zh666's Wild Arms 3 (PlayStation 2) review

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Wild Arms 3 had some promise, but failed to entertain me.

The battle system was kinda boring, since most of the moves took forever to work and it was way to flashy. There was way to many unneeded cuts during battle, it just gave me a headache, and also could confuse me if there was multiple enemies of the same type on the field, since they ran around the battle field at random. I would seriously set my moves, then turn the channel to watch the news and flip back to set the move again, that’s how boring it was.

The story wasn't that great either, it had a nice plot, the dialog was ok, but there was to many lame twists and to many characters returning after you fought them. You had to fight some bosses or characters like 10 times, I’m serious. This got OLD!

Wild Arms 3 took me 10 months to complete, it just didn't hold my interest for very long. I had to force myself to finish it. Way to boring for me to handle, but I'm glad I finally got it over with.

----------Battle System----------
Wild Arms 3 has a similar battle system to Skies of Arcadia. A battle will move in rounds, first thing you do is set your attacks and then watch the battle commence. The character or enemy with the highest speed will go first.

You never change your weapon or even equip armor in this game. What you do is upgrade your existing weapons attributes. You can only do this in a couple spots in the game by paying someone to fix your gun. You can only upgrade your gun to a maximum of 15 levels, but you have to spread that across each of the four attributes. I maxed out my levels very early in the game.

The Summons in the game also boost your stats. Each Summon will also give you 3 status boosters aswell (for example, resistence to Poison). They also give you 5 open slots that you can fill up items you find during the game, so you can customize what skills you want your characters to learn. When you level up, you get 1 skill point. You use these skill points to upgrade or activate your status boost. Some status boosts will cost more than others. You won't be able to activate them all, so use them wisely. You can get 3 Summons per-character in the game, so that equals up to 24 status boost a character can learn in the game. You can switch which Summon goes to which character at any given point in the game, even during battles.

Each character will have a 1 specific attack, pretty lazy. For example, Virginia will have an attack called Mystic that can spread out items across each team member, since no items or attacks (other than Summons) will attack multiple characters. I only found Virginia and Gallows special attack someone useful, the rest weren't anything special. Everyone has a Gatling attack, this is an attack that can use combos to attack one enemy. If you save up enough FP points and still have enough bullets left, you can use a Gatling. Everyone also has the 3 Summons mentioned earlier. Each Summon also gives you 4 magic attacks. This attacks need FP to use, but they don't consume any FP for some reason.

Like Skies of Arcadia, you will also be involved in ship battles. These are much different than your regular battles. In your Sandcraft you'll have to assign each character will a job, like Gunner. Once the battle starts you can view the rotation order of the fight, including the enemy, so the fight can be very simple if you understand how each icon and what to expect. You can only do a few things though, like Harpoon an enemy, retract it, move around it and then shoot it. You can kill an enemy in a few moves.

You can upgrade your sandcraft with dragon fossils you find through out dungeons or when an enemy drops it after a battle. You use these at the town Jolly Roger, the same place you find the first ARMs (weapons) upgrade. You can upgrade your barrel, harpoon, engine and armor. You can also give your sandcraft an element too, but I never needed to.

While you're in dungeons or towns each character can use 3 special skills. Virginia can throw cards of fire, Gallows can shoot ice out of a doll, Jet can throw a boomerang and Clive can set bombs to name a few. With these skills you can figure out the repetitive puzzles in the game. After you do one puzzle with one skill, you pretty much done the rest with that skill. I never got stumped in this game, way to simple.

There's a ton of bosses in this game. You repeat them all the time too, but otherwise there’s still a ton of bosses. You might even fight sets of bosses, sometimes you can fight 3 different sets of bosses in just one dungeon. You might even fight a set of bosses at the beginning, middle or end of the dungeon. You never know when a boss fight will show up.

----------Characters / Story----------
You play as four drifters wondering the world to find their purpose in the world. At the start of the game, all the playable characters meet on a train trying to steal a treasure on board. Once everyone trys to grab that treasure, everyone pauses and you get to play as one of them in an introductory story / tutorial mission. After you play through all four stories, you will all team up and find their ways of life. Virginia is an 18 year old turned drifter after mom died and dad gone missing. Jet is a mercenary Cloud rip off that has no memories. Clive is a scientist in search for the cause of the decay of the world and Gallows is a priest out to save the world. I enjoyed how they set up the game.

Wild Arms 3 is a mix of Western, Religion and Sci-fi based ideas thrown together to make one weird story. The story could of been a little better. It just didn't keep me interested to be honest. If theres no water in the world, then how do some plants survive? How do PEOPLE survive? and why are they cheerful and not totally bitter about life?

The character graphics are in a grainy cel-shaded style. The characters look great, they all wear bright color clothes, which truly shine when they have close ups of them during dialog or battles. The world is very dull, everything is the color of sand, there's only a couple places where you'll find a lake or tree. The people on this game sure are happy and were bright colors in such a dead world like this. I don't get it.

All the dungeons pretty much look the same. You'll either be in a cave type level, or a tower type level. There's alot of towns in the game, but they are very small. There might be up to 4 houses in some towns, while others might have 2.

The special attacks are kinda boring, nothing on Final Fantasy's level of things. The summons on the game however are huge, and are slightly below par with Final Fantasy's summons. There's only 12 in the game, but after you see one of them once, you probably won't want to watch it again for a while. They're way to long, and sometimes deal little damage to warrant the wait. You can't skip them either.

On the world map the camera will turn in a 360 direction, but if you're in a town or dungeon the camera will turn in 8 clicks. You'll never get a precise camera angle. A thing that bugs me about the camera is if you exit a house, it will often give you the worst possible angle behind your character, and 99% of the time there's a huge mountain behind you blocking your view, so you'll have to change the camera and then move on.

You can't run in any direction. The X button makes your character run, but when you hold it down, the character will only run in a straight line left right up or down. If you want to change the direction, you'll have to stop, change and then run again. I guess this makes it easier on some levels where you can fall off of a ledge easily, but it slows me down more than anything. Because they put the action and run button together, I had a ton of problems with the Millennium Puzzle sidequests. In these sidequests you have to match blocks together, if you get rid of them all you win a prize. Almost all the levels don't have any barriers, so you can fall off easily. If you tap the X button and start to run, rather than grab a block, you'll either run into a block and it will bounce you off the level, or you'll run past the block running off the level. The puzzles were easy to figure out, it was just difficult to stay on the block.

There was only a couple anime cutscenes in the game. Each time you load your game you can view the first cutscene if you please.

I loved the music in this game. All the songs are rememberable, they stick with you even after you stop playing. It's a nice mix of stereotypical western music, rock and traditional Japanese RPG music you are use to. My biggest problem in the sound department is the lack of voice overs. Actually, there's NO voice overs. No dialog, no battle cries, not even grunts when they get attacked. What year is this? 1997? Get with the times Sony.

----------World Map----------
The world map is very similar to a classic Final Fantasy style map with it's own unique twist. On the map they give you a sonar type item, with it you have to search for the town or dungeon or item you're looking for. In the game a character will give you a hint to where to go next and give you vague directions to your next location. Once you think you found the location you can tape the square button to trigger the search. If you're close to the location, the item, dungeon or town will pop up on the screen and then you can take it or enter it as you please. My biggest problem with this is if you don't talk to the right person, then you can't open the location up. You can literally walk over a whole town for hours, but if some random character from some random town doesn't says "hey, I heard there's something interesting in north from here" then you'll never unlock that location! This can get very frustrating, since the person is rarely important and he never tells you anything that important before hand. There's no reason to talk to half of these people! The game never gives you hints on to who to talk to. I've been lost for hours at a time just trying to find the right person to talk to.

Other than that mega frustrating angle, I enjoy these types of world maps the most. You can freely walk to your locations, you can see your towns and dungeons and exit at anytime. This is not a leveled or dot-to-dot world map, so this is a big relief for me. They give you a ton of options on how to travel. You can walk, ride a train, ride a horse, drive a sandcraft, fly in a dragon or transport. The more options you unlock, the more areas you can visit.

----------Time to Complete Game (first run through, last save before credits)----------

The last fight took me about 2 and a half hours, I swear. You have to go through 11 different fights, one of them took me 45 minutes alone. The battle time didn't count against my overall time though, I don't understand that.

After you complete the game you can unlock a New Game+ with your same levels and gella, but to do this you have to find a certain amount of Ex-Keys to unlock it, I didn't have enough, but this game isn't good enough to restart anyways.

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