Wild Arms 3


posted 11/10/2002 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
One Page Platforms: PS2
What about the non-combat parts? Well, this is where Wild ARMs 3 shines. Time is spent in the relatively safe towns, the not-so-safe Overland map, and in dungeons. While wandering around the Overland and the dungeons, monsters will take an interest in the party. However, combat isn’t necessarily going to happen just because a monster wants a quick snack. The party has an Encounter Gauge, which allows them to skip battles. The bigger the monsters that are avoided, the more the Encounter Gauge depletes. Some battles can be avoided, but not all of them, since the Gauge will eventually run out. Fighting battles slowly refills the Gauge, allowing the party to avoid some battles and fight others, depending on the health of the party or the patience of the player. Some small monsters can be avoided without depleting the Gauge at all. Which means no more fighting those annoying beginning-game monsters when the party has achieved level 60.

Dungeoning is where I had the most fun. The dungeons are mostly made up of a series of puzzles interrupted by the occasional battle and boss-fight. Puzzles consist of block-pushing, triggering switches, and using each of the characters’ special tools to solve a particular riddle. These puzzles may not appeal to everyone, and even I found myself frustrated every now and then. There is even a series of side-quest puzzles if the main story line isn’t enough. Since most of the game is spent wandering into a town, getting a bit of story, and then being sent into a dungeon for some serious hack-n-slash puzzling, those wanting to “just kill stuff and take their things” should look to a different RPG.

As far as the technical stuff goes, it gets the job done and not much more. Wild ARMs 3 uses the now-popular “cell-shading” style of graphics, which is different. Not really good, not really bad, just different. At first, I found myself a little put off by the graphics, but I soon grew accustomed to the style, and it didn’t detract at all from the game play. Likewise, the audio keeps the game moving forward and not much else. There is no voice acting, just sound effects and music. Both can get a bit repetitive, but neither had me hitting the “mute” button. The game play is what’s important here, and the technical side does a solid job of brining out a good game.

So is this a good game? I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, although it may not be for everyone’s tastes. If the thought of pushing blocks around to form bridges, lighting torches in a particular pattern, and writing down the occasional password turns you off, then look elsewhere. If you’re like me, however, and enjoy a RPG laden with puzzle-y goodness, Wild ARMs 3 will certainly deliver.

A solid RPG delivering lots of hack-n-slash and tons of puzzle-y goodness. This isn’t the Next Big Thing in RPGs, but it’ll do in the mean time…

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