Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - PC Review

Everyone thinks that being royalty is easy. Sit on a throne, yay or nay the missives that cross your desk. You know... be the boss and have your minions, errr advisers, take care of the rest. In some cases everyone may have been right. In other cases? Strap in for a debt-inspired adventure framed around when royalty came back to claim land that was theirs. Let's just say that there was a freaking huge bill attached to it and not paying it off is not an option!

Our adventure starts off with his Highness Kay, his two sisters and his loyal retainer as they discover what remains of a Kingdom once belonging to their family. It’s not in the worst of shapes with an Inn still running but aside from that it’s pretty barren and no one is living there. Approached by the worst kind of monsters, debt collectors, Kay is given an ultimatum. Pay the bill or pay the price. Deciding to pay off the bill and trying to find a way out of it because surely the family cannot owe that much money, Kay has benchmarks of what must be done by when or otherwise pay the consequences while his sisters dive into finances and family trees.

The imposed “time limit” can seem a tad imposing at the beginning. With the first deadline being only fifty-ish days away you come to realize that days can vanish in the blink of an eye. Regalia stands out as it doesn’t fit squarely into one neat genre but instead mixes and matches with elements that those who have played would recognize from the Atelier and / or Persona series.

Taking from the Atelier Series are the benchmarks in which tasks have to be completed or game over. Taking from the Persona series is the ability of develop friendships with both your party members and those that live in your Kingdom such as the Inn owners, the fabulous German Blacksmith and his tiny dog as well as the money hungry Merchant. Many others will join and if you want to get more out of them then you’ll need to give them a place to stay and what you have very little of. Time.

Giving your party members or your kingdom dwellers a day here and there doesn’t sound like it takes much time and it doesn’t in the small scale of things. Where it starts to matter is when you have to factor in Kay’s exploration of the surrounding lands as to pay for the reconstruction he’s going to need funds and materials. Moving from any location to any other requires a day. A day to go, a day to come back or simply a day to go to the next location. This still doesn’t sound like much but where things start to get heavy is when you have to factor in that exploration of these locations is anywhere from three, four, five or more days. Up to a week can be used up for heading out and coming back and when you’ve got fifty days? Planning your time is paramount to not defaulting on that debt of yours!

Thankfully the debt isn’t a cash affair as what the debt collectors really want is the whole enchilada. What they really want is people to move back so that they can collect taxes to really roll in the money. It’s smart when you think about it as they are thinking quite long term to your short term chaos. Regarding your short term chaos? It’s not as stressful as it might sound and is quite fun as like the overall genre, Regalia is something else.

There are two real sections to the flow of Kay’s adventure. The first of these two is the Town and Castle life. Here Kay can move around the various places that are currently available in order to buy new items, kick back and fish for a day or simply spend the day with someone for company. Spending time with others is a lot like Persona as the first real interactions will be quite dialog heavy while the subsequent encounters will be quick animations until the next milestone of the relationship. Developing these relationships is more than being BFFs or finding your perfect GF. Developing these relationships opens up more options for characters in battle as they gain access to more perks than simply those that unlock while leveling up from the experience earned while out exploring making them even more useful that they otherwise would be.

The second part of Kay’s adventure is where Regalia gets really fun. Combat, exploration and dialog choices all make up multi-point exploration areas that must be cleared in order to get the most of each location. If you send your party in and leave after one point because your party got trounced it’ll cost you just as much time as if you did the whole circuit. The cost of time is a flat rate that is paid once you leave the area. The type of events within these circuits are clearly identified however you never know if walking into a civil encounter or an ambush.

The idea of combat is self explanatory but even this isn’t always straightforward. Some encounters will be straight to the point with your team having to lay the beat down on the enemy in a no holds bar leave no one standing. Other times you’ll need to either survive a number of waves, survive a number of turns or simply take out specific targets in order to claim victory. You won’t know until you get things started but once you’ve started there’s no stopping.

Combat is turned based on a square grid with obstacles that can be used to your advantage as more often than not you’ll be at a disadvantage numbers wise. Turn order of everyone present goes from those with the highest initiative to those with the lowest so it is possible to plan out your turn as long as everything goes according to plan. If you need a character to hold their action and let someone else move first it’s possible to hold them back as they wait for the right moment in order to make their move. This ability switches the current character with the next one in line so it’s not possible to move your entire party last but it is useful to lay in the combos if your characters are close enough.

Unlike a lot of SRPGs, Regalia’s characters all have abilities that come with cooldowns. Some of these abilities such as Kay’s Command which adds armor to any of his allies can be used every turn while others like Levant‘s, who’s a giant armor being controlled by a ghost who died over four hundred years ago, Holy Nova which can only be used every three turns. The level of strategy that this adds is tremendous and I’ll be honest that I’ve seen the game over screen more than once as I learnt the ropes.

What I enjoyed along with the graphical style, the animations and the sound effects is that there’s an option to speed everything up as normal speed combat can seem a bit long especially if ten or more participants are involved. Speeding up combat makes things feel smoother instead of feeling like it’s being dragged out as everyone moves in and out of their foes paths.

The other line of events that can happen is a text based adventure style in which Kay will come along something in his path and a choice must be made. Did that women fall and hurt herself as she calls out for help or is she the bandit chief trying to ambush you. How do you talk your way out of the Trolls that want more rights within your kingdom as you happen to walk into their annual conference for Troll’s rights? Some of these options can cost you dearly leading into combat while others can simply reward you with experience points for talking out of your ass. I mean you are a lord right?

The above two are the two types of encounters but there’s one more space type that can be found and it should be used only when you really need it. Present around the other two spaces is a campsite that can be used to rest and recover your party. While character's hit points will recover after a battle if those same hit points hit zero then they are unusable until either leaving the area or hitting up a campsite. More than just a place to kick back and relax for a few moments, conversations can be had with party members that further expand on their relationships but watch out that you don’t snub one of them if there are multiple people involved in the conversation.

With how challenging combat can be on the default settings it was nice to see that individual characters do not gain levels on their own but as an entire party. If a new member joins they join at the party level and are not a liability. As the party levels up each character will be learning new moves and abilities as well as gaining the points in order to equip these abilities. Faster Initiative, being able to use certain abilities regardless of line of sight restrictions, more health and so on. These all play right alongside the other abilities that can be unlocked through the relationship system such as fireballs hitting every target in a line at full power instead of dwindling or a sword strike gaining 100% hit chance at the cost of no longer sundering. It’s more choices but ones worth looking over especially to maximize your party’s battle capabilities.

If Regalia could be said to have any issues it would be that Saving your game can be a bit of a pain. Saving can only be done from either the castle town, the main map or the campsites in the exploration zones. With the exploration zones that can take up an hour depending at times with their lengths and the flow of battles it can be a bit worrisome both for your party wiping out or if you need to go anywhere and the end isn’t quite close. A save and suspend option would have been amazing to have.

Making up for the above however is the one thing that I want to note above the rest of the already amazing experience and it’s the voice acting. The voice actors chosen for the characters take the whole experience up a notch higher than it would have been had it been entirely text based. Sometimes I think I was laughing harder at the tone of voice than I was at what was said.

Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs is an amazing experience and it’s definitely more than the sum of its parts. From the RPG elements to the town and relationship building each piece fits right in beside the other making for a very memorable experience.

Game Information

Pixelated Milk
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Pierre-Yves


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