symphony's Thousand Arms (PlayStation) review

Still regretting giving this game to a friend

Thousand arms is a dating-sim JRPG done right. That's about all it boils down to, really.

You have your fairly generic maiin character, named Meis who is a Spirit Blacksmith, able to craft some pretty awesome weapons. Supporting him a cast of beautifully drawn characters, of which you can develop a relationship with many of them. Granted, your hero inevitably hooks up with a specific character at the end, but the whole dating side is actually pretty fun.

The more you develop yoiur relationships, the better the weapons you craft as Meis uses the suppport and love of the other characters to help him craft. If I recall correctly, this is pretty much his excuse for being a "ladies' man", which inevitably makes his main love interest, Sodina, mad. Each girl also has a mini-game you can play to boost their affinity, and can also be bought gifts.

There is a ton of celshaded artwork and character portraits through the game, which look terrificand the dubbing -- something not found at all in a lot of PS1 games -- is decent, though a few voices are slightly jarring (no surprise there).Sadly, I don't recall an option to switch to the original Japanese voices, but oh well. The dilaogue is pretty consistently funny throughout, though there are a few points where it gets drama-heavy. Again -- par for the course, really.

The combat system is simple albeit a bit different -- it -looks- like the old Tales system of 2D sprites on a 3D background, but it's a typical active battle system like in Final Fantasy where you choose commands for your characters and wait for the bar to fill to take another turn. The big difference is only your front character (usually Meis) attacks, while the others stay in the backrow tossing you heals or taunting the enem ies to reduce their stats. None of the fights are ever really that difficult and the system does its job.

Overall, the game is a lot of fun and will please any anime-loving jrpg fan out there, especially fi you're a romantic. While the combat could be better, it really has no glaring issues that take away from enjoying the game. If you happen to find this gem in the used Playstation 1 bin at your local videogame store or at a flea market, pick it up!

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