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A Week of Gaming - 26/5/12

Pumping this out slightly earlier than usual, but I thought as I may as well. I have enough stuff to type about and it's not going to change by tomorrow, so...

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After ditching Dark Cloud last week, I moved onto Wild Arms 3. As you may know, it came 2nd in the poll I did. Do I regret my decision to go with it? Not at all. I've been pleasantly surprised with what the game has to offer. I only played it briefly when I originally bought it (early 00s), but little did I know it was one of the most interesting RPGs out there.

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All four of the main characters are introduced via their own playable prologues. They also act as tutorial stages to explain some of the mechanics. While it's not the first or last game to do something like that, I think it works really well. The four characters are Virginia (a young woman who was taught how to dual-wield guns by her father), Gallows (a reluctant priest-in-training with a native American background), Jet (a mysterious young man who seems to throw into danger for the money) and Clive (a good-natured bounty hunter). After a fateful meet-up on a train, they join forces to find their own path. The group eventually form a camaraderie similar to the cast of Cowboy Bebop or Outlaw Star. They may not always agree with each other, but they get things done nonetheless.

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When exploring dungeons, each character has their own unique 'tools'. For example, Gallows has a freeze doll, which can be used to put out fires or freeze objects. Meanwhile, Clive can drop bombs to destroy weak walls or blockades. Some dungeons require a mixture of these tools, so you'll need to switch between characters quite often. This is done by a simple button press. From what I've played, I gather the characters will gain more tools as the game goes on, as I picked up an additional tool for Gallows in a recent dungeon.

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In battle, there's some cool features. All battles are turn-based. Magic and other special abilities are governed by FP (Force Points). From my experience, you gain more FP from successfully hitting someone or dodging an attack (although you also get a small amount whenever you get hit). Each spell (or 'Arcana') requires a certain amount of FP. However, using a spell does not use your FP, so as long as you maintain your FP, you can cast that spell as much you want. The only things that use up FP are the Skills and Summons. Skills bolster actions in some way (e.g. using one item for the entire party or double attack damage), while Summons conjures up a beast to deal a lot of damage. The spells and summons depend on which 'Mediums' you have equipped (a maximum of three for each character). As for regular attacks, everyone has their own weapon (ARM). When an ARM runs out of bullet, you have to 'block' to reload it.

The battles are well-presented, in my opinion. All the characters/enemies are running around, which gives the battles a more dynamic feel. If you happen to be on horseback when going into a battle, they'll take place with the characters on horses while the enemies are running in front of you. I think it's a nice touch.

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The game setting is pretty cool. Because of the anime-style cel-shaded graphics, the game has aged pretty well visually (the images I've included don't do it justice). It wouldn't look amiss if it was released nowadays. As you can imagine, they've taken some liberties with the Wild West setting, but it's all believable in the context of the game. The music certainly fits. The story also takes some pretty interesting turns. I'm not going to spoil them...

I have other stuff to mention, but I'll leave it there for this week. I'll go over stuff in a future blog (most likely in my final thoughts, which is still quite a while away). Needless to say, I'm very impressed with it so far. I hope it keeps up.


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Village of Inoa - Alundra

I played Alundra briefly last year. While I didn't hate it, it wasn't what I was looking for at the time. I certainly don't rule out going back to it one day. At any rate, one thing I really liked about it was the music. Pretty much all the tracks have an old-skool feel to them. My favourite up to the point I played was this track. I think it's a pretty good representation of the rest of the music.

Save Room - Resident Evil 2

For me, this track gives off an 80s Horror film vibe (perhaps even 80s Sci-Fi). It was a nice piece of music to hear whenever I needed to save the game. It's also relaxing compared to some of the more foreboding tracks in the game. It's nice to have a bit of contrast.

Main Theme - Space Harrier

I played this in the arcade when I was little. I used to be really amused by the 'ARRGGGGGGH!' sound effect whenever I lost a life. That's probably the main reason I kept on playing it. I was easily entertained back then, clearly. If I ever see a cabinet again, I'll definitely play it for old time's sake.

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to make any suggestions about the form my blog should take in future entries. I'm open to ideas.