Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs Review
As a lover of tactical roleplaying games, I was excited to jump into Regalia. It boasts of having everything I want: a long questline, intense combat, a relationship building system with your party, and funny dialogue. But how will it stand against the goliaths of Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy?
Regalia starts on the happy note with the death of Kay’s father. Kay then learns that he is now the rightful ruler of Ascalia, a faraway kingdom which has apparently seen much better times. Teaming up with his two sisters and his personal bodyguard, he sets off to find his new kingdom and do whatever it is kings do. Kay soon finds out that he not only inherited the kingdom, but also all his predecessors’ debt. To appease the taxman, Kay must gradually rebuild the kingdom and chip away at the enormous amount of debt that has built up; which is something I sadly can relate to.
I found the hurdles in the actual story to be tackled rather well. It seemed to be a version of Fable 3’s ending that actually had some thought put into it. You have a set amount of days to reach a set amount of goals for your kingdom before the taxman comes knocking, and each task takes up to several days to finish. Complete these tasks and you’ll progress to the next chapter, whereas failing to meet them will completely end your game; which may seem quite contrived, but makes sense considering all the debt Kay’s dealing with.
The dialogue in Regalia, though I do find it funny and well written (besides a few spelling mistakes in some of the text adventures), seems to be all over the place. Some characters use words that are from a completely different era, and it throws me every time. That being said, the voice actors do a fantastic job of bringing the script to life.
Each character brings their own flair to each scene and the chemistry between them is easy to see, which is fantastic as Regalia likes to hit you with lengthy cut scenes that, though fully voiced, still take you away the action. Even some the minor characters from side-quests have some great dialogue, and it all adds up to augment an already enjoyable experience.
There is a whole load of things to do in Regalia. I briefly touched on the kingdom quests that you need to complete to progress, but the amount of variety in these quests is what keeps the game from becoming stale. Each objective is broken into categories, such as rebuilding the kingdom itself, building both diplomatic and personal relationships, and dungeons.
“Though I did appreciate it breaking the trance the game had put me in, I didn’t appreciate the extra laundry I had to do.”
The dungeons in Regalia are not your average cobweb of long, linear corridors. Instead, it is broken up into nodes and takes several days to fully explore, which is something you must consider when the taxman is only a few days away. Each node can be one of three things: a combat node, a text adventure, or a camp node. The storybook adventures are sometimes an exposition dump, but are a blast to read through and further the excellent worldbuilding; the camp node lets you build up character relationship or lick the wounds from your previous battle, and the combat node is self-explanatory.
Speaking of, the combat in Regalia is the bog-standard JRPG strategy gameplay, with a squad of people who can attack and then move, or move then attack, once per turn. They try to shake it up by cutting all forms of healing and reviving, leaving you to buff your characters with shield buffers instead, or using abilities which redirect the damage back. I wasn’t a big fan of this at first, but the longer I played the more accustomed to it I was, and soon I was overthinking every little thing about each battle, which was as engrossing as it was fun.
Just like in most strategy games, the combat is enhanced by the relationships you build with your teammates. During the intervals between fights, or days spent bumming around the castle, you can spend some time getting to know each teammate and learn their backstories. Thankfully, the characters Regalia are colorful, and each has their own unique personality, so spending time with them doesn’t turn into a mindless chore just to get some better stats.
Learning more about each character allows the world to open itself up, letting you explore and learn the histories of certain areas through your companion’s backstories. You’re taken from each colorful, and well-drawn area to the next; the wonderful art style for Regalia cements in the light-hearted tone but doesn’t overdo it to the extreme. Even the music knows when to keep it jaunty and upbeat, and when to really lay it on us.
Now, to enter the realm of nit-picking, I have a few bones to pick with the combat system and UI. You can’t rotate the camera, so even though they’ve made the enemies’ silhouettes shine through all walls, it’s still very hard to see where they’re hiding. It also doesn’t help that the UI for my abilities can overlap with the terrain itself, effectively hiding the radius’ for my spells and leaving me to guess how far I can throw this fireball. But besides those two thorns in my side, I found the way you move around the battlefield, the enemy AI, and the mechanics to be easy to get to grips with.
To further my nit-picking, I usually play with the SFX volume very low so I’m not blasted by clashing swords every two seconds, but there were a few spells that overrode my volume control and played at full volume. Though I did appreciate it breaking the trance the game had put me in, I didn’t appreciate the extra laundry I had to do.
“the characters Regalia are colourful, and each has their own unique personality, so spending time with them doesn’t turn into a mindless chore just to get some better stats.”
All in all, I found Regalia to be much more fun than I had anticipated. Whenever I hear the phrase ‘Funded by Kickstarter’ I do tend to second guess my purchase, but after seeing how Pixelated Milk intended to spend their money, I was completely reassured. The end-product of this was engrossing and an absolute blast to play. The few negatives I found were a nuisance to play with, but it didn’t detract much from the experience, and with the introduction of New Game+ I’ll definitely be hopping back into check on my Kingdom throughout the week.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Likeable and distinctive characters
- Good music & voice acting
- Does a good job at storytelling
- Challenging battles
- Slow start
- Lots of cut scenes that breaks up the fun