Review By: Joel Fajardo
While competing with its rival, Final Fantasy
7, Wild Arms is still able to pull off a marvelous performance in graphics
and fun factor by setting new standards for all RPGs to come. You start on
your perilous journey by taking the role of 17-year-old Princess Cecilia
of Adelhyde, a rebellious, self-centered teenage girl. As you accumulate
your new party members, namely Rudy Roughnight and Jack Van Burace, you soon
learn of the journey that awaits you. It is up to you to save the world
and regain the teardrop that Mother has gotten access to. But are you up
to the challenges that await you and the mind-boggling puzzles behind them?
Wild Arms truly excels graphicwise above its competitors. Unlike the gruesome
first person, CG rendered locations of Shining the Holy Ark, or the hideous
animation on Suikoden's overhead map, WA is truly able to pull off another
miracle. Even though the graphics seem less than spectacular compared to
FF7's, my initial reaction to the graphics was positive. WA has some of the
most gorgeous light sourcing seen to date, while still managing to go beyond
the limits in turn based battle sequences. In addition to this, WA provides
spectacular summoning spells that are able to add to the excitement of the
battle and are just a marvel to look at. The overhead map is another site
to see. It truly shows that Media Vision and Sony put in the extra effort
to create a vivid 2D environment that all gamers would enjoy. The aspect
that impressed me the most was the towns. So much detail is added to these
large towns. Step in a puddle of mud and water follows behind your footsteps.
Go into a house and view yourself from the outside window. Go to an animal
and bomb them and watch them suffer (I enjoy bombing the priests for some
odd reason). Moreover, every person in every town has three different dialogues
that they say during different intervals of the game. I'd also like the mention
the introduction of the game. Ingenious. That's the word that will come to
your mind when you view it. Thousands of beautifully animated frames, with
excellent light sourcing, colors, and an overall feeling of "damn this game
is good." When the game is near its end, you will finally be able to understand
it, and it will touch your heart in a special way. This honestly has to be
the best introduction that I have seen to date.
Along with beautiful graphics comes brilliant music and sound. They music
is something to truly appreciate in Wild Arms. Vivid sounds, beautiful
orchestras, magnificent bases are all part of WA. It gives you a sense of
well being, sadness, content, whatever the scenario might call for. The detail
added is remarkable. The splashing of puddles, the thumping when you bump
into a wall, the swoosh of Hanpan (No, not Hansan. Thank God.), all contribute
to an enjoyable scenario and game feeling overall. This category does not
come without flaw, however. I have noticed that the sound manages to
disappear at times and sometimes leaves all together for a few moments. This
factor was a bit disturbing, but acceptable for an otherwise near perfect
Here is where you decide if WA is for you to buy. The gameplay and concept.
If you are a hardcore, action, in your face, wus up, mama's going to knock
you out kind of person this game is not the game for you. Throughout the
end of the game, there are challenging puzzles that only true RPGeniuses
(like myself) could handle without strategy guides or assistance. Precise
timing and accurate calculating is all part of WA. This is truly the best
aspect of the game. WA in a sense is not just your average turn based RPG,
but also involves a major part in the action category that you can find in
Zelda. Through you journeys you will accumulate bombs, jet skate, gloves,
radar detector, teardrop, wands, magic pots, clocks, hookshots, a little
gopher, a lighter, and a guitar, which are all vital to your success. A split
second can determine weather you succeed or fail. The control of WA
takes some time to get used to, but with enough practice it's as simple as
ABC. WA is simply innovational in combining all these elements in one.
Another part of the gameplay in WA that most people enjoy is the magic system.
No more beat-em-up mentality to get experience type of system, but a more
easy to use, friendlier system. As you progress thorough the game, you find
magic graphing card that you can take to a magic guild and assemble ANY magic
spell desired. Though hard to explain, newcomers to RPGs will feel comfortable
around this new system.
With all these ideas in one, the concept of WA is amazing, yet not creative.
This game could have easily been called Chrono Trigger 2. So many aspects
were taken from the best RPG of all time: Chrono Trigger. Everything
from the Millennial Fair, to the blonde haired troubled princess, too simple
quests (e.g.. Remember in CT when u had to escape from the soldiers and find
your weapons on the ship? Yeah, well there a very similar quest on WA), all
the way to the tear drop representing the necklace. That wasn't the worst
part. When you had to time travel to bring a certain member back to life
on WA, that just did it for me. I have rejected WA as a truly original game.
One of the most riveting aspects of Wild Arms is the fun factor. WA gets
you so deeply emotionally involved in the story that it's hard to imagine.
You are able to sit there and say, "Wow
there is a great game." You
feel the pain of death and anguish, and your heart aches for Cecilia to be
loved. You can hear the cry of the Gollum within you. Every quest in WA is
so exciting to approach. New enemies, new spells, new bosses. Brilliant.
The adrenaline flow from the battles truly gets your heart beating. Every
turn is a new exciting step in WA. All 35-50 (varies) hrs. keep you glued
to the TV without wanting to do anything but play. The brain bashing puzzles
keep you glued to your PSX, just wanting to beat one more puzzle before the
night ends. Unfortunately, WA comes with its flaws. The annoying puzzles
get stressful and repetitive. You can only pull so many levers and bomb so
many doors that at times you want to bomb your PSX. If patience and intelligence
are not of your attributes, avoid buying this title.
Replaying WA is a blast. There is
so much I missed the first and second time around. So many summoning spells
I forgot and side quests I never performed led to me to play WA consistently.
On the negative outlook, WA is hard to play over and over again. You can
only let Zed catch fire and fight Lady Harkan so many times before you wonder
what's for dinner. The story isn't as magical the second time around, yet
MUCH more is understood. Still I don't expect many RPGs to have the replay
value of CT or FF2, though it would be nice.
To sum it all up, if you are looking for an RPG to satisfy you after FF7,
or are new to the RPG elements, WA is a delightful game that everyone should