Street Smarts — Popolocrois Review

Posted on Dec 17 2012

Popolocrois has existed for a while. The game hasn’t generated a large fan base in North America, but it gathered enough attention in Japan for it to have a remake from the original Playstation onto the PSP.

The game is divided into two parts. The main character of the game is a prince named Pietro. His mother saved the kingdom of Popolocrois prior to his birth and fell into a deep sleep with her soul in the world of darkness. His father, the king, told Pietro his mother was dead; but on his tenth birthday Pietro learns the truth and he embarks on a quest to bring her back. The second part of the game follows Pietro, now a few years older, in an attempt to save his father’s soul from the world of darkness.

The game is straightforward and simple. It is because of this Popolocrois has such little replay value. There are no accomplishments, no additional characters to unlock, no side quests, nothing for the completionist to unlock or complete because the game is already complete upon completion.

The battle system is set to automatic at the beginning of the game. Pietro encounters a few monsters, vanquishes them with no effort on the player’s part, and continues along. This is as potentially helpful as it is detrimental. It cuts down grinding and the amount of time spent killing monsters, but it increases the possibility of dying in the game. The rate of monster appearances is fairly high, but it is not difficult to overpower most of the monsters unless you wander into an area you’re not supposed to be in. You could always switch the battle system to manual, but after a point, setting your units to perform a certain way (prioritize defense, offense, only use magic attacks, etc.) will speed the game up nicely.

There are no attack phases in the game. You don’t hit the enemy in one phase and wait for the enemy to respond in the second phase. Instead, each unit has a gauge that fills as the battle progresses and, once the gauge is full, the unit is allowed to take action.

Graphics aren’t a priority in Popolocrois. It’s an unexpected move from Sony’s normally high definition graphics. The characters are charming, the most vicious enemies still able to pass as adorable, and the entire world is pixelated and toned down. For those who have been gaming for a while, this is as nostalgic as it gets. What makes Popolocrois stand out is the fact it takes the core elements of RPG gaming and lays them out on the table. Popolocrois is a very direct game. A boy is on a quest, he is determined, and he most certainly will accomplish this quest. It is a simplistic game without layers and layers of content built on top of one another. There are no major plot twists, no extremely unexpected occurrences. In short, Popolocrois is the essence of what an RPG is and it is therefore one of the best games to play to wean someone into the RPG world.

On the other hand, this is not the best game to play for veterans expecting much. The game brings you back to days of old style RPGs on consoles no longer played on. It has its potential as a pick up and play game because it doesn’t require much to get back in. Popolocrois can be beaten in roughly thirty hours, but for those who need more to keep them occupied, the game might be left lying around even before that.

  • Pros: Beautiful pixelated. Wonderfully nostalgic. Minimal load times. Quirky characters. Good starter RPG game.
  • Cons: Overly simplistic. Large number of enemy encounters. Minimal replay value.

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  • Kayarath December 17, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    The PSP has so many JRPGs… I guess Steam doesn’t have everything…

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