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Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters Review

Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters Review

Developer EasyGameStation and the new localization outfit Carpe Fulgur brought us Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale earlier last year, which received rave reviews across the board, including a 9/10 and an Editor's Choice from us. Recettear melded item shop antics with overhead-style dungeon crawling, but Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters, Carpe Fulgur's second released title, is a throwback to hack-and-slash adventures like Ys and Secret of Mana. It also predates Recettear by a year in its original Japanese release. With Recettear's surprising success, the looming question is if Carpe Fulgur's second release can attain that same success.

Chantelise's story starts off with one of the sisters, Chante, venturing outside into the nearby forest, despite being warned by her mother that it bore a witch's curse closely associated with a red moon – which just so happens to have appeared that very night. Her older sister Elise follows behind her and sees her sister being transformed into a fairy by a witch which is blanketed by the dark of the night. This is the beginning of the two sisters' long quest to find the witch and have her change Chante back into her human self. After the game's initial tutorial the duo ends up at the local town (humorously named "Town") that appears to hold the key to their answers. With the help of some of the townsfolk, such as Elma the fortune teller and Aira the shopkeeper, the two girls set out in search of the answer to their current predicament.

While Chantelise's story isn't the most engaging story around, it certainly plays to the budget anime crowd that the original Japanese release catered to and it does also have a great deal of charm thanks to Carpe Fulgur's trademark localization developed through their work with Recettear. While there isn't any meme-inducing catchphrases like Recettear's "yayifications" or "yeperoni," it does have some very amusing sections such as when Chante misinterprets someone's comment as "taking away" her sister's "innocence". All in all, it's a decent but overall average package in terms of story. Thankfully, the gameplay somewhat makes up for the story's shortcomings.

Hearkening back to classics such as Ys, Chantelise's battles take place in real time as the player controls Elise with her sister Chante following right behind her. Elise has a pretty basic assortment of melee attacks available in her repertoire, including normal attacks, charged attacks (that occur after stringing together enough attacks in a chain) and aerial dive attacks where Elise jumps into the air to perform an attack, which sends her diving down towards nearby targets. This alone easily makes for a boring "press button to mash attacks" action RPG, so the player also has the ability to have Chante cast magic by picking up magic gems dropped by enemies or found by destroying breakable objects in dungeons.

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