Originally an XBox 360 exclusive, Enchanted
Arms filled the Japanese RPG void on the next generation of consoles in
this SquareSoft style of Final Fantasy games that features a brilliant
turn-based combat system, hundreds of hours of dialogue and an in-depth
combat system. The PS3 version also supports the SIXAXIS wireless
controller to allow for motion-sensitive gameplay while battling over
500 different foes.
The story of Enchanted Arms revolves around
Atsuma, a young student at an enchanters college whose life is thrown
into turmoil when a earthquake strikes the festival of Yokohoma.
Headstrong Atsuma decides to investigate the problem and fortunately for
him, is joined by his "friends", Toya and Makoto. Together, the trio
embark on a hero journey of epic proportions that will take the average
gamer around 50 hours to successfully complete.
Although the tale is not the most original story to ever come out of
Japan, it is well crafted and features way too much clichéd dialogue to
be healthy but fortunately it all comes together in true Japanese style
RPG. Ironically, the annoying hero of the story actually changes as the
story progresses and what started out as an extremely clichéd and
annoying character, soon becomes the hero he is destined to become.
The gameplay revolves around several subquests and exploring of the
world with the main point being, combat. Whether gamers wish to
strategies while they fight their enemies or allow the PlayStation 3 to
pick the most relevant choices, it's definitely an exciting time with
fighting, spells and summonings. Each character in your party (or golem)
has the stock standard RPG stats that include hit points, energy points
(magic) and also a series of statistics such as attacks and defense that
goes hand in hand with combat. By winning battles, your characters are
awarded points that can then be used to upgrade your powers and
abilities in order to be ready for the final battle.
I must confess that the boss battles can be extremely difficult that
will virtually take almost hours to complete, depending on what skills,
equipment and health is available. Fortunately your four main characters
also have the ability to execute super moves that are dictated by their
rage that really unleashes the hounds of hell upon your victims.
Needless to say, it's also quite an impressive sight to see Atsuma dish
out several rounds of melee attacks. Even though the battles may take a
long time, the player also has the option of fast forwarding these
battles by just the push of one button which is great for those annoying
Once you have enough skill points from your battles, you can purchase a
plethora of abilities for your characters or their golems. Apart from
adding to your abilities, you can also increase your main statistics.
Apart from innate abilities your characters also have access to a
variety of weapons or make new golems by finding special crystals that
are littered through the gaming world.
The developers have also added several mini-quests and mini-games to
keep the gameplay varied and interesting that is extremely reminiscent
of Final Fantasy such as visiting the Casino which is a nice way of
having some down time. Another interesting aspect of Enchanted Arms is
that you can versus your Golems against other Golems from around the
world which is rather nifty in the grand scheme of things.
Graphically Enchanted Arms is extremely
impressive on the PS3 that contains some amazing background environments
that are filled with wonder and imagination. Just by strolling through
the cities, you really get a sense that you are on some strange world
with magic and monsters. Unfortunately the battles are a little rough
when compared to the exploring of the game but fortunately, the special
effects and lighting of the battles makes up for the lack of battle
detail because in its essence, the battle is just a board game. The PS3
version also offers ten minutes of exclusive new content with its
amazing videos that are cinematic quality.
The musical score of Enchanted Arms features your stock standard
Japanese sounding RPG soundtrack that although not as powerful as the
Final Fantasy series will still draw your into the gaming environment.
What is probably the most annoying thing about Enchanted Arms, sound
wise is Atsuma's friend who really sounds like he is a reject from a bad
British sitcom. There is some professional voice acting in the game but
unfortunately most of it is extremely clichéd and sounds like it has
been taken straight out of a SEGA game. The game also features all the
sounds and clicks from the world you're playing in to the extremely huge
battles tot he subtle background sounds of towns and forests... nicely
Enchanted Arms is a rather sturdy RPG title on the PS3 with its
interesting storyline that features great gameplay and graphics.
Definitely the first Japanese RPG titles on the console, I'm sure the
developers will spawn a few sequels from this original tale. XBox 360
versus the PS3? Definitely the PS3 version! Great stuff!