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Impression

Wild Arms 5

05.31.2007

Michael Cunningham
STAFF REPORTER

Bring Me Hot Pants
She wears short shorts.

Wild Arms 5 for the PS2 is just a few months away, and I was able to get a first look at it today. I didn't get to see much of the story, but every other element of the game was out in full force. Interaction within the game was smooth, both in and out of combat. Characters move quickly throughout towns and on the world map. The game focuses less on platforming this time around, but it is still present. The main character does have his own unique platforming skills to use in solving dungeon puzzles. Thankfully, warp spells become available along with a unicycle-style motorbike, so traveling through the world of Filgaia becomes easier the further you get in the game.

All areas have clearly marked exits with floating gems to mark where you have been and where you have not explored. The world map that I mentioned earlier is back in this game after going missing from the prior title. The area backgrounds are highly detailed and reminded me of the world of Final Fantasy XI. Seeing trains travel throughout the overworld gives the game a spark of realism that helped to add a deeper level of immersion to the game. On the overworld, the area search feature, found in prior games to find towns and dungeons, has been fixed. No longer are towns and other areas that should be completely visible hidden, but instead the search function is used to find hidden chests and crystals which lead to mini-games. Also, characters can now explore buildings within towns instead of just the flat interaction found in the last game.

No pants.
Have you seen the rest of my shorts? I lost them somewhere.

Also making a return is the HEX combat system. In this version, all characters are able to move within the grid before stopping to attack. Characters can be swapped out during combat, as long as the character was on an escape grid. Characters are given their skills through the use of badges and mediums. Mediums are used kind of like job classes. Characters are assigned a medium, which would grant them skills of a certain type such as a healer or damage dealer. These jobs can be swapped out, giving any character the option of becoming any class. By all accounts, combat seems to be a much improved version of the HEX system for Wild Arms 4. The game also features a block pushing mini-game that allows gamers to gain special items for completing.

Wild Arms 5 boasts many fixes and new additions from its predecessor. This latest installment returns to its roots as a western theme RPG both through the world and with the visual and musical styles. Also as a bonus to fans, characters from past games in the series have minor cameos. Offering around seventy hours to complete the main storyline with an additional thirty in optional content, this game should be enough to keep gamers busy for quite some time. Fans of the series have much to look forward to this August.


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Console:
· PS2

Release:
· 08.28.2007

Publisher:
· XSEED Games

Developer:
· Media.Vision Entertainment


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