Review by The One That Might

Reviewed: 02/01/05

A Partially Solid Game

A Partially Solid Game

For those who have never heard of “Full Metal Alchemist,” it’s a Japanese cartoon currently airing on Adult Swim. Without giving away to much, the cartoon is about two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who try to bring their mother back to life using the science of alchemy. Unlike the actual alchemy that was used in the 16th century, they use a combination of science and magic to perform alchemy. They’re attempt goes horribly wrong and Ed looses his left leg, and Al looses his whole body. Ed sacrifices his right arm to bind Al’s soul to a suit of armor. Ed’s lost limbs are replaced with robotic, automail and they begin an adventure to try to reclaim they’re lost body parts by finding the mythical Philosopher's stone.

The Broken Angel takes place during the series(approximately between episodes 17 and 18) and has it’s own contained storyline separate from the series. The story revolves around Ed and Al winding up in the town of Hissegart where they meet a girl named Armony. The first half of the game doesn’t really have much story as it’s about Ed and Al chasing a series of people, but the second half picks up with an actual story that for the most part, is pretty interesting and done in the same style as the cartoon. The story is told through long in-game dialogue, which shows a picture of the character talking and the text displayed at the bottom of the screen, and through some cartoon quality movies.

Game Play 7/10:

The game play is pretty standard action RPG battling with alchemy thrown in for some variety. You have standard curing items and accessories that boost your stats. You level up and you’re given bonus points to give to your character’s stats. You control Edward while the computer controls Al. You explore through linear areas and when you encounter enemies, it’s time to fight. Ed’s default weapon is his automail arm transmuted into a hand blade, but using alchemy, Ed can make new weapons out of objects like lampposts, mail boxes, and trees. By holding the circle button, Ed’s alchemy meter goes up, and when it reaches a certain point and your standing near a transmutable item you can make items into equipable weapons for Al and Ed, decoys, and mounted weapons. If your not near a transmutable item, than you can use alchemy to create a shield(pretty useless) out of the ground or some spikes(pretty weak damage) out of the ground. You can even add elemental properties to weapons by transmuting them again with a special item to create some pretty neat new weapons. Like a sword into a flame sword. OUTRAGEOUS! With the weapons there are some pretty basic combos that you can use.

As for the AI of Al and enemies, it’s pretty weak. The enemies consist of chimeras, brutes, and alchemists. The basic grunt enemies are all pretty easy to beat down. You slash, they fall, they get back up, you slash. Repeat until the enemy dies. While the bosses are a lot more exciting to fight and require more strategy than the grunts, they’re still pretty easy to beat. As for Al, he’s pretty useless. He does more damage than you at the beginning of the game, but towards the middle, he’ll do less and less damage. He also walks extremely slow. You can order him to guard you and tackle enemies, but those are both useless because he moves so slow, and will almost always miss the enemies he’s tackling.

Graphics 6/10:

This game’s graphics are pretty so-so. Ed and Al look alright, nothing special, but alright. The environments include of colorful towns, dark dungeons and some outdoor environments. There isn’t a lot of detail in the environments, but enough so that you won’t get bored looking at it. The enemies, like in most beat-um-up games include a lot of recolor enemies. Every single enemy in the game has a palette-swap counterpart except the bosses. The bosses and chimera’s look cool, seeing a pig/crocodile eat beating up your stupid brother can be fun, but it grows old quick when you see that same enemy in every location of the game, just a different color.

Sound 5/10:

The sound in this game is also pretty meh. None of the tracks are particularly memorable, but none of them are irritating too. My favorite song is the “it’s ok, this a happy cutscene” music. The combat music is kinda tame for a action game, but alright. The voice acting in combat and during the cartoon cut-scenes are in English. There is no option for the original Japanese voice acting, but the English voice actors are good enough. Although some people like me may have a bone to pick with the actors chosen to do certain characters like Roy Mustang and Major Armstrong, they are the official actors from the show and do quality work.

Replay Value 5/10:

This game doesn’t offer much in the way of replay value. After clearing the game once you can use your old Clear file and start a new game with your old items and collect the movies scenes and images from treasure chests. Because this game can easily be beaten in about 10 hours, and the second play through will probably take less time even with the search for the bonus features, this still isn’t a very long game.

Recap:
Game Play 7/10
Graphics 6/10
Sound 5/10
Replay Value 5/10
Average: 5.75
Pros:
+Alchemy is cool
+Cool Looking Chimeras
+Neat Cartoon quality FMV’s
Cons:
-Recolor enemies
-Little replay value
-Not enough FMV’s

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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