Review by gballer

"Dreamcast a least did something right."

Introduction- In this review I am going to write about my favorite game ever. I'll warn you readers ahead of time that this review might seem a little biased, but that's life. I'm going to be informing you on things such as Graphics, Storyline, Gameplay, Music, Fun Factor and Replay-ability. Go get some popcorn and park yourself by the computer for hopefully the best review ever.

Graphics- The graphics in this game are probably the best on the Dreamcast. From every person you meet to every town you go to, everything has immense detail. The dungeons look wonderful, from the dark and dank to the light and lush. Each special move in this game has it's own unique cut-scene that separates it from the other ones. All of the specials moves are brightly colored to capture your interest completely. This game also uses a lot of flashing lights. They use so many special effects, they warn you at the beginning of the game about the possibilities of you getting epileptic seizures. This game is great eye candy for any gamer, especially those who have played Grandia 2. I almost forgot to mention the Airships. The Airships in this game are far and away better than any flying object you have ever seen in any game ever. You see everything from every propeller to the insignia on the side of the ship. The graphics are nothing short of 10/10.

Storyline- Here's the deal. You're a young Air Pirate named Vyse. You are teamed up with your best friend Aika with whom you do all of your Pirate duties with. Being an Air Pirate for these 2 people consists of robbing from the rich and keeping it for themselves. Don't worry, Robin Hood isn't in this game. Anyway, Early in the game you meet up with a pretty young girl named Fina. You see that she has been captured by the evil empire. (not the New York Yankees) Being the good guys that you are, you do everything in your power to save her. After you rescue her, she will tell you that she has been sent from a distant place to help save the planet from it's destruction. Vyse being the adventure seeker that he is, offers to help Fina on her seemingly impossible journey. In this game you'll meet up with countless friends and foes alike. You will also make a couple of rivals on your journey. There will be times when things seem impossible, but to borrow a quote from Vyse himself "Impossible is just a word that makes people feel good about quitting". I do have to admit that some of the story does seem to draw certain similarities to a Final Fantasy game. I'll let you figure out which. You will end up traveling to far off distant places that no one has ever traveled before, which is something Vyse is loves to do. There are a total of 6 people you can use in the game, not as much as I'd like but still enough. A few of the villains in this game stand out from the rest, you'll find yourself wondering, what'll they do next. I'd rate the story a 9/10.

Gameplay- The gameplay in this game is unique. First of all, the battle system will most likely be different from what you're used to. Don't worry, it's very easy to pick up on. There are a couple of things to look out for, Spirit points, Weapon color and Magic points. During a fight you will notice a bar at the top of your screen, this is the Spirit bar. This obviously keeps track of how many Spirit points you have. The thing with the Spirit points is that it controls your special moves and your magic spells. If you have enough Spirit points, you will be able to do any special you want or perform any magic spell, assuming you have it. To gain Spirits points during battle there is a thing called Focus. When you tell someone to Focus, they will not be able to attack or defend for that turn. The thing they will do is add on Spirit points to your bar according to how many Spirit points they can muster up at that time. Each time you gain a level, your stats go up like in every other game. In this game there is a stat called Max Spirit. Whatever this stat is for a player, is how many spirit points they will Focus each turn they they focus. Focusing isn't the only way to gain SP, you can do so just by fighting. Each turn, each player will drop a couple of points into the Spirit pool, depending on how high the stat is. It's not as much though as if you focused. Next is Weapon color. Your Weapon can change color depending on what moonstone you have on that weapon. A moonstone is something that controls elements. Each moonstone has a different color, Green, Red, Blue, Silver, Yellow and Purple. They all control an element. So here's the thing, if you wanted to attack with Fire, you'd equip the Fire moonstone. While the Fire moonstone is equipped, that will be the type of magic you primarily learn. So if you wanted to learn lighting spells, you'd equip the yellow moonstone. Also, just like every game with elements, certain ones do better against certain ones. Last is Magic points. Magic points don't really play a huge part in this game, at least they didn't for me. To cast any spell, you'll need 1 Magic point. I know that sounds crazy but please hear me out. When doing a spell, it'll not only take a magic point, but it'll take some of your Spirit points as well. Overworks knew what they were doing with that. So if you want to do high powered magic spells, you might have to sacrifice doing some special moves. That covers regular battles.

There are ship battles in this game in which you fight on your ship against someone else in their ship. For ship battles there is a grid that appears on the screen. At the top of the grid there will be different colors for different turns. If the color is green, that means you have the advantage, if it's yellow, that means you should be careful and if it's red then you're better off defending. Also on the grid you will see a picture of each one of your active team members. When their picture is lit up that means that it's their turn. That's when you get to either attack, defend or use an item. You also get crew members for your ship along the way. The more members you get, the stronger your ship will be. There are 25 total. At first ship battles might seem a little boring, but once you get a crew and some nice weapons, you'll love picking a fight with a tiny little ship just for the fun of it. The gameplay is innovative and easy to pick up on. 10/10

Music- The music in this game is pretty nice. Each town has it's own distinctive song. I will say that there are about 3 to 4 songs that will stick with you for a while. The music isn't amazing, but it's not bad either. I'd give it 7/10

Fun Factor- The story and the characters in this game are enough to keep you playing this over and over again. However, that's not all there is to this title. They have these things called Discoveries, Journal and Swashbuckler rating. Not only does Vyse want to be the worlds best adventurer, he wants to be the best treasure hunter as well. As a little sidequest, you'll find yourself looking for up to 64 different discoveries, some of them in the hardest possible places. You will meet one of your rivals there by the name of Domingo. He is the worlds best treasure hunter, and now you and him will face off to see who gets the most discoveries. The Journal is something that you automatically start with. After certain major events, one of your team members will write an entry into the journal, you will get to see things from different members perspective at least once in the game. Finally there is the Swashbuckler rating. This is basically how you react in certain situations. Sometimes you will be asked key questions with multiple answers, if you choose right, you'll here a chime and if you choose incorrectly you'll hear nothing. The higher your rating, the more respect you'll get and the better chances you'll have at acquiring certain things. I'd rate this a 9/10

Replay-ability- With trying to find all of the discoveries and getting all of the crew members, you might find yourself playing this game once more after the initial run through. There isn't as much to do as let's say Star Ocean, but this will hold up well with the casual gamer. 8/10

Closing- This is one of the best games on the Dreamcast. If you don't have this game, you might as well sell your system. The fact that the positives vastly out weigh the negatives is reason enough to go get this game and have some serious fun. The one huge negative I have to mention, is the insane amount of random battles, you'll probably find yourself fighting a lot more than you'd like. If you can get through that, you will absolutely love this game. I hope this review has been informative and entertaining. Now it's time for you to stop reading and start playing some serious Skies of Arcadia.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/12/04


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