Wild Arms 2 - Review

Player Commits Suicide; Game Blamed

By: Red Raven

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 1
   Interface 1
   Music/Sound 4
   Originality 1
   Plot 1
   Localization 1
   Replay Value 1
   Visuals 2
   Difficulty Frustrating
   Time to Complete

60 hours


Title Screen

   When the original Wild ARMS came out for the Playstation, it was one of the first few RPGs on the system, and its flaws could subsequently be ignored, or at the very least overlooked, for such a situation. Several years later however, one is to assume that the art of making RPGs would improve, in both graphics and storytelling. Not only has Wild ARMS 2 failed to make the upgrade to the current state of gaming affairs, it actually has devolved into a pathetic shell of its series' self.

   One of the most notable areas that have not been improved is the battle system. It is the exact same as in the first game: including the horribly rendered character polygons. Fighting takes place once an exclamation point appears on either the world map or a field screen. Three of your characters face off against a number of enemies in a very turn-based manner. Each attack or hit from the enemy raises the FP (Force Power) meter for that character, and once it reaches one of four levels, it allows that character to use some special ability. Thus, as one can easily expect, the entire focus of battle is based on raising the characters' FP level, for a big attack. Compounding the problem, the player is faced with a rather absurd limitation: one cannot buy healing items. Yes, and healing spells require a lot of FP, which in turn means that character must be damaged...which of course negates the healing spell's obvious influence. This battle system was bad enough the first time around, and the notable lack of any innovation is startling.


   In another blatant show of anti-originality, WA2 adopts the exact same clumsy user interface as its predecessor. Bad move. The menus are confusing and most prove to be irrelevant. WA2 also carries over the barely intelligible font as well, making reading the ample text in the game an extreme exercise in patience. "Was that an 'o' or an 'a'?"

   (Un)Fortunately for the gamer, the plot is itself is an unintelligible piece of garbage to begin with; no need to struggle with the bad font. The game proceeds in a very predictable and obtuse manner, with a generic dungeon between each "plot" point. Whenever one reaches said plot point, a random hero will engage in tactless and boring dialogue with whatever antagonist exists at the time. I am not in any way exaggerating when I say with complete confidence that this translation job is the worst in the recorded history of all videogames. It makes Zero Wing look like Xenogears; Final Fantasy Mystic Quest look like Final Fantasy Tactics. It really is that bad. In fact, later in the game the heroes meet up with two talking animals and their intentionally bad grammar is actually far superior to anything the normal hack-job translated heroes could hope to say. I seriously ponder whether or not the guys at Sony merely sent the entirety of text through a Japanese/English translator once, and left the result as-is.

Fear my poorly rendered attacks.
Fear my poorly rendered attacks.  

   The only area in which the game does not bury itself totally is the music department. While it has (predictably) no music of any great interest, it does feature some remixes of music from the first Wild ARMS, which is always a good thing. Another reason why the music seems to rise above the rest of this otherwise pathetic excuse for a game is the fact that it simply is not annoying, unlike the rest.

   Only masochists and fools would dare dream of ever playing, especially since it takes an unhealthy chunk of wasted time to complete. While the excellently done anime sequences might be a draw for some, I would pray that those people would look at the rest of the game first. I have never regretted a videogame purchase in my entire RPGaming career...until now. I am genuinely embarrassed to have this game sitting anywhere near the other games in my collection; if not for the fact that I actually paid money for this worthless piece of plastic, I might have burned it along with my Playstation (since cleansing it from the evil would have been impossible). Alas, I keep it as a humble reminder to myself, that I must warn fellow RPGamers that such monstrosities do indeed exist. So I tell you now: stay the hell away from this game.

   I am completely serious.

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