Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs is actually quite a surprising game. Given that many crowd-funded games haven’t lived up to expectations, fizzled out or just flat-out crashed and burned; it’s surprising that Regalia contains some of the warmest characters, delightful story elements and stylish gameplay that many expected to be in the bigger crowd-funded games. Just from the outset of the story, I knew I was hooked. There are of course plenty of nit-picky issues I have with Regalia, of which I will detail later in the review, but the amount of warmth I felt while playing through the lengthy story was enough to ignore. But without further ado, the review:
The story and characters of Regalia is the high point of the game. Players witness the story of Kay, of the House Loren (believe me, they stated that many times over), and his various comrades as they attempt to rebuilt Kay’s kingdom from the ruinous debt and despair he finds it in. All of the main characters are wonderfully voice-acted; each of the characters felt like they had a wonderful cadence with each other, as though they have a long history together that has yet been told.
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs features many, many cutscenes. For the first half of the story, I almost felt as though there were more cutscenes than there were combat scenarios or other objectives. Fortunately the writing and comedic elements throughout the cutscenes make the endless clicking to the next piece of spoken dialogue that much more palatable. I particularly found many of the one-liners from Griffith, Kay’s own personal Knight, to be highly enjoyable and comedic.
Speaking of comedy, I was not fully aware of how comedic Regalia actually was supposed to be. There were many, many times I found myself chuckling or out-right laughing at various scenes. Regalia also does something that very few games that feature comedy do: timing. Many of the jokes or quips in Regalia would have fallen flat had they not been delivered in such a meaningful and timeful way. It even keeps it up throughout it’s very lengthy playthrough time!
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs is one great looking game. Between the hand-drawn backdrops to the wonderfully animated 3D character models, all of the visual elements in Regalia work. While I do wish that the 3D models were 2D and hand drawn like the environments and dialogue images of the characters, I realize the technical limitations to do so would have been highly time consuming. Fortunately the 3D models visual stylings match each of the hand drawn character images, and are easily recognizable in combat scenarios. Specifically, I love the way how in combat each of the attacks have different animations for the main characters. Unfortunately, the generic enemies in combat feature mostly the same attack animation for every attack they do. But none of that detracts from the fact that Regalia is one great game to look at.
Regalia features the same tile-based isometric gameplay that is typically found in classic JRPGs. It’s a gameplay formula that is tried-and-true, and works just as well in Regalia as it does in many other games. While that may be a plus to some, I found it often derivative and same-y. There were many times I looked forward to just getting through the combat phases of the game just so I could hear more of the quippy dialogue that is so prolific throughout the game. Regalia does do some things that I found somewhat interesting, but some elements that didn’t entirely make sense.
For example, health can never be replenished while in combat, but you can use various skills to boost your “Shields” that will take damage instead of your health being affected. It’s a cool gameplay element in theory, but I often found that the shields depleted faster than my health would. Other than that, there are really two difficulty settings for the entire game, “Story Mode” and “Normal”. Now, I was honestly pretty confused by the naming of the difficulty modes. “Story Mode” is essentially “Easy” while “Normal” is well, normal difficulty. Upon first glance, it appeared to me as though the “Story Mode” was just the Story without any combat, while Normal would have just been the combat. But since both difficulties are technically “Story Mode”, I was a little confused before starting the game. A selection between Easy, Medium and Hard would have been a welcome sight.
Regalia is just a great game that is worth a shot if you enjoy comedy, great characters and a lighthearted story. Also, if you’re a fan of classic JRPG isometric gameplay, look no further Regalia: of Men and Monarchs.