Ever heard of PoPoLoCrois? Ever play the game or watch the anime series? Donít feel bad if you havenít. Unless you live in Japan, this phenomenon might be news to you. The game has spawned four titles and an anime series in Japan. So, before we begin, letís review: the first two games in the PoPoLoCrois series appeared on the PlayStation One console and told the story of the young Prince Pietro and his adventures in the fairytale PoPoLoCrois kingdom. The second two games appeared on the PlayStation 2 with the protagonist Prince Pinon, the son of Pietero. This PlayStation Portable game, entitled PoPoLoCrois, is a port of the first two games, starring Pietero, combined into a single adventure.
But, rather than a ďportĒ or a ďremakeĒ, letís just call it a re-envisioning of the classic PlayStation RPGs. Itís not an entirely new game, but there have been some major bells and whistles added. Of course, if you did not play the originals, you wouldnít notice. Agetec snatched up the rights to this classic RPG series and is releasing PoPoLoCrois in the United States.
|"Agetec has brought us a charming, fairytale adventure that can finally be explored by an American audience."
The fable begins with Pietro celebrating his birthday party. But instead of giving him a cake or playing pin-the-tail on the donkey, Pietroís father, King Paolo, leads him to a tower where he finds his mother, Queen Sania, laying in bed. Pietroís mother, whom he had believed to be dead his entire life, has actually been under a sleeping spell created by a nasty demon. Naturally, the intrepid Prince sets off on a quest to revive his slumbersome mum. This is one of the departures from the original story that has been made in the re-envisioning. In the original game, the Kingís crown is stolen by the Gami Gami Devil, and Pietro must recover it. But donít worry, the blue Gami Gami Devil will be a thorn in Pietro's side soon enough.
Along the way, Pietro meets up with Narcia, sister of the forest witch, who is both Pietroís magic user and romantic interest. Soon after, he will meet the wandering noble White Knight. By the end of the tale, Pietro will befriend 11 buddies to assist him on his epic quest to defeat a malevolent ice demon and his four minions.
But even after vanquishing evil and rescuing his mother, Pietro isnít the kind of hero to hang up his sword. After a few years pass, an egotistical goddess threatens the kingdom of PoPoLoCrois and the rest of the world. Pietro, Narcia, and others join forces again to save the world from the vain goddess. This is the story of PoPoLoCrois II which is included as a second adventure in the PlayStation Portable version of PoPoLoCrois. In the second adventure Pietro may revisit some of the same environments but there will be some architectural changes that reflect the passage of time. As the drama becomes more intense, the romance flares up between Pietro and Narcia.
But thatís not all; there is also an added middle chapter which is a playable sequence that helps bridge the period of time between the two adventures. The combined adventures of Prince Pietro will span five years of his life, and about 30 gameplay hours of the player's.
As Pietro and friends move across a ĺ perspective view, battles are seamlessly integrated without changing scenes. Strategy-based battling occurs on a grid-like surface where party members move in turn with enemies. Characterss learn new spells and special attacks as they rise in level, but also have character combination attacks that allow them to combine the skills of more than one character. If the player finds their own party members lacking, they can use magic items to bring powerful summon beasts into battle as fully controllable party members. And if these battles become too intense for short playing times, Agetec added a quick save system for playing on the go.
The game uses adorable 2D characters that travel through colorful, fairytale environments. Watching the characters react to each other and their surroundings is a real treat. The story is fleshed out with animated sequences produced by the creators of the PoPoLoCrois cartoon. Many new sequences have been added for this re-envisioning. The game boasts a stirring and varied score that makes PoPoLoCrois almost as much fun to listen to as it is to play.
PoPoLoCrois is a charming, fairytale adventure, that will remind players of the classic RPG tales of old. Agetec has brought us an old-school adventure that can finally be explored by an American audience this October.