La Pucelle: Ragnarok Remaster:
Well, I stopped after getting to Level 734 and beat the regular story a second time, and played through to see the Salade Bad Ending and Negative Normal Ending (without the Event Tiles) of La Pucelle: Ragnarok’s Demon Lord Prier Route. To clarify, before I go further, since there are four endings in La:Pucelle: Ragnarok with two of them being extremely similar, I’ll refer to them as the Bad Ending (whereby Prier gives-up and lets Salade kill her), the Negative Normal Ending (Regular Ending with less than 3 or none of the Event Tiles activated), the Positive Normal Ending (three of the four event tiles activated), and the Good Ending (all four event tiles activated).
First, I beat the Negative Normal Ending and Salade Ending, and then I proceeded to beat the other two endings: the supposed “good” ending (where you activate all 4 event tiles) and the more “Positive Normal” ending (where you activate 3 of them, but don’t activate the fourth). I can only conclude the “good” ending is just Prier or Culotte’s fever dream; it is way too inconsistent since Croix recovered his memories, but Alouette didn’t die from him doing so. Prier’s powers also don’t quite make sense as it breaks the established lore of balancing out Light and Dark to be kept as “Grey” that Hermes explained in the main story. Accepting both and balancing them is fine, but why didn’t it return Prier to being a regular human? The other Ragnarok “normal” ending of the Light-side of Prier healing them after Prier accidentally assaulted her friends and brother and then left to save Croix also doesn’t seem canon, because the post-credits text by Culotte implies that he successfully changed her back to being human again. Disgaea 2’s location of her extra boss battle where Rozalin and Adel meet Prier in the remains of the Paprika (implied to be the destroyed Kingdom of Paprika) makes this impossible and her mannerisms in Disgaea 5 DLC make it clear that it was indeed the “Negative” Normal ending and not the “Positive” Normal ending, since she acts exactly like her Demon Overlord self with how she recruits demons, admonishes Killia for a commitment to protect his friends, and she admits to no longer having any faith in the Light either. Thus, it’s inconsistent for it to be the Positive Normal ending.
Thoughts on the Endings:
So, I really liked the “Negative” Normal ending a whole lot better than the main story’s ending. It was far more thematically consistent, the inner thoughts of Prier’s jealousy of Alouette for being the Maiden of Light, her unfounded insecurities of Croix possibly crushing on Alouette have an actual consequence to them, the shock-twist ending of Episode 3 and beginning of Episode 4, and how it actually ends with Prier genuinely becoming a legend… honestly, this fit so much better than the original ending that I’m partly wondering if it was cut out of the PS2 version of the story somehow. Moreover, only the “Negative” Normal ending explicitly states Demon Overlord Prier became a legend and shows a parallel between Culotte’s words in the Main story ending. The other Demon Lord Prier endings say that she returned to being human, died, or became a Dark Hero. None of those are consistent with her future Disgaea portrayals.
It seems Chapter 1 of the Demon Lord route is supposedly after Chapter 5 of the main story (you meet the bald guy Barsom and Suzanne at the Udon shop) and prior to Chapter 6 of the main story (where Alouette gets a vision from Goddess Poitereene to start looking for Fatima). The plot is thus totally consistent. Moreover, the story actually focuses on the main character instead of making Prier turn into Croix’s over-glorified love interest. Having Croix lose his sanity by blaming himself for Prier’s fall, the shock of Dark Prier straight-up killing Alouette (the mortal wounds definitely ended her life in the Negative Normal ending since Croix was able to fully fall into darkness and become a full-blown version of Calamity), and Culotte finally having more depth than just being whiny about Alouette all the time . . . This was probably one of the best critiques opposing Nippon Ichi’s own glorified storytelling about the power of love and friendship. Nearly every Disgaea harps on the Power of Love, and yet this game takes those same tropes and demolishes them. I honestly wonder why they don’t make more thoughtful stories like this.
The “Positive” Normal ending is mostly the same exact thing, but with some hope that Culotte can change Prier back and it’s implied that it is successful since Culotte refers to Prier’s story as one of the legendary “holy maiden” implying she returned to being human and to using light magic. However, it doesn’t make any sense in terms of Prier’s future appearances as Overlord Priere throughout the Disgaea series as a human who became obsessed with strength and became an Overlord. The Salade Ending can’t possibly be canon, unless Prier was supposed to be a ghost that Rozalin and Adel met in Disgaea 2; in which case, Prier’s ghost somehow destroyed an entire country. However, the most likely scenario is that the “Negative” Normal ending is canon and she went on a rampage wiping out her entire world similar to Noir’s wish for wiping out all living things and Croix’s blood rage about wiping out all of humanity. The other depictions don’t seem ghostly and nothing in the depictions of other Disgaea games imply that Overlord Priere is a ghost.
The supposed “Good Ending” just doesn’t seem canon at all. It comes off as a mockery of its own story with Croix’s reasoning being a lot more simplistic and Noir not having much to say. Prier’s random ability to transform Croix into Calamity as a way to “reveal” the darkness in his heart also didn’t quite make sense. Why not the same for Noir? In future game depictions of Prier; Croix is never around and none of Prier’s depictions outside of the non-canon publicly voted version in Disgaea D2 of Overlord Priere indicates that Croix is even still alive. It makes no sense for Prier to be alone and desiring strength or no longer believing in the light, if the light helped her to “regain” her senses. It especially makes no sense since Overlord Priere is implied to have wiped out the country of Paprika in Disgaea 2. She can’t have gone from a duo team of dark heroes saving people and destroying Dark World gates alongside Croix to alone, without any friends, and no longer having any faith in the Light. It doesn’t even make sense that they can fight to destroy Dark World gates and the reasoning behind purifying them makes little sense either. Even her powers don’t make sense within the context of her game’s own lore in the Good ending. Oddly enough, the entire story seems more like Overlord Priere or Culotte dreaming of What-ifs and their regrets. Culotte doesn’t grow as a character in this supposed “Good Ending” either as he’s still obsessed with his naïve crush on Alouette.
The only real criticisms I have of this is that I really wish this Ragnarok content had been added more consistently with the main story and perhaps could be done via choices made by the player with the dialogue options and not broken into a separate shorter storyline that builds itself around playing the main game. I think it would have been better that way and far more gripping because we could see the causal chain of events. Thematically, I would have liked to see the main story play itself as usual, only for events to spiral due to Prier’s decisions. The causal chain of events would be interesting to explore for what seems to be the canon ending, which seems to be the “Negative” Normal Ending. Alouette would have risked her life and mission to purify the darkness in Prier’s heart and be killed for it which would spiral the world into jeopardy due to prioritizing Prier’s thoughts and feelings over her mission as the Maiden of Light. Éclair, who had successfully merged with the dark feelings within her, would see the older woman and childhood friend that she looked up to have her darkness spiral out of control and hurt people. Moreover, Éclair would have essentially suffered grievous wounds for wanting to live her own life which could cause her mother to return to her old ways of raising Eclair. Homard would possibly be the worst-case scenario; after promising never to give-up until fighting and killing the demon who hurt his parents to overcome his own feelings of helplessness and guilt, he would be re-traumatized by Prier demolishing him in battle and hurting his friends (and especially Éclair, whom he has feelings for). Culotte is essentially thrown out of the Church of the Holy Maiden, despised for the legend that his sister became, and lives a futile life hoping to return his sister to normal and we know it completely fails. Father Salade would have failed both Alouette and his own lax teachings would be to blame for Prier’s rampage, it wouldn’t be shocking for someone of his stature to become a fundamentalist because of Prier’s actions since his own relaxed teachings and trust in others is what partially caused the rampage of Overlord Prier. Criox obviously blamed himself for what happened, fell fully into darkness, and then died from Noir’s attack after he was defeated by Prier.
It may be a tragic ending, but it was far more thematically consistent, it showcased Prier’s character and added further depth, and it was a lot more narratively satisfying of an ending. Overall, I don’t know what to rate La Pucelle:Ragnarok, but if you love the Disgaea series or a decent old-school PS2 SRPG, please give this game a try.