Enchanted Arms Review by Zonrith1

27 Dec 2009 19 Aug 2013
34 1 4
Enchanted Arms is a JRPG. Its plot adheres to the fairly typical motif for the genre (save the world from a vast, nigh unstoppable evil that you, as the main protagonist, and your merry band are the only ones fit to stop). The game is characterized by a large pool of party selection choices (thanks to golems, manufactured beings that are both a blessing and a curse throughout the game) and a turn-based grid-combat system.

Let's look at the specifics:

Graphics/Sound (6/10)
Graphically, the game starts out quite impressive. Lush backgrounds and fairly detailed character work make this, like many JRPGs, a visual treat. The game is an earlier title for the 360, and some of that does show at this point. However, more notable than that is some of the later artwork. It's just... lacking. As if they were rushed or felt it wasn't as needed. Monotonous backgrounds and otherwise bland design plague the later points of the game, tarnishing its earlier impression.

In terms of sound, the main issue comes down to the voice-acting. The quality of the English voice actors varies by actor, but chances are one will identify at least one or two as poorly done. To me, these were amusing and I didn't mind, but those more into a serious JRPG style (and, in my experience, most try to be serious) may resent the approach the English voices take. However, the Japanese voicing is available and can be activated if one wants to experience the original audio work. The golems were not re-dubbed and remain in Japanese regardless of selection.

Controls (10/10)
The controls are solid. I experienced no problems with moving my characters and controlling their actions (be it in combat or interacting in the towns). Menu manipulation was all intuitive, and I never felt like I was hampered by the controller during my playthrough.

Story (6/10)
As noted in my description, it's fairly typical. If you're hoping for a JRPG with a unique story, this is not the game you're looking for. However, I did rate it slightly above average for a couple reasons. First, it injects a lot more in-game humor than I've usually seen from console-based JRPGs. Second, the main character is far less moody/emo/weak/whatever than typical. Early on there is the typical JRPG "funk", where the protagonist is full of angst and self-doubt. Unlike most JRPGs I've played, however, he seems to overcome it in short order and adopts a more mature and progressive outlook. In short, this by-and-large skips out on being a coming-of-age tale.

Replay Value (2/10)
Sadly, there is hardly any value to replaying this. The game is extremely linear. There are, as near as I could tell, two side-quests (one I did, and one I started but did not finish). Everything else is involved in advancing the main plot. Achievements offer no replay incentive, as all but one come during completion (one requires an end-game choice, so if you choose wrong even a relatively late-game save will let you go back to get it). The main game isn't short, however. It weighs in at around 40 hours, plus or minus depending on if you do the side quests.

The only real replay value (and I use the phrase loosely for this) would be the online component for golem fighting. I don't know if anyone even does this, but it does remain an option for those that really dig the golems and like to level them and duel with them all pokemon style.

"Fun" Factor (7/10)
I had more fun with this than I was expecting, especially given it has random encounters (a fight mechanic that I feel is dated now that it isn't a programming necessity). I attribute that to three causes:
1) The story having more humor and less emo than my typical JRPG experience;
2) The grid-based combat system. It actually requires a lot of strategic thought against harder enemies (and there is a speed-up option to lessen the pain of fighting low-level stuff);
3) The vast party make-up selection. While this game is light on "main" party members, there are so many golems that can be used that one can quickly become overwhelmed. The level of customization it allows is quite impressive, and I was swapping around my party make-up constantly to best utilize my golems against a given area's opponents.

In all, Enchanted Arms is both unoriginal and unique. It's failings are notable, but its strengths are well appreciated. In all, if you like the idea of the story and find the grid-system intriguing, you may want to try this out. If you want a stalwart JRPG full of serious characters, and are tired of random encounters, this game isn't for you.

Overall score average: 6.2

Score-to-Star Translation Guide:
5 stars: 9.01 to 10 (out of 10)
4.5 stars: 8.01 to 9
4 stars: 7.01 to 8
3.5 stars: 6.01 to 7
3 stars: 5.01 to 6
2.5 stars: 4.01 to 5
2 stars: 3.01 to 4
1.5 stars: 2.01 to 3
1 star: 1.01 to 2
0.5 stars: 0 to 1
GremUKNice review. Think I will pick this up cheap sometime soon
Posted by GremUK on 05 Mar 10 at 15:52
Baxterstopmana 6.2 score deserves 4 stars?
Posted by Baxterstopman on 08 Jun 10 at 18:20
Zonrith1It does under the distribution I chose, which was an attempt to equitably assign the ranges (2 points per star). Here are the specifics:
5 stars: 8.01 to 10 (out of 10)
4 stars: 6.01 to 8
3 stars: 4.01 to 6
2 stars: 2.01 to 4
1 star: 0 to 2

It'd be less of course if I factored in a "0 star" score, but this site requires a minimum score of 1 star, so that's the range I constructed to match my 10-point system to the TA star system. So, a 6.2 is barely a 4 star, but still in the range I adhere to for all my reviews here.
Posted by Zonrith1 on 08 Jun 10 at 20:32