Wild Arms 3
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7  |  Wild Arms 3 Review (PS2)
Ditto , 3/23/2003 5:14:57 PM

cover (pic) If I am buying a game for the latest system, there are three main factors I look for. Price, replay value, and longevity. Ideally, I like to get two of those factors in a game. However, in some situations one will do. With that in mind, for longevity, RPG’s take the cake. While Square is trying desperately to change this, though failing miserably, RPG’s have very little replay value and if they were recently released you can expect to pay the standard $50. However, a good RPG will take you at least 40 hours to beat, and that is if you fly through it. By taking your time and trying to explore every nook and cranny, you can usually manage to expand on that quite a bit. That is what I love about Wild Arms 3. While you are limited in movement by your own abilities, you are given the opportunity to explore your surroundings to your hearts content.

The basic theme of Wild Arms 3 is fairly typical. You play a band of four strangers, thrown together haphazardly who must now save the world from utter destruction. There are some aspects of the story line that make it somewhat unique. For one, Wild Arms 3 is what I would call a post-apocalyptic western. Apparently, the world has almost ended a couple of times in this place. One of those times, about a thousand years ago, got much closer than the others. Mankind has spent the last thousands of years rebuilding itself and has now gotten to the point where they are spell casting cowboys. Sony even took this theme a step farther by giving it music to match. This gives you four means of transportation. Walking, horseback, train, and some kind of sand boat thing I have yet to acquire.

Those gamers who like their RPG’s stocked full of massive cinematic events peppered throughout the game every thirty minutes, or so, will want to avoid this game. While the graphics engine in Wild Arms 3 is unique, Square would snicker at it...right before Sony pimp smacked them for thinking you could support a game with graphics alone. Sony took a different approach with the characters in this game. I’m going to call it etched. Each character is etched out then outlined in black. This gives the game a unique, cartoonish feeling to it. There is a medium called Grudiev who looks like a Godzilla toy. It also gives the game a bright and colorful flair that I find lacking in many RPG’s.

Character development is pretty straightforward. You have your standard experience/leveling factor for improving your basic attributes. You also have the opportunity to find and equip mediums that give the character access to spells. What is interesting about the magic system in this game is that spells gained from mediums do not decrease your Force Points (FP) when used. This gives you the chance to test your spells out in battle without depleting your FP. You do however have abilities that will deplete your force points when used. FP are gained by causing and taking damage in battle. They are reset to your current level at the end of each battle, i.e. if you are level 9 you will start a battle with 9 FP.

I think that Wild Arms 3 most exceptional trait is its weapons development system. You have no armor, so that is not a factor. You start out with a weapon and from what I have seen the weapon you start out with is the one you get to use throughout the game. However, you do have the option of modifying your weapon any way you choose. What I like about this function is that you do not have to find anything to modify your weapon, just money to pay the ARMs Smith for the work. I use the word modify instead of upgrade because I do see the potential in the system to do yourself more harm then good if your not careful.

I am about four hours after the characters become a group into this game. While at first I did enjoy the opening sequence novelty of playing each characters introduction instead of watching extended cut scenes. After the third character it started to get old. There was not any real challenge to it, which left it more time consuming that anything. After I got all that out of the way, and all the characters became a party, I found game play much more enjoyable. I have seen different estimates for this game running from 40 to 60 hours of game play. The longevity is certainly there. I’m looking forward to enjoying as many of those hours as I can.

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