Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits


posted 7/11/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Let’s be honest, this summer has been pretty weak so far. Little of note has been released and anything that even remotely resembles blockbuster status turned out to be Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness and Enter the Matrix. And we all know how well those two turned out.

Many were looking to Square-Enix’s UNLIMITED Saga as the RPG to pick up this summer. It took no more than five minutes of playing time to realize that that notion had left town long before the game was conceived. RPG gamers were left hungering for more, looking for something that would satiate their desires. As the saying goes, someone’s loss is always someone else’s game and thus, Square-Enix’s loss is Sony’s gain.

Twilight of the Spirits tells the story of a land wrought with conflict and battle. The source of the conflict stems from both the legendary hatred between the Humans and the Deimos and the fact that they’re unwilling to co-exist with each other. Tempers flare when there is a shortage of Spirit Stones, the items required to power objects and utilize magic abilities, and the two sides come to a head. After a short while, a third party is introduced and it forces the Humans and the Deimos to become defenders of their territory instead of the aggressors. From that point on it becomes a matter of survival and although both sides don’t have a clear perception of their true enemy until well into the storyline, there’s plenty of strife and conflict to convey a sense of emotion and empathy.

What makes this game unique is that players will be able to experience the conflict from both vantage points. Twilight is broken up into chapters in which the player alternates control between two brothers who have no knowledge of the other’s existence. As fate would have it, both were begat from a Human mother and a Deimos Father, a love that was far too taboo for anyone in the land to ingest. As the couple tried to escape they became separated and were forced to raise their children without the aid of the other. Fast forward about 18 years and it becomes a tale of two worlds; on one end there is Kharg, the son of royalty and a beloved figure of his homeland. On the other end of the spectrum resides Darc who was scraped off the side of the road by a froglike creature who bore him into a life of slavery. Playing both sides gives you both a unique look at the struggle and a unique look at the varying ways of life. Kharg’s life is filled with upbeat music, great friends and conventional lands while Darc’s world is filled with betrayal, darkness and an overwhelming sense of sadness.

We loved the pacing and the manner in which the storyline unfolded. Just as our interest peaked the storyline would shift to the other side, leaving us anxious to learn about the fate of our protagonists. It may move a little too slow for today’s ADD-infused crowd but to us it reads like a good book. There are enough twists and turns to keep most RPG fans happy and while some facets of the storyline may frustrate you, it’s constructed with just enough care to be compelling and entertaining.
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