|| Arc the Lad Collection - Review
By: Jake Alley
The ambitious Arc the Lad Collection is by far the largest compilation
of RPGs ever released in North America. In addition to containing all three games in the Arc the Lad
series, purchasers are treated to a number of extra items.
As with the release of Lunar 2, Arc the Lad Collection comes in a large cardboard
package, containing the jewel case with the games themselves, along with high quality hardbound manual
and an "omake box" containing some odd little toys, in this case little cardboard character "standees"
and rubber analog stick thumb guards featuring the main characters. Those preordering the game also
received a well-made pocket watch featuring one of the characters.
Opening the jewel case reveals 6 discs. Four contain the actual games, one is
Arc Arena, an expansion of sorts to Arc II, and the final disc contains a "Making of" movie detailing
the history of the series and the process of compiling the collection.
|Battling a friend in Arc Arena
This documentary disc shows some improvements over those found in earlier Working
Designs titles. Rather than simply playing from beginning to end, one can skip between chapters,
and toggle on overlays of the elapsed time, or subtitles of the dialog. Of course, the most important
part of the package are the games themselves.
Arc the Lad is a short
but sweet title, taking only ten hours to complete. However, upon completion, saved data can be
imported to Arc the Lad II which allows players to bring their characters and equipment into the
Arc the Lad II is a far
grander game in scope and production values featuring a dark storyline, many interesting characters,
and some very solid gameplay.
|Not quite the opera house...
Arc Arena is a compliment to Arc II. At any point, save files from Arc II can be brought into Arena, allowing players access to a number of interesting features. The primary
focus is the monster arena. One of the characters in Arc II has the ability to capture monsters,
much in the same vein as Pokémon. In the monster arena, there are a number of challenges
to complete, using only parties of these monsters. Beyond this, players can battle each other's
monsters, trade monsters and items, and access special shops which are normally a long journey
away from the average save point. There's even a playhouse in Arc Arena in which the various characters
will act out strange little skits as an odd little diversion.
Arc the Lad III allows
players to import data from Arc II, much like Arc II does from the original Arc. However, while
importing data to the second game brings forth the stats and equipment of your entire party, the
cast of Arc II make only the briefest cameos in the third title, making all the work spent building
up characters in the earlier games irrelevant to this entry.
While the $75 price tag may seem imposing at first, the contents of Arc the
Lad Collection are more than worth it in the end.