Blast from the Past
Wild ARMs is an RPG for the original PlayStation by Japanese developer Media.Vision. I have a lot of nostalgia for this title, as it was one of the first games I every played on the PS1. When it came out in 1997, it was considered the game to hold you over until Final Fantasy 7 came out.
Wild ARMs follows the classic tale of a boy who is an outcast and cannot find his place in the world. Little does he know that he and some unlikely companions will end up saving the world!
Okay, enough of that, let’s get to the game. Let’s start with the combat. Wild ARMs has a very simple combat system. It has the basics: Attack, Defend, Use Ability/Spell, Use Item, Run. You know, the basics. And like any other RPG, it has 15-20 stats to accompany it.
As you can see in the image above, Wild ARMs uses each direction of the D-Pad for a different action. Once you select whether to attack, defend, or whatnot, you go down to the next level of the selection tree and choose the actual action (assuming there is another branch to the tree). All-in-all, Wild ARMs has really simple combat. Anyone should be able to pick it up and play. Wild ARMs also has a pretty simple equipment scheme to accompany it’s combat system. Each character has five slots for equipping items: Hands, Head, Armor, Accessory, and Rune. The first four are normal fair in RPGs, but Rune? In Wild ARMs, you can further augment your characters stats by equipping a Rune. Each Rune is endowed with the power of a particular god or deity. On top of augmenting your stats, that character will be able to summon a Guardian. Most of the Guardians just do damage of a certain type, but some have other effects. Wild ARMs has several Runes spread throughout the game, and each Rune comes with a different Guardian to summon.
As you can see, Wild ARMs uses 3D graphics for combat and more traditional 2D sprites for dungeons and the world map. One nice ability, as depicted above, was sprinting. If you hold down the X Button, your character will sprint in the direction they are facing. This is very nice for when you have to cover several screens in a straight line. Characters in Wild ARMs also get Tools, useful items that can be used to solve puzzles. For instance, Jack has a Wind Mouse companion that can traverse gaps. Using his companion, he can activate switches and open otherwise inaccessible treasure chests. A handy ability for any Treasure Hunter.
Summary: Wild ARMs is a great game for any RPG fan. While I am a little biased by nostalgia, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoy RPGs. It has an excellent storyline, albeit classic and has good, simple gameplay. It took me a little more than 30 hours to complete my first time through. Wild ARMs is pretty cheap if you buy it used and is also on the PlayStation Network for only $6! On top of that, the PSN version will work on your PS3 and your PSP! So if you’re traveling, it will definitely pass the time. Oh, and did I mention it has one of the most kick ass theme songs ever?
NOTE: They did remake the original Wild ARMs for the PlayStation 2 under the title Wild ARMs: Alter Code F, which I do own, but have not played through yet. They added some of the elements from the later Wild ARMs games to the remake, so it is a bit of a different experience. They also remade the intro video! While not as good, still a decent watch. Enjoy!