Post-Qar Era Science Fiction Fantasy Role-Playing with A Lot of Heart
These days, few games series are able to maintain a consistent and evolving story concept while keeping their fans pleased with quasi-rehashed ideas and themes. This is something developer xxx has managed to succeed in with their latest entry, Wild Arms 4. Although the long beloved western element has been dropped in place of a more stereo-typical science fiction world, the Wild Arms concept is as alive and well as ever. Featuring a kid who quickly learns of his natural ability as a gene driver, he can use Wild Arm technology. With a war-torn planet with a very complex past and an even more unpromising future, young Jude and his mix of friends have no choice but to fight their way to a better place for mankind to live. One of the best parts of this game is the sheer number of boss fights, compliments of the 12 member organization known as xxx.
Wild Arms 4 has an interesting little seven grid battlefield, with three elemental spaces which supports a nice bit of strategy throughout the adventure. The strategy comes more into play with the addition of skills and character combo attacks which are gained through experience points and levels. One of the most interesting parts of the game play comes when simply navigating your way across the map. When controlling Jude you have the ability to jump, use nearby items, and even slow down time itself. This all results in a number of different puzzles, as well as "platformer" style dungeon crawling. Even comparable to Prince of Persia at times, at others it can be less than fun. All in all, the game play in this Japanese role-playing game does more than enough to support the caliber of the story, which is the true shining light. Without sparring into details, both friend and foe will keep the player on edge as you encounter bit by bit of this surprisingly genius Wild Arms endeavor.
Not to say it is a flawed game in any way, but the graphics are simply average especially this late in the Playstation 2's life span. The music and sound effects definitely work in this game, but the soundtrack is certainly nothing memorable. Also worth mentioning are the badge-items, which give the characters a little added bonus and makes up for the crappy equipment (ultimate equipment is far too expensive, especially if you flee from a random boss encounter and lose all of your gella [money]). The badges come in very handy through certain stages and are especially needed for the final encounter!
With such a complex and rewarding story, Wild Arms 4 is already worth playing. Add to that some nice strategy elements and a boat load of boss fights, all role-playing fans should give this top shelf game a look. Few flaws, a rich and creamy story, 'Arms 4 is very much deserving of its B+ grade. Search no longer, this game is waiting for you!