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Kimberley Wallace
E3: Arc Rise Fantasia Impressions
Ignition's JRPG from Marvelous Entertainment.
06.16.10 - 10:21 PM

I don't know about you, but I've just been clamoring for a JRPG that can completely captivate me. I'm longing for the old days when I was pounding out JRPG after JRPG on my PS2. What happened when we made the move to next generation consoles? I'll tell you what, I lost something special in my JRPGs. For quite some time now, I've been searching for something familiar from the good old PS2 days where I could just sit down in front of the TV for hours at a time, entranced by a JRPG. I'm happy to report that I'm really starting to think Arc Rise Fantasia might be that RPG that I'm desperately yearning for. Spending time with Arc Rise Fantasia at E3 only further confirms this hypothesis of mine.

First and foremost, the game looks great. It's definitely eye candy on the Wii, mainly because of the vibrant colors used in everything from the scenery to the characters. When Arc Rise is on the screen, it's a feast of colors tantalizing your eyes. Overall, the environments and character models are just pretty to look at while you explore. After a good look at the game, the next thing that immediately popped into my head is that Arc Rise Fantasia will feel like a Tales game (right down to the character protraits) if Tales used a turn based battle system.

Now there's always arguments over traditional battle systems. Some people, like myself, appreciate being able to think out each of your moves, while others prefer something more fast that you can just jump into. Arc Rise Fantasia finds a happy medium for both of these gamer types. For those who want full control, players can select every turn for their characters, but you also have the option to set your characters to overall tactics to make the battle go faster. There are three different tactics to set your character to: adaptive, no magic, and attack only. Adaptive will probably be the most useful as the game will select the best course of attack for you. The way the battle system functions is that you get a certain amount of AP that is shared among your party. You can distribute that AP however you like, so one character can take up an entire turn or you can split your AP amongst your characters. AP consumption will be important to keep track of, especially since certain skills are more powerful and take up more AP to use, such as Excel Acts. Not only do these attacks take up AP, but they will also use up your SP, so you can't even use it unless both of these areas are up to par.

Arc Rise Fantasia also promises customization. You can go to workshops and purchase orbs that will grant you additional magical powers. You then set the orbs onto your characters to grant them specific special attributes. In addition, the game also offers a good amount of side quests, so while the estimated playtime is 50 hours, that total can be more or less depending on how much you want to devote to extra quests.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but while I was playing Arc Rise Fantasia something kept drawing me in. It has its charm and just may be the JRPG experience that I've been missing so dearly. With a July release sneaking up on us, I'm more than excited. Check out RPGFan's site after the game's release for a review or if you just can't wait until then check out James' Import Review.


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