Review by Tricked Out Horo
"The shining star of the series"
Wild Arms 2 started off for me as a blind buy. I had played most of the other titles in the series before, but quickly lost interest in each, due to repetitive dungeons and rather cliche characters. Bored one day, I popped Wild Arms 2 into my Playstation and ended up playing over 6 hours that day. "This game is incredible," I thought to myself. I was hooked tight.
This section will contain spoilers for about the first 2 hours of the game.The game begins with Wild Arms 1-3 standard, prologues. You play through Ashley, Brad, and Lilka's prologues and find out a bit about them. Ashley is a newly recruited soldier trying to stop a hostage situation at a ruin. Brad is on the run from soldiers through a forest, and makes his way to a city where the soldiers close in on him. Lilka is a clumsy spellcaster living in her dead sisters shadow. Ashley is put under house arrest for disobeying orders, Brad is captured, and Lilka gets lost because she can't control her Teleport Gem spell. Ashley is mysteriously invited to join ARMS, a special group meant to protect all of the countries in Filgaia, the world of Wild Arms 2. He goes, but it is attacked by terrorists and the people around him begin to turn into demons. He escapes as the sole survivor, and after being recruited into ARMS by a mysterious man who helped him escape the meeting, he meets up with Lilka and Brad and sets off to defeat the terrorist group, Odessa.
I've heard many complaints about the graphics being ugly but I like them a lot. The sprites are very nice and the 3d dungeons are nice on the eyes, the towns even prettier. Characters are easily recognizable out of a crowd. Even for sprites, they are very detailed, especially some of the boss characters. Brad's prologue was the first time I was truly amazed by the graphics, running through the rainy forest of Greenhell. It is still my favorite area in the game. The battles take on a 3d look, unlike the 2d sprites on the field. Character models look quite nice however some of the boss monsters are a little odd looking. Their necks and other features aren't completely put together, there are big gaps like someone bit a chunk out of them. Battle animations are well done and very flashy. Most of the bosses have 3-4 special attacks at the very least, each with their own devastating animation that provides a bit of action in the fights, instead of a press X over and over affair like many other RPGs.
The soundtrack in Wild Arms 2 is absolutely fantastic. The world map theme is one of the best around. There is no voice acting, but it doesn't take away from the overall score if you consider when this was released. Multiple boss themes and a large number of tracks for the towns and dungeons guarantee you won't get sick of hearing the same song over and over. Sure, some songs are used a few times in multiple areas, but they are so far apart chances are you'll be glad to hear the song again, as each tune is just great. Battle sound effects are fitting. Ashley's rifle attacks sound superb and the explosions caused by Brad's various weapons and Lilka's magic are very fitting.
While the game is definitely very, very easy, it is also very fun. In dungeons, there are various tools for each character to acquire to help you navigate the dungeon and solve puzzles. For instance, Ashley has a knife he can throw to hit switches that he can't reach, and Brad gets some strong boots that allow him to kick open reinforced treasure chests and destroy things blocking the path. The battle system is very easy to learn. There's your standard attack, defend and items, and each character has their own special abilities. Each character has some moves that enhance their other attacks, which are unlocked as you progress through the game. . Ashley starts off with Accelerator, which allows him to act first in the turn. Brad starts off with Lock On, which allows him to focus in on an opponent and gives him a 100% chance of hitting. Lilka starts off with Mystic, which takes an item and allows you to use it on all 3 characters currently in the battle. These abilities can really make or break a battle for you. Aside from those, they also have various techniques related to their battle weapon Ashley uses his rifle which has an assortment of various ammo and Brad has a large number of explosive weapons such as a Bazooka. Lilka uses magic which you can customize at magic shops in the game using Crests. These allow you to pick your own spells out and erase and apply a new one whenever you're at a magic shop. There are also Personal Skills, which increase stats and other such things. You can purchase Up HP, for example, and from then on you will gain more HP when you level up.
Wild Arms 2 is definitely one of the strongest titles on the Playstation. There are many optional bosses and dungeons, and 2 discs to play through. The game will take you around 35 hours to beat, and around 50 to complete. I highly recommend you buy this title, you will not be disappointed.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/21/09
Game Release: Wild ARMs 2 (US, 04/30/00)
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