Arc the Lad: End of Darkness
A strategy series turned action role-playing game, this Arc starts off slow on a tranquil island where squirrel-milking locals never fight or tell lies. It takes hours to wade though the hokey introductory dialogue, visit a convenient critter-filled cave, and take you first baby steps into the game proper. Not a great start. When the naive hero finally becomes a "hunter," you'll take on bounties and humanitarian requests that give you an excuse to kill things and advance the plot piece by piece--in true Arc tradition. Unfortunately, newbie hunters seem to live the exciting life of an 8-year-old; you're asked to move hay and end up throwing rocks and whacking bugs with a stick (technically a cudgel, but still). Things pick up somewhat as you forge a meandering plot, take on progressively meaner missions, and earn better abilities. Characters from past Arcs can be unlocked for side missions and story-free online action. But even with hundreds of missions, the entire thing feels disappointingly sluggish and wonky--especially the fighting. End of Darkness is best left to fans with patience to spare for what's ultimately a shallow experience.
What have they done to Arc the Lad? As a fan of the previous Arc game, Twilight of the Spirits, I'm baffled by the series' unexpected transformation into a clumsy, Champions of Norrath-style dungeon hack. This is a direct story line sequel to the last game, but the developers totally drop the ball: Darkness' molasses pace, cut-rate presentation, and simplistic throwaway quests leech any sense of drama or importance. (Also, could someone explain why one of the last game's characters married his cousin? Ick.) Prepare to spend 12 hours as a glorified errand boy before anything interesting happens in the single-player game, and the multiplayer online missions, while mildly entertaining thanks to voice chat, are hardly ambitious.
I appreciate an attempt to flesh out characters and plot in a game, but when I'm spending as much time hitting X to get through dialogue as I do to actually combat enemies, I get a bit upset. Yes, main character Edda, you are a noble aspiring hunter with honorable intentions, but I'm tired of reading (not even hearing) all the yakking about it. And now I've got to wander around town and chat with everyone even more, hoping to finally trigger the event that lets me progress the story line? Ugh. Unless you're a big Arc fan, I'd recommend any number of other RPGs over this one.
Download Arc the Lad: End of Darkness
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP