With the abounding about of dual stick shooters on XBLA, one would find the addition of a dungeon crawler righteous. However, Wanako Studio's Arkadian Warriors is not the gem RPG fanatics are questing for. This mediocre experience will have its amusing moments, but after your six hour adventure, you may leave with a bad taste in your mouth.
Any veteran of cliché action RPG formula will glide through this game, and find no surprises. Generic is the pitfall Arkadian Warriors falls into, it's obvious Wanako Studios applied little effort on the creative side, and merely pulled out the rule book on how to create dungeon crawler, applied every necessity, and slapped together a $10.00 Diablo for kiddies.
You play as any of the three nameless heroes which range from the obligatory warrior, archer, and sorceress. From the games start you're thrown into a bland, lifeless village; which serves as your hub. In this Greek-style town theirs nothing in site, rather than a boring art style, a single merchant who over-charges, and random quest givers. The only good thing about this boring town is that you spend little time in it, beyond purchasing new weapons, and armor.
The design flaws in Arkadian Warrirors is mostly seen from its awful quests, and dungeon structure. Quests are easy to pick up, but are mostly meaningless tasks. You gain the reputation as a mighty hero, yet people treat you as a delivery boy, and provide you with little reward. You obtain a quest by talking to a marked villager, a portal appears next to you once the quest is given, teleporting you to a badly designed dungeon.
Once your task is done, you transport back to town, and off again to a similar looking dungeon.
As you start your heroic delivery boy adventure, you find yourself at ease. The game throws little challenge at first. This all changes come the seventh, or eight mission. The difficulty takes a dramatic turn, throwing an overwhelming amount of enemies at you which are most likely stronger than you can handle. You're probably best off running by the horde of enemies, collect the color coded key, and move on to the next room.
In these bite sized dungeons you encounter the most standard monsters in the RPG formula, enemies you as a gamer have probably encountered for the last twenty years. Ragging boars, over sized snakes, giant spiders, and minotaurs. A fantastic range of ferocious enemies, if you don't care for creativity, or enemy quality.
Combat is the only non-generic aspect of this game, it's just repetitive, and boring. Mashing "A" for attacks, and hitting "B" to activate your special ability, and hitting "Y" to transform into a God-like animal, which is in no way as exciting as it may sound. The transformation is mostly used as a rescue method when you are overwhelmed with foes. Fighting mechanics are nowhere-near hard to understand, the challenge only comes to the lack of good weapons, and armor, at the fault of the overpriced merchant back in town. Unbalanced difficulty doesn't help the combat aspects either.
The one bullet point Arkadian Warriors does posses, is the online co-op. This is one of the only ways the average person will find attractive about this arcade title. Two people can run through the game, and have a generic experience together. Co-op does have its darkside, camera issues do come into play because both players have control of camera movements, which becomes a growing frustration. Also, co-op only allows two people in a game with three characters to choose from; which is odd.
Arkadian Warriors is a huge disappointment, but does add a RPG to the XBLA library.
The game isn't terrible, but is just held back by its poor design choices, and generic structure. It's worth checking out if you and a buddy need to scratch a dungeon crawler itch; but you both may feel this experience is a bit overpriced.