I’ve been going in a crazy order of completing the Wild Arms games. Check this out: I started with Wild Arms 3, then went to Alter Code F. Then I went to Wild Arms 4, and then Wild Arms 2. Besides Wild Arms 5 and XF, something is clearly missing from this: the original. I think everyone has dabbled here and there in the original Wild Arms. After all, at the time, RPG fans had limited options. Beyond the Beyond? Yeah, no thanks. I’m not so sure everyone finished Wild Arms, though. Clearly a title made in the late 90s, Wild Arms wreaks of old-school charm and style, but that doesn’t always mean that the game is a good one. All these years later, did Wild Arms age well? Read on and find out why it did…for the most part.
Set in the dying world of Filgaia, Wild Arms revolves around the legend of the Guardians and the Metal Demons. 1000 years after a war between the two entities, Filgaia is starting to re-develop into a prosperous world. However, this peace isn’t meant to last as the evil Metal Demons are beginning to plot the destruction of Filgaia. Three brave warriors will meet by chance in order to stop the Metal Demons from obtaining victory. Rudy Rougknight, an outcast and Dream Chaser, wanders Filgaia for a place to call home. He has the ability to use ARMs, weapons of mass destruction. Jack Van Burace, a swordsman, thrill-seeker and treasure hunter is looking for ways to obtain “Absolute Power” alongside his mousy companion, Hanpan. Finally, princess Cecilia Lynne Adlehyde answers the call of the Guardians and wishes to use her magic powers to save Filgaia. Three warriors. Three unique backgrounds. One exciting adventure.
Rudy, Jack and Cecilia are an unforgettable bunch. The bond that develops between them is undeniable as they fight to save the world and find out more about themselves. The three heroes are the only ones you can control, but they meet some fun faces along the way. They’ll also meet some of the most evil villains such as Alhazad and Zeikfried. Wild Arms has a fun story that will make you want to learn more about what happens next. While the writing is a bit archaic, this version’s translation is surprisingly better than the remake’s. Certain questions don’t get answered, but the overall plot is a good one worth seeing.
One thing to remember about seeing the plot unfold is that you’ll be required to travel. The start of the game lets you pick one of three above characters, play their introduction sequences, and then pick another character. It starts off linear enough, but eventually Wild Arms becomes rather unclear about your next destination. When you do find it, chances are it will be a dungeon. Battles are random, and they can happen often until you get the spell to lessen encounters. It can get annoying, especially when you’re trying to solve some of the game’s clever puzzles with each character’s unique set of Tools. Luckily, battles are quick. While turn-based, things happen with just the push of a few buttons. All characters can attack and use items, but they also have their own specialty. Rudy has a variety of guns to use, Jack can use various sword skills and Cecilia can cast a huge variety of magic spells that you can name. Beyond that, there are Force Abilities. As battles carry on, Force Points are acquired. Once you reach enough, you have the chance to use a variety of special techniques that can easily turn the tides of battle. Just get used to using them because battles happen often and it does get annoying after a certain point. Save points are a plenty and boss battles are epic, but there will be times you’ll wish that the regular battles would let up for a second. The towns in Wild Arms are standard. Shop for items and equipment if you want, or you can reload your bullets for Rudy’s guns. Rudy’s guns can be upgraded for a fee, and Cecilia can acquire new magic as long as she has a Crest Graph. There are plenty of townsfolk to speak with, and each town has a rustic, wild-west atmosphere that stays true to the Wild Arms theme. All in all, battles, exploration, and running through town are typical, old-school features. As long as you step back in time and remember the age of this title, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the old-school nature of the game.
For those graphic whores out there, I’m not so sure you’ll feel the same way. Wild Arms is clearly an older game upon first look. To be fair, the battles are in full 3D and are animated with multiple viewpoints. Unfortunately, it looks like Media.Vision was experimenting for the first time with polygons. Monsters look chunky, and your three heroes look distorted. Magic and the like look fine, but that should be the case in an RPG. The 2D sprites look a bit better on the field maps, and the variety of dungeons shows some further flare. Aside from that, Wild Arms looks like it could have been on the Super Nintendo. The biggest disappointment is the lack of more anime cut scenes. The opening animation accompanied by that famous whistling everyone knows and loves is the only movie in the entire game, and it’s a shame because some of the story events would have benefited from animation. Alright, I’ll stop complaining about the graphics. They’re not that bad, but they are thatold. The music in Wild Arms is one of the game’s selling points. It combines wild west instruments with typical, Japanese RPG style rhythm. If you can’t handle the old-school nature of the game, you should at least listen to the entire OST.
It’s apparent that this review is going back and forth regarding whether or not you should play Wild Arms. The short answer is yes, you should. Despite it being nearly 20 years old, the game still provides a fun adventure and is, in many ways, better than Alter Code F. The overall quest will take you about 30 hours, but there are some side-quests to conquer and secret bosses to face if you’re in the mood for some extra gun slinging. There are times you may have to grind for a few extra levels and cash, but if push comes to shove and you’re just trying to breeze through the game so you can officially say that, “Yes. I did complete the original Wild Arms”, you can utilize a clever trick that makes it so you have 255 of each item. This allows you to begin the game with very powerful characters and plenty of cash. No matter what you do, you should check out Wild Arms, especially if you are interested in the series. Alter Code F doesn’t have the charm and style that this 2D classic can provide, and despite the random battles and clunky graphics, there is still something special to be found in Wild Arms. I recommend this gem of an RPG to anyone looking for something older. If anything, it will commence your Filgaia travels into a wonderful series.