Gaming Review: Wild Arms 4

Over the years, i’ve played a lot of games. A ridiculous amount of games, to be honest. However, there’s always been that genre which stood out to me: the traditional fantasy RPG. With a compelling story and a cast of characters, the world that they created sucked me in.Now, when I say this, you think of Final Fantasy, one of the biggest fantasy RPG franchises out there. However, my love affair with those games started with Wild Arms 1, back on the original Playstation. So it goes without saying that Wild Arms has a very special place in my heart. So when I started Wild Arms 4, I had some very huge expectations of this game.

When you have high expressions of something, either they live up to it and you have an amazing experience, or you get upset to no end and find the game rather plain and unremarkable.  Unfortunately, for me, it was the latter. I don’t know if I expected too much, or if it really was just rather flat, but I’m going to explain why I didn’t enjoy it too much. The franchise has always been about a journey or a quest, be it hunting for treasure, a lost parent or a missing memento. The journey this time was to…run away from the baddies. I really wouldn’t mind this, since that does make sense, but when a ridiculous amount of the game is focused around running away from your troubles and your problems, I just had trouble getting to feel for the one dimensional characters. In fact, it wasn’t until the second half where the characters actually started interesting me, and even then, they still had annoying catchphrases, cheesy one liners and huge problems they didn’t work on. And they simply didn’t interest me right up until the end, where even the main characters development felt slightly flat. I mean, granted, the main character being fourteen years is never a good move, but when the only development is him learning that his problems aren’t easily solved…I consider that a failure.

But you know, awful cast of characters aside, there are some really good points to the game. It’s got an amazing OST, with some very funky tracks, and a remix of the original Wild Arms OP used as a boss theme. They get your toes tapping, and occasionally, the music manages to make the cheese work. When you combine the cheese, the one-liners and the battle music, you do get some very powerful scenes. Granted, they don’t last very long, but they still work. If that doesn’t do it for you, then the ambition probably will. Whilst, ya know, it doesn’t use most of the ambition and just leaves it lying around, the parts of the game which use the ambition are pretty remarkable. For an instance of this, take Lambda, the baddie of the game. He’s just a big pile of ambition and interesting characterising, and if the lead characters had half the effort put into them that he did, I don’t think i’d have any problems with the game at all. On top of that, I have to praise the new method of walking around the map and the new battle system. Whilst platforming elements don’t exactly work brilliantly, and whilst I do miss the Tools which made the dungeons a little more Zelda-esque, the method of platforming, combined with the Accelerator feature really bring some of the environments to life. I touched on the Battle System, but this ties into the map: it’s very well done. Normally, battles on a Turn-Based game take a very long time, but Wild Arms doesn’t suffer from this. It does have numerous problems with the battle feature, and a few bugs need ironing out, but what’s there is done really well, and I think it’s what helped me continue on to the end of the game.

Ultimately, the game didn’t have a big draw to it. It threw away the Wild-Western theme of the previous titles and went down the Sci-Fi road, and it didn’t work very well at all. It ignored most of the ambition and possibilities that it created for itself, and continued on the road of being really cheesy, right until the end. Heck, even the ending was rather poorly done. Wild Arms 4 isn’t a bad game or a good game, but an average one, through and through…and nothing more. There are going to be better RPG’s out there to play…like Wild Arms 1, Alter Code:F and 3.


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