Review by MarkoftheFighters
Returns for the fifth time, playing for the first time
The PS2 is definitely collecting a lot of good RPG games and Wild ARMs 5 is one of them. It's a fun RPG to play and enjoy but it's not challenging. Although I have not played any other Wild ARMs games but I love to play RPGs so you can try take my honest review.
Wild ARMs 5 takes place on the planet, Filgaia, like the past Wild ARMs games. The story begins weak but it does build up and become more complex but it's nowhere close to being epic. Your party begins with Dean, a young blue-haired boy who has passion to hunt for golem parts. Golem parts in Wild ARMs are vital resources to mankind. Along with him is his childhood friend whose a skilled acrobatic six-shooter. Together, they discover a giant golem arm that fell from the sky holding a girl who claims to have lost her memories but remembers "Johnny Appleseed." Not afraid of what is to come, Dean hopes to help the mysterious girl, Avril, find clues about her past and "Johnny Appleseed."
Wild ARMs 5 delivers to its player a classic RPG. There are world maps, there are dungeons, and there are random encounters. The developers have done a great job to consider its players to make fixes that will help players through the game. Some people say these fixes and additions are merely convenient options but in my opinion, the developers had made this game too convenient to the extent of making this RPG an easy game.
The whole game is balanced out very well. Leveling up is a less tedious task. Random encounters happen less often than any other RPGs that I've played. You'll only need to fight a couple of battles throughout the period of your adventure so grinding no more. You'll flow through the game and beat bosses during your first time most likely. Battles are tiny standard turn-based strategies. There are a number of hexagonal planes called HEXes so you'll have to use a bit of strategy unlike any normal turn-based RPG battles. Positioning and elemental HEXes add a little twist to battle. One HEX targeted affects all units within it including damage, and status ailements and aids. This makes a couple of battles a grab bag with multiple-targeting or a piss off if you are slaughter as one standing trio.. If you ever somehow happen to lose a battle, you're given a choice to either restart the same battle or return to the title screen. Now that's something new but it's just too easy. Games are suppose to present challenges to players but having this option to restart just kills the tradition of games especially the challenge of RPGs. After the end of every battle, your characters will restore all lost HP but that compesates for the amount of damage enemies can do. So you don't have to worry about checking the menu to use cures and heals.
Dean and his party will always somehow end up in a dungeon. Dungeons in this game include some challenging puzzles, most by using his ARMs and shooting things to reveal treasure or open paths and events. Dungeon crawling is basically a incredibly weak action shooter with puzzles. Save points appear in convenient areas and you'll know there will be a boss battle soon. dungeons will also have beacons called by Sol Nigers who you must battle to purify them. With these beacons you'll have the ability turn off random encounters.
Out of the dungeons are small towns and the world map. Traversing the world map is the only way to get to the next town or dungeon like standard RPGs. You'll also encounter enemies but you can avoid them later in the game when you can access vehicles. Your character's hoping titles of "Golem Hunter" isn't just a fancy titles but you gain the ability to search areas around you to find chests with rare treasure.
Character customization is a bit weak. Characters are powered up by equipping different types of "mediums" that have their own set of skills and abilities. Skills and abilities are obtained if the character has gained enough levels until they become mastered but they can be mastered quickly for the sacrifice of HP and GC points. Although there isn't much depth into customization, characters can at least sport different outfits by equipping new armor. Characters can also equip badges which raise or lower attributes, or give additional status and effects.
Cutscenes happen too often. You can't go smoothly through more than 3 rooms without having to be interrupted by short cutscenes of your party discussing current matters or just jerking around. The story is told mostly by characters talking but I really prefer if the story was told by other methods. Voice acting is also included during battles where they say some cheesy lines or while you're watching a very important cutscene but the voice acting is great. The characters show nice face expressions but their physiology is limited that make some cutscenes drag on to be more boring and annoying than they are suppose to be informative and entertaining. Luckily, you have the option to skip them but why would you ever want to skip scenes that may include important information? Not only can you skip cutscenes but you can skip battle animations too! The graphics aren't system killing graphics nor were they the slighest decent looking. The music and setting are grand and does make you feel like you're in the West however the characters don't actually act as if their actual cowboys.
Wild ARMs 5 also has a special limited 10th Anniversary Edition that includes an artbook of all the Wild ARMs characters, 75 pages of nice art. Great for fans, artists, or people who just like to look at art.
Wild ARMs 5 feels like it's a RPG for new beginners. It's very balanced so you'll rarely run into any trouble but it is still a fun game to play. RPG fans should consider like I did.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Wild ARMs 5 (10th Anniversary Edition) (US, 08/28/07)
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