Wild ARMs - Retroview

Even More Ecologically Distressed Than Earth...


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 6
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 9
   Plot 9
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 5
   Visuals 6
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

25-35 hours


Title Screen

   If ever a game got put in the shade, Wild ARMs is the one. Preceding FFVII, Brave Fencer Musashiden, Parasite Eve, and the re-release of Ogre Battle: Episode V by only a small amount, there's not a lot you can do. Especially if you're made by a fairly no name company for an 'as-yet-to-be-discovered' system. Sadly, the game had a lot of potential... But when compared to FFVII and all the changes it forced on the gaming community, it can barely be considered a bump in the sweeping epic of Sony's rise to the RPG foreground...

   Of the things that give Wild ARMs a low score, the battle system is merely a part. Although it's a fairly simple conversion of ATB, the dynamics of actual combat and the choices you need to make are entirely too complex... In a way, it reminds me of the Legend of Legaia system, in that your choices are made based on the directions you press the directional controls to access various menus. Even with the hard-to-learn nature of the system there was always the possibility of some new adaptation to an old concept; Wild ARMs was to have none of that.

   Although each of the three characters had their own special skill set, nothing new presented itself. Without revealing too much of the story, the only really intriguing part of the game comes from the ARM weapons that the primary main character, Rudy, wields. Supposedly uncontrollable devices of pure destruction, he handles various projectile weapons that really decide the outcome of most boss battles. In the opposite corner, magic - which is typically an awesome power to behold in an RPG - is reduced to almost meaningless levels of so-much-drivel. Aside from the more powerful healing spells, the 'Crests' that the magic becomes bound to, are virtually meaningless, as is your pursuit of them. In the extreme middle of these two skills are the sword-tech type powers of Jack - the games' obligatory warrior/thief.

As Anime Intros Go - It's Not Terrible...
As Anime Intros Go - It's Not Terrible... 

   With as straight-forward of a menu system as you can possibly get, Wild ARMs at least doesn't totally bomb its' attempt at stealing the glory of SquareSoft. If you can press the buttons of the controller and compitently move around a box of highlighted bars, you're made in the shade in this region.

   Although some of the music is actually very good, all around there was nothing particularly impressive about the whole thing... Beyond the music - and to the sound effects - is where the game falls to pieces. A lot of the sounds are highly over dramatized and many don't make a lot of sense (especially in combat)... You can't have everything and WA certainly proves that much.

   Ah! At last we come to something SCEA did well with WA; story. Several hundred years ago, the ruthless metal demons fell to Filgaia from their lost homeworld. Spawning quickly, they attempted to conquer the world from the Humans and the elusive Elws. In the last desperate attempt to stymie the tide of battle and turn the fates against the demons, the Elws created mammoth techno/magical creatures called Golems. Even with the help of these gigantic beings of war, the battle seemed hopeless... It was then that the Guardians of the Earth joined forces and sealed away the demon's 'Mother' - thus flinging them into chaos and retreat. In a last attempt to force the metal demons off Filgaia, the Elws constructed a sword so potent that when it was used, the entirety of the planet began to turn inextricably toward a desert wasteland. Seeing the destruction they had caused and no longer trusting the Humans, the Elws constructed magical transportation devices and whisked themselves away to a separate dimension. Slowly, the Human kingdoms have failed and the planet comes ever closer to being an unlivable ball of mud in space... Then, a mere decade ago, the demons appeared out of nowhere and attacked the peaceful kingdoms of the north... With nowhere for the the kingdom of Adlehyde to turn for support, the end of the Humans is drawing nigh...

Bryce 3D Much..?
Bryce 3D Much..? 

   Much like the music, the translation is neither terrible or fantastic. It's fairly solid and doesn't leave many loopholes to work through. Fairly good for what the work was for.

   Replay in WA is identical to almost every other RPG in existence. Unless you're really fanatical - or just have boatloads of time on your hands - there's really no reason to play it more than once... A 'Replay' score of '5' is getting to be a fairly common thing with me, it seems.

   Graphically, WA is about as impressive compared to what the PSX is capable of as other early games such as Zero Divide and WarHawk. Not a whole lot going for the game all around, really, but it's fun and it's an awesome story if you can look past everything that should normally drag the game down...

FFVII It Is Not...
FFVII It Is Not... 

   There is only one actually difficult part of the game; Golems. The mythical creatures of war that the Elws created still exist and are out to destroy the Humans this time (that may have something to do with the demons... but you'll have to play the game and see for yourself...). All of them are powerful beyond description. However, there is one that is maybe the most unGodly powerful creature I've ever faced in an RPG. I've never survived more than three rounds against it and even doing 7-9 thousand points of damage with each character each turn doesn't do a whole lot to remove it from the battle. Next to this creature even Omega Weapon (from FFIII) and Ruby Weapon (FFVII) shudder...

   25-35 hours may not seem like much time to complete a PSX RPG... But keep in mind that the multi-disk madness didn't begin until shortly after WA came out. There aren't very many places to get stuck in the game or become hopelessly lost (except for the forest in the Elw dimension... but that's another story...) so the time expected should be at least fairly close... It's been quite a while since I beat the game...

   Flawed though it may be, Wild ARMs isn't actually all bad. It's highly intriguing and has a lot of sentimental moments that can bring a quick dampness to your eye... That added to a hero that's willing to chop off his arm (no pun intended) for the sake of his friends makes for at least a fun pass through the desert...

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