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Review - Wild Arms 3 (PS2) (Read 13599 times)
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Review - Wild Arms 3 (PS2)
May 1st, 2012 at 11:01am
 
I completed Wild Arms 3. I think it wins the award for the worst RPG I've ever played through in my entire life. I really should have cut my losses and quit many hours earlier. I'm the type of the guy who typically will still enjoy playing through a sub-par game if it has enjoyable characters, story, or game play as a redeeming quality. This game however had none. I can't really tell you why I finished it other than a mental complex that I had already invested so much time into it. I'm also a completionist. I don't know how to quit. It's both one of my greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses.

I think this was a low budget game and it showed. Let me get started by telling exactly how bad nearly every aspect of the game is:

Story and Characters:
The game starts with a crazy meeting of 4 random strangers on a train robbery in a similar fashion as previous Wild Arms games. Right at the height of the robbery where everybody converges, the game stops and lets you pick any of the 4 and play through their prologues. That's usually a good thing. You get some back-story, character development, and history right away. When done right, you take an early liking to your heroes. In this game however, all 4 prologs were boring, whiny, and set up characters and miniscule back-stories that I couldn't care less about.

They looked like they would be likable, decent characters. A nice cute female on a journey of self discovery (Virginia), the rudy poo guy with an attitude (Jet), the mature straight edge (Clive), and the comedy relief (Gallows). Yes, I've seen them all before, but I'm just fine with that. However, it was poorly done from the start. By the end of the game there was at least some character development for Gallows, but that's about it. It seemed they tried for the others, but it just came off forced, especially for Jet. Toward the end, the only development had was deciding memories were worth living and fighting for. What a startling revelation, right?

Virginia, the main character had daddy issues throughout the game. She just came off whiny the whole game, the storyline with her father was lame, and the conclusion was even more lame as it wasn't even her real father. To say more would be to spoil it too much.

Clive was also lame. For 90% of the game his sole motivation to do anything was to research and learn. He left his family, fought all the battles, all for learning history. His 'struggle' at one point was how if they saved the world, it would destroy valuable knowledge. That's how bad it was. I'm all for acquiring knowledge and learning, but it can't be your only motivation for living and all that you do. That makes you a one dimensional, poor character!

Let's talk about the villains. Through pretty much the entire game you face Janus and three prophets. Janus had a little bit of character and I almost found him interesting. However once he was demonized (literally), he became nothing more than a side character thrown in for 10 more boss battles, since it seemed in this game they couldn't come up with anybody else to fight.

The three prophets were excruciatingly bland. Their dialog was stilted, their motivation was poor, and there must have been what felt like 15-20 boss battles with them. Every single time they pretty much did the exact same attacks. Boring and annoying are my best description of these guys.

Then there is Siegfried. I guess he was thrown in there at spice things up a bit when the other got old, but he was also one dimensional and boring.

Lastly, there was Beatrice. What the hell? Yeah, some kind of digital demon trapped within the library of knowledge and apparently the dream world (which did not exist at all in the game until that point). Umm... OK. This was the cliche throw a super villain out at the end that explains everything. Again, I don't mind JRPG cliches, but this was most far fetched thing I've ever seen. In fact, that's the whole problem with the story. It's ridiculous. I'm not sure I even understand the whole thing. Everybody wants to reshape the world (literally) for their own purposes and do so via combination of bio-machinery. That's pretty much it. The rest of the details are so convoluted and ridiculous, I won't even get into them.

Fail, fail, fail...


Sound
If I had to pick one positive thing about this game, it would be it had a strong soundtrack. The western theme and whistling were once again there. There were also some memorable melodies that I found stuck in my head which I haven't had happen very often on modern day games. They typically go for atmospheric rather than melodic tunes.  I wish there were more tracks as some did become repetitive (such as the prophets theme). Even so, the overworld and battle themes just never got old even though they were repeated throughout most of the game. Sound effects were at a minimum. They got the job done I guess.


Graphics:
Although I commend them for going in an original (for the time) direction of cell shading, overall I didn't care too much for the graphical style. I think the style was used to cover the lack of detail. I like detail and there was probably more attention to detail the previous 2 games. It seems like a budget thing.


Gameplay:
The game was hugely broken in several key areas I will list below. One thing the game did get partially right was the Zelda like tools and puzzles. Unfortunately, they had a bad habit of not even telling you what the objective of the puzzle was and thus the puzzle became stupid. Many of them were within reach and fun, but some were just so ridiculous there was no way I'd ever guess what you needed to do. I hate puzzles with no given objective (assuming their not intuitive).

Now on to the broken stuff:

1. The Search System.
Jesus, this was the most annoying thing ever. It completely defeated the purpose of having an overworld and killed all exploration. If you haven't played it, you can't find any town, dungeon, train station, or ANYTHING on the world map until someone has told you about it. Now, even AFTER someone tells you about it, you STILL can't see it until you search for it! To further add insult to injury, you never know where to search. At best they give you some vague crappy directions like "it's northeast", which could mean 2 CONTINENTS AWAY northeast! Then when you get to the right continent, you actually have to enter it all the way from the west on a small beach in order to get there since the terrain is ridiculous and plateaus and mountains don't allow you to walk anywhere. and printed out a list of coordinates of where everything was. Even WITH the coordinates, it was STILL annoying due to the terrain requiring convoluted round about navigation to get there.

2. The Personal Skills
The whole battle system was built around configuring your guardians with personal skills. It wasn't a bad idea, however there was one fatal flaw that was a game killer. You could not remove any personal skill item or it would be gone forever! Many were rare items. Don't take that status effect blocker off or you'll never see it again. Nevermind that you have 6 slots and 50 personal skill items you could try out. Every decision you make is permanent, so you better have the perfect strategy immediately. You only get one chance. But you won't, because you will have no idea the ridiculous amounts of gimmick bosses the game will throw at you. This single issue completely brakes what otherwise might be a nice flexible strategic system.

3. Status Effects and Gimmicks
This game is ruined by vast amounts of status effects and and even vaster amount of gimmick monsters and bosses. The gimmicks are so bad you're probably not even going to be able to figure them out without a walkthrough. The gimmicks are also typically required.

Honorable Mentions of Horror:
Millennium Puzzles - Grab button and dash button are the same, there are no rails, you must start over if you fall off, you can not go back up a level, and the puzzles are very long and very hard. Recipe for absolute madness. They are optional, but you'll need some of those items.

Sandcraft Battles - What? Some convoluted battle system that doesn't make any sense and is completely broken. Just ignore it all and attack with all ammo.

Single Character Ambushes - This is an ambush where the whole squad of monsters gets to pummel on only one of your characters with no possibility of escape or help for 3 turns AND they get to attack first! Let me just say this. I was ambushed with one character and four instant-death montsers. I never stood a chance. Stupid... stupid... stupid.


This game is so terrible I can't even write about all the terrible things. Do yourself a favor and DON'T PLAY IT! This review is OVER!
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« Last Edit: Apr 4th, 2015 at 12:48pm by Nightcrawler »  

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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #1 - May 5th, 2012 at 8:10am
 
Did you play the original Wild Arms? There's some clarification for some of the motives of the enemies, and a lot of call backs. One problem is that the new translation team Squaresoft instead of Sony's in house made alot of these hard to catch.

I personally find this to be one of the best classic RPG's ever. Amazing soundtrack, new (for the time) visuals that have aged better than most.  It takes every RPG cliche and trope and subverts it, takes it apart, and then rebuilds it.

It's rough around the edges, no in-game voice acting (a few songs have lyrics) and the search feature does indeed suck, controls can be stiff: but watching your party gun down knights and wonder aloud how any fool could use a sword in the era of guns makes up for it.
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #2 - May 7th, 2012 at 9:55am
 
Yes, I have played Wild Arms 1 and it is one my favorite games. It's been quite a few years since I've played through it though so I don't remember all the details well. I did catch a number of the throwbacks, like the monsters, but I'm not sure I took anything from the plot. Care to explain?

Quote:
I personally find this to be one of the best classic RPG's ever. Amazing soundtrack, new (for the time) visuals that have aged better than most.  It takes every RPG cliche and trope and subverts it, takes it apart, and then rebuilds it.


Are you talking about Wild Arms 1 or 3? I would say that about Wild Arms 1, but certainly not 3. Can you provide an example or two? It should be interesting to see our polar opposite interpretations of the handling of these cliches.
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #3 - May 8th, 2012 at 8:42am
 
Viginia's a female lead with a "hope and teamwork will win the day" attitude. Her philosophy, faith in her friends, and trust in everyone including Janus is shown to be foolish. As the game goes on these aspects are picked apart and she see what happens when you're naive enough to apply videogame morals in a truly harsh world. She almost gets her team killed, Janus betrays her (obviously) Maya calls her out.

Eventually she matures her ideals and goals, not to mention she's a female lead who isn't dressed like a stripper, and there's no romantic sub plot.

Clyde's by far my favorite to see, here's a happily married 30 year old bookwork in a JRPG. As the game progresses he honestly worries he's getting in over his head, worried that he'll die and not be their for his wife/daughter.  This is your cold sniper, and reading the WA2 story to his daughter is adorable, and awesome.

Sigfried comes back from 1 (maybe) to fulfill his goal, obviously things don't go as planned, because through the dreams of powerful people Beatrice sets up her ability to break free. It's implied in 1 that Sigfried is actually what became of Earthlings during the war with deamons.

I doubt I'll change your mind, and I respect your opinion, but on this one I disagree with ya.
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #4 - May 8th, 2012 at 6:35pm
 
Let's see, I recall playing quite a bit of WA3 and actually beating it. Don't think I ever did all of the optional stuff though, but I do recall enjoying the game quite a bit. If I can say one thing that's an improvement over the previous games it's that the battles no longer clash with the style of the game. One of the weird things about the first game was the battles. They stuck out like a sore thumb to the nice 2D graphics of the game.
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #5 - May 9th, 2012 at 9:24am
 
Next_Gen_Cowboy wrote on May 8th, 2012 at 8:42am:
Viginia's a female lead with a "hope and teamwork will win the day" attitude. Her philosophy, faith in her friends, and trust in everyone including Janus is shown to be foolish. As the game goes on these aspects are picked apart and she see what happens when you're naive enough to apply videogame morals in a truly harsh world. She almost gets her team killed, Janus betrays her (obviously) Maya calls her out.

Eventually she matures her ideals and goals, not to mention she's a female lead who isn't dressed like a stripper, and there's no romantic sub plot.


Yes, it is shown to be foolish, yet she never changes her "hope and teamwork will win the day". Some groundwork is there, but it never really goes anywhere and she never really develops.  Far greater focus is put on her daddy issues, which similarly poor. I really didn't see much maturation. I'll give you she wasnt' dressed like a stripper and surprisingly there was absolutely no romantic interest in the game whatsoever.

Quote:
Clyde's by far my favorite to see, here's a happily married 30 year old bookwork in a JRPG. As the game progresses he honestly worries he's getting in over his head, worried that he'll die and not be their for his wife/daughter.  This is your cold sniper, and reading the WA2 story to his daughter is adorable, and awesome.


He was the absolute worst for me because his character went absolutely nowhere and was so bland. He didn't care at all about leaving his family until the very end where he had a realization and decided to stay home. Then his daughter convinced him to go back out. It was a fleeting moment. The rest of the time he did nothing but need to go everywhere simply for more history. Then he had an inner struggle over destroying the hyades because it contained information. Quite a ridiculous struggle being that you either do that or everybody dies including your family. I wouldn't have to think about that for 1 second.

You're right. He's not a cliche. He's not in other games because he's just so darn boring. And I am a 30+ year old married man. Tongue What part was that where WA2 story was being read? I had a tough time sometimes with the extremely broken gameplay and my dislike of Clive to pay close attention.

Quote:
Sigfried comes back from 1 (maybe) to fulfill his goal, obviously things don't go as planned, because through the dreams of powerful people Beatrice sets up her ability to break free. It's implied in 1 that Sigfried is actually what became of Earthlings during the war with deamons.


I don't recall Sigfried from the first game. Are you saying the war with demons in this game is the same war with demons on the first game?
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #6 - Sep 2nd, 2012 at 3:30pm
 
You can find chapters of a book written about Marivel about the crimson nobles laying around, if you take them back to Clyde's house he will read them to his daughter. It looks, and reads like fan fiction, but it is adorable.

The Zigfried/Sigfried thing is not concrete, but it's generally assumed that he's the same Metal Demon from 1. His look is similar, and there's some shared dialogue.
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #7 - Sep 4th, 2012 at 7:46am
 
That's not even part of the main story though, right? I never even saw that scene, I don't think. That's a little side thing you can do. Perhaps had they put things like that into the main story, Clide wouldn't be so bland.

I refreshed myself on Zigfried/Sigfried sine we last spoke. That connection is so loose, it's barely there since they don't bother to actually say so and leave it at such a level that it could simply be coincidence or reuse of name in spirit only. What dialog was shared?
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #8 - Sep 5th, 2012 at 8:12am
 
It's been a long time since I played the first game, but the fact that the series is stated to all take place on the same worl at different parts of its history. He makes references to the metal gods, which show up in the first game, and are mentioned in the 3rd, in part because of the dragons, and in part because of what he's become.

It may have been nothing more than an homage, but I took it as a continuation of the story.  Side Questing was a major part of the attraction of 3 up until the abyss, I just couldn't do 100 floor bonus dungeons. To answer your question though, it's not part of the main story, but it is pretty damn cute  Tongue
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #9 - Sep 6th, 2012 at 7:55am
 
Next_Gen_Cowboy wrote on Sep 5th, 2012 at 8:12am:
It's been a long time since I played the first game, but the fact that the series is stated to all take place on the same world at different parts of its history.


Now you're just making things up. Tongue This is not 'fact' at all. Who stated that? In 'fact', it's the opposite. From an interview with Wild Arms series producer Mr. Akira Kaneko, he states (when interviewed about Wild Arms 5 ) (translation):

Quote:
The name (of the world) is now also Filgaia. Through each of the series, Filgaia has become a different world in each. What they have in common is about the name of the items and monsters. The story of the series is independent in all.


Source Japanese Article

In other words, similar to what Wikipedia mentions, each Wild Arms story takes place on a planet called Filgaia, though each "Filgaia" is an entirely separate world with a different arrangement of continents.

You're entitled to like that lousy game, but not entitled to like it because it has any of the same characters or any story relation to the first game.

You're reading too much into things that simply aren't there... The man himself says so. I'm afraid I have to believe him over you. Grin
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #10 - Sep 6th, 2012 at 10:05pm
 
You're right from the The Filgaia Chronicle covers 1/2/ and the anime. That's my fault.  They did redesign him in Alter Code F to look a lot like his counterpart in 3

I'll say that  that the statement was made after it was released that 1/2/anime all take place on the same planet with gaps in them.  Then again I don't read Japanese, so maybe the book didn't say  that, but it's a pretty commonly held belief. Either way I guess I can be sure 3 doesn't but that's all irrelevant.

I like the game. Also I should have been speaking the hypothetical. Because as I said last time I have no concrete proof to any of this. Just what was released in what's essentially an artbook that came out over 7 years ago and was spoken of on forums, and message boards.  That's my fault, and I do assure you it wasn't my goal to spread misinformation, if you don't like the game there's not much I can say that's going to change your mind. But the fact that you show no love for Clyde's little daughter and her fanfiction makes you a heartless son of gun!  Tongue

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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #11 - Sep 7th, 2012 at 9:15am
 
Clyde's daughter should have been taken away from him. He was a terrible father walking out on his family all the time simply seeking out history.  Grin

What did you think of Alter Code F by the way? A few months ago I tried getting into it since I absolutely love Wild Arms 1. Unfortunately, it carried way too much baggage that I hated from the Wild Arms 3 engine like that god awful search for towns junk. I thought the encounter rate was high with sluggishly slow loads (compared to Wild Arms 1) and they removed or changed so much of what made Wild Arms 1 great. After a few hours of playing, I quit and started playing Wild Arms 1 again. They just sucked the soul out of Wild Arms in Alter Code F. Bland environments, slowing everything down, and changes in the gameplay for the worse. The conversion of dungeons to 3D didn't go well either. They were so fun in the original and just playing through the first three, they changed all the puzzles and layouts into something not fun.

I did appreciate the better dialog and attempt at expanded story, but the changes were very small and not enough for me to suffer the rest of the butchered game. The music was a mixed bag. Some remixed tracks were good, while others I actually thought sounded better in the original. Styling preference there with the remixes. I could go either way. I was really excited for a remake of the first game since I love it so, but unfortunately, they butchered it. Perhaps had they done it with the WA4 or WA5 engine, it would have been much different.
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« Last Edit: Sep 12th, 2012 at 8:34pm by Nightcrawler »  

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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #12 - Sep 7th, 2012 at 3:51pm
 
I pretend Alter Code F never happened =p

I'll just say that I'm really glad XSeeD got a hold of the series after that screw up.
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #13 - Oct 13th, 2012 at 4:17pm
 
I checked around and realized that there's no review for Wild Arms 2, I'd assume you played it long ago, but what are your thoughts on the second game?

I personally really enjoy it. The characters as a whole are more quirky and it's lacking something that the first game has, but it generally has a pretty poor reputation which I think is undeserved. It's a fun game (even though the skill system is a bit flawed) and although the story may not be as good as the original, and start out a bit on the weak side, it gets pretty interesting. I liken it to 4 where you face off against the trained group of mercs, and I thought the boss introduction screens were really awesome at the time.
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Re: Wild Arms 3
Reply #14 - Oct 15th, 2012 at 6:41pm
 
Yes, it's been quite some time since I played Wild Arms 2. I think I played it around the time Wild Arms 3 was released. I didn't have a PS2 then, so of course I never played the later installments until later.

From what I recall, it was a solid game and I generally enjoyed it. I didn't like it quite as much as the first one though, mostly because of it's graphical and style shift and less interesting story. I just watched a few let's plays of this on youtube to refresh some things for me and quite frankly, I don't even remember playing through some of those portions. So, unfortunately time has eroded much of my memories of Wild Arms 2 and I don't believe I ever reviewed it anywhere.

One of the reasons I started reviewing games here on TransCorp is simply a log or reminder to myself of games I have played and what I thought about them. It comes back quickly reading my old reviews. Too bad I didn't start doing that earlier. When I was younger, I don't think I could have had any idea how much distance time can put on your memories.
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