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Arc the Lad 2 Review
Earlier released in Japan in 1996, Arc the Lad 2 was translated and released along with Arc the Lad, Arc the Lad 3, and Monster Tournament for the US on April 16th 2002 by Working Designs. One problem was waiting for what seemed like an eternity in delays, which it seemed that way if you were waiting for it's release. This review however is only 1/3 of the entire collection, and is for a more in depth review of each game.
Arc the Lad 2 is a direct continuation of the story that is Arc the Lad, but still in a way, different. This time around you play the role of Elc, a hunter with the power of flame, who witnessed the destruction of his village, and later allies himself with Arc to stop the resurrection of the Dark One. The storyline and character development of the game is excellent, as not only will the player want to find out what happens next, but they'll also feel a sense of closeness to each character in the game.
Just like the original Arc the Lad, characters gain stat increases each level up, as well as gaining many different spells, each spell allowing to raise to level 3. What is different is the fact that not only can characters equip accessories, but weapons and armor as well. Weapons, Armor, and Accessories will gain levels when used, which then results in an increase of attack or defense, as well as the usual bonus'. However, not only do the weapons and armor gain levels up, but the characters abilities to use different weapons, which result in higher damage and accuracy. Lastly, a character named Lieza has the ability to tame monsters, which you can level up, learn abilities, and eventually change classes, which in turn allows them to gain more abilities.
Just like the original Arc the Lad, the second has multiple continents, although, what's unique about the second to the original, as well as every Tactical RPG in general, is the addition of towns and dungeons to walk through, rather than just storyline and battles. This is what allows Arc the Lad 2 to have the Hunters Guild, in which you take on jobs which usually have you talking to NPC's and finding items, or going to certain places. This part in the game makes Arc the Lad 2 much more enjoyable, because you have the freedom to take a break from the storyline once in awhile. Also, two things never before seen in a game (at least for the US, unless you count Suikoden 2) is Arc the Lad 2's ability to convert the file from the first, allowing for characters to retain the levels of the firsts characters, and also keeping some of the items, which can be acquired later on in Arc the Lad 2, as well as loading character data on Monster Tournament (Arc Arena), and battle for items or monsters.
Seeing how half of the tracks in the game are from the original, that tells you that the music is going to be better, but a few tracks from the original were shortened, which ruined those few tracks. The other half of the tracks are original, which allow each place to have it's own unique track (except for some dungeons and battles), so you won't hear much of the same music when traveling from place to place.
Just like the original, the graphics are anime like, however, the world maps in Arc the Lad 2 are much better, and the towns are beautifully done. Each character has multiple attack animations as well, and all the abilities have been redone to be better looking than on the first(with a slight exception for a few abilities that look horrible on the second). Just like on the first however, the FMV's in the game weren't very great, and were usually short clips that seemed to be added just for the sake of being in the game.
The best in the Arc the Lad series, and with a perfect mix of gameplay and storyline, Arc the Lad 2 an RPG no one should be without.
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