Evidence is mounting that this game is something truly special. I brought my PSP into work today because I couldn’t wait until this evening before trying that battle again.

So I’ve just spent a very pleasant half of a lunch time once again attempting to defend the Bastille of the Augustins. And this time, I won. I tried a new placement for my troops, which initially seemed to be very unsuccessful. Marcel fell early, because I forgot that enemies could climb ladders. (I know, I know, I’m rubbish.) Roger didn’t last much longer, but he got some good hits in before he died.

Things were looking bad, but I stayed further down the stairs than I have before and that let me open up some gaps in the flood of enemies trying to attack me. Enough of a gap for Jeanne to be able to transform and hack her way out.

(Gaming mechanic explanation time. Jeanne can tansform into a more powerful version of herself once she’s built up enough skill points in a battle. Her best extra skill after transformation is Godspeed, which lets her move and attack again if she defeats an enemy, rather than her turn ending as it normally would. So if you’ve weakened some enemies down to the point where they’re killable in one hit, you can send her all around the map slicing and dicing in a single turn. The transformation only lasts a couple of turns, but if you can create the right opening, the effects can be devasting.)

She killed, I think, four enemies in that one turn, two weakened enemy soldiers, a full-strength mage and a full-strength priestess. The magic users tend to hang back, but by using the soldiers as stepping stones I managed to get Jeanne out to them.

On the next turn, Liane was killed because she’d selflessly been healing Jean rather than herself, but that wasn’t enough to stop me. Turn nine came around, the final enemy fell and Jean and Jeanne stood proud on the battlefield. Hoorah!

It’s amazing how powerful Jeanne’s transformation can be if the conditions are right. Getting those conditions, though, is the hard part. You can certainly improve those odds – like leaving two routes down the stairs by defending lower down – but I think luck’s always going to play a part, except for those really anal types who pour over moves for half an hour at a time and can remember how much different attacks do against different enemies.