24 Apr 2009 29 Apr 2009
Enchanted Arms: A typical surreal Japanese alternate reality with living-robot-esque creatures called Golems roam the world and are used by humans in numerous different ways, from pets to war-machines. 3 friends from Yokohama University are unwittingly caught up in an epic and world-destroying battle between good and evil, where the going is far from easy.
Having missed the boat on Final Fantasy, Enchanted Arms seemed like a nice alternative to get into japanimation gaming, with a simple turn-based battle RPG. What I discovered was all that, and so much more. The gameplay isn't really great in all fairness. The pattern consists of Atsuma(You - the Main Character) running around by himself, and getting hit with randomly occurrring battles which then turn into a grid-based turn-based combat screen.
The combat is very simple, each side has a 4x4 grid to position 4 characters, and their attacks to according damage to certain grid spaces depending on their position, its smooth, flowing, and if you're a fan of taking turns, there's really nothing to complain about.
The graphics are epic. There's really no other way to describe them, they're awesome, some of the views you see are totally mind-blowing, comparable with leaving the sewers in Oblivion, or the Washington Monument in Fallout 3. The cityscapes are incredible, and the first view on return to frozen Yokohama was worth buying the game in itself. the characters are near flawless, complimenting the stereotypical Japanese anime look, with wide eyes, strange hair and eccentric clothing.
The story was very good, with the character relationships and development interesting to watch, and the plot line was reasonably simple, but effective, and although reasonably direct, allowed for breaks in thinking with some side quests, and other incentives to aid you in fighting through the 35-55 hours of gameplay the story will take to complete, depending on how much you do. The Golem idea is not particularly original, with lots of previous similarities to genres in the way of Pokemon. Again, it's a tried and tested idea, the diversity of the Golems is impressive, and the designs are good.
There's 1000 achievement points on offer with 1 completion if you choose the longer, and much more difficult ending, as opposed to the short one. And naturally, there is no multiplayer.
In summary, if you like JRPGs, you will like this game, if you don't, you probably won't. It's very black and white. I personally, loved it, and I want to rate it as highly as I can, but I think that I have to take into account the small target market this game has, and the fact that although the game is beautiful to view, fun to play and brought together very well, there's not much originality. 9/10
Footnote: I would appreciate people taking the time to add their opinions and/or constructive critisism on this review. If you want to put a negative score at least take the time to tell me why. Thanks.