Best Gameplay
Skies of Arcadia Best Gameplay

Some people play RPGs for their story, others for their gameplay. While Skies of Arcadia has enough plot to keep the former happy, it also backs it up with some very solid gameplay indeed.

First and foremost comes the exploration. In a world of islands in the sky, hidden treasure is found not just by looking north, south, east, and west, but up and down as well. This 3D spin on world design carries over to dungeons as well. Rather than the simple mazes found in most games, here one must deal with shifting floors, and flooding rooms with water.

Combat also requires a bit more thought than the average game. Spells and special moves consume a shared pool of Spirit points which replenishes gradually as battle proceed. In addition to preventing the most powerful abilities from being used right away, this shared pool of resources means generally one can't cast a powerful healing spell with one character while casting a major damage spell with another, unless they spend some time powering up beforehand.

Best of all however are the ship to ship battles. They blend traditional RPG combat strategies with complex syntax dependant strategic decisions. Rather than just attacking while watching your HP, you must second guess your opponent and look for tricks to gain the upper hand. Even with these strategic edges, the game is refreshingly challenging, especially when probing for weaknesses in some of the later bosses.

Aside from the challenging and intriguing combat, later in the game, one can customize their ship and secret base, which is simply fun. Skies of Arcadia earns the title of Best Gameplay of 2000 by virtue of the variety and cohesiveness of all these gameplay elements.

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