Arc: Twilight of the Spirits
When this title was brought to my attention I immediately thought of vague conversations and a melodramatic plot. Japanese RPG’s are known to consists of a bunch of standard stuff but we of course love playing them aswell as get ourselves drowned in that typical Japanese atmosphere. In the end however, we’re each time dealing with games that are so mellow that you would go out yourself, seeking for a new adventure. Arc: Twilight of the Spirits is not an exception to that.
In Japan, Arc has been a popular series for years already and it was also only available for this country of rice balls and bami. In 2002 that changed as also the USA was allowed to taste Arc and although it didn’t become a big success, it was good enough to make people want more. Two years after we now find Arc: Twilight of the Spirits available in the whole world with even Europe not being passed out. Get ready for a big portion of RPG-violence.
You don’t need to have played the previous games to be able to enjoy this one. Everything is set in a completely new age and although they earlier stories do return, it’s more in the form of myths that nobody can remember.
You start off as Kharg, a young guy who wants to become leader of the corps that fights the Deimos, monsters who mostly get in contact with racism.
Kharg is a noble guy but lets himself be lead too much by his emotions and love for his people. The war between both races in fact only turns around possession of the “Spirit Stones” which give great advantage to either party: energy for the humans while it’s a source of magic for the Deimos.
Instead of just dividing with each other, of course heads need to roll and in that aspect, the storyline can easily compared with the oil situation in our world.
Luckily, the story doesn’t unfold itself from one point of view. The Deimos themselves also have their own hero although that gets known only later on in the game. Darc is a crossover between both species and doesn’t really belong anywhere. In fact, he lives as a slave.
Darc and Kharg both become the hope of their race and it gets really interesting when it is made clear that they share a special connection with each other. But you’ll have to find that out yourself.
It was a good decision to show the story from two sides as it remains interesting for a longer time and the more you play, the more you’ll realise this whole war is based on stupid conclusions and stupidity. Both races make mistakes but they don’t realise that of themselves.
Once you’ve really started (and because of the very slow and boring beginning this will take long) you’ll soon have to pick up your sword. The battles are clearly the best parts of this game. Forget what you know from Final Fantasy as this is finally something refreshing.
Instead of being limited to one place, you’ll be able to walk around freely through the surroundings. Each move you’ll be able to do a couple of steps and make one strike. Of course you can also use the known potions or do some magic on the enemy.
After a while you’ll notice that you can also use some tactics for the fights; let your enemy come near you or will you go in full frontal attack ? Use your magic at safe distance or do you dare to get closer for a final blow ? All choices that make the battles more interesting
Unfortunately the game wasn’t spared from idiotic conversations and useless missions. Early on you’ll have to look for a ring a woman had to give to some robbers. She’s scared her fiance will think she’s been careless and lost the jewel so with a lot of goodwill you start off to kick some robber’s ass. Once you’ve done this, you return with a necklace as they had never heard of a ring. Apparantly the woman DID loose her ring and she had planned everything to make sure her guy wouldn’t get upset. Irritating, don’t you think ? Well, it gets even more laughable.
Seems the necklace was a present from the man for his wife (it appears he effectively got robbed by these guys) and he wanted to use a self-made bracelet to make up for the plastic ring.
Find this confusing ? Well, after this scene I really felt like throwing Kharg and Darc with the household trash. Half an hour of my life spilled on this rubbish ! Luckily these painful moments get varied with pure pleasure. Ancient RPG lovers will definitely fall for the marvellous clichés while newcomers will love the ingenious combat system.
In conclusion: The graphics and sound can’t compare to Final Fantasy but they weren’t intended to compete with this title, I think. Graphically things aren’t bad but the characters could definitely use a makeover as they all look bald and don’t really have much sex-appeal. Probably I’m way too much spoiled by Final Fantasy but even the music can’t stay up. Inglorious songs and confusing melodies all too often pass along.
Arc remains faithful to the older RPG’s and therefor contains a lot of written text. Only the very important happenings are accompanied by real voices but this isn’t too bad as they are all but well-done.
So, for who has this game been made ? A simple question with a simple answer. For the real gamer who doesn’t mind some mellowness. Not for Joe Schmuck !