Wild ARMs 5 ReviewJason Leyanna
It has been 10 years since the creation of the Wild ARMs franchise by Sony and Media Vision Entertainment. With that comes a special anniversary edition of the game including an 80-page art book. This only has one print run, so once they are gone, they are gone. Wild ARMs 5 has a completely independent story from the other games allowing newcomers to pick up and play without having to be concerned about being lost along the plot line. That is where the game differentiates itself from the series.
The new story and characters breathe new life into this series.
Thousands of years ago in a world called Filgaia, there existed a technology unlike anything in the world in present day. Fast forward to about 100 years ago; all that is left are remains and people are living a primate type of lifestyle. Then the Veruni, as they are called, came to the world and with their technology dominated over the humans and made the humans submit to being a second-class society.
Current day: Dean Stark and Rebecca Streisand see the arm of a golem fall from the sky in their minuscule hometown, Capo Bronco. A girl, Avril, is left there who apparently has amnesia, and the three set out on a journey to assist the girl figure out what happened. Little do they know what a journey is ahead of them all…
When the game initiates, it allows you to select from some settings, and you may change the default to make the game experience fit you all the better. After that you are dropped into a short cinematic. The wind can be seen blowing the grass and shrubs and then birds fly overhead elegantly. Then you, Dean, are left to go on your journey…
“Here we go!” - Dean
The graphics are a bit dated, and at times some characters and objects will look a little blocky yet, and I could have expected a little bit more from a PS2 titles this far along in the system’s life. The effects counter this and add nicely with the blowing blades of grass and fog pattern that can be found when traversing the landscape. Dean leaves dust in his wake as he moves around. Along with these effects and graphics are some tunes that set the mood of the game, giving it sort of a Western-style theme. The music is flowing and good for the most part, though if you linger in one part too long, it may get a bit repetitive.
There are little puzzles intertwined with the game, such as placing a block on a trap that will allow a door to stay open. There are introductions to each gameplay section to allow newcomers to understand how to play if they are unfamiliar. Route Trackers allow you to see what sections you have been to before, which you have yet to explore, and also the one you most recently visited. This helps speed things up instead of tracing your way back through multiple sections of the game.
As far as gameplay goes, if you are familiar with how the 4th iteration went you will pick this up fast – as Wild ARMs 5 also contains the HEX battle system for the fighting. It is still turn-based and you move around the seven hexagon spaces and duke it out with the various creatures and monsters that turn up. If two enemies happen to be in the same hex, you can injure them both simultaneously, and if multiple allies are in one hex they can be healed with just one flick of the button.
If you are a fan of this series, be sure to pick up the special anniversary edition while it lasts. Wild ARMs 5 is a relatively solid RPG and it is only $40 (cheap compared to the initial price for the newer console games). For others that relish role-playing games or are new to the genre, this is a good game to start with as it has a new storyline and allows you to get immersed in the pleasant gameplay.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.