Wild ARMs 3 - Retroview  

Itís brown, dry, and dusty. Surprisingly not bad though.
by xddga

varies. Easy to Medium
60-100 hours


Rating definitions 

   I remember seeing ads for this game in magazines and on the internet when it first came out and thought ďMeh, itís probably just more of the sameĒ and passed it by without a second thought. Several months went by and I was in a store and saw a copy of it for thirty bucks, and looking for an RPG to pass the time on I decided to give it a shot.

   Trying to do a synopsis of this story is kind of an exercise in futility, really. Thereís tons of plot twists (some predictable, others not so), constantly new things are added, and plot related characters come and go through out the whole game. It can get pretty repetitive at times, and other times rather confusing.

   This isnít helped by the game designerís decision to have automatically scrolling text in a lot of major cut scenes. These scenes tend to go by rather fast, and itís not hard to miss out on important clues and parts of dialogue due to text flashing by before you have time to read it. Sometimes you find yourself missing out on important information as to why you are chasing after some new villain. And at other times it just seems like certain things were left out or just not explained well.

   While the game tries to hold up a Wild West influenced world and setting, it barely ever seems to influence the story. Sure there are guns and horses, but itís all over shadowed by lost technology and demons. Thankfully, it really doesnít feel tacked on either, and the Wild West theme comes off as something different and unique, even if it isnít much of a departure from other titles.

ďThis is your last chance, mortals! PULL IT OR  DIE!Ē ďThis is your last chance, mortals! PULL IT OR DIE!Ē

   In the end, even with some rather unique and interesting story elements and a constantly changing plot, the story comes off as just passable and barely memorable.

too. Mostly brown though.

   The graphics really arenít that bad, even for a slightly older game. Textures are nice (even though theyíre mostly brown), the design of the characters is pretty good as well. Also have to mention the monster designs, which are really well done and are very original. Itís too bad when you scan them you can get rotate them around like you can in other games.

   One thing that bugged me is there is this weird texture filter over the screen that looks like slightly rumpled paper. Itís really only noticeable when something moves, but is distracting and kind of annoying. Besides that, the cel-shading didnít bother me and held pretty true to the gameís anime style.

   Much like the story, the music is unique, well done, and easily forgettable. It serves its purpose, and serves it well, but has no lingering value. A lot of the music in the game has a Wild West theme to it, complete with whistling. These are well done, and after awhile it can be hard not to start whistling alone to them. Dungeon and town music is repeated through out the game, as several dungeons share the same track, but there are enough of both tracks and dungeons where it doesnít get repetitive to the point of wanting to turn the music off.

   Battles in this game lean more towards the old school side of things; which isnít always bad.

After three weeks in the desert, itís no wonder  they stand down wind from her After three weeks in the desert, itís no wonder they stand down wind from her

   I hope you like brown. Seriously. Besides the overly bright cel-shaded characters, everything in this game is brown. Ok, sometimes gray

   The key to battles in this game is each characterís Force Power (FP). When you attack, get hit by an enemy, or dodge their attack, the FP gauge goes up. The more FP you have, the more options you have in battle, and certain commands lower the amount of FP you have which gives rise to a bit of strategy thatís lacking in most console RPG games.

   One thing about this game that should be noted is the way battles are handled. While there are random battles while running around dungeons and the world map, you have the ability to skip them before you even get into a fight. While running around youíll get an exclamation mark over your head saying your about to get in a fight, from there you can hit the cancel button to escape the battle, or wait to get in the fight (you can also hit the cancel button twice quickly, but this hardly ever worked for me and I ended up just canceling the battle). However there is a limit to how many fights you can cancel thanks to an ECN gauge on the screen.

   You can upgrade the ECN gauge in several ways through hidden items found everywhere, but if you donít have a guide or know where they are, youíll find that the gauge is quickly depleted and youíre fighting rather constantly. But if you do know the location of the items, you can get through the game skipping 90% of the random battles. Skipping all these battles really doesnít do much either, as they give barely any experience and money, and almost every random encounter can be won by putting the game on auto battle. A couple of times youíll be treated to the enemy thatís immune to physical attacks, or uses status effects, etc. But other then that the battles are mindlessly easy. Bosses on the other hand, are a different story, as there at least 2 bosses for every dungeon and each have their own unique way to beat them besides just casting an elemental spell. This adds a lot of strategy and makes most of the fights rather unique, however there are a lot of times where you have to fight the same bosses multiple times in the game, and they donít really change much. In the end itís really a mixed bag; fights range from numbingly easy to frustratingly hard, to just annoying.

   First off, this is a long game, and there are tons of things to do. As for the length, it is hard to say since the game only keeps track of the time spent walking, and not while in battles, watching cut scenes, and in the menu. When I played the timer showed about 35 hours, and I didnít finish a lot of the optional sidequests and fought only once or twice in each dungeon (not counting bosses).

   Besides the normal storyline, there is a wealth of secret (and very difficult) bosses, 20 hidden block puzzles which are rather fun and challenging, a 100 floor dungeon, a battle arena, and more random hidden stuff then you can shake a stick at. On top of that there tons of puzzles in the dungeon, and each character has unique items they can use to get past various obstacles which helps greatly in diminishing the monotony of going from dungeon to dungeon.

   Wild ARMS 3 is a pretty good game. Not great, but not bad either. Itís a worthwhile trip, entertaining, and a great value if you are looking for something to do. Even despite some itís more annoying flaws, there is still a lot of fun to be had and more to do then most other RPGs. If youíre looking for something to pass the time with, you could do a lot worse then this game.

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