User login


E3 2006: 'Enchanted Arms' (Xbox 360) - Impressions

| |

Big BeastIf there was one thing the Xbox was lacking it was most definitely traditional role playing games. Many felt this was one of the reasons why the Xbox failed to catch on in the Asian market, but Microsoft is trying to right its wrongs by bringing more traditional role playing games to the Xbox 360 and Enchanted Arms is the first of these.

Enchanted Arms intends to present a sweeping story, and I can tell you that their cinematics are top notch and that RPG fans will hopefully have a lot to look forward to in regards to story if these cutscenes are any indication. Based on the section I played, the preview started off with this giant dragon-esque creature flying in the skies. The dragon comes across an ice maiden that reminded me of Shiva from the Final Fantasy series and an epic battle commences. It was quite difficult to follow, because there were so many effects going on I didn't know what was happening or for what reason. After the dust settles it is time for battle.

Though the game is a traditional turn based RPG, things get a little shaken up at this point. The main difference between this game and others is that the game board is broken into tiny movable squares, which gives it a Final Fantasy Tactics type style of play. When a battle starts out, you manually take control of your characters and plan their actions and attacks. Now, attacks have square patterns that detail where the attack will have an affect, and these can range from cross patterns to straight lines to groups of boxes. Once you know your target range and the affect radius, you'll then have to move in accordance so that you can position yourself to properly attack your enemy. After every character in your party (four in the preview) are managed this way, then the actions commence and your characters will attack according to what you determined. The enemy acts the same way as its attacks usually affected entire groups of areas, so in cases like this, if you know that spell is about to be used, it would be beneficial to move so not everyone is hit by the same spell. You've also got status affecting spells that can hurt you such as ones that ground you to the spot where you are so you can't move easily to attack or get out of the way.

You can also combine attacks, which I accidentally discovered, and this gives the game a Chrono Trigger type feel. You see, if you have several characters attacking in the same spot, there is a good chance their powers can be merged, which means that they will do even more damage together than usual. Now, the characters are still doing their own individual moves, but you get a quick cutscene showing who is interacting together, what the move name is, and then you see the attacks carried out.

The tactical gameboard helped keep me invested in the action on the screen, but at one point there came a time where I still just clicked a button to get all the action to keep repeating and I only then changed up my tactic once I was out of usable points to perform that specific action.

The characters were quirky in that role playing game type of way, as you had your main character who appears to be your average lead punk kid, a gun shooting woman pirate, a sort of knight decked in green, and then finally a mermaid in an oyster shell. Yeah, the mermaid in an oyster shell threw me for a loop as well.

Once you win the battle you get another cutscene, which showed what looked like your arm being taken over by some force during the battle (perhaps where the name comes from) and our hero jumping to catch a falling woman. It was weird, and I didn't get what was going on, but it sure was pretty to look at.

Role playing games like these are my personal favorite videogame genres. Yeah, young kids saving the world isn't exactly a new idea, and that pretty much looks like what this is going to turn out to be, but frankly I don't care. It's a traditional role playing game on a Microsoft system! What more do you need to know? I can't wait to see what this game shapes up to be when it is finally released.