There can be no doubt that Wild Arms 3 is an interesting franchise on the Playstation. Making its leap to the Playstation 2, it brings with it a unique mix of the old Western motif as well as the nominal requisites of a Japanese-influenced RPG title. Since I've never been exposed to the Wild Arms franchise before, it was an eclectic mix to me, upon first hearing about it. A few decades ago, samurai and western shootouts merged into fairly popular B-movies. So it follows that, with the state of the RPG genre right now, being in an enlightened state of renaissance, this allows titles like Wild Arms 3 to give something to the public that isn't the usual mix of cyberpunk fantasy or swords and orcs.
The visuals themselves are, however, anything but B-movie quality. Influenced by the Japanese anime, Wild Arms 3 features cel-shaded graphics, a trademark of titles developed overseas. As great as it sounds, cel-shading is never a guarantee to success. While it's constantly gaining popularity on consoles, it's how you use it that matters most, not how much you use it. Like a child with a box full of crayons, too many colors will dilute the effect and only create chaos. We saw cel-shading in Sega titles like Bomberman and Jet Set Radio Future. The result was an undeniably unique look and here, in Wild Arms 3, the same technique is employed to transform plain old looking polygons into cartoons. Moreover, it's done with exquisite care and artistic flare. Even the cinematic sequences themselves are lavished with anime influences and the move to Playstation 2 allows the artists to endow the characters with emotive expressions to enhance the overall cinematic feel of the storyline. Wild Arms 3 boldly bucks the trend against steering graphical muscle towards more realism.
The battle sequences also possess a cinematic texture to them. You'll be able to engage battle on foot, horseback and in vehicles too, only the battles not only look better, they will work better too. Working towards a more real-time system, Wild Arms 3 will have less of a turn-based feel and, in its cinematic presentation, the game aims to carry out battles at a clip pace so you never feel bogged down by random or staged encounters. As you traverse through dungeons and barren environments, you'll even come up against puzzles which will require more than just brawn and weapons.
The main bulk of the storyline tracks the converging of four unique individuals: Virginia, Gallows, Jet and Clive who travel together to unlock an item of power, with the immense potential to the change the lives of people in the barren plains of Filgaia forever and, even the lives of the adventurer heroes themselves. Whether this mysterious object is a force of good or one of festering corruption will be revealed in the story told throughout the game.
Mixing in shotguns, dual pistols, magical spells and summoned beings, Wild Arms 3 is taking a no holds barred approach to RPGs. And with the RPG genre fully revived and working away at churning out canonical titles and classics, there is a good chance that Wild Arms 3 will find a warm reception, even in North America. Swords, axes, goblins and barbarians are already a dime a dozen today. Wild Arms 3 has an intriguing premise that should make it appealing to open-minded RPG fans when it shoots on to the Playstation 2 this October.
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