If there is one thing that fans of Sony consoles are used to seeing it has to be good Role playing games, in the past games such as Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy didn’t only get a great reception they helped make the consoles great. Now the Playstation 3 is with us it is light on the RPG side of things, and is completely missing a ‘traditional’ RPG game, until now. While Enchanted Arms is now Final Fantasy it is an enjoyable play for fans of the genre.
And it is traditional in every sense of the word, from the “chosen one saves the world” story line to the turn based combat there is nothing here that has not been seen before. Therein lies the games biggest flaw; originality, or lack of. There is nothing in Enchanted Arms to set it apart from the rest of the RPG crowd, or to make you think “whoa, I haven’t seen that before”. Chances are that if you have played pretty much any RPG in the past you know what to expect here. The game does put a twist on to some things but not enough of one to distract your attention from the dated play mechanics.
In the game you play as Atsuma, a student at a school of enchanting. One day you and a couple of pals decide to cut classes in order to attend a festival being throw to celebrate the formation of your home town, Yokohama. While enjoying the festivities the local ‘Golems’, creatures created by man to perform everyday tasks so berserk and start attack people. While investigating the cause of the rampage you uncover a ‘Devil Golem’, an extra powerful Golem created, and sealed away thousands of years ago because it was to powerful to control. You then go on a journey to destroy the Devil Golem and return everything to normal.
Where more recent RPGs have moved towards a move free combat system, allowing you to move around and attack when you want to Enchanted Arms uses a more turn based system. When it is your teams turn to go on the offensive you select your attacks, watch the animation and then get attacked by your enemies. The thing that is different here however is that instead of being locked in to one position throughout the fight you do combat on a battle grid, with twelve squares on each side. Before you select your attack you are given the opportunity to move around the grid, depending on how far that particular character can move. As well as adding a small sense of freedom to the battles this allows you to utilise different tactics. You can move your character in front or an ally to protect them, or move out of the enemies range of attack. It doesn’t seem like much but it gives the fights a bit of strategy, instead of just pressing a button when it is time to attack. The fighting is solid, and fun to play, if you do not mind turn based combat.
A big problem that I encountered with the combat system is that apart from boss battles all of the enemy encounters are completely at random. So you will be walking along and out of nowhere the screen changes and enemies will appear. Normally I wouldn’t mind this sort of thing but the problem is only exasperated by the fact that the encounter rate is ridiculously high, at times it was impossible to move more than a couple of steps without getting in to a fight. This got really frustrating when all I wanted to do was get to a destination quickly.
During the course of the game you will be able to collect Golems that you make by fusing certain materials together, these Golems can then be used in battle as part of your main party. With 100 of the little critters to choose from you will be able to find one that suits you. This adds something to battles as you will need to use the right Golem for the job, if your team doesn’t have good healing then you can use a Golem to regain health, if you are not particularly good with ranged attacks you can use a Golem that specialises in them. You get the picture, it allows you to essentially customise your party the way you want it.
The motion sensing capabilities of the Playstation 3 controller have been put to use in the game, and surprisingly, it is quite fun to use. You can use the motion sensor for various things like deploying a grappling hook to reach other places, powering up attacks as well as some of the mini-games that were included.
Something that I really liked about the game is the way that you save, you can save anytime you want to anywhere in the world, so you don’t have to spend ages traipsing around for a save point before you can quit the game. Another good thing here is that if you die in battle, instead of reverting to the last save point you are allowed to restart the battle from the beginning, and keeping doing so until you win. This mean that you can die in the game without having to lose those couple of hours you just spend levelling up the characters in your group.
The cut scenes in the game are amazing, highly detailed, great textures and very well directed. Apart from that the look of the game aren’t great. There not bad by any means, the game can be quite pretty and in battles there are some great effects and nice animations but the looks of the game will hardly push the system to it’s limits and there are some parts of the game that look like they could have been pulled of the last generation of consoles. The audio in the game is fairly generic, it does its job but it fails to impress on any large scale. The voice acting is simply brutal, you have everything from whiney teenager, camp male and squeaky girl, all of them poorly acted.
If you played the Xbox 360 version of the game you would have noticed that online play was an option, sadly it has been omitted from the PS3 version, so instead of being able to take your team online and battle it out with other players you have…well, nothing. The game isn’t short at all, it will last you a good 30 or 40 hours but once you have finished there is nothing else to do with it, so online play would have extended the life of the game a bit more.
In the end Enchanted Arms is great if you like RPGs, or a good single player adventure. There is a good amount of play time and some solid game mechanics in effect; it is just that fact that it has all been done before that lets the experience down. The game will last a fair bit of time but after one play through there is nothing left to do.
Originally Written By: Liam Kenna