Review by SCCAN85

"Hey! Control your ARM sonny!"

INTRO

Wild Arms is an excellent RPG that was made about three and a half years ago. It is still up there in the RPG hall of fame and everyone including myself got a bit excited when they heard that a sequel for that great game would come out in the near future. That game is Wild Arms 2: 2nd Ignition. I borrowed Wild Arms from my friend and beat it. I loved it and when I saw that the second one was out in stores I had to rush out and buy it! Well, I wasn't able to do that so I had to wait and wait I did ... for 5 months :(. I'm fine though and I got to say that it was somewhat worth the wait. I think Wild Arms 2 is a great game, but it is too similar to Wild Arms. That's a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that it sticks to its name and doesn't completely change. There are the same 'type' of people in the series, same actions, same tactics but just different characters and stories. The bad thing is that it feels like playing a modified version of the first Wild Arms. Even if that's what it felt like I still played the game and I was quite impressed. I've got to say that Wild Arms isn't as great as the first one, but similar to the first one ... it's up there as a great RPG for Playstation. Wild Arms 2: 2nd Ignition was released in June of 2000 and is made by Contrail, Sony and some other company which their name I cannot remember. Why is Wild Arms 2 a good game and how exactly is it similar to its prequel? Well viewer, take a look on down and your questions will be answered!

STORY: (7/10)

The story IS good, but after I explain the story to you I will tell you exactly why I am giving this section a 7. Here's how it goes. Three people, a gun warrior, a prisoner, and a crest sorceress all start out at different locations only to later meet up at the same time and place (brings back memories...). The gun warrior Ashley (Jesus how can a guys name be Ashley! ... sometimes I worry about game companies) is in the army (of some sort) and after they come back from a mission and are relaxing at their headquarters something goes awry. Some weird thing happens and everyone including Ashley are being possessed by demons. Somehow, someway Ashley returns to his normal self later and escapes to a near by town as the sole survivor! The prisoner Brad, runs away from authorities to a near by town. Later the authorities catch up with him and gets taken away from a town which he saves by giving himself up to the authorities. He is referred to as a ''hero'' for his deeds in the war (I won't spoil it) and for his actions. Then the crest sorceress escapes from her village and uses a teleport gem to go away. Unfortunately, the teleport gem does not work right and she finds herself in an unfamiliar place. She goes through some weird puzzle to escape and she ends up using the teleport gem in some town to go somewhere else. From there the three heroes meet and become members of ARMS. Now I didn't really spoil anything for you if you think I already have. Now my reason for deducting points was because the same thing happens in the first one. Three people, a treasure hunter, magician, and a man named Rudy go through quest on their own until they meet up with each other. Bah! I've already seen it so why do I have to see it again? Anyway Sony could've been a bit more original and made a somewhat better way of setting it up. It's fine the way it is, but it's just the same thing with different characters and different stories.

GAME PLAY: (9/10)

Wild Arms, whether it's 1 or 2, never fails to deliver good solid and very fun game play. I absolutely love the game play in Wild Arms 2, possibly more than the first one. The fights are pretty straightforward and simple. There are a total of six characters and each one have something different about them so it does matter who you choose to put in battle. Everyone, even if they are out of battle, gains experience and that is in my mind very cool. The stats are different for each character. There is some characters with excellent strength and vitality while they suffer from low response and sorcery. There is also some characters with magnificent sorcery and response, but very low strength and vitality. Mainly what I'm saying is you've got to even it out and make your party good instead of just having all strong characters or all fast ones. Now what else is there to game play in an RPG other than battles? Much more! When walking on the world map you have to press Square which is like a detector which detects the town or place you are going to next. It's sort of weird at first, but it expands the level of difficulty. Then by doing that you can also locate items on the world map such as apples which raise certain stat depending on what the apple is labeled as. Also you can find items like that in water too. Another thing that has to do with characters as well is that they have their own seperate abilities. Ashley uses Bayonet Arms, Brad uses Heavy Arms, Lilika uses magic and the other three characters have their own special abilities as well. In towns you can get many things such as items, weapons, ARMs upgrade, magic or personal skills. Personal skills and magic both require something in order to get it. For magic you need a crest and for personal skills you need PS points (which is personal skill points, duh!). You get personal skill points whenever you gain a level. For each level you get 1 personal skill point. Some personal skills require up to 4 points to get so to get one level of that ability you need to gain 12 levels. There are a total of 2 or 3 levels for the skill depending on which skill it is. Now let's finally move on to battles.

BATTLES - Battles are really easy to understand. After your party and the enemies or enemy come up then a menu with everyone in the battle on your sides name comes up. Then in order from first to last you get to choose the command or action that the character takes. There are 8 options that you can do. First of all there are two screens of options. Both screens aren't actual screens, but a menu in the shape of squares which all connect at the corner (like Super Mario RPG for any of you who are clueless ... or like Wild Arms). Anyway you can equip any type of equipment, switch between people or their positions, initiate auto battle, attack, or plain and simply run away. That is what you can do in the first menu. In the second menu, which can only be accessed by choosing attack you can attack, use an item, use a guardian attack, use a special ability or a force ability, or defend. Special abilities are like ARMs and magic attacks. Those require FP, which is similar to MP but characters do not have their own FP. Whatever level they are determines how much FP they have. They can only use a special ability if they have more or as much FP that the special ability requires. For example, if you wanted to use freeze magic with Lilika you'd need at least 12 FP or more to be able to use it because that's how much freeze magic requires. You do not lose FP unless you use a force ability. A force ability is another type of special ability and each person has 4 different kinds. Each force level is 25 FP so to use a level 4 force ability you would need 100 FP (which is the maximum amount you can get). Do not think that you have to be at level 100 to get that much FP. Every time you attack or receive an attack your FP goes up so do not worry. Before going into battle you have a choice to avoid it most of the time if necessary. While walking you will see an exclamation mark above your head and that indicates a battle is coming. To avoid it press O, but sometimes it will be unavoidable and you must battle then. One last thing that is quite entertaining is that whenever you fight a boss for the first time a new screen will come up and you will get a nice introduction of the boss before you fight him/her/it. That's about everything you need to know for battles.

One last thing I got to say before I finish up this section. Each character has a tool, which is a special item that only they can use. For example, Ashley can hurl knives, Brad can lay bombs, Lilika can use fire wand ... etc. These tools are required to use in dungeons or puzzles so the game isn't exactly very easy. You have to use tools and fight your way through dungeons. That's everything you need to know about the game play of Wild Arms 2. Overall, excellent game play!

CONTROLS: (8/10)

I have grown fond of the controls of this game, but that's probably because this game is the most recent one I've been playing as of late. Anyway there are a few minor problems, but those minor problems to me turned out to be major problems. First I'll discuss the good. The good thing is that the controls are basic and very easy to use. You don't even really need to be an expert at RPGs, nor video games to catch on to the controls and button configuration of Wild Arms 2. Every button has an extremely vital and important role toward the game play. The X button is the main button of the game and you use it to talk, run, search and grab (for items in barrels or treasure chests) or to jump down from a ledge. The Square button is used to detect thing on the world map and for dungeons and towns it is the tool command. The O button allows you to avoid fights and cancel when in the menu screen. The Triangle button allows you to get to your menu screen. The start button allows you to switch between the character who is shown walking. That's about it for the configuration. Now the bad thing is the running. If you've played Alundra then you can understand what I'm talking about. It's a hassle to run (not much, but it's still annoying). You have to press X to set for running, then hold on it to run. It sounds easy, but if you have to turn you have to let go and tap it quickly. Why can't there just be one button for running? I personally do not like that 'style' of running. Also, in battles you have to hold down the directional button to be able to choose your command and that sometimes becomes a bit annoying if in case you happen to forget. Overall, the controls are great but with only a few minor problems.

MUSIC/SOUNDS: (10/10)

Call me a sucker for video game music, but usually with RPGs I pretty much fall in love with the music of the game. It just gets me pumped up and actually makes me visualize myself in the screen (also the main hero always having my name helps as well :I). I love many of the beats that play in Wild Arms 2. I think it's much better than Wild Arms. There are several different themes for dungeons and towns. There are about three or four different themes for dungeons and a couple for towns. In the Valeria Chateau I just really enjoy the soft and relaxing sound of the place. Sometimes I just stay put in the game and take a moment to enjoy the pleasant noise that erupts from my television speakers. The battle music is awesome as well and the boss battle theme sounds good and actually like you are fighting evil.The music is very clear and has unique and nice beats. The sounds rock as well. The sounds are mostly heard during battles like when you attack your opponent(s). You can also hear the sound of the characters feet running on the ground.There wasn't much sounds that caught my attention, but the music definitely did and it was so good that it's enough to please me. Overall, great music!

GRAPHICS: (7/10)

From a game that came out in the year 2000 you'd expect something better than what I've been seeing on my TV screen. Now I'm not too picky on graphics and I personally am OK with the graphics of Wild Arms 2, but I've played many of the recent titles and they have much better graphics than this game. I like the graphics because they are very detailed. You can see the lines between the bricks on the walls, the carpet in some castles for example look crystal clear and very nice. The character design is still a tad sloppy, but a huge improvement compared to the characters in Wild Arms. The characters are somewhat detailed and their facial features can be seen. The only thing wrong with them is that they seem a little small, but so does the whole game surrounding them so they look kind of normal. The enemy designs are actually very good. All the bosses and enemies have different and cool looking special attacks. Also, the enemies themselves look really good. They are detailed and colorful. These graphics sound good huh? Well, if you compare ... let's say the graphics on Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story or even Legend of Mana, this game would probably be on the bottom of the list. I kind of like it that they did it this way because it seems as if they focused much more on game play and story then graphics and that is a definite plus in my book. Overall, graphics are good but not the greatest around.

CHALLENGE: (2/10)

The challenge is pretty easy, in fact it's TOO easy. There is absolutely no challenge in this game whatsoever except for some parts in the game like certain boss battles or some puzzles. I've only died once in the game and that was because of a certain move that some monster did which is called 'Gellacrazy'. Be careful for this move because it does 7000 damage to everyone and that is very uncool. The normal battles are easy and usually I have Ashley and Brad kill the monsters in one hit and have Lilika use magic. I seriously do not use many tactics to win. In boss battles all you have to do is use your ARMs and use some magic for Lilika or any other characters special abilities like summons or techniques. Maybe it's a bad thing that the game is too easy, but there is one thing that isn't very easy and that's leveling up quickly. The most experience I've received from a normal fight is about 2100 experience. If I used a lucky card (which is an item that doubles the experience and gella received) I'd get 4200 experience, but I just save those items for boss battles. Overall, the challenge is almost like stealing a candy from a baby!

REPLAY: (5/10)

I seriously do not know if there is much to replay the game for. I have yet to finish the game, but I am in the last place so up to that point there is nothing I could say really that would make someone replay the game. I am pretty sure there is nothing special that you get after beating the game or any special endings so I'm not 100% positive if there is a reason to replay the game. I know that their are a total of 342 monsters in the game and that once you fight them there is a card for them. I have not received all of them, but I guess there is something special you get so that could be one reason to replay the game. The game in my opinion is also very fun, so if you get bored one day and have nothing else to really do you could play this game just for the heck of it. I have no idea if there's anything more. I apologize if there is something else. Overall, the replay value is average.

PROS
- Awesome game play
- Music rules
- Battles are fun
- Good for beginners

CONS
- May be too easy
- Low replay value
- Mediocre graphics

OVERALL: (7/10)

I know I said a lot, but hey I liked the game a lot so I had a lot to talk about. I may have seemed to bring down the game and make it sounds a bit bad, but I actually think that this is a great game. Only reason I gave this game a 7 instead of like an nine or a ten is because I call it like I see it. I personally may enjoy the game more than a 7, but as a customer it would probably be ranked as a seven. Anyway, I can't wait for a Wild Arms 3 if that ever happens but if it does that game will be mine! I've had so much fun with both Wild Arms games that it would just be dumb for me to not buy the next game they make. If they happen to not make another game, oh well I can live but it would truly suck. I hope this review has helped you in making a decision to purchase or rent this game. I recommend a purchase because this game is very fun and nothing near a failure. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/23/00, Updated 11/23/00


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