Wild Arms XF

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.

Damn, I want to play this game SO much, I’m a Wild Arms fan I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. But it’s on the PSP, and I wanted to buy a DS (not enough $$ for both) :frowning: Ah well, I suppose I can work a deal with my “nephew” (son of my best friend) Angel, who DOES own a PSP, to share the game.

Unfortunately, the story and gameplay go sharply downhill round the end of chapter 3/beginning of chapter 4. I quite liked the first half or so of the game, but I found the ideas that were cool then to start getting very old and not to scale well. The story becomes a big set of “fight these guys! Oh, they ran away. Fight them again! Oh, they ran away again. Fight these other guys! Oh, they also ran away.” And it undergoes a giant mood/setting change, as well, which pretty much everyone I’ve talked to disliked.

As for gameplay, once you unlock all classes (around 20 or so total), it becomes very annoying, frankly. Here’s the basic breakdown of why I stopped playing midway through chapter 4:

-Every class has its own weapon and armor - no sharing.

-Because you have no idea when any particular class will be required for a “puzzle battle”, you need to upgrade all of them. Geesh.

-Upgrading a single weapon/armor may require many sets of sending party members and waiting (assuming you already know which items come out of which areas, which is almost impossible without an FAQ). You can imagine how tedious this gets.

-You can’t “skip” an upgrade since (e.g.) a level 5 item requires a level 4 item to get.

-Most of chapter 4 (IIRC) dispenses with the puzzle battles entirely, but the ones that exist are much harder because you have far more classes and skills to scroll through to figure out what to use. I remember one battle required the use of not a class’s skill, but a particular attribute of their weapon. Good luck figuring that one out.

-Although there are a ton of classes, only a handful are useful to use except in specific circumstances, and only another handful have skills that are useful to learn. In the end you do end up leveling up a small number of classes to learn skills rather than just using whatever’s needed.

So… yeah. Beginning of the game is a ton of fun, but don’t be surprised to find it grating on you soon enough.

The gear class problem is solved thanks to the cheat, but I acknowledge that without said cheat, I can see it be VERY irritating. What bothers me is what you’re saying about the way the plot will move when I get there. I’ll comment on it when I do.

Frankly, even if you have as much cash as you need, the tedious part is still collecting items. You can’t send out more than 6 people (I believe) and you’ll still need multiple dispatches to get enough items for a single upgrade (IIRC one of the several “inputs” to level 5 items requires 11 of the same one - that’s for every level 5 item).

Nearly done with Chapter 2. The assault on Elensia was awesome, but fuck it was hard. My gf recently got me a cable to connect my psp to my television and the game looks pretty good, no pixelization at all, which is a lot more than I can say for my GC / PS2 games. The music sounds incredible in surround sound, esp the epic stuff that plays in the various maps when you assault Elensia.

I cringe at the idea that they’re going to fuck it up in Chapter 3 because of how good the build up and climax has been.

Edit: on a separate note: while I don’t dislike the VA, I feel that Weisheit could’ve done a bit of a better job. While the tone is fine during the council meetings, when Weisheit starts showing emotion and talking about pain and suffering, it would’ve been interesting to see the actor put some emotion into it too.

Well, don’t let me ruin it for you in advance. :sunglasses: You might not be as annoyed by the change as others have (or, in fact, notice it as much as others have, especially if you’re a WA veteran, you might be expecting it).

I actually got sick of the English VAs very quickly and kept the Japanese voices for most of the game. And I’m far from a rabid Japanophile, so I really did feel the voices were poor.

Shit dude. This game sounds like something I would fall in love with. I think I am going to pick up a PSP

Just listened to Weisheit’s speech about the Legacy Ruins. A bit too Deus Ex Machina for my tastes (ironic, considering he calls it a technology of the Legacy Ruins), but I still like where this is going. Cid is right that I’m not too surprised with the way they had taken the story. There was plenty of foreshadowing and its easy to get a feel for it with knowledge of recurring WA themes. Too bad they didn’t bring back the Pale Rider. (yet).

I also found a trick to gain class points very easily, which also made the game a lot easier. Killing the chaos monster in the flatlands gives a CSP value of half the overkill damage done to him. Ie, take his hp down to 10 and strike him for about 500 damage and you pretty much get a full class unlocked. I created killing machines that way.

I agree with Cid that there are too many damn items. I think having 1/3 as many items would’ve been a better idea because its not really useful to have slight changes based on damage, aim and whatever the other stat that I don’t use is. However, I disagree that its a real problem with the classes because I almost always use the same gear with my characters. Its just annoying to navigate.

I typically keep most of my characters equipped with the same stuff no matter what. For example, I keep the Strahl Gewehr on Clarissa to use her Dandelion Shot OC’s , I keep Ragnar equipped with his Storm Rider equipment (I have a liking for his ATK boost mixed with his ring attack) and I leave the 6th character (you know who) equipped with the 2h sword. Labyrinthia always has the elemenatlist gear so she can equip the tomes to do extra damage. I don’t really know what to do with Felius and what’s his name most of the time. I pretty much keep grappler OC and sacred OC on them most of the time and use them for time shifts and to do heavy throws and create piles of enemies that get raped by Labyrinthia, Ragnar and the 6th character. Now that I have everything I want class wise, I give most characters skills RFX +25% , ATK +25% and accelerate and plow through everything. I crush the really hard bosses usually by doing shift turns that get re-triggered by accelerate. One of my asgard fights was over before he had done 1 turn that way. Another really nasty boss I did that with an additional combination of turn cancellations. Very satisfying.

Edit: I now see what you mean about the “HEY! I will kill you!” followed by “Oh SNAP! I run away!” thing. I don’t think its that bad (yet), but I agree that its unfortunate to see this after how well they had paced things up to that point. Most of the challenge to the game is gone now that my characters are killing machine hybrids of all the classes available.

Finished it finally. I think its the best WA in the series, honestly.

Finished it finally. I think its the best WA in the series, honestly. I’d give it an 8.5-9/10.

shrug I don’t think you and I really look for the same things in games, specifically in the WA series, because we totally disagree about practically every game in it. 8p

WA4 and 5 in particular.

Ok, is it true that in the ending (yes, I looked it up; immune to Spoilers, remember?) the heroes KILL the final boss multiple times, but he’s immortal so he keeps coming back, but is SO shocked about being killed so many times in a row, that he loses control over the girl he’s possessing, and she destroys them both? That is both awesome and tragic, in my opinion… not sure if I would like it, but it definitely tempts me to play the game just to find out.

Its a bit more complicated than that. The Final boss is the incarnation of fear, summoned to the world by a medium. The medium had a psychological disorder that made it so she couldn’t feel fear, which is why she was able to summon it. The incarnation of fear felt fear for a second when it was faced with something that it could not understand, the fact that there was a group of people who weren’t afraid and weren’t ever going to give up. This fear was transferred to the medium since the medium since it lived in her body and the medium understood what the hell she was doing. She therefore committed suicide to stop the final boss living inside her. There is extra tragedy that I’ll avoid spoiling even if what I’ve said was pretty major up to now.

Well, that is even more interesting. Not the sort of thing you see in final bosses often… I like it. If it’s handled well, that is. Again: I’m definitely playing this game. One way or another. Thanks Sin!