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Arc the Lad Collection - Review

The Extras

By: Jake Alley


Review Breakdown
   Arc the Lad 6
   Arc the Lad II 9
   Arc the Lad III 3
   Time to Complete

100-140 hours

 
Overall
8
Criteria

Arc the Lad Collection
 

   The ambitious Arc the Lad Collection is by far the largest compilation of RPGs ever released in North America. In addition to containing all three games in the Arc the Lad series, purchasers are treated to a number of extra items.

   As with the release of Lunar 2, Arc the Lad Collection comes in a large cardboard package, containing the jewel case with the games themselves, along with high quality hardbound manual and an "omake box" containing some odd little toys, in this case little cardboard character "standees" and rubber analog stick thumb guards featuring the main characters. Those preordering the game also received a well-made pocket watch featuring one of the characters.

   Opening the jewel case reveals 6 discs. Four contain the actual games, one is Arc Arena, an expansion of sorts to Arc II, and the final disc contains a "Making of" movie detailing the history of the series and the process of compiling the collection.


Battling a friend in Arc Arena
Battling a friend in Arc Arena  

   This documentary disc shows some improvements over those found in earlier Working Designs titles. Rather than simply playing from beginning to end, one can skip between chapters, and toggle on overlays of the elapsed time, or subtitles of the dialog. Of course, the most important part of the package are the games themselves.

   Arc the Lad is a short but sweet title, taking only ten hours to complete. However, upon completion, saved data can be imported to Arc the Lad II which allows players to bring their characters and equipment into the new game.

   Arc the Lad II is a far grander game in scope and production values featuring a dark storyline, many interesting characters, and some very solid gameplay.


Not quite the opera house...
Not quite the opera house...  

   Arc Arena is a compliment to Arc II. At any point, save files from Arc II can be brought into Arena, allowing players access to a number of interesting features. The primary focus is the monster arena. One of the characters in Arc II has the ability to capture monsters, much in the same vein as Pokémon. In the monster arena, there are a number of challenges to complete, using only parties of these monsters. Beyond this, players can battle each other's monsters, trade monsters and items, and access special shops which are normally a long journey away from the average save point. There's even a playhouse in Arc Arena in which the various characters will act out strange little skits as an odd little diversion.

   Arc the Lad III allows players to import data from Arc II, much like Arc II does from the original Arc. However, while importing data to the second game brings forth the stats and equipment of your entire party, the cast of Arc II make only the briefest cameos in the third title, making all the work spent building up characters in the earlier games irrelevant to this entry.

   While the $75 price tag may seem imposing at first, the contents of Arc the Lad Collection are more than worth it in the end.


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