Review by DDude

"King of the Wild frontier!"

Wild Arms was the first RPG I ever played and let me tell you, it was great! It offered countless puzzles, some easy and some hard. The story was excellent and the graphics were good too. Contrail recently released Wild Arms 2 and it brings back many of the features form the original.

Graphics 8/10

The backgrounds are all 3D, with 2D characters. The world map is all 3D. The battle graphics haven’t changed much but they are pleasing anyhow. The characters now appear to be bigger, but they’re still blocky, as in the original WA. The dungeons look good and so do all the towns. The graphics in the cut-scenes sometimes deteriorate when the camera zooms in and all the polygons are exposed. But this can easily be overlooked!

Story 8/10

The story is long; its on two disks; I finished the game in 47 hours. The story is pretty good. Its not related to the one in the original WA; it’s a brand new plot. And it has enough twists, turns and surprises to keep the player hooked. One thing I should mention is that, the translation of the dialogue is not up to par. It has repeated errors; some might find it confusing to understand. This time around you can get 6 different characters in the game. There are plenty of hidden bosses and side quests too; some of the hidden bosses are really hard to beat. The game also contains a few nasty dungeons. The dialogue might be a little messed, but nonetheless, WA 2 delivers a solid, well-developed story.

Gameplay
--Battle system 9/10

Not much has changed in the battle system. People who played the original should feel right at home with the battle system. The runes have been changed to Mediums, each with a summon ability plus a custom command, for example, Fengalon, the guardian of Wind can be summoned for a wind based attack. Equipping Fengalon will also give the character a Pickpocket command. This might seem confusing but it’s actually really simple. The Magic points or MP has been removed and replaced with FP or Force points. Suppose you’re character is in level 25, so when the battle starts your character will start off with 25 FP and gain more FP by doing and taking damage. The ARMs are back and now two characters in the game can use them. The crest graphs are also back and so are the Force abilities.

--Puzzles/Tools 10/10

Yes, the puzzles are back and they’re better and harder than ever. WA 2 has countless puzzles, many of which are really hard and annoying, and you might have to consult a FAQ. But then again, some puzzles are really easy. The safe execution and solving of puzzles requires lots of camera revolving and switching between characters. The majority of the puzzles in WA 2 are solved by trial and error rather than luck or intelligence, but all of these elements are necessary. Regardless of the difficulty factor, the puzzles are fun.

New features
--Search system 7/10

As in the original how you could see the cities/dungeons on the world map, the WA 2 system is different. You have to talk to people to get directions and then go on the world map and search for the city by pressing the <square> button. Pressing the button releases a green, circular aura across the world map and if the city is within the aura, the town becomes visible. Note: You can’t find certain locations EVEN if you’re searching in the right spot WITHOUT getting directions, so directions are a must.

--Battle avoidance 10/10

Are you tired of fighting weak enemies, or do battles break your puzzle solving concentration. Well never fear, because the “encounter skip” system is here. Battles are represented by (!) marks. Pressing the <Circle> button within two seconds of the (!) mark avoids the battle. Note: ONLY the battles with a white (!) can be skipped, the ones in red CAN’T be avoided.

--Skill Points system 8/10
Your characters will gain 1 skill point (sp) each time they go up a level. You can use these sp to learn various skills, some of which are: HP up, Advanced Guard, Up physical strength, immunity to certain status effects, etc.

Music 8/10

The music comes pretty close to the one in the original WA. It some excellent new tunes. The battle and the town/dungeon music are different from the original, but it’s still good. There are plenty of new tunes in WA 2 as compared to the original WA. There are about 4 or 5 different boss themes, depending on whom you’re fighting and also the dungeon that you’re in.

Final Score 9/10

I would have given it a perfect, but I just didn’t like the translation of the dialogue and the Search system. And the game is way too easy. The rest, the battles, the music, graphics, puzzles and everything else is great. The story is long enough to keep you busy for at least a couple of weeks, depending on how fast you play the game.

Purchase/Rent

No question about it, WA 2 is a must buy! It’s more than worth your money! WILD ARMS 2 Rocks!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/14/00, Updated 06/14/00


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