Aww... I know I'm getting into "Necro-post" territory but why all the hate for PoPoLoCrois? I absolutely loved this game. Come to think of it, I did notice the load times but I blamed them on my PSP as I only own a handful of games for the system and as far as I could tell they all have terrible loading. I blamed the system.
And because I'm lazy I'll swipe my own "impression" from the game off my blog. Why retype...? >.>
Also picked up PoPoLoCrois again. If you've ever seen me stumbling around like PSP zombiehead I can gaurentee this is the game I've been playing. The game was originally released in Japan for the PSOne in two parts. But the because the stories are both chapters in the life of the same character you'd be hard pressed to notice while playing the PSP version. Book One admittedly feels bit hurried though. Characters are introduced and then quickly forgotten, bosses are fought and destroyed without much hoorah or backstory. And sure enough a quick google search confirmed my suspicions, they watered down the first half of the game. But since I don't read Japanese and haven't played the original I can easily ignore the offense. Book Two however, appears intact.
Game it's self is fun though. You navigate through dungeons and trigger random tactical battles right then and there. There's no switching to a generic battle board, you fight out your skirmishes on the same environment you were just strolling across. The system works a lot like Rhapsody or Arc the Lad if you've played them.
Characters seem unbalanced however, there's no distinct "healer" in the group, although occasionally you'll have Narcia the witch. But this means that everyone else is a fighter, although they're not all cut out for the job; I'm looking at you Gami Gami Devil. Neither can you pick and choose your party. The roster is decided completely by the storyline ala Grandia, so you'll have to make do with whatever third wheel the game deals you. But it's a fun game and not all that difficult thanks to the god modding powers of your central hero Pietro.
Storywise the game's charming. It's one of those coming of age themes. Book One introduces you to a young prince who believing his mother to be dead discovers early on she's only been in coma since his birth. Cue the quest to awaken her. Along the way Pietro will meet most of the important characters of the saga, Narcia the forest witch and obligitory love intrest, Gami Gami Devil the reformed evil doer whose infatuated with Narcia, and the obnoxiously heroic White Knight who fucking rocks.
Book Two takes place some years after the events of the first game, and everyone's alittle more grown up which means theres a lot more focus on the romance between Pietro and Narcia. It also means they had to include another female lead to get that all important love triangle brewing. The core of the story focus on the fallen Goddess of Beauty Maira whom now adays is looking more like Medusa than Aphrodite. Anyways apparently Maira is a little ticked off at having been made ugly and seeks to awaken a big bad deamon to destroy the world. Female logic. Go figure.
Before closing the art style begs mentioning. One of the coolest draws of the game is that it looks completely different. It's more Saturday Morning Cartoon than traditional anime. So look elsewhere for your radical haired, bug eyed anime twats, you just won't find them in PoPoLoCrois.