform, with the ability to assign gems that give magic and special abilities to a character more or less however you want. Characters do have a specific weapon they use, and some gems only apply to some weapons, granting you special sword or spear attacks, for instance. There is a little bit of weird false choice here, unfortunately, since a character's base stats have a massive impact on how useful they will be at using a skill. Colet the dagger wielding rogue, for instance, will never really be a good magic user, no matter how many spells you give him. The system is still very expressive and character setup is satisfying and intentional.
Beyond the bracelets and the class structure, the game is a standard entry in the tactics genre and goes on for longer than its gameplay comfortably supports. It doesn't introduce new mechanics and even though you get new skill gems, they are never that different from the ones you gain early in your journey.
Jeanne d'Arc looks fine, but isn't super inspired. The graphics are sometimes cute and the character models are large, but aren't very expressive in the field and all look much less serious than their characters actually are.
However, the character portraits are well done (if generically anime) and the animated cutscenes are all extremely cool.
The story in this game starts off as a sort of normal historical fiction setting with light fantasy aspects and quickly goes off the rails. It never really drops the trappings of history though, so you will be fighting to free Paris from the English and deal with political fallout of your actions, but you are using magic bracelets to summon Sailor Scout armor and fighting against a half-man-half-animal army led by a child king (Henry VI) possessed by a demonic spirit. None of it hangs together particularly well, unfortunately. The game can't seem to decide what it wants to be and a lot of the events seem arbitrary and the character motivations aren't clear. Enemy depth leans heavily on the anime-style redemption arcs which are mostly unearned.
Even the predictable betrayal didn't land for me, since it doesn't make much sense and the game doesn't give the betrayer any motivation at all other than a more sinister hairstyle.
I did like that this game is willing to play rough with your character lineup. Without spoiling too much, I was definitely surprised by a couple of the changes that happen, though I wish this stuff was more prevalent through the whole game, rather than relegated to the back half.
Despite the messiness of the story, the setting is very unique and fun. I liked it, but there are definitely many better entries in the genre.

Well-rounded SRPG built on a solid gameplay foundation and guided by an interesting story premise.
+ great skill stone mechanic that enables unit flexibility and is satisfying to progress
+ reasonably challenging difficulty with accessible ways to grind
+ charming characters in both design and personalities
+ unusual setting that blends history and fantasy well
+ frequent animated cutscenes between stages
+ uniquely melancholic soundtrack
+ a small amount of side and post-game content
- some visibility issues in spite of the rotatable camera
- tiresome early antagonists who just won't die
- several slow animations that repeat constantly