Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 01/18/05 | Genre: Action/RPG
Shown at the 2004 E3 show in Square Enix's booth, Fullmetal Alchemist is a title that showed a lot of promise. This Action RPG is based on the Anime series seen on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and is another title released by Square Enix that seems to be lacking "the magical touch of Square."
Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel tells the story of two brothers who are gifted Alchemists. When they attempt to use a forbidden technique to save their dead mother, one of the brothers, Edward, loses his arm and leg, and the other brother, Alphonse, loses his whole body. Edward's arm and leg are transformed into Metal Auto Mail, while Alphonse's soul turns into a giant suit of armor. The only way for the brothers to return to normal is to locate the Philosopher's Stone.
Players don't control Alphonse directly. Instead, you give simple commands such as have him guard you, tackle the enemies, or come to where you are. He is a slow and unreliable so it is best to just take care of things yourself. As Edward, players can use his alchemy skills or strike with his bladed arm. As you get stronger, Edward will be able to change nearby objects like garbage cans into powerful weapons that can be used against your foes. While fighting your enemies, you will not have to worry about where to go. The areas in the game are completely linear so you will be going from Point A to Point B.
Fullmetal Alchemist follows the storyline of the Anime very closely. After completing an area, you will be treated to cinematic sequences or Anime sequences featuring plenty of dialogue and text to keep you involved in the story. Players will also find that there is quite a bit of variety to the game. You will travel from Countryside, Caves, Train Yards, and even Cathedrals while searching for the elusive Philosopher's Stone. The visuals in all these areas are average at best.
You can expect roughly fifteen hours of gameplay time to defeat Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel. However, the game has little replay value once you have completed the journey. Square Enix is already hard at work on another incarnation to the series later in 2005, but I really hope that they spend a little more time in polishing the next title. As it stands, Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel is an average title Published by a company who normally gives us much better games.