Enchanted Arms

I got Enchanted Arms for Xbox 360 a long time ago, in 2006. Along with most of my other purchases for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this one was confined to a shelf life for many years, as my sole attention was devoted to World of Warcraft.

I've just got to complete the game, it took me less than a week to do so. All the major characters are fantastic, dialogues are brilliant and the story - a pleasure to follow and see unfold. Also, the most of the music is grand and most of the scenery is spectacular. Unfortunately, the gameplay casts a huge shadow over all the game's advantages.

I didn't like the whole battle process for many reasons. For instance, the battlefield has a horrible design. You have to switch camera angles just to be able to spot some of the enemies on the field. Sometimes (namely, last, the most important and lengthy fight) it's just impossible to see what exactly you are targeting, as the colors of the battlefield don't allow you to see not only the enemies but also your cursor.

Thanks to the countless random encounters (usual to most JRPGs), I even started to hate the combat part of the game. All the fights, except some of the major boss ones, were pretty generic and boring. Up until the very last boss there was no need to apply any complicated tactics. Closer to the very end of the game, your characters are able to learn a support ability which allows to avoid all the random encounters altogether. Needless to say, that's when I started to enjoy the game in full. Oh how I wish that magical ability would have been available at the start of the game.

I was literally raging by the time I got to Kyoto city. At this point you have to run between the Kyoto city and the nearby village quite a few time to progress the story. The story captivates you, and you wish you could see the rest of it unfold as soon as possible, but there are hordes and hordes of enemies randomly popping on your path. Yeah, most of the game you actually spend fighting golems. They do look different from each other and use their own specific abilities, but you probably won't even notice it, as all the battles go exactly the same and end in a turn or two. As you don't have to think about the tactics even while fighting some of the bosses, the whole fighting ordeal turns into a boring time-stretcher.

My other big complaint is about achievements. For some weird reason, all the achievements in Enchanted Arms are story-related and are all, except only one, unmissable. This is most disappointing considering the fact that the game has a lot of tracked data. For instance, the game tracks the world map coverage - to complete the story you don't have to visit all the places available. Also, there are several collectibles - more than a hundred golems and a huge set of skills. If you just aim to complete the game, you'd probably miss more than a half of those. Lastly, there are mini-games - casino machines and golem battles (this one has numerous stages, later ones are extremely hard). All that material is screaming for dedicated achievements.

In the end, I wish the game had a different combat system or much less enemies to fight, I would be completely in love with it. Still, I have no regrets about buying or playing Enchanted Arms, apart from combat, I loved everything to bits.

Oh, and there is a cool option to enable Japanese voices, they are much better than the English ones.


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