STAFF REVIEW of Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs (Xbox One)

Friday, May 11, 2018.
by Brent Roberts

Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs Box art A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse. Welcome dear reader to the review of Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - Royal Edition for the Xbox platform. Developed by Pixelated Milk at a price of $24.99, Regalia is a crowdfunded JRPG that attempts to drain hours of your life and put a massive smile on your face while doing it. While JRPG games have been known for their long narratives, if the quality isn't good, then what is the point? So, should Regalia plant its flag in your Xbox's hard drive, or is the experience so horrible that it needs to be banished immediately from the kingdom of your games?

As you set off on your journey, you'll discover that you play the role of Kay, of House Loren, who is one of three children to the King of Ascalia. The kingdom had known peace for many years, until a dark time came upon the lands. With the king's health failing, Kay is instructed to lay claim to his royal birthright (which means his spoiled and entitled lifestyle and mannerism had to change immediately).

With a tantrum befitting a toddler, Kay tries first to shun his duty, but his two sisters (Ellie and Gwn) help convince him that he is just the right person to step in and bring peace back to the lands. However, in doing this they come across a shady businessman named Mr. Crucey, whom is trying to collect on a rather large debt that was owed to him by the royal family, a debt that was amassed throughout the years. This is when we learn of a massive quirk in the game that I will explain later.

That is the foundation for Regalia; however, there is more to this game than what is on the surface. For starters, one of the major focuses is building and restoring the lands. You have multiple buildings to build and upgrade, but doing so will reward you as these tasks unlock new perks for your character. The world of Regalia is laid out in a map with many circles, and each circle outside of your buildings act as a dungeon, and inside the dungeon you have numerous points of interest that can be one of three different experiences:

1. Save point - you can save here multiple times throughout your dungeon exploration. A save point can bring fallen members of your party back to life by sleeping but this can ONLY BE DONE ONCE. This is where strategy falls into place and I'll touch on that more later.

2. Choose your own adventure - If you're reading this and think an original Xbox is an antique then you may not remember these children's books that set you off on a quest that gave you the choice of your response. This mode gives you a scenario and from it you can select your response, which will end up in some kind of consequence (good or bad). These can sometimes be a battle or humorous stories and more. These encounters can also net you some very nice gear if you are so lucky.

3. Combat - very self-explanatory. This is a combat scenario where you and your party start out on a grid layout and you fight adversaries. There are special conditions such as "be the first to cause damage" that you can do throughout that will increase the chance of your end battle item. However, this is a lot more complex than it seems. For starters, the combat system is incredibly complex and even though it's a turn-based system, you will find yourself getting crushed A LOT. Think of this as an evolved version of a more violent game of chess. Strategy is important and given that you will do A LOT of fighting, here is how a traditional battle would work.

First you position your characters on the field in the designated zone. From there your characters take a turn if they want to. Your character can move and/or attack in any order, so you can be creative in how you play each fight. The game is based upon the skills of the people within your party. Each skill has a turn cooldown rating where 0 means it can be used every turn; and each skill has an Authority Point cost. Authority Points are crystals that are earned at the beginning of each round, and you get 1 per round, so you must plan for how you wish to spend your skills throughout your battle. Do you save your gems and go for a massive spell, summoning a fire demon, or do you go with a more conservative multiple medium skill attack? Regalia is all about strategy.

When you begin you'll also notice that your characters have no shields and that is because shields are distributed in a couple ways. One of them is to use our hero Kay to grant shields when it's his turn, or if your character doesn't move at all for their turn, they will automatically generate a small amount of shield. Winning these battles grants you resources you will need to build and upgrade your kingdom, which in turn will increase your ability to grow in your relationships with the other characters in the game.

As you now realize, your game consists of you forming a party, and it's through this party that you can develop relationships and friendships with all of those involved. The benefit from this is that you gain tremendous perks from increasing the Relationship Points between characters. Now, you will also have to be on your toes, so to speak, because some characters won't like your actions or choices so pay close attention and you should be fine.

I must pause for a moment because I must let you know just how beautiful Regalia is. The graphics are full of vivid and dynamic colors. The overall art style lends itself to be a fantastic JRPG game. The character development is very well executed and matches the quality given to the story of Regalia. What surprised me as well was the level of standards that Pixelated Milk gave to the sound. There isn't much in terms of dialogue or sound effects, which makes the soul focus on the soundtrack. With nowhere to hide any mistakes or flaws with the sound design, Regalia's approach to music hits all the right notes for a stellar experience. While there are some tremendous aspects to Regalia, there is always another side of the coin.

Now, while the overwhelming amount of content is done brilliantly, there are some issues that I have with Regalia that tarnish the crown. For starters let me talk to you about the loading screens. They aren't very long, but EVERYWHERE you go there's a loading screen, so while it's a blessing that the loading times are short, after a short amount of playing you'll notice that these loading times rapidly add up. While this can be a nuisance, this doesn't compare to the time constraint you face when playing Regalia. Let me explain this in more detail.

Remember earlier I talked about the debt collector? Well, you are given a certain number of kingdom tasks to complete within a set amount of time. If you happen to fail in finishing the required number of tasks within the time limit, the debt collector comes back and realizes that you have failed, and your game is over. You could have the best weapons, and the most amazing armor, but you can still fail in your time management and your game is over. Why is this such a big deal?

Let's say in this example you're given 30 in game days to complete a total of 5 kingdom tasks. When you navigate to any circular area outside of your main castle, you spend 1 day. When your character spends time with another character, that costs 1 day. Now let's say you enter a dungeon and you see a total of 9 nodes. That dungeon costs 9 days (1 day per node). Let's say you leave midway through the dungeon for whatever reason and you'll be charged the full 9 days, then you must come back and complete it, resulting in even more days spent. It's this type of playstyle that ends up squelching any desire to explore and, if we're honest, there isn't much (if any) exploration to do. Essentially Regalia has been reduced to nothing more than an interactive day planner that has multiple interactive events. But the plus side is that these events are challenging, but yet thankfully enjoyable.

So why should you part with your hard-earned money? Regalia is a great example of crowd funded games developing something that is tremendously fun to play. While other indie games try to be fun, they all take a knee to Regalia. For $24.99 you get an experience that is well over 50+ hours of fun and with the large amount of content weaved into a dynamic story that provides incredible challenges. You'll even find a few nods of respect to other tremendous games. When you look at the other releases that are out there on the Xbox platform, Regalia is truly a king amongst them.

Overall: 8.3 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


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