Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 04/30/00 | Genre: RPG
Way back in the PlayStation's incipiency--back when Beyond the Beyond was considered a boon because its existence--a game by the name of Wild Arms was released amid the deafening buzz surrounding the adventitious Final Fantasy VII. But even though many a role player had their heads in the Clouds, Wild Arms managed to garner a loyal following from hard-core gamers who were attracted to its sprite-heavy style and familiar playability.
The game features three main characters, but has many playable ancillary characters that you agglomerate during your disembarkation. The first is Ashley, a precocious soldier whose unawares involvement in perfidious politics finds him in dire need of succor from those who similarly have been summoned to save the ancient land of Filgaia. To round out the primary enlistee triumvirate are Lilka, a cute yet cunning fledgling sorceress, and the Brad, a heroic legend marred by an unlawful past. The trio sets out against the terrorist organization Odessa, who would have the land's tenants struggle under an oppressive boot.
The story sounds typical of your garden variety RPGs, but the game tells it through volumes of dialogue and social interaction with the hoi polloi. Unfortunately, most of the interaction is nonsensical and rather insipid. This dissuades the player from wanted to talk to the townspeople, thus making it easy to miss out on clues and facts imperative to progression. As a result, unless you have the retention of a sponge you will often find yourself running around in circles trying to find out where to go next, and who to talk to for guidance.
The gameplay is pretty much a facsimile of the firsts. Each character has a set of unique abilities that can be used in battle that performs as a gussied-up approximation of magic, and each character has a handful of unique items that can be used to solve puzzles outside of battle. These range from wands with telekinetic powers to treasure divining tools called the Booty Call [yes, this game has been bitten by the wiles of pop culture].
The graphics are a bit lacking for this day and age, and although I don't really focus on graphical prowess when playing a game, the dated look hurts this game --especially in the light of Square and Atlus' aesthetically rich roundup. Still, I can recommend this game to fans of the series. It screams mediocrity, but I am sure it will find a home in the hands of those yearning to see what Filgaia has been up to since its last adventurers' heyday.