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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
XSEED Games
DEVELOPER:
MediaVision
GENRE: RPG
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
January 10, 2006
IN THE SERIES
Wild Arms XF

Wild Arms

Wild Arms 5

Wild Arms Alter Code: F

Wild Arms 3

 Written by Chris Reiter  on November 09, 2005

First Impressions: You could sure do a whole lot of "playing" with four Wild Arms.


Most males grow up with only allusions floating in their mind as to the mystery of the female body. It's rather strange then that Jude Maverik would mature without ever actually physically seeing a girl. Jude's never traveled outside his humble village of Shell before. He's never been to the outer regions of Filgaia, in which the world itself has crumbled to ruins after a massively scaled global war tore it apart ten years ago. Jude's thirteenth birthday has just passed, and on this day adventure, danger, and females are about to find their way into his life. When a battleship crash lands near Shell, Jude ends up investigating the wreck meeting a young girl named Yulie Ahtreid in the process. She explains to him that she's being hunted by an evil faction. This ends up being the spark that ignites Jude's passion for wanting to protect Yulie and venture forth onto a grand expedition no doubt filled with friendlies and foes.

Who the?! What the?! Just why exactly is an unknown publisher name going to be on my Wild Arms 4 game? XSEED Games, as you might have heard, is a brand-new publisher out of the gate with an ambitious goal intended in mind. No, they're not one of these newbies in the industry who'll put out just anything as long as they have a reason to get more food into their bellies. XSEED actually consists of a team of six experienced Square Enix staff members, and is led by Jun Iwasaki, the former president of Square Enix's American division. For whatever reason these employees decided to ditch the most recognizable and renowned RPG company, they must've had a good reason. That logic presumably has to be associated in some way with both anticipated role-playing follow-ups Wild Arms 4 and Shadow Hearts: From the New World: the two sequels that have been acquired by this kindling underdog for their expected early 2006 releases.

Though for the first time an official Wild Arms sequel isn't coming from Sony's offices (I wonder why), Wild Arms 4 is being designed still by the series' longtime developer, Media Vision. Stranger than that, however, Wild Arms 4 for another first is breaking apart from the series' long-standing traditions. Wild Arms games have always embodied a distinct flair for Western-based tales. Wild Arms 4, on the other hand, will take place in a more modernized world where six shooters and horsies are no longer in. Voice acting will be included too for the first time (in a sequential sense, anyway), if you don't consider Wild Arms: Alter Code F (the PlayStation 2 remake of the PlayStation original) in line as a sequel, as it too will situate itself with spoken wording. Another major element the game will be departing from is its split prologues. Where the previous Wild Arms entries staged sequences between your team of playable characters in a row to view the game from their side of the story leading up to the eventual meeting of your party, Wild Arms 4 will exclusively set its precognitive sights on the story's hero, Jude. Whether these differences will matter in the end remains to be seen.

Out of all the changes already mentioned about Wild Arms 4, that's not where they stop either. This time, Media Vision is taking the game into a more action-oriented direction by including different abilities that'll affect the gameplay progression outside of battle. Sliding, double-jumping, crouching, and ground-slamming tactics will come into play like when you'll need to reach climbable heights (similar to the platforming sessions of Final Fantasy X-2). It also appears that The Matrix has infected yet another game. A time-slowing process (not bullet time) known as the Accelerator system will allow players to punch themselves at a quicker running rate than the pace of the environment would normally allow them to flow. This move will especially help out in puzzle segments, such as when a collapsing bridge needs your crossing. These exceeding limitations aren't just a play thing, as it'll all feed off a gauge that'll refill only when it's not in use. Saving this feature for the right time will be the key to winning. Having lost its western theme, the more modernism style of Wild Arms 4 is also going in a somewhat different direction on the visual front. Still utilizing anime and cel-shaded portions in characters and levels, the game's Western-less environments in a way will resemble Wild Arms 3 but will take on a bit of a more futuristic form on the whole -- colorful explosions and all.

Aside from everything else, the most interesting addition for the fourth Wild Arms is likely to be its rearranged fighting mechanics. Based on top of hexagonal patterns, this HEX formula assigns all characters (enemy and friend) to separate linked cells. Characters will be able to move from one unit to the next at the cost of one point per turn. The purpose of rotating around will all tie into the usage of the hexagons. Rather than locking onto individual enemies, you'll fire aggressions upon cells. Choose one cell and attack it with magic, and however many enemies are inside will all be damaged by the onsets you rain down on that specific proximity. You'll be able to alleviate all allies grouped into one spot this way as well. But, strategically this method can be used against you. If all allies are huddled into one position, then they too can all be hurt at once. Certain hexagonal spots will also be embedded with elemental power; meaning, if you're inside a fire-based area you'll be able to double your fire-based magic. From the sound of the battle system, it's definitely shaping up to be something creative and smart to look forward to.

Final Thoughts
It's weird, you know? It seems that the Wild Arms series has gone through a ton of drastic changes over the past few years. Once a Sony-owned license, Agetec grabbed a hold of their chunk with the soon-to-come PlayStation 2 remake in Wild Arms: Alter Code F. Now XSEED pops up on the grid not too long ago, and they too are doing something quite differently from what you'd expect of a Wild Arms release. Is all this change necessary? Will it be good or bad? It's kind of hard to tell at this point. Based on the facts and figures thus far though, it may just be the shift the series needs to not die a certain death due to redundancy.


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