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Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - Royal Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 18.04.2018

Review for Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - Royal Edition on Nintendo Switch

Every king has to get his start somewhere. For Kay, that means inheriting an abandoned kingdom with an astronomical amount of debt and accidentally drinking his grandfather's ashes. From the get-go, Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs' narrative establishes itself as one more focused on having fun with its premise than telling a traditional tale of succession. The gameplay, like the story, dresses itself in the typical SRPG setting, but quickly breaks from the norm in favour of a more unique approach that balances turn-based strategy, base management, and visual novel inspired dialogue trees in near equality. After looking at the original PC edition last year, Cubed3 now takes on the updated Royal Edition for Nintendo Switch.

As a good chunk of Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs will be spent in dialogue-heavy cut-scenes or visual novel-esque text screens; and it's perhaps for the best, since the script is as funny as it is. The grand story itself isn't particularly interesting - Kay trying to unite his kingdom to pay off a debt - so it has to make up for it with a colourful cast. Characters joke around constantly, but never in ways that contradict their personalities, a common problem in writing comedy. The humour comes from the way characters act and interact with one another, and the voice direction is surprisingly solid. Kay has everything he needs to be an insufferable main character, but Nicholas Andrew Louie brings out a phenomenal performance that gives the protagonist an undeniable amount of charm.

Screenshot for Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - Royal Edition on Nintendo Switch

Amber Lee Connors' casting and direction deserves an incredible amount of praise, especially considering the rough nature of the script. The dialogue itself is far from bad, and generally charming, but the script was in desperate need of another edit. Not because it's weak, but because it's filled with grammatical errors and minor typos. Words that should be plural are singular, commas are often missing, and words are even mistaken for other words sometimes. Thankfully, Connors' directing tends to ignore the script errors in favour of what sounds more natural. Reading the script is a vastly different, and inferior, experience to listening to the dialogue.

Unfortunately, this doesn't bode well for the visual novel segments that occur within dungeons. As dungeons are typically split into three segments - battle, rest, and story - each section has a fair amount of emphasis placed on them. Battles are what's to be expected from an SRPG, resting gives the party its only means of healing, and the story segments act as a "choose your own adventure" of sorts, where Kay's actions can influence his relationship with the party. Conceptually, this is a great idea that adds interactivity into the story without holding back the larger narrative, yet it flounders since it lacks voice acting. The in-dungeon story sections are generally better proofread, but not to the extent where it's a perfect read. It's Connors' cast and direction that makes the script great, and her lack of presence is notable.

Screenshot for Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - Royal Edition on Nintendo Switch

Gameplay-wise, the combat might prove to be too "unique" for some SPRG diehards. While the tile-based battles are certainly there, along with RPG elements, Regalia takes a very different approach to fighting and levelling. Instead of having a standard attack with skills to choose from, characters can only attack by using skills. Said skills then need to cool down before they can be used again. Strategically, this means thinking critically about when to use which attack and against whom, but this does mean slower battles, as a result. Along with friendly fire, it can become quite difficult to find the perfect moment in battle. There's no perma-death, so there certainly can be a tactical advantage to just attack an ally trapped in a group of enemies, but healing is essentially reserved to rest areas, forcing players to really consider if a sacrifice would be worth it.

Instead of characters levelling on their own, the party has a level that accounts for every character. While interesting, this is the kind of idea that really hurts the experience on the RPG side of things. It's certainly unique and novel, but part of the fun in an RPG is that progression of characters levelling up and getting stronger. Party members still have their own stats and skills, of course, so it's not like there's a lack of individuality at play, but the inclusion of universal levelling feels like one mechanic too far, existing solely because it's different and not out of benefit to the game design.

Screenshot for Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - Royal Edition on Nintendo Switch

While most of Regalia's issues are inoffensive, it does suffer from downright awful load times. Every screen transition requires loading, to the point where the gameplay suffers in dungeons. Getting into a battle is great in large part thanks to the fact that it means the game won't have to load again for at least a few more minutes. It's distracting and frustrating. A few load times are one thing, but the loading here is a genuine problem that needed to have been fixed. The original release suffered from this problem, so it's disappointing to see it left unfixed for the Switch port. It's not enough to ruin the experience, but it does hurt it considerably.

Outside of combat, the biggest gameplay draw is the kingdom management. Kay can recruit new party members, upgrade buildings, and even undergo diplomatic actions with neighbouring kingdoms. Although most of the game does end up with Kay in battles due to the nature of the genre, the kingdom management is given a considerable amount of attention and is necessary for smooth progression. It isn't as in-depth as other management titles, but it does a good job at establishing the world, narrative, and Kay's character, while also feeling rewarding from a gameplay angle. At its core, that's really the kind of game Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs is. It's unorthodox, with depth in odd places, but it's a charming and rewarding SRPG with plenty to like.

Screenshot for Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs - Royal Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Despite some truly obtrusive load times and a script littered with grammatical errors, Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs manages to carry itself relatively well thanks to a unique approach to turn-based strategy and a relatively charming cast. Battles are engaging and thought-provoking, as combat has its fair share of rules not present in other SRPGs; kingdom management is a great way of connecting players with the world while accurately conveying Kay's struggle to be a good king; and splitting dungeon crawling into three major sections is an inspired way of keeping the gameplay well paced. The story is far from perfect, and the voice cast is hit or miss, but Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs overcomes its flaws to offer a genuinely fresh strategy experience.

Developer

Pixelated Milk

Publisher

Crunching Koalas

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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