Review

Enchanted Arms Review (Xbox360)

As you may be well aware of, there are not many RPG games available for any of Microsoft’s consoles; however there is a recent addition to this highly acclaimed game category, a recent Ubisoft game by the name of Enchanted Arms. In Enchanted Arms you take the role of a magical school student who goes by the name of Atsuma, who is, most definitely, not the smartest kid of the class, he often sleeps during lessons and he can barely remember the important stuff he learns along the way. Despite his lack of concentration or good grades, Atsuma has a very interesting feature about himself, he possesses a mysterious arm attached to his body that has magical properties, such as dissolving enchants, and from there on, the story about this boy and his sets of companions develops in what I can only describe as a traditional RPG story, full of the old school elements that made previous RPG games so appealing and entertaining.

Beautiful scenarios
One big happy family

Now, do not get me wrong, with “traditional” I do not mean repetitive, nor boring, on the contraire, this game has that X Factor which was present in all those RPG games which we all enjoyed during their time and those same games that we miss nowadays. In my opinion Ubisoft did a great job trying to resurrect the linear, turn-based, RPG games back into the gaming market, and they did so marvelously, but unfortunately, not without flaws.

First of all Enchanted Arms is a linear game in which there is not a lot of exploration available for the player, which is understandable given the nature of the gameplay, and even though you will find some side paths, most of the time you will find yourself deriving from your main course only to find a chest with, let’s face it, insignificant rewards. All of that, in combination with the unnervingly frequent battles, makes exploration quite tedious and eventually discarded.

Another complaint that I have about this game lays within the storyline, which is, by far, one of the cheesiest and most questionable stories that I have ever seen during my entire gaming days. There will be some times along the storyline where you will wonder why on Earth did your party, or a member of it, decided to take a specific action, and there will be some times as well when you will feel like playing through a soap opera. But taking aside those aspects, I have to say that the story is quite original, interesting and it also features that traditional Japanese humor that distinguishes Eastern stories from Western stories and that we all enjoy so much, I have to say that there were some dialogues that really made me laugh uncontrollably, which is a very welcoming feature in any game.

You don’t want to see my angry face
Three words for you: big trouble ahead

Enchanted Arms also features many other interesting things, for instance, the beautiful graphics. Believe me when I say that there are few games out there in which you will find locations as breathtaking as the ones featured in Enchanted Arms, from the gorgeous industrialized city of Yokohama, to the traditional and old-fashioned style of the city of Kyoto, you will always encounter amazing sights along the way. There are many areas in Enchanted Arms that will definitely make you feel inside the game; there were some times while I was playing that I just had to stop and move the right thumbstick around, just to watch the beautiful designs of every place. The lightning effects and the intrinsic design of every location you visit enhance the experience of playing Enchanted Arms to levels hardly imagined.

The gameplay of Enchanted Arms is quite rewarding as well, with some minor drawbacks like the incredibly high frequency of random battles, or the lack of difficulty, but overall it delivers a great experience for anyone who is into turn-based, RPG strategy games. While playing, you will be in control of Atsuma, who travels through different locations trying to find the Ice Queen, a Devil Golem responsible for Atsuma’s and many other people’s demise, while also trying to discover what exactly your arm is and its ultimate purpose. While traveling you will face random battles, and after a flashy sequence indicating that you have found an enemy, you will be in control of your current party facing an enemy individual or group. The battles are turn-based, and everything takes place in a grid, sort of Final Fantasy Tactics, within this grid you will have control of one half of the board, while your enemy is in control of the other, and your goal is to damage your opponents until their Hit Points are gone, while also preventing your party from suffering the same fate. If you win you get the usual goodies, Experience Points and Gold (referred as TB’s in this game); and you also get some new things as: Skill Points and a decrease in Vitality Points.

With so many points you may be thinking that Enchanted Arms has a quite complicated system, but it does not, the deal is quite simple: After every fight you will have your HP and EP completely restored (EP are the points required to perform attacks) but also, with every fight you endure, you will loose Vitality Points (unless you accomplish a “flawless victory” where your enemy does not even get a chance of defending itself), and once your or one of your companion’s vitality points reach zero that character is unable to properly fight in subsequent enemy encounters. Experience Points allow your character to increase his or her level, making him/her stronger, faster, etc. Skill Points are rewarded after every victory and they are used to learn new moves or increase a character’s stats, and TB’s (or money) are used to purchase new moves, materials or items, which will help you in your future battles.

I might not know what this arm does, but I can assure you this will not be pleasant
Gotcha!

During the game you will mostly fight Golems, which are some sort of enchanted monsters that want to rip your head off just for walking through their territory. But the great news about these Golems is that you can eventually make them members of your party, you need only to acquire “Golem Material”, some gems, and synthesize the whole package into one single element, a Golem; and the same goes for weapons as well, once you have found some weapon’s material you can synthesize a new devastating tool for your characters, given that you have the required gems. The models for every Golem are impressive, incredibly detailed and very stylish, you will soon be trying to acquire newer golems just to see them fighting along Atsuma.

Top Game Moment:
My favorite moments in the game are definitely the “Boss Fights”, they are challenging, visually impressive, rewarding, and overall, extremely enjoyable, just try to imagine beating the hell out of a three stories tall monster with your fists, amazing huh?

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