A great RPG experience that everyone needs to try.

User Rating: 9 | Wild Arms: The 4th Detonator PS2
This is the first Wild ARMs game I've ever played, and I'm so glad I gave the series a try. This game is just so much fun that you want to keep playing. It draws you in with its interesting story, original characters, and fun gameplay.

The story begins with a boy named Jude, laying in a tree and avoiding his sword training. His life is peaceful and unaffected by the outside world. That is, until one day several aircrafts carrying soldiers come to his town (called Ciel). He decides to explore, and meets a girl, Yulie, who is locked up inside a ship. He meets Arnaud, a drifter in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the ship as well. Eventually, Jude escapes with Arnaud and they go to rescue Yulie from the soldiers. At a crucial moment, Jude summons his ARM (a gun that materializes), a weapon he never knew he had. After the battle, Jude has a resistance jolt of energy from his ARM. Yulie saves him, but Jude's town gets destroyed from the force, and everyone evacuates. Unfortunately, it seems that Jude and his new friends are the only ones who made it. They meet a swordswoman, Raquel, at a nearby inn driving some annoying soldiers out. From that point, they join together for a journey that takes them across all of Filgaia......

The gameplay is similar to what you would find in a final fantasy game (exploring different areas, fighting monsters, etc.). After the start of the game, you are presented with a giant map of Filgaia (Jude's world). When you chose a destination, you appear at the start of Area 1. From that point, you follow a fairly straightforward path to the next area. Sometimes getting from one area to the next isn't as easy as going right to left. On numerous occasions, you are required to use items or solve puzzles to get to the next area. It isn't always easy, but the challenges are very creative. You can access a menu at any time that allows you to view items, customize your characters with armor and weapons, and turn certain options on or off. Every time you explore these areas, the panels will suddenly break away from the screen, thrusting you into battle (aka a random encounter).

In these battles, you fight with a system of hexes. 7 hexes are laid out on the battlefield, with enemies and your characters occupying them. You have several options when your turn comes (each character and enemy has their own set of turns to act). The first is to attack an enemy. An enemy has to be next to the hex you're in order to strike. If you aren't close enough, you can move closer by choosing the move command. This allows you to either go to another hex, or guard by selecting the current hex you're already in. The original command (a purple diamond on the menu) is your series of special attacks that are more powerful than basic hits, but they consume MP, so don't use them all the time. The force command lets you combine strength with another character to unleash a strong team attack. When a certain gauge on the side of the screen fills up, you can use those attacks. The gauge constantly fills, so you don't have to worry about wasting it. If you want to take the smart approach, you can identify your enemy to see its weaknesses. Doing so doesn't cost you a turn! Need to heal? Want to use some extra force? No problem. Just go to the items command and pick the one you want to use.

After defeating an enemy, you gain experience towards leveling your characters up (making them stronger). Sometimes you can find special items by fighting too, so be diligent! The boss fights are very creative and really make you think about how to approach the situation.

The graphics are pretty impressive as well. All the environments are original, well colored, and tend to make you think: "cool!" There is one area I really like, where you're on a beach. The water is sparkling, the sand is detailed, and the huge area makes Jude look tiny when he moves. The cutscenes are all in anime form, which makes the game that much better. Trust me, when you watch the animated scenes and the character scenes (regular scenes), you'll be very impressed with how it all looks.

The music in the game consists of a few tracks that repeat throughout the game. Even though the songs are repetitive, you won't mind, because the tracks are so catchy. Sound effects are good, especially some of Jude's comments when you jump. Comments like, "I think I'm gonna cry!" when landing from high up can make the game more enjoyable by adding some additional humor to the mix. The controls are simple and the menus are easy to navigate, making the game easier to pick up. Replay value is huge, because there is so much to do in the game besides the main story! There are side quests, rare items, synthesis, leveling up, extra abilities, unlockable bonus features, secret boss fights, and lots more!

Overall, this is a great game that I've had lots of fun with. Anyone could pick it up and have an awesome time with it. It was my first Wild ARMs game, and it made a good impression. I recommend this title to everyone. Enjoy!