Personally I had been really looking forward to this game. I had previously purchased, played, and loved the “Arc the Lad Collection” for the Playstation. they had their downfalls, but the overall experience was enjoyable. And when I heard of this game coming to the PS2, I was pumped. Eagerly waiting for the game, I could hardly wait to try it out. When I finally got it my first impression was good. The graphics were beautiful, the sound was beautiful, the intro was beautiful... Over all it was beautiful. Unfortunately beautiful doesn't make the game. There are two main characters, Kharg and Darc. The game is broken into “chapters” and each chapter follows one of the two main characters. you start out with Kharg, next chapter Darc, and so on. At first the two characters storylines seem to not be related. But as you progress in the game they begin to tie together to tell a much larger tale involving both of the mains, there companions, and the world in which they live. It might sound a little obscure, but the story played out great. The way it switched between chapters and seeing how it all intertwines was a lot of fun. Even if the story was rather standard, there were a few twists and elements that were original enough to keep the games storyline fresh. Your basic story: A war between two peoples, in which a new enemy is found that threatens all life on the planet. Actually playing the game was a bit different. The battles resemble a tactical RPG, more then the standard, you on one side, enemy on the other. When it is one of your characters turns on the battle field they have a limited range in which they can move. Instead of tiled units, or being able to move one space at a time, it has a range which you are free to run around in until you find where you want your character placed. You can then move to the enemy and select to use a regular attack, in which your character vocally says something (Which you can turn off to make things go quicker) and attacks, or use a spell or ability. After this the next unit is selected, and so on. When an enemy is defeated they drop can drop one of three things: An item, money, or Spirit Stones. Spirit Stones are used to make special attacks or cast spell, like MP, or AP. Unlike MP or AP, these Stones don't refresh when you rest or use an item. They have to be bought from shops, or found in battle and chests. Each character has a set limit of Spirit Stones they can carry. Some items you can equip increase the total amount of Stones which a character can carry. To make things a little more interesting, you can perform combination attacks when a special gauge is filled for your character. By taking damage and the like, the gauge fills. The combo attacks are pretty simple. If you attack an enemy when your gauge is full, ANY ally within range perform an attack as well, doing extra damage to the target. You cant select which ally performs the attack, and in all they don't add much of a strategic advantage to the battle. The downside of all this is how long it takes. The battles are quite tedious, especially if you don't turn the voices off. They are also quite easy. So it constantly feels like fighting opponents that are far to easy, over and over again. Like stated above, the battles are easy. As is most of the game. If you have played the previous Arc the Lad games, then you are probably familiar with the Arena’s. If not let me break it down for you. There are normally at least one “Arena” in which you can take on a particular level, in which you fight numerous, boring, repeated battle to get an item or items. To get some of the best items in the game you have to do a incredibly long amount of boring battles in order to acquire them. Most of these battle arenas don't do much besides drive you nuts and overbalance your party by making the only character capable of finishing certain arena levels, Godly. In all, the game is worth playing if you don't mind an easy challenge.. the storyline is good, but if you are a perfectionist like I am, wanting to find, get, and do everything, then prepare for a long tedious task. But if you are just looking for an enjoyable ride through a fun story, this game will give you what you want.
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