Wild Arms 2
|a game by||Production I.G|
|Editor Rating:||5.8/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||6.0/10 - 1 vote|
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and even the Legend of Dragoon have upped the ante by some margin and Wild Arms 2 finds itself among tougher company than in the early days of the 32-Bit era. Wild Arms 2 attempts to keep things rolling with fully 3D graphics, as opposed to the strictly 2D bitmaps found in the majority of the first game. Despite this, the visuals will impress no one, although they certainly manage to get the job done. Character design has taken a turn for the better, with the anime/Western flavored characters each having a unique, atypical style to them. Graphic enhancements aside, the game builds on the first by adding tons of weapons and items to use among the three main characters. Puzzle elements are spread liberally throughout the game, and you can now avoid battle at will, should you so choose. However, the genre hasn't sat still since the first game and the uninspired battle-engine shows its age. Still a good RPG, but state-of-the art it's not."]
The original Wild Arms was the right game for the right time--but that time was three years ago, before Final Fantasy VII and the flood of gotta-have RPGs that have hit the PlayStation since. This sequel--which plays and looks much like the original--doesn't have what it takes to steal thunder from current RPG juggernauts Final Fantasy VIII, and Vagrant Story. Still, WA2 is a solid game that blends action- and traditional-RPG elements into an immense quest (and plenty of subquests, if you explore). Dialog rambles and the plot gets confusing, but the dungeons and character-building system are compelling enough to hold your interest.
This reminds me of an old-school RPG, because of its deep fantasy roots. Its mix of 2D sprites and 3D environments works great, and while some may not enjoy the game's synthesized, repetitive and oddly tempoed music, I think it fits well. Being able to avoid enemy attacks is great for times when you don't want to be interrupted by battles. Searching for towns or areas is an interesting, if sometimes frustrating, feature. Drawbacks include having to adjust the camera a lot to see around obstacles and a font that's a bit hard to read. The translation's a little loose in spots (not as tight or good as it could've been), but a solid RPG all around.
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Believe it or not, there was a time when the PlayStation didn't have many high-profile RPGs. During this time games like Tekken and Ridge Racer dominated the sales charts while games like Beyond the Beyond received little mainstream attention. Along came Contrail's Wild ARMS, a 2D RPG with 3D battle scenes, which, along with Konami's Suikoden, kick-started the RPG genre into high gear.
We return to the world of Filgaia, which has undergone some drastic changes since the first Wild ARMS. The main cast includes Lilka, a spunky 14-year-old sorceress-in-training; Ashley, a young musketeer from the Town of Meria; and Brad Evans, a rogue soldier formerly of the Liberation Army. In the first game, ARMs referred to the ancient weapons that characters possessed. In the sequel, these weapons are still called ARMs, but it also has a new meaning. The Agile Remote Mission Squad is the elite special team that is comprised of our three heroes, who are deployed throughout Filgaia to do freelance hero work (sound familiar?) as the story starts to unfold.
The core battle system remains virtually unchanged--combat is still turn-based, and all menus are the same. An important new addition is the ability to equip your character with a "Medium," which will increase certain stats and enable new abilities (very similar to FFVIIPs Guardian Forces).
The traditional magic points are replaced by "Force Points," which are accumulated by attacking (as well as being attacked). Lilka can learn various magic spells in a similar fashion as the original--different combinations of elemental crests yield different types of spells. Another new addition is the Personal Point system. By earning Personal Skill Points, you can grant your characters new abilities like Confusion Resistance and Increased Magic Attack.
As you can tell by the screenshots, Wild ARMS has made the leap to the third dimension, employing an isometric graphic engine (similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and Xenogears ). It's been a long time in the making, but the excellent aesthetics look like it was time well spent, and shouldn't disappoint fans upon its release in early May.