I’ve been playing Wild Arms a bit more and I think I like this game. At least my early impressions are pretty positive.

It seems to merge some qualities from action-RPG’s with more traditional stuff. Your characters have skills that they can use in real-time in the game. If something’s on a far ledge, Jack can send his space hamster Boo flying through the air to get it. If there’s a mysteriously cracked part of the room’s wall, Rudy can explode a bomb to break the wall and reveal a secret passage. It adds a fun puzzle-solving aspect to the game that keeps it from getting bogged down in the standard formula of fight enemies and reveal plot.

The battle system is turn-based, seems pretty standard and seems to work well. I got used to Suikoden’s snappy combat so Wild Arms does seem a bit more plodding but nothing I can’t live with. I’m still trying to understand some of the nuances such as Force Meter and Condition Green.

Plot-wise, we’ve progressed a bit more. We helped uncover a great golem that is inactive. Apparently these are relics from an ancient, advanced civilization that once lived on the planet. Aren’t all ancient civilizations in RPG’s incredibly advanced yet carry within them the seeds of their own destructions? Anyway, these dudes evidently fought evil Metal Demons or something and the game is hinting around that they are coming back to wreak havoc.

In fact, I think the havoc wreaking has already began. During a cheery festival (that really reminded me of Chrono Trigger’s Millennial Fair) the sky turned red and giant Dr. Evil lasers came from the heavens and set the town on fire.

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So, yeah, that’s bad.

A group of monsters arrived with the firestorm and demanded some heirloom from Cecelia’s dad the king. He refused of course but Cecelia felt she needed to give it over to save the townsfolk. Thus began one of the more frustrating parts of any RPG I’ve played as we tried to sneak out of the castle. Any guard we’d run into would send us back to our room so progress happened by slow trial and error. Lots of errors. Fortunately it was over relatively briefly or I’d have really been irked.

Eventually we escaped the castle and she handed over the heirloom but then the group decided to fight the big bad dude after all.

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Not an attractive guy. Looks kinda like Kermit the frog gone horribly wrong. We began our boss battle and appeared on the verge of victory when Lost began last night. I couldn’t miss Lost so the boss had to wait until my next play session. I think I can safely say he’s toast.

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