Genre: Role Playing Game
Credits: 1997 Sony Computer Entertainment, Contrail
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The Metal Demons, legendary destroyers of Filgaia, are returning. Powerless, the Ancient Guardians call upon three to save their once green world—a warrior, who has the gunner's gift that many fear; a princess, empowered by magic and an enchanted teardrop; and a rogue, who claims his sword is his word... but are his motives pure?
Ah, my very first electronic RPG... >>> by skysenshi
1997 were the good ol' days when I was extremely easy to please when it comes to role-playing games. After all, I remember I had only played 2 RPGs during that year: Final Fantasy VII and Wild ARMs. Being a fighting game fan for most of my console-playing life, I never realized how fun it could be when you get introduced to puzzles, deep plots, battle systems, and astonishingly inspirational characters. I only have to thank Wild ARMs for introducing me into the console world of RPGs.
I wouldn't really talk about graphics when it comes to this particular game. It was my first console RPG and I had nothing else to compare it to. All I knew was that it looked cute. Little pixies drawing swords and learning skills certainly made me happy enough to go through 40 to 60 hours of gameplay. Despite their cutesy image, I was still able to feel sadness at the loss that many of the characters have felt at several points in time. There were basically three protagonists: Rudy the outcast, Cecilia the princess, and Jack the rogue. What I loved most about the character design and storyline is that the focus isn't concentrated on Rudy alone, even though he seems to be the one holding the title Wild ARMs. There is equal opportunity to get to know each and everyone of your party members. Not only that, even the supporting cast and villains (like Lady Harken, Zed, and the Earth Golem) have their own tragedies that could actually break somebody's heart. Oh...did I forget mention Jack's little rodent Han Pan, who is one of the most useful tools in treasure-hunting and puzzle-solving?
Speaking of tools, these little gadgets that your characters use outside battles are part of Wild Arms' charm. Imagine being able to use radars, bombs, roller skates, grappling hooks, guitars cum enemy lures, clocks, and even little rodents for whatever needs you have in mind. No only that, during battle you can also change weapons and armors. I never really appreciated this feature until I've played other RPGs where the wrong weapon can get you killed, especially when that weapon happens to heal your adversaries.
The puzzles are what actually define Wild ARMs. The kind of challenge and sense of accomplishment I get after solving one really is the most incomparable feeling I've ever had in any game. Imagine, we had no access to the internet back then, so walkthroughs and FAQs are totally unheard of. What I do remember is that I had pulled a lot of hair trying to figure out why I kept running around in circles, but at least I had something to laugh about afterwards. The only bad memories I ever had of Wild ARMs were those times when palace guards kept chasing me, and when I had to chase orbs around mazes while using my skates. I just hate chase sequences. They make my heart feel like it wants to run out of my chest. But those moments aren't even enough to quell my extreme like.
Music anyone? Of course, this is also one thing that makes for a memorable game. I don't think I could ever forget that opening song with the beautiful guitar solo (I can actually hear two guitars before the track transforms into a full-blown orchestral piece, but what the heck) and that whistle that makes me think of a lone cowboy riding an old horse on a deserted road. This song compliments the touching anime opening. Be careful, though. For those who haven't seen or heard it, I guarantee it could bring about goose bumps!
DIFFICULTY: Moderate - Difficult
COMPLETION TIME: 40-60
HIGHEST LEVEL ACHIEVED: 42 (for all party members)
RATINGS: Gameplay 9; Battle 10; Story 9; Visuals 7; Characters 10; Sounds 10; Replay Value 8