Review by Squall69
"Good gameplay in and outside of the battles makes this a quality RPG"
On Sept. 2,1999, Contrail a.k.a. Media Vision released the sequel to Wild Arms, almost 3 years after the latter's release. In that time span, Contrail has crafted a sequel that improves upon the original game in many aspects. Graphically the game is sufficient. Everything is polygonal now from the battles to the field maps to the dungeon maps. The characters are somewhat blocky however. The game runs smoothly for the most part except for the loading time between going to and leaving from locations. It never gets too annoying though. Spell effects including the summoning monsters are quite nice and don't test your patience during battles like the piece of eye candy that is Final Fantasy 8. The soundtrack to WA2 (as it will be referred to in the future is average at best. There are not too many memorable tracks and overall the compositions do not add much to the emotional feelings towards the story. In contrast, the best part of WA2 is easily its enjoyable battle system and puzzle solving. There are now a total of 7 playable characters so some decision making comes into play. Characters have many options in battle including their own original power which are ARMS(the guns) for Ashley (the main character) and spells for Riruka. MP's are gone in favor of the force point system which operates well. Using a gun or spell requires having a certain amount of FP while using one of the force abilities will decrease your FP. FP rises when your character is hit or when they perform a physical attack. Summoning monsters are back and they serve as the characters Level 2 force ability. Equipping a summoning monster also gives characters commands in battle including analyze and pickpocket. The only problem I have with the battle system is that many of the boss battles are very quick and easy so the player does not have the chance to even begin to utilize some of their better abilities. The goods system is back again and is the basis for solving puzzles in the dungeons. As an example, Brad's bombs blow up boulders that are in your path. It gets much more complicated than that though. The developers also added a couple of new systems. You can avoid battles at the press of the button if your level is greater than that of the enemy. Another one is where the player devotes skill points gained from reaching a level to different attributes. It's a nice touch, but don't get too excited - this is not Star Ocean: the Second Story's skill system. WA2 also has the search system which has the player press the square button on the overhead map to search for locations that advance the game and some bonus ones as well. It really doesn't add anything to the enjoyment of the game, but gets better when you have a radar pointing out random items that can be found as well as locations of towns and dungeons so you know exactly where to go. The story is your standard fare. Here the terrorist group Odessa must be stopped. At least there isn't really a princess to be rescued. Character development is good though. WA 2 is 2 CD's long and will probably take the good player about 35 hrs. to complete. There are a few more anime sequences in the game, but they are not a focal point and only appear when you begin and quit the game, and at the end of disks as well. Overall WA2 feels like a finished product. It's good entertainment for about 35 hrs. Players may want to purchase the import which is available for as low as $30 at an import store because an American release has not even been announced as of yet.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
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