A lot of Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) tend to be serious and mature in tone and theme. This isn't a bad thing, of course, but its rare that this genre opts to take a more lighthearted approach. Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, a popular PC game recently brought to the Xbox One, does just that. The game sometimes feels a little unfair, and the story itself isn't that gripping, but past these issues Regalia offers a very enjoyable experience that is worth your time.
Story: Inherit a kingdom (and its debt)
In Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, you play as Kay Loren, the heir to the once-grand kingdom known as Regalia. After a destructive series of armed conflicts, the land is in tatters, and it's up to you to restore it. Kay, only a young adult, dreads this task. However, matters become worse when a business man named Crucey arrives to inform you that the kingdom's previous rulers were drowning in financial debt. As you are the new ruler of Regalia, it's now up to you to produce the funds.
With the help of your two sisters and your royal bodyguard, you have to explore the lands, rebuild the kingdom, and get it into a profitable state so that you can pay back the banks. Failure to do this will cause things to get ugly. The situation is grim, but that doesn't stop everyone on the team from trying to stay upbeat and keeping things humorous and lighthearted.
Ultimately, this silly tone is what makes the game's writing solid overall. The plot itself isn't that compelling, and it would have been nice to see the characters develop more, but the abundance of jokes and sarcasm mean that you'll be laughing your way through this adventure.
Gameplay: Dynamic, challenging combat
Things may be sunshine and lollipops when it comes to the story, but Regalia: Of Men and Monarch's combat is where things start to get serious. Using a traditional turn-based combat system on a grid layout, the game's formula is far from unique, but the best part about it is that you're never allowed to heal your characters in the middle of a fight. This means that every turn is critical, as no damage you take can be undone (only shields can be replenished).
For the most part, this system leads to very intense but satisfying experiences that will challenge your tactical mind. However, it is worth noting that quite a few of the engagements feel unfair. In these instances, I found that I was only able to win because I got lucky with the random number generated damage values of my attacks, and not because I made the correct strategic decisions.
Fortunately, Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs offers an alternative to players who don't want to engage in the tough battles: the ability to skip them entirely. Personally, I feel like not taking part in a game's combat system means you're missing out on a large chunk of the fun, but for some gamers, they would rather just relax and enjoy the story, music, and artwork without having to worry about fighting. Players with this mindset will love this.
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs Xbox One conclusion
The fighting can occasionally feel unfair and the plot is average, but the engaging combat as well as the humorous tone of the narrative combine together to create a solid and entertaining JRPG experience.
- Satisfying gameplay.
- Great art and music.
- Humorous tone.
- Some fights feel unfair.
- Average story.
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs is on Xbox One now for $24.99.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy provided by the developer.