Garnet Chronicle awesome looking, Japanese sounding

The video above is the opening cinematic from Sega’s Garnet Chronicle, the latest anime-inspired RPG coming exclusively to the PSP – in Japan, that is.

Though there’s not exactly a wealth of (translated) information on Garnet Chronicle, also known as Astonishia Story 2: Fate to Unhorse One in Korea, where it was originally developed, it can’t help but be an improvement on the rather dismal first installment. The original Ubisoft-released Astonishia Story, a bare bones port of the 1994 Korean PC game of the same name, was an easy-to-play but hard-to-like RPG, featuring plodding missions, repetitive opponents and limited narrative. To put it kindly, it was a simplistic and generic snore-fest, despite its nostalgic gameplay mechanics. Which may explain why Sega has changed the name.

They’ve certainly changed the gameplay, if the Korean language demo is any indication, taking care of that easy-to-play part – unfortunately, that was one of the few positive talking points. Also changed are the graphics, which are still more Jeanne D’Arc than Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, but I freakin’ loved Jeanne D’Arc. The new and hopefully drastically improved Garnet Chronicle features gorgeous hand-drawn animation cinematics and character status screens. It is currently available as an import only, with no announcement made for release in Europe or the Americas, which means I can keep pretending this is a trailer for Jeanne D’Arc 2.