Top positive review
36 people found this helpful
Excellent - Very refreshing RPG
on 21 February 2003
I'm a bit glum at the moment. I've come to the conclusion that a number of fantastic games will not get the play they deserve due to lack of confidence from the distributors. Due to this, they put very little into advance publicity, advertising, put few copies on the shelves and give them weak covers.
A good example: I got Wild Arms 3 the other day. This is a fun RPG set in a Wild West / Fantasy setting with nice cell shaded graphics. I'd not even heard it was being released, despite it receiving quite admirable reviews and also being part of an acclaimed series of games. I'd seen no adverts for it at all in any of the magazines, and the cover is one of the weakest I have ever seen. Basically, it's a sepia brown mess with half a character's back on it. It's even worse than the Morrowind cover, and would certainly not attract the casual browser. (not casual bowser). Add to this a poorly chosen selection of screenshots on the back, and very little "interesting" blurb and you have a product that seems doomed to fail - Oh, and they are only providing about five copies per store. The guys in the shop were not too enthused about the game at all, it has to be said.
This is all a real shame, as the game itself is one of the most fun RPGs I've played in a while. The Wild West setting actually makes the game seem quite fresh, and the four characters you control all have varied and different roles within the gameplay. The turn based combat system is one of the best I've seen, extremely simple to use and understand, as is the magic system. You also have proper puzzles in the dungeons, a la Zelda, some of which involve a fair bit of lateral thinking.
It has it's faults. There's far too many random battles, but - unlike most RPGs - you can opt to skip them for the most part. You can't skip cut scenes, but that's not too much of a problem. When on the world map, you have to use a sonar-like device to locate new areas that you can visit, which can mean a bit of wandering around in circles. However, you're given plenty of clues as you go along as to where places are. Also, the combat varies between being extremely easy, or damned hard with little in the middle. Oh, and near the start, it seems like health berries are pretty hard to find (although I'm told later on in the game you grow your own and have almost more than you need!!)
Other interesting things in the game - Battles on horseback. To travel across the world at speed, you can catch horses - At times, you'll be attacked by bandits, or whatever, and have shooting battles at high speed. Fun! Much more fun than the Gummi Ship-like sand crawler battles which, to be honest, I could do without. The plot is quite good - Although you won't think it's anything special at the start. Like many RPGs, this takes a little while to get going, and you need to play for a few hours to see the game get better. You start of with four prologues, each one introducing each character and their abilities, before everyone teams up and you have your first group battle atop a fast-moving train. Anyways, I am liking this - It's also fairly light-hearted in atmosphere, which is a bit of a change from many of the recent RPGs.