Review by plasmabeam
"Skies of Arcadia is easily Sega's best game"
With all the Final Fantasy games and other Square RPGs floating around, other RPGs often get overlooked. Sometimes, they may be great, but they look childish or stupid. Other times, they're just on a system that no one has. Skies of Arcadia suffers from the latter, and it's truly a shame that it does. Even its remake on GameCube didn't sell to well, because of little advertising. If you ever see this game for sale on either system, I suggest you pick it up. It's better than most of the RPGs out there, and it's possibly Dreamcast's best game.
Graphics - 8/10
Skies of Arcadia wasn't meant to dazzle you with outstanding graphics. They are good, however. The characters even have facial expressions, which capture their emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, wonder, and others. The character models are nice for the most part. Although some may be turned away by the cartoony looking character models, they're mostly nice. Vyse, the main character, looks cool, and he looks his age. Everyone else, with maybe an exception of Aika, is nicely detailed. When you perform a super move, the whole screen becomes filled with color and flashes. It's an awesome thing to look at. Magic attacks are also well done and great to watch. The worlds and cities are vast and nicely detailed. There are ship battles that full of awesome effects. Don't be expecting any FMVs, because there are none. Overworks did a wonderful job with the graphics.
Sound and Music - 9/10
The music in this game is outstanding. Sometimes, I'd go back to certain areas, just so I could hear the music. It always fits the area with either soothing or powerful tracks. The battle music is very good also. There is minimal voice acting. That's a good thing, because you'd probably kill yourself, if you had to constantly hear Aika talk. Most of the voice acting is short sentences or words, such as "Yeah" or "Uh huh." It's nice to have a little voice acting, despite the fact that some of the voices are simply awful. Most of the sounds are good, with sword slashes being heard the most. Overworks did a nice job in the sound and music department.
Story - 10/10
As a young air pirate named Vyse, you must travel to different worlds and battle to save Arcadia. You start off by rescuing a mysterious girl by taking her from a ship that belongs to the villainous empire of Valua. Valua is the main rival of the air pirates throughout the game. Eventually you'll head back to the secret base of the Blue Rogues, Pirate Isle. When you're there, you learn a lot about the characters, such as Vyse, Aika, and the mysterious Fina. Vyse is an adventurous boy, who is persistent and insists on never giving up. He's a very admirable character, because of his optimistic attitude. Aika is Vyse's friend. She is talkative, and she has a good personality. She loves searching for treasure. Fina is a very quiet girl, but she is an important person in the story. Her story isn't revealed until later in the game. There are also a few other important characters, but those three are the most important. After a while, the three of you will go on adventures in search of treasure and other things. I won't go further into the story, because I don't want to spoil it for you.
Gameplay - 10/10
Skies of Arcadia has a turn-based battle system that has each character take as much time as needed to select an attack or magic (kinda like FFX's battle system set up). The battle system in Skies of Arcadia is very unique. Instead of using powerful attacks at the beginning of battle, you build up "Spirit Points", until you have enough to perform a powerful attack. While you're building, you can do a normal attack, use magic, defend, or use items. You can also set which element you want your weapon to represent in the middle of battle. This is important for learning new magic spells.
There are also ship battles in this game. At first they're really confusing, but soon you'll understand and love them. It's fun customising your ship with cannons and defense. You can also go inside your ship. Later in the game, you can hire people to do jobs on your ship, such as cook or engineer. It's fun searching for them, and the can even add some special abilities for battle. Throughout the entire game, you'll travel across the world in your ship. There are many places to go, which make this game fun. You can also increase or decrease your altitude.
There are towns and worlds to explore on foot. They have shops, pubs, and other buildings. You also have to progress through the game by entering caves or castes. Most of the time, you'll be exploring dungeon-like levels. They require you to walk around and search for the boss, the exit, or whatever. It's really annoying with the amount of random battles in this game. You'll be trying to search for something, then random battle. It's a real pain, when you just want to explore.
Replay value - 5/10
It's a long game, but you'll only want to play it once. There are some side quests to do, if you want. After I beat this, I didn't really feel like playing it anymore.
Overall - 10/10
Skies of Arcadia is Dreamcast's best game (and GameCube's best RPG). Don't pass this game up. It's an excellent game, and it's different from constantly mashing one button the whole time. I highly suggest this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/20/04
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