[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hoever says that visual novels have to be sexually appealing needs to broaden their horizons and see that there are plenty of tales to be told in this medium of storytelling. While it’s true that a good majority of games in this genre tend to be more on the “romantic dating” or much more intimate in nature, some of the best are told without a single nod to getting it on with members of the opposite (or even same) sex. That said, while Queen At Arms does seem to have some interest in this field the ending that I got left Marcus without anyone to love. That said, there are supposed to be over a dozen endings. I only managed to get a couple.
In Queen At Arms you play as a young soldier named Marcus Cordale. You signed up for the Ortheran army to fight for king and country. The major problem with this? Marcus is female. While there are apparently women in the military service hers (his?) true identity must be kept a secret, something we find out very early on when Marcus’ brother Nicholas is surprised by her sudden appearance on the battlefield. If anything, this game is about war, honor, and finding out just who you are in the greater scheme of things.
What had originally got me interested in backing Queen At Arms when it ran on Kickstarter was the whole “secret gender” angle that Marcus had to perpetuate in order not to be caught out of uniform, to use a turn of phrase. Being raised as male by her adoptive father and brother she had grown quite accustomed to showing off these stereotypes of manliness and battle prowess. Which can be a rather tricky thing to do when *cough* certain biological changes start to occur. In fact, we see Marcus binding her breasts several times throughout the game.
Queen At Arms is basically a tale about self identity, finding out one’s true self and their place in an ever increasingly unforgiving world filled with war and strife. And I’m not just talking about gender identity, either. While it is a major theme throughout, and the addition of a rather comedic scene during a masquerade ball seems to perpetuate this, it’s about discovering oneself during the raging conflict surrounding the characters. Which is a rather colorful bunch, I must say.
In the path that I played through I tried to be a worthy leader and respected by the men under my command, once I got the promotion I so richly deserved, and while I could have made Marcus as bad as the Mad King Kendrick that’s just not my style. There is a lot of replayability here, not just for the myriad endings but also how your choices affect who you become by the end of the fourth chapter. If you want something different from the “dating sim” visual novels out there Queen At Arms is certainly a worthy one to pick up.