Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs is a fantastic tactical RPG with some gorgeous artwork and writing. Truthfully, the writing is actually what pulled me into the game to begin with! It also features an extremely interesting and useful feature for a game in its genre: the option to skip battles entirely! When I first saw this, I was immediately intrigued. How does that work? Well, pretty well, because Regalia is all about its story.
A short cutscene introduction to the world of Regalia greets you as you start up the game. You are introduced to Kay, the sole heir of the Loren family and estate of Ascalia. Joining him are his entourage of a protective knight and two sisters. Upon going to visit the estate that is his inheritance, Kay discovers that the castle and village are rather run-down and in bad shape. They decide to just cut their losses and leave, but they are first approached by a member of the Furtive Union. It seems that their family had accrued a large amount of debt, so they are pretty much forced to take the land and restore it to its former glory to make up that debt.
This premise might be a tad cliché as I’ve seen it before in a few other games, but Regalia’s writing more than makes it unique. Joining Kay and his friends is the ghost of his grandfather, who offers up a ton of advice and lots of witty banter. This guy made me bust out laughing more often than not, and I do love a good laugh. The amount of humor, subtle and otherwise, was enough to keep me focused and paying attention as the rather long-ish cutscenes with lots of dialogue played out.
Even though it’s a tactical RPG, Regalia is very story driven. There are cutscenes and dialogue aplenty, with battles peppering the experience here and there. Thankfully, both sides of the coin are very well done.
On the battle side of things, Regalia is surprisingly deep. At the start of each battle (assuming you didn’t skip it!), you are allowed to choose who to send into battle. Once placed on the starting grid, you can view your character’s stats and abilities as well as how far they can move at any time. Turns play out in a certain order depending on your characters and actions taken. Each entity in battle gets their turn one after another until the round ends, and then they go again. As far as actual combat, it’s more of the same from the rest of the genre. Fans of tactical RPGs will know exactly what to do.
In addition, you also get to manage, repair, and upgrade your castle town as you go. Resources can be gathered in and out of battle and spent on your estate to improve it. Doing so can help you establish trade routes with nearby towns, which in turn improves your reputation and level with them. At certain levels, you can recruit special characters from said towns and their factions, which then helps you in battle. Everything you do can benefit you in some way or another.
The artwork of this game just drips with love and detail. Everything is lovingly crafted and painted in such a way as to make the world feel very alive and vibrant. One of my favorite parts of Regalia is definitely the artwork. Every character is well animated, which complements the excellent voice acting. I can’t find anything bad to say about this aspect of the game!
Cutscenes are usually fully voiced, and you can definitely tell that the voice actors were quite experienced. They became their character and brought them to life on screen through their voice acting.
Aesthetically speaking, the music and sound effects of this game are somewhat basic, but they lend themselves well to the world of Ascalia. Battle themes blend in well with the mood and tension of your fights, and the cutscene music reflects what’s going on in the story very well. Not much else to say here, except that the audio of Regalia does it’s job quite well.
If tactical RPGs are a thing for you, you need to add Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs to your library. Just do it; you won’t regret it one bit. The enchanting storytelling, amazing artwork, terrific characters, and well-paced battles will keep you playing far longer than you might expect.