Sup, guys! Well, I'm back from Germany
and I'm ready to deliver the promised let's play of Wild Arms 2! First some background info of my knowledge of the Wild Arms series. I have played the first game in its entirety but it's so long ago I've forgotten almost everything about it. I know it had some interesting puzzle/dungeons that reminded me a lot of Lufia 2 and also that it wasn't as Western-themed as I was lead to believe by a bad ass Western style opening. It was decent from what I remember, but I'll doubt I'll ever play it again.
I own Wild Arms 3, but I have only played perhaps an hour of that, tops. I think I started playing it and then another game came out (Persona 4 maybe) and I never got back to it. Everything else, including this here Wild Arms 2, is completely unknown to me and thus this will be totally blind. Annnnnnd I wanna keep it that way! No spoiling! I hate spoilers of any kind, but that being said, if I ask a question please feel free to answer it with the LEAST AMOUNT OF SPOILERS POSSIBLE.
If I ask "Is Aerith a good character to use in FF7" I don't want the reply to be "No, cause she dies at the end of Disc 1!" Mmmkay. With that out of the way, let's get on with the show.
(Electric Boogaloo, yeah I'm ashamed of myself too)
After an opening anime short that was rather par for the course apart from from a frankly awesome song
playing during it (mm dat sand), I'm confronted with the choice of who I should start as out of 3 characters. I've come across this a few times in my life, and I've only seen one game do it interestingly and that's Suikoden 3. Most other titles use it as a "And that's how they got into this CRAAAZZZZYYYY predicament", while Suikoden 3 managed to play with perspective.
My choice from what I can see is: The Clear Protagonist (Possibly Ryu from the Breath of Fire series)
★Magical Anime Girl★ (Possibly says "Nyah!" a lot)
Badass Looking Guy (Probably the Auron of this game, probably fan favorite)
(If your entire existence had to be summed up in one short sentence, what would it say?)
(Mine would be: "Bored 20-something, at least he tries)
I'm going to pick the blue haired guy, simply because I'm pretty sure he is the Main Protagonist (and pretty fabulous looking to be honest) and as such the game probably expects me to pick him and thus will probably have a kinder learning curve than what I assume the other two have.
(Only important characters are allowed blue hair, sorry guys.)
Oh my god this font *retrieves reading glasses* who thought this was a good idea. So anyway, I seem to be a member of a SeeD like organization on a mission to save a kidnapped boy being held hostage in a place called "Withering Ruins", which is like Wuthering Heights
but with less Victorian romance. I got the option to name this guy at this point, and his default name is "Ashley" which, after I struggled with the temptation to actually name him Ryu, I changed to Star. I'm thinking at this point Dice will be the GURL
and someone else can be the tough looking guy. Perhaps Yoda if he is nice to me.
According to Commander Stupidface (yeah, that's right, I went there) this is only our 3rd mission. Because the lives of young children don't deserve fully trained professionals I guess. Also I'm constantly confused by the state of "Western" this series has. When I first played Wild Arms I expected Horeback riding, wagons, saloons, Clint Eastwood, and what I have is a typical JRPG with slightly more sand than usual.
Anyway, we reach Withering Ruins and I get control of my character. Usually the first thing I do when this happens is check out the main menu to see if anything interesting sticks out to me.
(Yeah that's right, 52 minutes of stopping and starting to type this as I go folks. Appreciate it.)
A few things stand out to me. My inventory has items called "Heal Berries" which restore 500 hp, meaning that this is the main healing item the entire game, or I'm going to get absurd amounts of HP upon level up. I also have 3 "Gimel Coins" which apparently give you a continue, which I presume means I get to re-fight a battle I lost and not a case of when I run out of these coins it eats my save file and projects a big middle finger on my screen. Also money is called "Gella". Hella Hella get Gella.
I also have a weapon that could be a totally normal shotgun, but the artwork for it makes me think it's a Gunblade rip off. When did this game come out, after or before final fantasy 8? *Googles* The same year but about 7 months later apparently. Lastly what stuck out to me was the Auto command, which seems to be a way to set up auto-battling, but it looks so uncustomizable that I probably won't bother. I've played Persona 3, I don't need this in my life. Also, why has no one bothered to copy Phantasy Star 4's macro system? That shit was genius.
Let's actually play the game now. Oh shit the run command is also the confirm command!! WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? So instead of talking to people I apparently can instead just randomly decide to football tackle them to the floor. Thankfully I was able to change that shit to the L2 command.
Errr, is that a common problem you are having? I'm just going to assume you meant "Don't get yourself killed" and be on my way. Gathering intel from my fellow recruits as netted me the following information.
1.) There isn't any treasure here because the expodition team "Merc." has already been through it, which is why this place is called Withering Ruins. Which makes me wonder what this place was called before our expodition team got here. The Abundant Ruins?
2.) Our Kidnappers are 3 guys from a place called Meria, who worked as laborers cause they needed cash.
3) This area is completely overwhelmed by monsters. Because RPG.
After exploring around a bit, I find a guy peering into a hole in the floor. He tells me that someone fell in there by accident, by which I can only assume is because the Dash button is set on the confirm button by default and he was just trying to open a sandwich packet or something. Diving down after him he babbles nonsense at me which I'm not sure is a sign of bad translation or that he has a concussion, either way he gives me throwing knives. At least if this all goes tits up I can join the cast of American Horror Story: Freak Show and be the new knife thrower. I know about this mechanic from the first game, where each of the three characters has different tools at their disposal to help navigate dungeons and solve puzzles. It was something I really liked so I'm glad to see back, and I'm also sure this is why it reminds me of Lufia 2 so much.
As a side note Lufia 2 is a pretty good advert for why you should keep guns out of the reach of children. "Oh cool, infinite crossbow bolts! Thanks, old guy!" *repeatedly shoots old guy with crossbow bolts*
After giving me the knives the guy decides to lay back down on the floor and have a little siesta.
(Oh boy, random encounter!!)
Graphics look a little better than the first game? Maybe? I guess? Sorta. That's the thing about going back to these PS1 polygonal-mess games, at first they look like total shit and you can't tell what the fuck you are looking at, but in an hour or two you can totally see that the enemy is suppsoed to be some sort of evil bunny rabbit and not an old grandma like you first thought it was. Also Lufia 2 style battle selection. I'm going to stop pointing out Lufia 2 similarities or we will be here all day.
I killed the were-rabbit goblin thing with my as suspected, Chinese Gunblade ripoff. Henceforth known as the Gunbrade. I couldn't do much else but attack, but I saw some sort of what I assume is Limit Break gauge fill up as I attacked, either that or it's like the IP system from a game I just can't quite remember the name of.
A little more exploration causes me to come across little coins on the floor, apparently gems that heal the partys HP by getting them. Pretty cool mechanic that I'm not sure was in the first game, as I said its been a long time.
(Tooting your own horn a bit there, Save Point, aren't we.)
Okay I just walked past a guy who fully healed me and then I came to a room with a save point. I'm pretty sure a boss battle is imminent at this point.
Woah, game not cool. 3 men kidnapping a little boy, taking him to a dark cave, tying him up with rope and then talking about how he is supposed to bring comfort to their lives. Yeesh! Anyway, I found the 3 Pedobears at the end of the cave. They are feeling sorry for themselves that they got rumbled. Also apparently the kid is an orphan, which he tells his kidnappers. Kid, a little self preservation please. You just told them that you aren't any use to them for random money, they don't need you now!
Luckily I'm here, so I throw a knife at the kid to get his attention (???). After a breif bit of chit chat where I ask the kid his name, as if it's in any way important at this moment in time, I seem to get to name him. Why am I naming this kid. Do i get to keep him after this? Is he a summon I can use? His default name is Tony, but I'll go ahead and name him Monsoon.
My advice to Monsoon was to distract the kidnappers so I can sneak up on them, Monsoon acheives this feat of running circles around his kidnappers so well I begin to wonder if this search and rescue operation was even worth it, considering it looks like he could have just left at any time. Anyway, Monsoon ends up stepping on a pedastal releasing this guy.
(That's right, Groudon from Pokemon Omega Ruby)
I think we found our boss. First though it chases us through the ruins, the 3 Pedobears getting cornered by it at one point until I save them by throwing knives up its bunghole. Meanwhile outside the intellegence team are picking up signals that the monster has been released (It woulda been nice to know there was a sealed monster here in the first place guys) and that apparently its secretions are highly explosive.
The solution? Blow the fuck up outta that ruin using some sort an "ARM" weapon called the Rail Gun!! Good Plan Guys!
The commander pops his head into the ruins to tell us of the shitty plan he just though up of on the spot, and I reply with a typical hero speach about how the end doesn't justify the means
and I will go back into the ruin and save all the other recruits I came with by kicking that monsters ass BY MY SELF. Look, if I win this boss fight either I'm the most gifted Gunbrade user in the world, or the Commander was severely over estimating the danger this thing faces.
(Let's Dance, Sausage Fingers!)
So, this is interesting. The game tells me I can attack the Main Body and kill it quickly, or I can spend time killing its peripheral appendages and get more EXP and Gella. Naturally I'm going to aim for complete annihilation, because why half-ass a job?
Eventually I succeeded in my plan. He had some pretty strong attacks such has his laser-breath which he enjoyed spamming, but thankfully I had more than enough Heal Berries to spam myself back to full HP whenever I got low. A battle lasted long enough where I could use my special skill, which was firing a bullet from my Gunbrade, but it missed 50% of the time, making me wonder why I ever used it at all. The limit gauge I spoke of earlier lets you use special powers as you level it up, so I could use the level 1 "accelerator" skill by spending 25% of the bar. It let me act first that turn, but considering I was already faster than the boss it didn't actually help any.
After I kicked its ass it ended up exploding, causing the ruin to cave in ANYWAY, but somehow we all lived and got out. Don't ask questions, thats just how it is okay!? Okay. Afterwards I have a chat with Commander Stupidface, where he puts me under house arrest for managing to think of a better plan than the mass murder of an entire platoon for no reason. Thanks, again Commander Stupidface. Though I'm supposed to see this as a good thing, I guess. Because he wasn't beheaded or something? I dunno. I think a reward is a better way of saying thanks, but that's just me.
And so our first chapter draws to a close. The screen dims, and Star waxes philosophic to himself about the journey of life or some such.
(Me neither, bub.)
Soooooooo, this seems like a good place to put my thoughts at the end of each play. Let's sort it into the Good, the Bad and the Weird.
Since this is the first chapter, let's keep it to the basics.
- The design of Withering Ruins was interesting. No matter how far you got in the dungeon, you were never more than falling off one ledge from being back at the entrance. It serves as a good tutorial while not spoon-feeding you information.
- Battles and exploration play like Lufia, this can only be a good thing.
- I look fuckin fabulous.
- Battles are really slow and clunky. It's not bothering me yet, but I can see this getting more annoying as I get more characters, face more enemies.
- Controlling the character is hard, it's difficult to face the right way to throw a knife without falling off one of those ledges.
- What the fuck was the deal with the 3 pedos?
- THE FONT MY EYESSS IT BURNS
- Who should I play next?
- Who is our mystery badass?
- Do you think Commander Stupidface will get fired?