I gotta say, I am pleasantly surprised by this game. I expected it to be extremely difficuly and unbalanced from the sound of the reviews. Up to now, the art style and music have proven to be amongst the best in the series, the story and writing are top notch - but note that I’ve only begun chapter 2 at this point. Some of the characters annoy me slightly, like Felius because of his nerd-extreme be nice to Clarissa subservience, but other than that, its fine. The gameplay is pretty good and I like the way they’ve changed things up a bit.
Not all missions are kill everything. The added objectives add a freshness that’s been lacking in the genre and while these missions are challenging, part of the reason they’re challenging is because its so novel. It requires new thinking. To address the puzzle nature of these missions, you have a lot of different classes that are available to you and get unlocked as you proceed. You have to swap classes between characters a lot to compensate for the requirements of each mission. At first this seems daunting and unreasonable. From an FFT player’s perspective, you carefully mold your killing squad and gear them to the fucking teeth and annihilate everything. In WAXF, you don’t really have much of a disadvantage from having to swap around classes. I like this a lot because it forces me to use classes I would otherwise avoid and that spices things up a bit. Furthermore, you gain class points that causes your class to level up. As you level up, you can memorize class specific skills and equip them when playing as another class. This is useful for customization while not being quite the game breaker. If WAXF penalized you for having to swap classes around, it’d be a major pain.The classes are also interesting because the skills are rather original. You have classical elemental spells, but also stat modifications like turn canceling techniques. These techniques often have to be used very strategically in the event you’re fighting a far superior enemy to avoid getting slaughtered. Its not the classcical rush in with an Orlandu equivalent and rape people tactic. Finally, the map is not a square grid, but a hexagon grid, now a wild arms trademark. This is interesting because it permits for different kinds of unit placement and movements, which becomes key when units can be positioned around an enemy, causing their damage to increase synergistically.
The game nevertheless is challenging because it is brutally unforgiving. You have to be careful how you position your characters in many many missions because often times, the mistake can lead to a game over. I’ve had to repeat a couple missions despite having ALMOST won them a few times because of either a careless mistake or bad luck.
I can only hope the game keeps up.
Edit: I have to admit I cheated. I did a cheat to get tons of money, which probably facilitates the game a bit since I don’t worry about the items I need to buy to recover my health and to get gear. You can buy basic equipment in shops, but to get real upgrades, you have to synthesize it. Synthesis should be a no brainer for RPG vets. You get enough of x and y and z materials and get an item. Each synthesis requires an item of the previous level to advance. To get the extra materials, you need to do something called a “dispatch” with your extra non-story characters and wait a few “turns”. To wait out these turns , you either engage in non-random battles (you initiate them) and 1 battle completes 1 turn, or you spend money to wait. You don’t make enough money to really be able to just dispatch 6 people every time and wait out the turns so doing the cheat makes it so you have to grind a whole lot less to get the money or to wait out the guys as they return from their dispatch. Looking at a chart on GameFaqs, this will save me major amounts of time. I can see how this would become tedious and frustrating if you don’t do this cheat.