When Playstation RPG's were hard to come by in the US, a game called Wild Arms managed to slip its way on to store shelves in May of 1997. While Wild Arms was not the greatest RPG that year or the most hyped it was still a great game that all RPG players with a PSX should play.
Wild Arms is the Story of 3 Characters in the land of Filgaia. First off is Rudy who has a metal arm. His arm acts as a gun and with different attachments to add to his arm Rudy can get Stronger and Stronger.
Next is Jack who is a treasure hunter. He has a rat friend named Hanpan.
Finally there's Cecilia who is the Princess of a kingdom called Aldlehyde. She has remarkable magical power after studying to be a magician at an abbey.
All three are Adventurers, called Dream Chasers. Dream Chasers are people who look for excitement and follow their dreams and much of the society shuns them for it.
In Wild Arms, each character has special tools they can use. The tools become necessary to travel to certain areas in Caves and dungeons. As an example, Rudy has a bomb tool. With it he can blow holes in walls and find new and secret areas (just like in Zelda). Another example is that Jack has a grappling hook with allows you latch on to objects and swing across to new areas of dungeons. These tools make going through the dungeons a lot more fun and interesting and allow secret areas to be exposed.
While Wild Arms has a play system that sounds like an action RPG, it isn't. This game is a random encounter turn-based game. The battle system is very similar to that of Final Fantasy or Lunar as it has the basic options of Magic or special ability, fight, defend, item, etc. The battle scenes are entirely in 3D and they animate very well and look great.You get into battle by either using a tool you get later in the game. While encounters occur fairly often there is a spell that rectifies that.
The game is fairly decent in size and should take between 25 to 30 hours for an experienced RPG player. There are many secrets , mini games and other goodies that are hidden within the game which if you chose to seek out may add to the time it takes to complete it.
The graphics in towns, dungeons and on the world map are in 2D but look very well drawn. When going into a dungeon or town the picture scales in (none of that pixilated Mode 7 crap either). The scaling in also helps you find hidden areas. When in battle the Graphics are 3D and look very nice and animate smoothly. Both the characters and enemies are well detailed and large. The spells and special attacks look very cool and almost every time you attack you get a different angle of the action.
The music is fairly good and many times fits the action very well. However there are a few tracks which are VERY annoying. The opening song sounds very cool and overall the game's music is pretty decent.
Wild Arms like every game has its flaws. The encounter rate is slightly too high while later in the game using the spell of invisible you can avoid fights it can be a pain to have to battle every four or five seconds. My next complaint is that there are only 3 playable characters I wish if even for awhile you could have a fourth character like Calamity Jane or just someone. Next is that some of the music tracks (especially the ones in battles late in the game) are so annoying that I had to turn down the volume. Don't get me wrong, most of the music is pretty good but a few tracks were just ear piercing.
Overall Wild Arms is a quality title. It is very well designed and is a lot of fun to play. It has a great English translation, interesting ideas and makes you use you brain to solve puzzles.