Friday, January 25, 2002

Wild ARMs 2 (2nd Ignition)

Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation
Credits: Sony Computer Entertainment, Contrail

Wild ARMs Anime DVDs
Wild ARMs Books & Guides
Wild ARMs Games
Wild ARMs Accessories
Wild ARMs Music (OST)
Cover Description:
It's about one world hanging in the balance. Where one hero must sacrifice his heart for peace. Where courage and fear, love and malice, heroes and villains go hand in hand. It's power that exceeds human knowledge. It's neither dream nor reality. It's what legends are made of.

Can't help but compare... >>> by skysenshi
Wild ARMs 2 has no relation whatsoever to the storyline of the original one. You'll even hear this fact from one of the bystanders in one of those hard-to-remember villages in this godforsaken game. The only thing this has in common with Wild ARMs 1 is that there are tools (too many of them to be considered useful, in fact) and there are sadly not much improvement in terms of graphics and battle system. As a matter of opinion, this feels too much like the first one—trapped in 1997. Wild ARMs 1 was quite an excellent game for its time, but come on! Surely Wild ARMs 2 could have come up with better innovations, considering it was released at around the same time that Final Fantasy VIII made its presence known. What I found were remnants of 1997 with one big difference: the word "tedious."

Before I go on with my rant, I would like to stress out that WILD ARMs 2 is not without positive qualities. For one, there is one unusual female bounty hunter whom I've grown attached to. Her name is Kanon, and she can easily become the most powerful party member even without much work for development on your part. Another is the vampire Marivel, whose funny antiques can remove any traces of ennui from your countenance. Third is Brad, the war hero turned criminal, who probably has one of the most interesting life stories—not to mention skills—in this game. Needless to say, WILD ARMs 2's secret weapons are its characters and its plot twists. Although you get to start off with three main paths (as with the first Wild ARMs), there are actually 6 party-members to choose from. The best thing about it is that you don't really leave any party member behind during battles. They are all with you whenever you need them, and you can even make useless members act as shields to absorb powerful attacks from nigh impossible bosses. So you see, there aren't any "useless" party members at all. It's just a matter of how you deploy your people. Unfortunately, due to the exhausting nature of this game, many players have not reached the point where they get introduced to the more interesting characters.

(NOTE: Notice the multitude of Wild ARMs 2 reviews in GameFAQs, and you'll see they only talk about the first three characters. These reviewers probably did not endure the torture long enough to get to meet the remaining three party members.)

Now I begin my rant. What made Wild ARMs 1 such a hit was it's numerous puzzles. I think this is what made Wild ARMs 2 a flop. No longer were we served brainteasers for the duration of the game. These little sources of enjoyment were replaced by long-winded mazes with "puzzles" that do not require any hint of gray matter—just patience.

Running. Now this is the absolute bother. It's still the same as with the original, where you press dash and woe to you if you do not know when to stop because bumping into a wall will throw you a few paces back. I wish they could have improved this. While this feature did not bother me back when I was playing its predecessor, it just isn't acceptable for a newer game to still retain bad habits.

Hidden Bosses. Newer RPGs seemed to have begun putting hidden bosses in their games. But dear gawd! At least you can use your brains if you lack resources in defeating them. Here? Well, one piece of advice I can give is to invest in HP early in the game, because no matter how high your levels raise, you are going to depend a lot on luck in destroying some of the most annoying hidden bosses here. There were two that I couldn't defeat (I nearly kissed Final Fantasy's "wussy" bosses because of those two).

As for the sounds, they weren't nearly as remarkable as with the first Wild ARMs'. Well, at least there are lyrics now, and there is another opening animation with a different theme for the second disc. But... I still miss Wild ARMs 1. If you ask me, I would gladly play the old 1997 game. This one? I'd rather kiss a lizard than go through this hell again.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate - Difficult
HIGHEST LEVEL ACHIEVED: 99 (for all party members)
RATINGS: Gameplay 6; Battle 9; Story 9; Visuals 6; Characters 7; Sounds 9; Replay Value 3

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