Well, since my game decided to die on me after I finally beat the freaking last boss on my 7th or so attempt, I just decided to Youtube the ending. I don’t feel like going through the hell that I went through today anymore, since it’s probably gonna take a bunch of attempts again. I’m too lazy to grind so that I actually have a better chance of beating the boss (currently lvl 42 for Jude, Yulie and Arnaud, lvl 46 Raquel) since I’ve got a huge backlog of games to finish.
Wild Arms 4 is developed by Media.Vision and published by XSeed. I haven’t played any previous Wild Arms game before, although I do have a recently bought copy of WA3 that looks very new and shiny despite being used. Anyway, the game stars a shota named Jude who lives in his doomed hometown Ciel. He lives with his mom and his dad isn’t here. Pretty typical-sounding beginning. So one day, Jude sees the sky literall crack open and some military ships come in through the crack. They set up a campsite there so Jude decides to investigate further. He goes inside, sees Yulie (the main heroine of the game), and is surprised because he has never seen a girl before. Wat. So like the traditional hero he is, he promises to get her out of her cell upon seeing her. Then he wanders around, finds a dude in another cell and frees him. His name is Arnaud, and he joins your party. So some more stuff happen, you break Yulie out, and the people basically take the villagers hostage. It turns out they’re looking for an ARM, which is really just a magical gun sort of thing that doesn’t have unlimited bullets, even during gameplay. So they dig out the ARM and Jude grabs it and is able to use it. So he’s like “Lol I haz a gun nao” and it goes out of control. Yulie has the power to control ARMs (reason why them army soldiers are after a loli) and calms Jude down. Then the villagers all escape Ciel using escape pods that bring them to the main continent of Filgaia. It turns out that Ciel is some kid of floating city thing in the shape of a sphere with its own sky. Jude, Yulie, and Arnaud land in the sea and they float to the shore. One dungeon later, they arrive at Port Rosalia and meets their fourth party member, Raquel. Together, they decide to travel because Jude wants to meet up with the other villagers and wants to figure out what the hell is going on, Yulie has army dudes after her, Arnaud is bored and has nothing better to do, and Raquel wants to see the beautiful things in the world.
This game is very fun, yet extremely irritating at the same time. Battle takes place in the HEX system, which is basically a field of 7 hexagons and the enemies and your party members are spread randomly (unless it’s a boss battle). You can move around in the 7 hexes, but only to an adjascent hex with no enemy characters in it. You can also attack an adjascent hex, or use skills which have varying areas of effects. This system is strangely addicting and incredibly fun. The battle difficulty isn’t very consistent though–I found the first few boss fights decently challenging and they seemed to increase in difficulty, but then afterwards they started getting easier and easier. Most of the fights that you expect to be hard are very easy. I usually had more trouble with the random encounter battles than most of the boss fights.
As much as I want to have babies with the HEX system, there also many, many frustrating things about this game that made me want to throw down my controller in traditional ragequit style. First of all, those puzzles and platforming elements. The puzzles themselves aren’t so bad and I can tolerate them, but the platforming parts are what almost broke the game for me. Some of the platforms you can’t even jump onto unless you’re at a VERY specific angle/position. The annoying camera angle just keeps changing so the jumping distance becomes difficult to tolerate, and sometimes you can’t even se what up next because the camera’s view is from the front and Jude is essentially running towards the viewer. You cannot change camera angles, and they’re stuck at pretty annoying angles for a lot of maps. The most tolerable view is certainly side view. If it weren’t for the platforming, I would have enjoyed the game much more.
On another rage worthy note, for a game that’s incredibly easy up until the second last boss, the final boss is a complete bitch. And the final dungeon is really slow for grinding, so even if it’s completely my fault for taking it on 10 levels before when most people did it, there’s no way for me to get to the right level without grinding like crazy. Other than that, this game really does require zero grinding. If my game didn’t go and die on me right after I beat the last boss, I would’ve beaten it at around 29-30 hours.
Despite all the cliches in the story, I actually throughly enjoyed it. The plot is quick-paced, direct, and never slows down. It kept my interest all the way through, despite being able to predict most of the twists. The dialogue is irritating at times since no one ever shuts up about the differences between a kid and an adult, but I let it go. The story is clearly on the idealistic side of the spectrum, but the rather realistic ending for such a happy game focusing on the bonds of friendship sure surprised me.
All in all, the story is well paced, and I felt that it was nicely executed. Don’t expect some sort of masterpiece that can make a grown man cry, or a truly shocking plot.
Over the course of the game, I actually got attatched to the characters. They’re nothing out of the ordinary and seem like a typical modern RPG party (courageous hero + healer girl + tall, smart dude + sword girl), but they do have their charms. Again, don’t expect anything revolutionary and you’ll be fine. I liked Raquel the most for her high damage output and overall awesomeness. Arnaud also comes out high on my list for his extremely useful support and a certain cutscene in the game where he killed the boss who seemed to never be able to die by sending several airplanes at him =D
I wish the game had cutscenes animated like the opening sequence. The 3D models are lazily done and have SQUARE FINGERS. An emotional scene can turn to Narm due to the models. Sometime they look right, and other times they don’t. The backgrounds are nothing special, although I did find the cave facing the sunset at Port Rosalia quite beautiful. At least the dungeons aren’t copypasta environments for the most part. The grachics aren’t the best, but they’re certainly tolerable. Most of the dungeons look grim and dark, but justified since there was a longass 78 year war that went on in Filgaia.
I don’t really remember most of the tracks; they just weren’t very memorable. And even if the voice acting is laughable for the most part, the vocals sound really nice (in English!). The last form of the final boss was wonderful since they played the extended version of the opening there instead of the usual boss-like themes. The English singer did a great job. Yulie also sings nicely in cutscenes.
Wild Arms 4 was an entertaining game that didn’t drag out at all. It’s got a great battle system, but I would’ve preferred it with no platforming elements since they were badly done and not fun at all. Still, I kept going with the hopes of a fun and challenging boss fight. At the end, I finally got my long fight, although it came more as a slap to the face since everything was so easy before. The game could’ve done with steadily increasing difficulty rather than the increasingly easy bosses until the last. Oh yeah, and I think I learned my lesson of buying too many used games. Screw you, stupid disc that encounters errors at the worst moment possible.
Anyways, this is a quick RPG that can be played without absorbing 100+ hours of your life and requires almost no grinding except for maybe the final boss (unless you actually want to do what I did and jump in at level 42). The game is extremely linear and offers no world map exploration, so the main draw would be the battles and maybe story. It’s so linear you can’t go back to previous towns and areas until the end where you get an airplane. By the end, I mean right before the final dungeon. There’s not a lot of side quests, although I heard mentions of several extra bosses. Maybe one day when I feel nostalgic, I’ll go fight the final boss again and pray that the game doesn’t freeze or loop or whatever.