Wild ARMs Alter Code: F

Wild ARMs Alter Code: F

Developer: SCEI
Publisher: Agetec
ESRB: Teen (13+)
Release Date: October 2005

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Welcome Back to the Wild, Wild West

The famed Western-themed RPG classic, Wild ARMs, is staged to make a comeback this fall on PlayStation 2s across North America as Wild ARMs Alter Code: F. With the collaborative efforts of both Agetec and Sony behind it, this exciting remake will offer updated graphics, enhanced gameplay, and a whole new set of plot twists, dialogues, and characters for players to enjoy.

On the harsh terrain of the world of Filgaia, the very existence of life has become imperiled by the reemergence of the Metal Demons, a violent race of creatures hell-bent on the world’s destruction. Many years before, their reign of terror was defeated by the combined efforts of two alien races, the Elw and the Guardians, and humanity; their leader was frozen in ice. Since then, however, the Elw have left Filgaia and the technologically advanced Guardians have lost much of their influence and power. Things don’t look good for a rematch.

In a desperate bid to save the planet from ruin, the ancient Guardians call upon three young, spirited individuals to stop the monsters before they can carry out their maniacal plans.

  • Rudy is a mysterious boy who wanders across Filigaia, by himself, in hopes of finding a place where he belongs; others have nicknamed him a "Dream Chaser" for his troubles. His unique ability to wield weapons of mass destruction, called ARMS, makes him a powerful, gun-toting warrior and a feared outcast from society.
  • Jack is a swordsman who travels in search of a great, lost treasure. On his shoulder he carries a little fairy-like rat named Hanpan, who acts as a helpful companion when the going gets rough.
  • Cecilia is a princess with the gift of communicating telepathically with the Guardians. To her credit she is also a talented magic user and able to draw strength from a royal family heirloom known as the Tear Drop.
"In a desperate bid to save the planet from ruin, the ancient Guardians call upon three young, spirited individuals to stop the monsters before they can carry out their maniacal plans."

In the original PlayStation One version of Wild ARMs, the side characters: Emma, Jane, and Magdalen, changed into "McDullen" for the English release, were just colorful NPCs, but in Alter Code F they are now fully playable characters. Emma is a brilliant scientist who researches and repairs ARMs. Jane Maxwell as the feisty, assertive, and greedy teenager nicknamed Calamity Jane, and McDullen is her faithful and patient butler, who tries his best to keep her out of trouble.

Those who played the original Wild ARMs on the PlayStation One might do a double take when they see the new character designs for Rudy, Jack, and Cecelia. Gone are the days of super-deformed heads, balanced precariously upon tiny bodies. In Alter Code F all the characters have been given 3D, anatomically proportioned bodies with anime-inspired facial features. Familiar landscapes have also been touched up with added effects like gusts of wind blowing across sand and through trees, sparkling bodies of water, beams of sunlight shining down into towns, and bubbling lava-filled ruins. An overall 3D format has also been used to update the land overview maps, towns, and dungeons so that players can actually feel like they're walking through an all-encompassing environment.

The enhanced battle system in Alter Code F will now allow players to control up to six characters in battle; not simultaneously, but through a switch out feature that will keep three fighters upfront for battle and three in the back as alternates that can immediately be called upon should the need or want arise. Other than this, however, combat in the game involves all the same mechanics that players encountered in the original Wild ARMs. Each character will have their own set of melee and magic attacks, plus "force points" that accumulate during battle and can be used for special force abilities like strength and speed upgrades.

The encounter cancellation system that has been featured in other Wild ARMs games will also be making an appearance in Alter Code F. A special item that players eventually pick up marks the presence of nearby enemies with an exclamation mark and a special bar called an encounter gauge. If a player chooses to avoid an enemy, the encounter gauge reduces, but as long as it is not empty, players can avoid battles. As soon as the encounter gauge runs out, so does the ability to just walk away from trouble. Stronger enemies cause the gauge level to decrease faster than weaker ones, but there are also special white gems scattered throughout the dungeons that can act as refills to combat this problem.

Another feature in the game will be a vitality gauge, which will serve as a way to replenish lost HP after battles. The vitality gauge can help decrease dependency on hard-to-find or expensive healing items, but just like the encounter gauge, it can be depleted through repeated use. Fortunately, special orange gems also exist throughout the game’s dungeons that can act as refills.

Something familiar and yet something new is the best way to describe Alter Code F. Fans of the original Wild ARMs will be able to smile once again at their favorite characters and their action-packed, gun slinging, sword wielding, Wild, Wild West adventures. And for those RPG enthusiasts, who have never played the series, there are plenty of solid gaming elements to explore and enjoy. Wild ARMs Alter Code: F is scheduled for a North American release in October. As always, RPGamer will strive to keep you informed of new details, as they arise, so keep in touch.

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