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Terra and Lightning's RPG Roundup

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Episode 13: Wild Arms—For a Few Gella More

Episode 13: Wild Arms—For a Few Gella More

Platform: Playstation
Release Date: 
  Japan: December 20, 1996
  North America: April 30, 1997
  Europe: October 1998
Difficulty: Easy
Pricing: PSN $4.99, Amazon $80 (for a new disc, geez)

Terra’s Review
Unlike Alice’s White Rabbit, this bunny will never be late.

The Good

  • With a party of only three characters, each character gets a significant chunk of the storyline dedicated to them, their backstories, and their development. I wouldn’t mind if more modern games tried this approach instead of going with 6-8 party members.

  • The storyline has its twists and turns, but also is also fairly logical and easy to follow—especially for a JRPG. I especially enjoyed the fact that even the villains had their own competing motivations that sometimes led to them helping the party and working against each other.
  • The soundtrack has a professional whistler. A PROFESSIONAL WHISTLER. 
The Bad

  • Fairly basic turn-based battle system without much variety.
  • Repetitive monsters, especially by the time you’re in the final dungeon.
  • The setting doesn’t quite gel. It’s not quite a typical medieval-ish fantasyland, but it’s not particularly Western either, despite the desert, use of guns, and soundtrack with lots of whistling. And then there’s the space teleportation devices.
  • Rudy as a silent protagonist doesn’t quite work. Cecelia seems to drive the story more, and since you can decide who you’re playing as, there’s no silent-protagonist-as-player-substitute. The storyline would have worked better if Rudy had talked just as much (or even half as much) as Cecelia and Jack. 

The Ugly

  • So many polygons in the battle screens. So many.
  • Captain Bartholomew, who doesn’t like girls over the age of 18 and has a ship named “Sweet Candy.”

Saving the best for last.

The lowdown:  For me, interest in the storyline and the characters outweighed the so-so battle system and the early 3D graphics. The puzzles added interest to what had the potential to become dull dungeon crawling—especially given that the monsters became less and less varied as the game went on. If you’re a fan of retro games or the Wild Arms series, give this one a try. If you’ve been eyeing the Wild Arms games but haven’t played any of them yet, you may want to start with this one. From what Lightning’s told me, the games are somewhat interconnected and this first installment might suffer in comparison to the later ones, which built on this first one and made improvements. Also, the game has a screensaver. A screensaver and a professional whistler. What more could you want?

Special Bonus: EverQuest novels. I was not hallucinating them when I was a kid.

This man appears to have no pants.

Music Credits:
RPG Roundup Theme Song: "Video Game Theme," J. Arthur Keenes Band. Creative Commons Attribution License.
Wild Arms OST.

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