Gaming gems:Wild Arms 5 (How RPG's are supposed to be made!)

First of all let me say: I can’t believe I missed this gem! After seeing countless mediocre rpgs I was board; so I thought I’d go back and try out the first Wild Arms for Playstation. I subsequently found a better game:

Wild Arms 5 < Review

As I began to play the game certain things felt familiar to me I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me: “This has the charm, character comaraderie chemistry, and a wonderfully beautiful graphical style; just like Skies of Arcadia!”

The hex battle system is unique in it’s own right, making use of different elements; allowing for many different strategies. This keeps things interesting and lively. Also, all of the characters have group special attacks like those found in Chrono Trigger! They are full of style, flare and finesse.

The game has an open world, but one that is constrained and just right. Like Skies of Arcadia the story is charming, but this time, when all things come together, is a bit more complex. I’d say it’s one of the best rpgs on PS2. So if you can’t find that certain magic that’s missing from today’s rpgs, go give this game a chance!

The 3 main, “main” characters: Dean, Rebecca, and Avril are very analogous to Vyse, Aika, and Fina. In some respects, even sharing many of the same personality traits. So they have a feeling of familiarity to them; which is the same comaraderie and chemistry we got in Skies. The character design in and of itself is very reminiscent and similar (very detailed/colorful anime style).

The special attacks within the battle system also heavily reminded me of Skies and are just plain fantastic!

I also got a grand sense of adventure in this game.The world is very well constructed and has it’s own stylized charm from continent to continent; all connected by train. Random battles aren’t that much of a problem as you can fight monsters in dungeons to turn off encounters. Also, half way through the game, you get this incredibly awesome vehicle called a gyrocycle! It let’s you zoom around the world map, encounter free, like a boss!

I was also pleasantly surprised by the wonderful music. Very whimsical and fantastical, for a western setting which strangely seems more fantasy than western.

The dungeons are a nice change of pace and offer you puzzles to solve. So, you actually have something to do in-between your travels. They are also nicely designed.

So basically in relation to Skies:

-Similar likable characters

-Similar art style

-Some similar battle mechanics

-Strong sense of adventure

-Charming story that ties together nicely at the end

JRPG Cliche School 101

  • Young male seeking adventure - CHECK
  • Female sidekick - CHECK
  • Someone suffers from amnesia - CHECK
  • Battle system derivative of lots of other JRPGs - CHECK
  • Additional extra: PAL version expensive as hell - CHECK

Yeah, I’ll keep this one in mind, but it seems like I’d have to lower my expectations bar to enjoy this one. I will say that the anime visuals do looke GREAT, but it seems it doesn’t try enough new to be worthy of investing 40+ hours of people’s time. For the ?60 it’s asking for, I’m better off trying out something like Lost Odyssey or Resonence of Fate instead.

There in its cliche lies the charm!

What I mean is: it’s the rpg status quo/cliche done right, like you remember it and with polish! After having tried newer rpg’s such as Tales of Xillia and the FF13 saga; it just feels like something was missing…

These games get too ambitiously large for their own good. Vast environments with the same repeating pattern in design, mmo like quests. On such an open/large scale, forcing developers to present you with bland, uninspired environments; not able to finely tune and add creative distinction to a smaller space.

I think when this happens the developers can’t focus their creativity as a whole, rather it’s spread unevenly. Ultimately lacking in key areas that matter.

Even though Wild Arms 5 has those cliches, it is a more focused and constrained game. It doesn’t blast through its own barriers with needless content. Imo, nothing really feels forced and I surprisingly found it to be nostalgically refreshing. Providing me with that familiar feeling I hadn’t felt from most modern rpgs.

Hmm, I might not be my cup of tea. Even cliched done right doesn’t really float my boat. Games such as Skies of Arcadia, for instance, were a complete disappointment. Besides some nice visuals, the gameplay, music, story, dialogue, was just mediocre.

This seems like the kind of game where I’d enjoy it if I lowered my expectations, and might play for 30% of the way through, before something else takes my time away. If it were cheap, I’d give it a shot, but that’s not the case.

I can see the appeal of such a game. It does look charming. But, for me, charm only gets so far. It it were a 5-10hr action game like, say, Skygunner (a REALLY charming game btw), I’d give it a shot. But I suspect this game is asking for 40+ hrs of my time. I doubt I’d be able to sit through it all. But I’ll emphasis it’s just me.

I will, however, go on youtube and check out some videos of it. Perhaps someone has done a walkthrough (without talking on the damn videos).