I by no means actually understood the time period “different historical past.” If it didn’t occur, it’s not historical past. That didn’t cease Azure Flame, nevertheless, from giving us their model of the French Revolution through Banner of the Maid. It might not be wholly (and even remotely) correct, however I’ll take this model nonetheless.
Banner of the Maid is that uncommon turn-based technique recreation that nails nearly all the things it units out to perform. This begins with the sport’s presentation, which is concurrently retro and contemporary. It helps that now we have the late 18th century setting, giving us characters and eventualities that really feel fairly completely different from the fantasy worlds to which we’re accustomed. I’m positive historians and other people of style will take concern with the “alternate” mannerisms and uniforms of some of the sport’s heroes and heroines, however they match the sport’s melodramatic narrative (if not the characters themselves).
The story focuses on Napoleon Bonapart’s sister, Pauline. She’s an officer of the French Military, however she’s additionally a “Maid.” This small group of ladies carry particular powers they don’t totally perceive, however that they have to come to grasp as a way to obtain success on the battlefield and inside the French political panorama.
Truthfully, the plot is considerably convoluted, nevertheless it’s all dealt with with a nod and a wink through story segments that play out each between and through battles. Banner of the Maid harks again to the glory days of Fireplace Emblem in that regard, when the narrative parts didn’t intrude with the core gameplay. Sure, among the sidequests are there only for comedic functions (and some are laugh-out-loud humorous), however you progress from battle to battle with a momentum that’s solely damaged up by the occasional have to grind.
Let’s discuss that for a second, because it’s the sport’s primary downside. There are over 30 characters you possibly can purchase, however they’re typically launched a couple of ranges decrease than that of the enemies you’re presently going through. And by the point you hit the sport’s halfway level, the battles turn into daunting except you’re both considerably overpowered or some type of tactical genius that I’m apparently not. You possibly can tweak your troopers with varied abilities and objects which can be both bought or acquired robotically as you play.
Higher objects are made out there for buy as you enhance your relationship with the sport’s varied political factions, and also you do get some management over how that performs out.
The easiest way to get the mandatory funds is to win the story battles with out having anybody “retreat.” There’s no permadeath right here as in Fireplace Emblem, however defeated troopers are gone in the course of the battle and can value you financially on the battle’s conclusion. You too can get rewards by attaining sure accomplishments along with victory, however a few of these are exceptionally tough to succeed in.
This leaves you with nothing to do however grind by means of the identical repeatable quest ranges again and again till your military is robust sufficient to push by means of battles unscathed for the absolute best rewards. So, unfold out your recreation saves. You might discover you haven’t spent your cash correctly (these croissants aren’t low cost), leaving you unable to progress. On this case, backtracking could sadly be required.
Fortunately, fight is a number of enjoyable as a result of incredible maps and the shifting methods required to push by means of them. Sure varieties of troopers are robust towards others—infantry, skirmisher, calvary, artillery, and many others.—so positioning your military for the perfect end result is vital. You additionally should take terrain modifiers into consideration, and altering climate will influence the general effectiveness of each side. Assignable abilities can overcome these modifiers. You possibly can enable your troopers to extra simply cross by means of mud, to be more practical on flat terrain, and many others.
There are additionally some cool methods to make the most of, such because the cavalry’s capacity to do extra injury the additional they cost right into a battle. Per common, you’ll get to place your total military for assault or protection earlier than the enemy will get to maneuver, and also you’re in a position to show the enemy’s attain that will help you keep away from assaults. I like that if reinforcements are going to seem on a map, you’ll be capable of decide the place by discovering a set of footprints. (That received’t inform you wherein spherical they’ll seem, nevertheless.)
All of that is introduced towards brightly colourful, intricately detailed isometric backdrops that turn into fairly expansive by recreation’s finish. The characters and maps are often straightforward to make out on even the bigger ranges. That is necessary, as you don’t have the flexibility to rotate the maps or zoom in on the motion. Banner of the Maid is playable in handheld mode, however you’ll have a neater time making all the things out in your TV.
The fight animations are additionally distinctive in that they’re introduced as line formation battles, along with your commander main the cost. They turn into repetitive, and you may simply flip them off, however they’re brief sufficient that they don’t actually gradual issues down. Plus, you possibly can enhance your Chinese language by listening to and repeating their instructions all through the sport, even when you’ve got no thought what they’re saying. A specific phrase from Aimée has already turn into a everlasting fixture of the Hiner household vernacular.
And as a tangent, the place else however in video video games are you able to get a Bavarian character in a Japanese RPG whose damaged “French” is spoken in Chinese language and subtitled in English, and but the comedy of her lack of ability to understand the language completely works?
Now that I take into consideration, that’s emblematic of this complete recreation. There’s so much happening right here—acquainted and new—and the outcomes may have simply been a multitude. However CE-Asia pulled it altogether into a virtually excellent package deal. The story and characters are entertaining, the battles are difficult and rewarding (albeit brutally unfair occasionally), the graphics and art work are full of life and enjoyable, and the general expertise is very addictive. It’ll be over earlier than you need it to be, however hopefully the DLC presently out there for the PC model will quickly arrive on the Swap. The PR rep who supplied us with the assessment code stated there’s presently “no information” on when that will occur. But when we do have to attend, there are many on-line ideas out there to your New Sport+ problem runs.