Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 01/27/03 | Genre: Role Playing Game
Any Sega fan will tell you that the Dreamcast was in fact a magnificent gaming console. Unfortunately, the sales numbers were pretty under whelming, but the DC did have some outstanding games. One such game was Overworks' Skies of Arcadia, a wonderfully refreshing RPG that deviated a bit from the Final Fantasies of the time. Not many gamers got to experience Skies which is really a shame because it is a fantastic game. However, in a brilliant move, Sega decided to bring the game to Nintendo's GameCube. It is essentially the same as it was on the DC, but there are a few enhancements in Skies of Arcadia Legends that make it an even better game than it originally was.
An essential part of any RPG is the plot and underlying story. Skies will take you on an outrageous journey that'll leave you speechless. Throughout the adventure, you take on the role of Vyse, a Blue Rogue pirate that doesn't just steal from your everyday average Joe. The Blue Rogues rob the wealthy and distribute their loot among the poorer folks. At the beginning of the game, Vyse robs a ship and comes across a mysterious young girl named Fina. Fina was taken hostage by the evil Valuan Empire, and Vyse, along with his shipmate Aika, take it upon themselves to rescue her and protect her. Once they raid the Valuan ship and save Fina, they attract the attention of the entire Armada and an adventure like no other begins.
The core gameplay is fairly standard for an RPG. The random battles and turn-based combat are certainly nothing new, but they are executed extremely well in Skies. In battle, you'll have your standard attacks, items, and spells that can be used, but you can also guard and save spirit points that allow you to use devastating special attacks. The game does feature some rather unique ship battles in which you must face off against an enemy air ship and trade fire with it. These battles require more strategy than normal fights, and add quite a bit to the game that simply can't be found in other RPG's.
When not in combat, you'll either be flying your ship through the vast skies or running around in a beautiful village. As stated before, the core gameplay isn't new, but the world in which it takes place is far more enchanting than that found in other games and makes the entire experience seem like a breath of fresh air. Traveling the skies, you'll come across dozens of floating land masses on which you can dock. Once docked, you're free to roam about the area. The various towns and dungeons in the game are brilliantly designed, and the bright, crisp colors help make up for the somewhat dated graphics.
Skies of Arcadia Legends features some truly great musical scores. The opening theme is splendid, and all throughout the game, your ears will be in audio heaven. The sound effects are done well too, but the characters themselves have almost no voice segments except for the phrases they shout during combat. Luckily, the animation is wonderfully detailed and the expressions on the character's faces change depending on their mood. This actually works to the game's advantage, and avoids the problem of lame voice acting all together.
Skies also features hours upon hours of exciting side quests and mini games that you can look into for a bit of extra entertainment. There are hidden items, secret locations, and even special enemies that you can hunt for if you're up for the challenge. This new version of the game has some exclusive story elements and an entirely new character as well. When it's all said and done, Skies of Arcadia Legends is a pretty beefy RPG that has enough content to last you for quite some time; no self-respecting GameCube owner should be without it.