Wild Arms 4
|a game by||Media.Vision Entertainment|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Spurs no longer rattling, Wild Arms 4 moseys into town with its signature cowboy western take on console role-playing games strangely downplayed. Oh, you'll still get a few nostalgic nods to the series' six-shooter past, but the land of Filgaia is now more MegaTokyo 20XX than Dodge City 1849. Battles are quick but tactical affairs thanks to a simplified hex based system that makes positioning and turn order top priorities. You still fight way too often, but boss battles in particular can tax yer noodle in a pleasing fashion. Nextly, jumping, sliding, and solving Zelda-esque bomb and switch puzzles (plus the ability to slow down time) give dungeon/gulch-crawling a strong action-adventure feel. Certain side-view sections feel pleasantly reminiscent of side-scrolling old-time platformers, and the cast is right likeable as well. The main character is OK as far as wide-eyed kids go, and the sword-slingin', nuclear-annihilation-survivin' Raquel is downright amiable--and kinda pretty. The story itself ain't half bad either, but naive and hokey moments come with the territory, understand.
Weird...what the hell have they done to Wild Arms? This new installment will totally baffle fans of the series. With its gloomy postindustrial setting, moderately complex platforming bits, and surprisingly different battle system, WA4 bears little resemblance to its charming, Wild West-themed predecessors. Once you get beyond that initial shock, though, you'll actually have a decent time here: The action-packed field maps feel fresh, and the simple hex-based battles add a shocking amount of strategy and originality to the mix. The adventure ends rather quickly, however--with only about 20 hours of gameplay to offer, WA4 winds down just as it should be peaking.
I can't fault developer Media Vision for wanting to make Wild Arms 4 stand out from the usual RPG schlock, but its ambition has been squandered by some really strange decisions. Rather than trying to create, say, unique characters or a creative story, WA4 is just more of the usual "plucky kids save the world from an evil empire that wants ancient weapons"--a mash-up of scenes and ideas you've seen in a dozen other (better) RPGs. Even the sci-fi western feel has been discarded in favor of a more generic anime look. Instead, the developers decided to spice things up with Kronoa-style (PS1) 2D-esque platforming and a ludicrously over-designed combat system. Not entirely unremarkable...but mostly for the wrong reasons.