Wild ARMs XF

Anyone picked up this little gem yet? I’m about five hours in and enjoying it immensely. It’s like FF Tactics with a Wild ARMs style and a whole slough of little improvements and tweaks. There’s way more gameplay variety than the other SRPGs I’ve played so far. Very neat.

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that the voicework is pretty awful. This is the first game for which I’m glad to have the option to turn on Japanese voices.

This is for the PSP, right? I don’t have one. -_- And I’m planning on buying a DS, so I don’t think I’ll get one either. Then again, if enough RPGs come out for the PSP, I just might someday.

Could you give us any details on the story, Cid?

Yep, it’s for PSP. I have both PSP and DS and don’t regret either for a moment. There’s a ton of great stuff already out and coming out for both of them, and they complement each other excellently, with the DS having a lot of fun and interactive games, while the PSP boasts much higher clarity and a CD medium allowing for FMVs and voice acting.

The story? It’s actually pretty good, though the writing is unfortunately on par with most Wild ARMs games. It involves a Drifter who looks identical to a princess believed to have died two years earlier. She and her brother get involved in establishing a rebellion against a corrupt regime. As a strategy game, there’s a lot more politics involved than most Wild ARMs games, but it keeps the western style wonderfully.

The hex battleground is a great update to regular TRPGs, and one that makes a surprising difference in terms of tactics. The game is really challenging, but so far each battle has been more like a puzzle, with the keys to the puzzle being the available classes. Each class has particular things it (and only it) can do, so using them effectively is absolutely required to continue. In that way, your units themselves are the Tools Wild ARMs is known for. :sunglasses: Often there’s only one way to really beat a level, but sometimes there are two or three.

I’ll talk more as more things hit me about it.

Two more thoughts.

  1. Loading times are pretty nasty. I’ve seen upwards of 7 or 8 seconds between scenes. Still, Xenosaga was that bad, so it’s doable. 8p

  2. The sheer amount of equipment to keep updated is a little intimidating. You start with 2 special classes and 4 regular ones, but that’s quickly upgraded to 4 special classes and about nine or ten regular ones. Every single class has different equipment, and no class can equip anyone else’s equipment. What’s more, there isn’t a single upgrade; better equipment comes in three different flavors (physical, magical, and evade). It isn’t that expensive, but it is a bit tedious to keep upgrading everything.

as much as I love the Wild ARMs series, I might sit this one out. Even if I had a PSP, I think I’d go a bit crazy with equipment. is it pretty impractical/unfeasible to get one of everything?

I dunno, I’ve heard it was pretty shitty. Judging from Gamespot and IGN’s reviews, I’ll pass.

…even if I had a PSP.

I definitely wouldn’t call it “shitty” by any means at all. The only review I ever look at is RPGamer, because it’s consistently unbiased and factual, and gives you the good and bad things about a game; some people like some sorts of games over others. The game is one of the best TRPGs I’ve played so far.

Re equipment, it’s not unfeasible at all; the equipment is pretty easy to obtain and not too expensive, especially if you use synthesis, which is a lot simpler than it sounds. It’s just a little tedious to go through the trouble of getting one weapon and one armor for every single class. Of course if you don’t intend to use specific classes you won’t need to upgrade their equipment, but chances are you’ll need them all at one point or another.

I just bought a copy yesterday, but it will be awhile before I can actually dig into it. I don’t miss out on Wild Arms games. I heard it’s actually a deep srpg…more so than Jeanee D’Arc and other recent titles.

Here’s another thought.


Seriously, I just got to the first battle in Act 2 (meaning I got through 16 battles in act 1). Out of the first 17 battles, at least three or four of them had me throwing my hands up in the air and saying “this is going to be completely impossible.” And at least half of the act 1 battles are tutorials! Luckily the GameFAQs messageboard has some good tips, but there’s just no way I’d be able to figure out how to do this all myself. There are too many classes and too many abilities. -_-

I’m up to Act 2-1 right now; this pits your six characters against a starting volley of eight baddies, all of whom are classes I haven’t unlocked yet, and are about four levels higher than me. After beating two of them, another eight show up all at once. And this is ignoring the sea monster who damages your entire party if you venture into the water, which you have to do to reach them. Talk about sadistic. X-X

Unlike FF Tactics, there isn’t a “progression” of classes; of the twelve classes available now, every one of them will be necessary for one tactic or another, and none of them are really “better” than any other. At this point I think I need to start mixing and matching support abilities, but the really good abilities take FOREVER to learn. (I’m getting about 7 CSP per free battle, and I need somewhere in the realm of 500 to master a class. I think.)

…And I think the bad guys are way better at leveraging the use of their classes than I am. X-X

I think I’m going to pick up Crisis Core pretty soon and put this down. I don’t like my games to be too hard… it depresses me.

EDIT: Okay, that was a little over-the-top. 8p I did a little random battling and equipment upgrading, and tried a slightly different tactic (baiting individual enemies rather than taking them all on at once, and ignoring the sea monster) and it worked first try. Fairly easily, too. It is a little frustrating that I need to resort to FAQs, but that might have something to do with my impatience in trying to think these things through carefully. I’m still overwhelmed by the choice in strategies and when there’s only one or two solutions to hard battles ahead, I doubt I’d be able to figure them out on my own. -_-

The difficulty you’re encountering is why the game consistently got negative reviews. Its needlessly and unfairly hard.

The problem is that that difficulty is exactly why people like it. The truth is that it’s a good sort of difficulty, as compared to, say, FF1 or Disgaea, where in order to win you don’t change tactics, you just grind for four hours. WA:XF certainly has the right idea when it comes to challenge; it just tries a little too hard and doesn’t give you enough direction.

It comes back down to treating the battlefield as a puzzle to solve. The problem is just that the variables involved and the time required are much more onerous than most puzzles, where it’s just “try something, doesn’t work, try again”.

It sounds a bit like the Fire Emblem game I tried to play. At first it seemed interesting, but then it just got ridiculous. You end up having to redo fights over and over because you have to figure out how the unique logic of how it should be done and there is really no way to know until you’ve been killed a few times. A good game finds a good balance between the player knowing what to do, a player being free to experiment and the player being stomped.

I personally read 1up.com’s reviews and they came down to the same conclusion you did.

“he diverse classes aren’t simply the generic “Fighter,” “Wizard,” and “Rogue” of most strategy games, and I really like its use of the hex-based battle system”

“in the end, a score is based on how much fun I have (that’s why we play, right?), and I had very little fun playing Wild Arms XF.”

“Many of XF’s levels are based around figuring out the right classes to use for a particular task, though – so even if you do decipher the correct way to tackle a mission, it’ll be too late. You’ll find yourself wasting away, out of healing items, and forced to try the mission again…and again and again and again and again.”

If you want a challenging and less frustrating tactical game, try advance wars. Front Mission DS was interesting as well.

Or one of the other Fire Emblem games. Radiant Dawn, while nice for me because I liked Path of Radiance so much, is pretty crazy in certain stages and is much more difficult than the other Fire Emblem games I’ve played. Fire Emblem for the GBA is especially good.

However, I have been enjoying myself with WA:XF. The odd frustration is just that - odd - and most of the gameplay is inspired. And I’m heartened by the fact that there’s usually a solution that works quite well for every battle even if it looks ridiculous; I’m not above checking messageboards and FAQs for those solutions if it’ll mean I’ll get through the game faster and with less frustration.

I guess we had different interpretations of “I think I’m going to pick up Crisis Core pretty soon and put this down. I don’t like my games to be too hard… it depresses me.”

I was a bit overwhelmed, sure, but that was before checking messageboards. :sunglasses: Considering how easy the solution was once I got it, I think I’m going to have a healthier attitude going forward.