Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Strategy RPG
Release Date: 06/14/05
Working Designs took a popular Japanese franchise, Arc the Lad, and brought it over to the US several years ago in a package called Arc the Lad Collection. This showed US Publishers that the title could succeed and indeed had a following in the US. Since then, Sony released Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, a fun but mostly average follow-up. Despite the lackluster response to the last title, Namco is set to release a new Arc title that will take the series in a complete different direction. They are banking on the fact that this untested direction will breathe new life into the series.
Formerly known as Arc the Lad: Generation, End of Darkness takes place five years after the last Arc title, Twilight of the Spirits. For the first time in this series, Arc the Lad will not be a Strategy RPG. The gameplay has changed to a real time system and even has online play. Along with the online play, Namco is also incorporating full Voice Over IP for the US version! Sometimes the process of waiting for a US release is worth it.
The new hero of End of Darkness is Edda. He is a young man that is bored with life. To beat this boredom (and at the inspiration of a woman named Kikira) Edda decides to become a hunter and embark on a quest to save the world. But not all of the characters you will meet in this adventure are new. Edda will meet up with characters from past titles that will be playable. As a fan of the franchise, this makes me very eager to jump into the game and locate all my favorite characters from the older Arc titles. End of Darkness will include twenty-four characters and over fifty hours in the offline mode. When you take the game online, players will have over 200 missions to play alone or with others in your party.
Players control the action from an overhead camera similar to what was used in Twilight of the Spirits. However because you are no longer tied to the turn-based Strategy RPG system, players can freely move their character in for an attack with the X button. Besides standard melee or ranged attacks, Magic is also a big part of Arc the Lad: End of Darkness. Players have their own special attack and can quickly cast any magic spells they know during the game. Casting spells will empty your magic bar. This will slowly fill back over time when not using your magic.
While the game is still early, Arc the Lad: End of Darkness looks very promising. Personally I love the turn-based gameplay this series has always used. Despite the move to a new gameplay style, the addition of online play, VOIP, and a long offline quest should give players a lot to look forward to. Arc the Lad: End of Darkness should be arriving on store shelves early in June of 2005.