zh666's Wild Arms 2 (PlayStation) review

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Wild Arms 2 was a boring and safe RPG.

Wild Arms 2 was just a boring game overall. The story bored me, the battle system was simpler than the original (and THAT was a simple battle system to begin with). Nothing was improved over the originals flaws, and alot of it actually regressed. The puzzles are still kinda fun I guess.

----------Battle System----------
Wild Arms 2 is a turn-based RPG. The turns are laid out in rounds, for instance you choose all of your attacks first, and then watch it unfold. If your characters have higher speed, then they'll attack first. There are six playable characters (outside of a couple one-off characters) on your team, but only three can fight in a battle.

You gain experience after each battle, just like most RPGs in existence. After a set limit of experience points your characters gain levels. After each level, each character will gain 1 skill point. You can spend these skill points in shops to buy permanent skills for your character, for example you can learn Poison Resistance or Counter. Once you spend these points you can never regain them.

The battle system is pretty much similar to the original game, but I think much easier. There's only two meters you have to pay attention to in the game and that's the HP and Force Points. The Force Points can be used for a load of things, that includes the Summons, Magic, Skill attacks, ARMs attacks and so on. You can only have a maximum amount of 100 Force Points at a time, and each time you start a battle you'll always start with an equal amount of FP to your current level (for example, if you have 10 levels, then you'll start with 10 FP). You boost your FP by attacking or being attack, which happens alot. You're technically never in need of FP in the entire game, this is basically how it was set up in the original. The part that makes this easier is you don't expend FP by using normal skills, for example Lilkas magic attacks. If she starts the battle with 40 FP, then she can start the battle throwing off powerful magic attacks and continue doing so. The only way to use FP is by using one of your four special skills, for example Lilkas Mystic skill that can give a group 1 item.

The dungeons are roughly the same as the original, they're puzzle filled dungeons, similar to a Zelda. Each character will gain 3 tools and you are require to switch between characters to get past obstacles and puzzles in your way. Some puzzles are extremely difficult, but the majority are simple. My biggest problem is most puzzles are room-centric, which makes them easy. If you are stuck in a room with a hard puzzle, then you know that you don't have to leave to find the solution, because 90% of the time all puzzles and the way to solve them are within the same small room.

----------Characters / Story----------
The characters are utterly forgettable, very cookie cutter stuff from other games. The story is bland and bored me to tears. The worst thing about this game was the boring story and I can't stress this enough. The dialog is very pompous at times. The whole pacing of the game is off to where it seems so chaotic and messy.

Annnyways, the story revolves around a newly army recruit Ashley, while at an army meeting gets attacked by monsters, Ashley is the only survivor, but is poisoned by a demon that lurks inside of him. In battles, Ashley can morph into a skill fighter, similar of that of the Dragoons in Legend of Dragoons. He meets up with a bumbling magic user Lilka and former war hero and current prisoner on the run Brad. They form a team called the ARMs, and fight a terrorist group called the Odessa.

This is the first Wild Arms that features an entire 3D world, from the battle system to the world map to the towns and dungeons, everything is in 3D in this game. This is a huge technical feat, but not exactly easy on the eyes at times. The dungeons are similar in style to the ones you'll encounter in Vagrant Story, everything is boxy, small and all end up looking the same. Not a good thing to me. The towns are about the only locations in the game that have any personality, but they're still fairly bland compared to other games out there.

The battle system graphics look much better than the original. The enemies are still as lame as ever though, there's really not a single rememberable enemy in the game except for one boss fight that fights with a Keyblade pre-Kingdom Hearts, but I'm sure if I had played this game before Kingdom Hearts then this boss fight would be forgotten like the rest. The most impressive things about the graphics are the summon attacks.

Like most Wild Arms games, the music is very good, but I don't think it's nearly as rememberable or fun as the first game. The sound effects are a huge improvement over the original, but that's not saying they're great in this.

----------World Map----------
The world map is a traditional Final Fantasy styled map. You start off on one continent and eventually move on by finding teleporters, boats, and eventually planes that transport you to places you can't reach on foot. The biggest twist to this game is you can't reach your destinations until you scanned them. Every town or dungeon is invisible until you get close enough to it and hit the scan button. Some places are completely unlockable until you talk to someone in a town that describes you the location as well. This can be a little frustrating if you blank out during the boring dialog scenes, but you can easily rechat with the person and find the directions.

Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating to find that destination where you'll be running around an entire continent scanning every square inch, but later in the game you'll get a mini-map that shows where each item or location is hidden that makes it much easier.

----------Time to Complete Game----------

Holy crap this was a long Wild Arms game, so far the longest I've played. This isn't a good thing either, the game got really repetitive and overblown by the end of the game and I got sick of it. I would of been throughly satisfied if the game ended with the first disc alone.

The ending was extremely long as well, you had to fight 5 bosses, and the whole recap after the boss fights seemed like a half an hour. Ugh.

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