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Skies Of Arcadia Legends Package Art
GENRE
RPG
DEVELOPER
Sega
PUBLISHER
Sega
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1
CONNECTIVITY
no
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Skies Of Arcadia Legends

Sega has done it again. They consistently keep producing some of the best games on the GameCube. Now they've brought over Skies of Arcadia Legends, and I couldn't be any happier. This upgrade of the Dreamcast game throws you into Arcadia, a world that floats above the clouds. Vyse is a member of the Blue Rogues, a group of air pirates that steal from the rich and use the money to help people in need. Join him and some of his friends as he matures from a brash boy into a true hero.

visuals

In most RPGs, graphics aren't everything, and Skies of Arcadia Legends is no exception. Since this is a port of a Dreamcast game, you will definitely notice the lower polygon models compared to other RPGs such as Final Fantasy X or Xenosaga. This doesn't mean the game looks bad. In fact, the graphics look much better than other GameCube RPGs, like Evolution Worlds and Lost Kingdoms.

Main characters, ships, and enemies are made up of plenty of polygons, and each character is extremely expressive. Animation is quite impressive and helps convey the moods of the heroes. The game's camera also works well, staying behind you most of the time. You can rotate it left or right, and go into first person view, and it never gets trapped behind obstacles. Skies has a beautifully artistic style full of wonder and imagination. The only real complaint about the graphics can be found in the common townspeople. Most people you encounter in towns look simply horrible. Worse yet, whenever you talk to them, you are given a close up, and they REFUSE to stay still while talking. Many townspeople gyrate in extremely annoying animations while you are trying to read their words, but it makes you want to skip over the conversation and run away.

audio

The audio in Skies is simply brilliant. The music is among some of the best heard in RPGs. As you fight bosses, you will notice that it changes depending on how well you're doing. Usually in an RPG, there's at least one town that makes you reach for the mute button as soon as you enter, but not in Skies of Arcadia. Unfortunately, only the music of the title screen is orchestrated, but the tunes in the rest of the game are quite convincingly done in MIDI.

The sound effects are done just fine, but there are a few annoyances. The character voices can be irritating. Luckily, the game didn't go for full voice acting, because it would have been horrible, but even the small quips of character voice can get on your nerves. EVERY time you cast a spell, you'll hear "Moons, give me strength!" After a while you will REALLY wish they said something else. Sometimes characters say things completely the opposite of their written dialogue. In one scene, a woman is pleading for someone to not leave, but her voice keeps saying "Yes". Though annoying, in the end, it doesn't seriously detract from the rest of the game.

gameplay

Ah, gameplay; something that is missing from many RPGs today. Skies actually seems to be the opposite of most current RPGs in that you actually play the game more than you watch, and boy is playing this game fun. At the core here you have a 50-hour RPG with tons of sidequests to accomplish. At almost any point in the game you can forget about what you're doing, fly off in some random direction and look for some sort of side-quest. There are new lands to discover, bounties to hunt, relationships to fix, and crew members to recruit, as well as a Moonfish hunt that spans the entire game. If you are ever bored, you can just find a ship to attack and participate in the game's surprisingly fun ship battles.

Of course, one of the most important part of ANY RPG is the plot, and I don't want to spoil this one for you, but let me say that it is great. The game is filled with plot twists and character development. You'll really care for the characters in the game, whether they are your main hero, Vyse, or if they are the dreaded Admiral of the Imperial Armada. Every character has a real motive for what they're doing, and you aren't left with a generic "save the world from the insane man bent on destruction" situation. Skies also has a unique battle system. The battles are turn based and involve a thing called your spirit meter. Each character generates a certain amount of spirit points per round, and each character can either attack, use items, or cast spells(which all cost 1 Magic Point as well as a number of spirit points). Adding to the system are several super moves. Super Moves cost several SP, but can be used to do devastating damage to an opponent, block certain types of attacks, or restore your health and status. You will have to use them to defeat most bosses. This makes for battles in which it is key to find the right balance of defending, attacking, and saving up and spending spirit points. For extra challenge, try any of the games 10 bounty battles. Most are extremely difficult to beat.

There were only a few minor annoyances in the actual gameplay. The first was the obligatory set of "find X number of X item to proceed" minigames that Skies throws at you halfway through the game. Honestly, why do companies keep putting these annoying things in RPGs? The second major annoyance was the magic system. It is, in a word, useless. At the beginning of the game, spells like Sacri and Risan will be extremely useful, but as you progress, you will find that you can do more damage with normal physical attacks, and you will develop super moves that totally replace the effects of spells. Also, as enemies drop more money it is much easier to simply buy items that have the same effect as a spell.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

Skies of Arcadia Legends is exactly what the GCN needed: A definitive RPG. This is the killer RPG app for GameCube. No, it isn't Final Fantasy(nor does it try to be), but in this writer's opinion, it's something even better. Skies of Arcadia Legends is an imaginative and original RPG with a difficulty level that's just right. If you like RPGs, this is truly a must-have title. If you don't like RPGs, buy it anyway.

Dreamcast Comparison

I thought I should put this in for those of you who own the Dreamcast version.

Graphics: Are decidedly better on the GameCube.

Sound: Is slightly better on Dreamcast, because the GameCube sound has been compressed, but it is hard to tell without a musical ear.

Extras: The ones featured on the GameCube are really great. The bounty battles and moonfish sidequest were some of the best parts of the game. It's probably worth a re-buy because of these.

final score 9.7/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Paul Pace
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"THE RED AND BLACK ATTACK!"


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