Review by Mr. RPG

"Dedicated to Jesus and Jean Claude Van Damme."

Before this game was released here, I wasn't expecting much from it at all. But when it did get here, I was constantly being told how good it was. I was low on cash. So I couldn't afford to buy it. Fortunately, one of my friends lent me his copy so I could play this great game.

Gameplay:10 In Skies Of Arcadia you play A Blue Rogue( A good pirate) by the name of Vyse. You sail around the world of Arcadia which is a vast sea of SKY. That's right SKY. There is no water to sail over here. All of the ships fly in this game. Unlike in most games where you get a flying ship near the end of the game, in SOA you start right out with one. Of course, you can not got too far to begin with. As you get further through the game, you will be find better parts for your ship, or even a better ship.
Sailing around in your ship you can find things called ''Discoveries''. You can find unknown pieces of land, some kind of lost monument, or a rare animal of some sort. You can then go to a sailor's guild in the nearest town, and sell of your discoveries. But, beware. There will be other people that can beat you to those discoveries. Even if you already found it. Finding discoveries wont get you that much at first, but later on you can make some serious money from finding them. The problem is that some of them are hidden really well. So have to search an area thoroughly. Some move around which makes it even harder.
If you find enough discoveries you can also get some stuff from certain people.
You have something called a Swashbuckler rating. At certain points in the game you will have choices to make. Depending on your choice it will go either up or down. Your rating will change what people think of you in towns. If your rating is ''Vyse The Fearless'' then that is what they will call you. Not everyone will. Just mainly the people in shops. Still, I like being called ''Vyse The Legend'' :)
The towns are very well made. Unlike in most RPG's where you find a town for every single dungeon, there are only Eight different towns. But each town has a unique setting and a different tune for each one.They are dangerous too. All these towns are in the sky, and somehow no ones falls off and dies? Not that that matters too much:)
The battles where pretty fun for me. Even if they did last a little long sometimes. You can have up to Four people in your battle party. The battles are turn based and each character will attack based on how high their speed is. You have something called spirit points, which are shared among the whole party. The higher your level, the more spirit points you begin with in each battle. As each round passes, you regain a set amount of SP depending on your level. They are used to use spells or a characters special move. The commands in battles are: Fight: You just go and attack the enemy. Defend: Your character go's into a defensive pose and takes only half of any damage dealt to them. Magic: You can cast the various spells the characters learn in the game. Special: Your character will use one of their special moves. ( You learn special moves by giving characters Moonberries. The better the move, the more Moonberries it takes. Also, if you do not want to watch a special move, just press start.) Focus: This will give your party a small SP boost. Pretty useful when trying to gain enough SP to do those really beastly specials. Item: Use the various items you have in the game. Run: Be a coward and run away:)
Your weapons can have one of SIX different Moonstones attached to it. The colors are: Green,Red,Purple,Blue,Yellow,and Silver. Each different color equipped will give you the attribute of that element to use against the enemy. Sometimes this is not really that effective, but it is quite cool how your weapon changes colors depending on which Moonstone you use with it. You can also learn spells for each different Moonstone. Every character learns the same spells, but their learning rate is different from everyone elses.
Here's something you have probably not seen in an RPG before. ''Ship battles''. Ship battle commands work mostly the same as normal battles. There is attack,defend,focus,run,magic,( when you get the special magic cannons.)and Special cannons. There is one command that you don't have in ground battles though. Crew. It allows you to use the talents of certain crew members to help your ship in battle. Each ship battle consists of three or four turns from each ship.With those rounds you choose can choose do Attack, defend or whatever else you want, but before you do anything you must pay attention to the colored squares above you. Depending on the color, it might be a bad move for you to attack. Green is good, Yellow is bad, and Red is very bad. If it is Red it is best that you defend. If there is an arrow pointing up on that specific square, it means you will have a tactical advantage on your enemies. The battles can usually take quite a while to beat. But they sure are cool to watch.

Graphics: The graphics in this game are awesome. Each dungeon or town is an awesome 3-D environment. ( Just wait till you see the CITY OF ICE.) The thing that blew me away the most, was how much emotion the characters display on their faces. It almost makes it seem like they are real. I love seeing the various emotions expressed in the game. Fina definitely had my favorite.

Story:10 The story is this: Valua is trying ot gather the SIX moonstones to resurrect beings of mass destruction know as ''Gigas''. All the characters in the game where developed extremely well. Except for Gilder unfortunately, who ROCKS!!

Sound:10 Pretty much all of the music in the game is awesome. It has some of the best town music I have heard in any game. All of the music is perfect to suit the mood. The voices that the characters have in battle are fairly good. Characters call out things whenever they use their special moves. Such as Aika's '' FLAMES CONSUME MY ENEMIES! LAMBDA BURST! Or Gilder's: C'mon, DANCE FOR ME! The sound effects it makes are excellent. When Aika throws here boomerang you can here the swooshes it makes as it zooms through the air.

Challenge:6 I never really felt that this game was too hard. Most of the boss battles are not too difficult ( except a few.) and even if you do lose on one, you can continue.

Replay Value:10 Most likely there will be things that you will have missed the first time through and you will want to play through it again over and over to do them all. Like me:)

Rent or Buy: Unless you play games for insanely long amounts of time, I recommend that you buy this. It took me well over Fifty hours to beat it.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/20/01, Updated 11/09/03


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