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A.P.I Review: Wild Arms
Developer: Media Vision OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1 Player
Game Type: RPG Memory Card
Review Date: January 1999 Standard Joypad

Setting the Scene

Wilds Arms is a Role Playing Game (RPG) dished out on a grand scale. It manages to successfully pull together elements from many past RPG / action games. For instance, it incorporates the action / exploration of a Zelda type adventure... the fighting elements of a traditional Square Final Fantasy style game and melds them into it's own unique gaming format. This is the game Beyond the Beyond should have been and one that many RPG starved PlayStation owners have been craving for.

So get ready to sit back, put on your thinking cap, set aside 50 to 60 hours and just have some plain old fun because Wild Arms has finally arrived on PAL format.


Wild Arms is a traditional Role Playing Game with some action elements thrown in for good measure.


Finally an RPG game that is starting to use the power of the PlayStation. While Wild Arms utilizes the traditional deformed squat body, big head players to depict your characters, they are presented very well. Each character in the game is very distinguishable from the other and all are very nicely detailed and colorful.

Talk about color...WOW...the colors used in Wild Arms are bright and lively and doled out in generous amounts. All of the towns have a healthy, realistic quality about them. The dungeons and mazes are also skillfully done in darker tones but with elaborate lighting effects. And talk about the lighting... WHOA... this game implements some of the finest light-sourcing and transparencies yet seen on the PlayStation. From the torches in the dungeons to the special effects of spell casting, this game really packs a punch in the visual department. Just stepping into a building, you are treated to a transparent view of the interior with light beams shining through windows and ambient light and shadow effects galore.

The main core of the game is presented in a somewhat top-down view in which your character can walk or run around in. While adventuring outside of towns, you are treated to the scenic views of your locale...but you are also in danger of being attacked by the monsters that roam there. When attacked you are transported to a full 3D polygon battlefield. The creatures you face are wonderfully animated, colored and often fill a large portion of your viewing area. Summoning a Guardian, executing spells, using ARMS or calling forth a Fast Draw technique, gamers are provided with some of the most delightful lighting and special effects ever displayed in an RPG. It actually makes battles worth fighting (and seeing!) instead of the usual annoyance of being interrupted in your journey.

Oh, I should also mention that when you walk through a puddle of water, besides hearing the splish/splash, you leave a trail of wet footprints for four or five's this fine attention to detail that is apparent throughout this entire game.

One last thing of note...the opening Anime sequence is movie quality and could easily be expanded into a story of it's own...

The graphics and animation are truly top-notch in Wild Arms and have to be seen to be appreciated. It's really done right.

Sounds and Effects

Once again this game delivers in a big way. From the opening Anime score that instantly reminded me of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, to the fully orchestrated battle and town music this game screams out of a good home theater system and totally immerses you in the game.

The music is often grand and majestic, changing from town to town and from caves to mazes. The battlefield also has it's own distinctive music and blends perfectly with the overall game.

Sound effects are also very nicely depicted. Everything's covered, from the sounds of the magic spells being enacted to the varying sounds your footsteps make over the different terrain. There are even echo effects while traversing the underground areas...setting off a bomb in a cave produces a wonderfully resonating blast! Again, fine attention to detail is apparent even in the sound department.


You start off the actual game by selecting one of three characters... A boy named Rudy that is endowed with the ability to mentally connect with special weapons called "ARMS", short for Ancient Relic Machines that have been left behind from an alien race, Jack the adventurer who uses a technique called the "Fast Draw" in addition to having a rather humorous and useful side-kick who just happens to be a rat and finally a displaced little princess named Cecilia who posses magical abilities of vast proportions. You now have the option of renaming the character or keeping the original name. Decide what you want to do and then the game begins.

Each of the three characters has their own opening sequence that provides you with a glimpse into their background and history. Regardless of which character you select, all three can be controlled at any given time by pressing the "start" button and switching the character. The initial purpose of the game is to have all three characters meet up and join forces in one of the many towns you will need to visit. Once this happens, the game really starts to take off and your adventure truly begins.

In typical RPG fashion, talking to everyone and investigating selected objects for goodies (you'll know what to search after a few minutes of playing), is extremely important. There are areas that you simply cannot reach unless you get some helpful info from some townsfolk. Interestingly, some objects can be picked up, hurled and broken, thus uncovering hidden contents. Sometimes you are even required to throw stuff at objects to enable hidden switch mechanisms. You can also move certain objects or blow them up with one of Rudy's special tools.

Speaking about tools, each character comes equipped with one tool that can be used an unlimited number of times to get special results at certain key points in the game...Other tools are acquired throughout the game by finding them hidden in certain areas. Rudy starts off with a Bomb tool that can be used for blowing objects up or blasting holes in cracked walls...Jack's tool is actually his pet, err partner, a rat named Hanpan who can open objects out of Jacks reach...Cecilia starts off with the Tear Drop Crystal tool an item of immense magical properties, but early in the story she gets it taken away...

Battles are executed very nicely and enable the gamer to strategically position their characters and to execute the most effective attacks depending on the enemy you are facing. Enemy traits can be learned, thus allowing you to use the best weapon or spell against the embattled foe. As your battle progresses, a gage for each character begins to rise. At certain times, special attacks can be utilized such as ARM Lock-on's, Accelerator or Summon Guardian commands. This will bring out some of the more powerful attributes your characters possess and help to lay waste to the more overbearing enemies in short order.

The storyline is very well conceived and executed although some of the Japanese to English translations are a bit confusing. The plotline features a good number of twists and emotional / moral dilemma's. The game also tricks you into thinking you are almost through with it on more than one occasion, only to throw you a curveball and present you with many more hours of gameplay!! There are also special missions you can choose to take that will enhance your characters skills and attributes. All in all a very nicely done story!

Control of your character is simple and straight-forward. You can walk, run (just watch out for obstacles!) and choose to navigate through your inventory at any given time. Of course what would any RPG be if not for the weapons and armor selection. Each town you visit has shops that enable you to purchase upgrades for your armor, weapons, ARMS and to bind new magic spells. Special herb's can also be purchased to help you overcome many of the spells your enemies throw at you.

Another nice feature is the configuration it you can change any of the icons with the provided graphics editor to suit your individual tastes. You can also adjust the various menu window sizes and change the color of the borders. One final note; a friend of mine would be upset if I didn't mention another tasty little feature of this's the memory card support. This is one of the few (only?) games that gives you complete memory card support from within the game...allowing you to copy to another card, format, delete, etc. I found this to be an extremely handy option and wonder why every game doesn't include this type of support.

So, to wrap things up... you like RPG's? Get Wild Arms... it is one of the best RPG game currently available on the PlayStation.

Value for Money

With 50 to 60 hours of playing time, an engaging storyline and lot's to see and do, the game offers a true bang for your buck. The only down side is that when you complete games of this type, there is little reason to go back and play them again. Still, while your in there enjoying this incredible journey you'll see it's worth every penny.

GRAPHICS: 16/20 An incredible RPG game for the PlayStation. Get ready for a magical journey that will take you to dungeons, mazes and towns... pilot giant mechs and airships and use your intellect during the various puzzles that you are presented with.

All in all, Wild Arms offers gamers an experience rarely seen in today's console market. Pick it up, allocate lots of time and be prepared to thoroughly enjoy yourself!
SOUND: 7/10
VALUE: 18/20


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