Wild Arms XF – “Some lies are worth living.”
I was actually motivated to finally finish XF and do this post because my Wild Arms post here in the site is making quite a traffic. And just so people who view my posts would be updated, as of November 24, 2009, Wild Arms 6 is just a rumor.
And so, let’s continue with this review of Wild Arms XF.
Wild Arms XF is not really appealing to a gamer like me because I’ve had enough already of turn-based strategy games, but since, this was the first try of the merchandise to delve in such genre of game, I might as well, try it out to see if they succeeded in doing so.
The beginning part of the game is very challenging. Yep, it was very hectic managing your party because learning the skills just to master your current job will really take you up until the 2nd Act of the game. Well, it’s not that I didn’t enjoyed it but, it was hassle battling every now and then just to accumulate about 250 points when every battle just gives you 3 to 4 points. Yep, You will still be on your basic job up until the 2nd Act of the game and that is very boring, if only I wasn’t determined to finish it. Some battles, especially the story-bound ones give about 10 points though. The job system is not that dynamic and it’s easy to understand since you’ll just have to master the abilities of your current job and you’ll be able to equip it alongside another job.
Some fights are damn difficult! Why? Because some battles do have countdowns of how many turns your are just allowed to take, while taking on account the turns of your opponent as well. These battles requires you to temporarily shift your job to the fastest one to defeat all opponents, and at the same time, reach a certain part of the field.
If you have already experienced the intricate puzzles and conundrums from Wild Arms 5, just to open that door that leads to a boss, expect nothing less from Wild Arms XF because some dungeons here will keep you entertained for hours, doing trial and error just to make the correct sequence of shooting some switches, and such. Some switches even require a certain job just to activate. Well, this is just about 10% of the game so don’t be so stingy about it. I’ve seen numerous forum posts of having certain battles from the game being impossible to clear but, it really just depends on your party, especially the jobs you had assigned to each of them. Even though it was tough, all in all it was challenging at the same time.
The story is actually divided into 4 primary chapters, and another one, which is the final act.
Hmm. Well, the start of the game wasn’t really exciting because it just shows Clarissa chasing someone after and it doesn’t really reveal anything about the latter development in the story. The story actually goes along the line of some sort of insurgence towards the current government because it was actually just the council of the king, who is bedridden, are the ones managing the country. Yep, it’s about social decay and political conspiracy. Coincidentally, Clarissa, happens to look a lot like the princess, who is supposedly dead already for several years. After being involved to some incident, she decided that she’ll help out the citizens of the country by shouldering the responsibilities of saving the country through disguising as the princess. Under these circumstances, she founded a resistance group named Chevalet Blanc, which has the objective to defeat the council that usurped the throne of the king. Well, it was not that long though before it was disclosed that she is just an impostor by the enemies.
Well, that was just the gist of the summary, and not the complete one because a lot more happens after that. You won’t really think that some aliens are behind it right? But I’m already telling you this, Wild Arms XF has still something to do with aliens from other planets, similar to Wild Arms 5 — which is rather irrelevant to me already and I think the story has been better off without it because they should have focused instead on creating twist on the main focus of the story, which is restoring the peace and political stability of the country. Because of the alien thing, the ending somehow became “saving the world”- themed when it’s not in the very first place. The plot really diverged after introducing this certain antagonist that has something to do with the alien stuff. Thus, it somehow ended up as a hodgepodge of allies of justice kind of story with sprinkles of aliens and planet restoration, which has been the problem of Filgaia ever since.
Well, because of such wide-scope array of plot and happening within the story, the characters are somehow confusing to take a look as well.
Clarissa Arwin, the main protagonist of the story, is rather irritating during the first part of the game. I mean, why the hell should you do that disguising thing when you’re not really involved with this country?! That was some kind of whimsical idea that sprung all of a sudden just because she was involved in some kind of incident. Well, because of this weak grasp of her responsibility of decisively taking that crucial role, it backfired to her when she was forced to pull the trigger towards someone in the story just to save the country. Sometimes you see, you need that resolve first before doing something or you’ll fail in doing so. Just to make it clear though, before the true campaign of the resistance happened, her true objective alongside Felius is to find an artifact that would restore Filgaia’s land, as well as retrieving Iskender Bey, the sword of her mother which was stolen by someone.
Felius is your meek and mysterious type of male protagonist. He comes along Clarissa at the beginning of the story and the two of them are supposedly “family” but Felius actually belongs to some past that will eventually be disclosed in the story. I just can’t say anymore about him because it might just a heavy spoiler. Anyway, you’ll just know it near end that he has some big connection to the plot.
Labyrinthia is the court magician of the kingdom but she decided to rebel against the present corrupt officials, which is why she ended up as a fugitive. She was actually the root cause why Clarissa and Felius was involved in the first place. She comes along with a dog named Tony. Labyrinthia is indebted to the king which is why, she tries her best to retrieve the old kingdom the king originally founded. She has always been viewed as the most educated of all the characters, and thus making her the strategist of the party oftentimes.
Levin is the son of the captain of the Royal Knights, situated at the palace. His father still believes that the Royal Knights still has the duty to defend the palace until the end , even if those who lead are corrupt. Levin didn’t stand this view of his father, which is why he left the kingdom, tossing aside his “royalty”, something his father couldn’t do.
Alexia is the royal princess and the true heir to the throne of the kingdom. She was falsely announced as dead by the council years ago because of her mysterious disappearance on an incident. It was a surprise for Chevalet Blanc that the actual princess is still alive so they rescued her from the hands of the council. She feels that she bears the responsibility of restoring the country, which is why she is the most resolved one in defeating the council. She dreams of a peaceful kingdom and believes in the notion of active participation of the citizens.
Ragnar is one of the casualties of the prevalent war in Filgaia. He was resolved to end the conflict of the country and stumbled upon Chevalet Blanc. He tried to stopped Chevalet Blanc at first but realized the main goal they pursue so he decided to join in order to finally stop the wars in country.
I actually see a weak connection here of some characters towards the story. The latter four are really involved, which is why they do have the reason to fight against the council who tries to monopolize the power and wreak havoc in the country, but I just can’t see anything that would strongly glue both Clarissa and Felius’ purpose in being involved.
The music of the game is definitely the most commendable one even though the game’s platform is PSP. Anyway, I was just able to appreciate it through the help of some tracks listed in the Music Library of the game. I wasn’t really able to appreciate it in-game because I often play with mute sounds. I especially liked the track above, which is the background music in towns. It’s so pleasing in the ear.
Oh, the voice acting is not that commendable, it is so-so but nothing’s so great about it as well XD.
In terms of graphics, I think they also did a great job. The animators were resourceful enough and creative on how to show the animation without producing an animated cutscene, and I liked how it turned out.
The game is very enjoyable in terms of the battles but not really in terms of the story. Sadly, I really didn’t enjoy the story and plot of the game because I really didn’t know what the game wanted to focus. It’s as if Wild Arms XF tried to explore a vast realm of Filgiaia this time, that they wasn’t able to contain it appropriately. The first part of the game has a very slow paced manner while the latter part has a very fast one, which makes me wonder if the producers just wanted to cut it short. They did connect the relevance of the events, but they did all at a skimmed manner — so the focus of the story just disappeared near the end. Instead of fixing the country, in relation to the corrupt council members, the ending became saving the world from an alien, while defeating a boss not really related to aliens but to some magical entity. The plot is just confusing, since there are many subplots branching from one another. The plot is simply not coherent.
Each of the character has a “nemesis” (simply someone with conflict with) in the story, and has their own “argument” against each other. This should have been the broadest one in order to make the development of the characters more solid but it was just given focus in the second to the last chapter of the game. Events during the middle chapters of the story is the most whimsical because all sort of things happened in such inappropriate manner. Some were even uncalled for, and some were really vague especially the part where the party was able to time travel at one point in the past.
Well, I think Media Vision did a great job in creating a new job system but I just can’t appreciate the story used to tell it. That’s it — then what the hell does it serves for? Well, for me, I enjoyed the game solely because of the battles. The story was just a supplementary because I really didn’t caught anything from it aside from few melodrama amongst Katrina, Alexia and Clarissa at the end. Well the ending was not clear as well because some of the antagonists were just killed off at that brink moment without some clear reason what they really are fighting for or any reason. There would have been any contradicting cliche beliefs or principles by the characters, but there were really none which made the antagonists of the game, really lame.