|Arc: Twilight of the Spirits|
|Developer: Cattle Call
Release Date: Out Now
There are other RPGs other than Final Fantasy you know, and this is one of them.
Arc: Twilight of the Spirits is set in the world of Ragnoth, which is in the midst of a war between humans and monsters called Deimos. You actually play two different stories that intertwine, this is because you play twin brothers who were separated when they were young. The first story is about a human named Kharg. His story revolves around his love for his country and helping others. One day an airship crashes and he takes it upon himself to help the young woman inside and that's where his journey begins. The second of the two stories is about a half-Deimos, half-human named Darc who lives in slavery on the Deimos continent. His story is about the hatred of humans and the human side of him coming out. You play small parts of each story then you swap and play the next story, the further into the game you get the longer these sections are before you switch back to the other brother.
As you play the stories the main link-story comes into play. This is about one of the human countries' trying to gain the power of the spirit stones, and you can guess who's got some - yup, Kharg and Darc each have a piece of a spirit stone. The game play is your standard RPG affair, with the main character and a small party going from place to place fighting random and story-related battles and talking to the people you meet. The combat is slightly different from the Final Fantasy method, it is still turn-based combat, but you can move around the battlefield as you fight. This allows you to strategically place your party e.g. you can keep your long-range bowmen at the back of the pack and leave your hand-to-hand combat specialists on the front line. When fighting you have a normal attack or you can use a special move that you can unlock when you've gained enough experience points. To do the special moves you need spirit stones which can be purchased from the local shops - this gets annoying because you need to run all the way back to town just to replenish your stock. You get to meet an interesting bunch of characters (14 in all) on your quest ranging from a jungle kid who says he's a prince, to a playboy thief. Each of these characters have their own unique specials and weapons.
Graphically while not up to Final Fantasy standards, Arc still looks good. All of the locations look really nice with lots of detail (like swaying grass and moving scenery objects like windmills), the only blemish being the low res textures that blur when the camera gets in close, but you barely notice it. The characters are nicely designed, varied and animated well, but again the textures blur when close - but still look good from the default camera. The enemies look nice and again have some good animations. The sound is good with your typical rocky/jazzy music for the battles and chirpy music when you're running around. The characters only have voices in cut-scenes and battles shouting stuff like 'DIEEE' before they slash something. The voice casting is good and all the voices suit the characters' looks.
Overall while not to the ultra-high standard of Final Fantasy, this is a very good alternative. Graphically solid and a huge 60 hours worth of play is always a good thing. Give it a go I say.
- A good alternative to FF.
- Solid graphics and gameplay.
- A sizeable adventure.
- The sometimes-blurry textures.
- The stories swapping just as you're getting into one of them.