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Monday, September 27, 2010

Arc Rise Fantasia on Wii Impression

Fantasy Japanese role-playing comes to Wii in all it’s glory with Arc Rise Fantasia from Ignition Entertainment. Gamers in the States will know of these type for RPG’s when hearing a name like Final Fantasy or to a lesser extent Sukoden and yes, even Pokémon. The model for many of these games is a young hero must take on a quest to become stronger and get wrapped up into a world saving, princess saving plot that sees him become the true legendary hero. In order to accomplish this the hero must level up their skills and stats, take on quest to get stronger, meet many companions along the way and look cool doing it. This means hours of leveling up all wrapped around an engaging (hopefully) story. There is much more to the genre but fans know what to expect; so how does Arc Rise Fantasia stack up? Lets take a look.

Gameplay – Take on the role of young mercenary L’Arc as he battles Feldragons in a fantasy adventure spanning 30+ hours. This is a traditional Japanese role-playing game so expect to spend plenty of time in menus and conversations moving the story along, taking on quest and getting to the next turn-based battle. L’Arc will encounter many other characters who will impede his adventure or fight alongside him. Gamers will fight, gain experience, level up, upgrade weapons, gain access to new locations, move the story along and repeat. This is what J-RPG’s are about; hours of gameplay to make characters stronger and advance the story … nuff said.

Graphics – For the Wii this is a solid graphical adventure. The environments at times look a bit soft, have a glow about them but in-battle graphics blend into the background as the characters and their animations take center stage. The special attacks and lighting are very solid, look great and won’t disappoint. Arc Rise may not sport the photo realistic looks of the latest RPG’s but it does offer some of the best looking level grinding available on the Wii.

Sound – While there is a ton of reading to be done the voiced sequences are executed with … well, they’re executed. Through no fault of their own there is over and under acting on voice work but the worst is how voices sync with lip movements. Dealing with bad voice work is easy, but lip sync issues, that’s not cool. The soundtrack has it’s moments with some memorable tracks but overall offers up standard if not solid RPG fare. Battle and interaction sounds do the job. Not too much epic about the ear candy from Arc Rise Fantasia.

Design – Very close to being J-RPG design 101 with a young hero and heroine in a fantasy work with dragons and the prerequisite anime character design. While the story is nothing super original the character design is solid and characters unique with some very creative boss and monster designs. Fans of the genre will feel right at home but even for them the amount of menus can be a bit annoying. Love the characters and the game moves at a very standard J-RPG pace.

Miscellaneous – Best RPG on the Wii … yes and no. Arc Rise Fantasia is one of the best J-RPG experience on the Wii and owners of only the Wii will enjoy this romp but it’s not a shining example of the genre. This is the pretty girl who always catches your eye but who never quite sticks out as that true love of your life. Yeah you dated but beyond that, twas ok.

Overall Arc Rise Fantasia is not the best the genre has ever seen but it is one of the best on the Wii. It offers hours of enjoyable gameplay but won’t redefine the genre nor will it stick in gamers hearts as truly wonderful stories do. For a system starving for the genre Arc Rise is a solid entry that will eat hours but not too many. Sadly the story won’t stick with gamers as some of the best RPG’s have a habit of doing.

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