PopoloCrois is a long running franchise, dating back to the original Playstation and spanning various mediums, including a manga, an anime and of course the video games. Called a heartwarming JRPG series by some of it’s biggest fans, Return to PopoloCrois is the first game in the series to come west in a decade—this time by way of XSEED Games.
Easily the most intriguing aspect of Return to PopoloCrois is that it’s not just a PopoloCrois RPG; indeed, although the RPG aspect of the game is the main focus, a good portion of the game makes use of the “Story of Seasons” moniker in its name. As a crossover between these two very different franchises, the title is in an interesting spot; it’s half farming game and half JRPG. Somehow the combination works!
Like already mentioned, the RPG half of Return to PopoloCrois is the main focus of the game. Players will control several party members on a grid-based battlefield in a system not dissimilar to Disgaea to take out their foes. The game isn’t difficult, and battles are relatively easy, but the combat system does allow you to choose how you want to play. Although we weren’t able to experience the feature first hand, an XSEED representative told us that some attacks similar to the dual or triple attacks from Chrono Trigger are available, making use of multiple party members to deal damage.
As far as the story goes, it does enough to justify the farming half of the game, as clearing out a certain area’s dungeon will allow you to farm there, while also contributing to Pietro’s goal of resurrecting the goddess Galariel in an effort to return home. In an extra little touch, the person in charge of translating the title is the same one that apparently fan-translated the PopoloCrois anime in the past. Farming is optional—you don’t need to do it to continue the story—like many other mechanics in the title. It’s up to you to decide what you want to do.
Although it wasn’t showcased, our rep noted that the full game includes various minigames that stem from the Story of Seasons franchise – including bug catching, fishing, and mining. Of course, an affinity system with various girls carries over from the Story of Seasons franchise, though these relationships are purely platonic. These features, along with the aforementioned farming, were described as PopoloCrois’ “Triple Triad.”
The full game, if only taking into account the RPG, supposedly takes 20 to 25 hours to complete. Although players looking for full completion at their own pace could see playtimes 4x as long. There is a lot to do in the title, and we’ll have more information available as it comes in.