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Enchanted Arms Xbox 360

Published by Ubisoft
Developed by From Software
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £49.99

Enchanted Arms, an introduction.

The Xbox 360, like the Xbox before it, is rather lacking in RPG’s. The only RPG available for most of the console’s life span (which to be fair is still in its infancy) has been the stellar Oblivion. Whilst Oblivion is an excellent game it’s not the type of RPG to appeal to everyone. In fact those looking for a ‘Japanese RPG’ in the style of Final Fantasy, where a rich story instead of open ended freedom is the main feature, would simply view Oblivion as being too much like an action game for their tastes. The good news for Xbox 360 owners is that, unlike the Xbox, the console will see these kind of RPG’s during the next year or so. In fact there’s already one that was released recently, Enchanted Arms.

What’s the game about?

In Enchanted Arms you’ll step into the shoes of Atsuma, an Enchanter in training. The game starts off with nothing in particular happening with Atsuma and his pals, Toya and Makoto, at University. The three decide to skip their lessons later in the day to attend a festival and it’s whilst they are at this festival that things begin to go horribly wrong. Golems, man made creatures, are used in all kinds of ways to assist the people. After a Golem fight in an arena at the festival, an earthquake occurs and the three friends leave the arena to find the city of Yokohama a complete mess. It soon becomes obvious that something has gone horribly wrong with the Golems and that they are now attacking everyone in sight.  They return to the University to find it heavily damaged and the Sealed Ward opened, which spells huge trouble for Atsuma and the gang.

What’s good about the game?

Those looking for a Japanese style RPG will be pleased with what Enchanted Arms has to offer. All of the ingredients you would expect to find in such a game are here. The story is OK although nothing special ( it’s great to see some genuine humour from time to time) but it’s good enough to keep you interested. The battle system on the other hand is very enjoyable. The battles are turn-based and played out on a small grid. Don’t get me wrong it’s no strategy RPG but it’s certainly a refreshing system that encourages you to think about where you place your characters and coordinating the attacks they use. You can simply have the battles run on autopilot if you want to. This may seem unsatisfactory to some but it’s a useful technique when it comes to levelling up your characters.

As we’ve already ascertained, Golems play a large part in the story and you can have them in your party to battle alongside you. Golems can be collected and new Golems can be synthesized from parts you’ll find and purchase. Their uses are numerous and they add a welcome twist to the game. You won’t have to hunt for a save point in Enchanted Arms as the game allows you to save anywhere. A basic feature you may think, but it’s one that you don’t usually find in games of this nature and personally I think it’s a great idea as you don’t have to play for half an hour or more at a time if you don’t want to.

What’s bad about the game?

There’s little doubt that Enchanted Arms is a good RPG. It has all the elements that you would expect to find in an RPG of this nature. However, there are some areas of the game that could have been better. Graphically the game isn’t as good as you might have hoped for. The game does use the random encounter system (where battles are triggered randomly) and at times the encounter rate can be a little high. Quite a few RPG’s have done away with the random encounter system and it’s a shame Enchanted Arms has returned to it. I have a personal dislike of effeminate characters in games, at least when the effeminacy is carried to extremes, and I found Makoto to be very off-putting. Whilst the game’s linearity was to be expected, it’s a shame there’s little in the way of side quests. In fact the replay value is pretty limited and it’s not a game you’re going to want to play through more that once.

How does it look?

As I’ve already mentioned Enchanted Arms is somewhat disappointing when it comes to the graphics. That’s not to say the game looks ugly, far from it in fact. The problem is that the game doesn’t look as good as it should on the Xbox 360. Naturally it’s the best looking game of this type that we’ve seen but it’s not the jump in quality that you have expected. Most of the game’s locations seem barren. That’s to say you never see many people about, even in locations where there should be crowds. This gives the game an unfinished look, which is unfortunate. The character models look OK but you’ll see certain NPC models reused many times and they don’t always animate as convincingly as they should.  

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Like most RPG’s, Enchanted Arms isn’t going to cause deaf gamers any problems. The game is subtitled and virtually all of the dialogue is shown in text. The only omissions being the unsubtitled comments, which are made during the course of a battle. Tutorial message are shown in text. Objectives are shown in text and can be recalled at any time by pressing the Y button to bring up the menu. When the dialogue is displayed the character model and the character name is displayed alongside the text meaning you’ll always be aware of who is saying what. If I do have a complaint with the subtitling it’s that I would have preferred the text to have been in a dialogue box. The text is just displayed in a white font and occasionally the text is a little tricky to read due to objects in the background. You can even access text notes on the game’s story, which means you can easily recap on past events if it’s been a while since you’ve played the game.

Final thoughts.

At the moment there is a real dearth of RPG’s on the Xbox 360 and the arrival of Enchanted Arms is highly appreciated. Whilst the game is enjoyable, it would be wrong to hail the game as a memorable RPG and I’m pretty sure in a few years time it won’t be regarded as one of the best RPG’s on the console. That said however, there’s a lot to like about Enchanted Arms. It’s quite humorous at times, you can save anywhere so the dreaded hunt for a save point doesn’t apply here, the battles are enjoyable and move at a quick enough pace and most of the characters are genuinely interesting. In fact it would certainly be interesting to see From Software do another RPG to see how they can build on what they have here. Xbox 360 owners looking for an enjoyable RPG certainly can’t go wrong with Enchanted Arms.

Overall Game Rating: 7.9/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Those looking for a Final Fantasy type RPG on the Xbox 360 would do well to take a look at Enchanted Arms. The quality of the story may not be the highest we've ever seen, although it's OK and the battle system is very enjoyable. It could have looked better but aesthetic issues aside Enchanted Arms is a solid and enjoyable console RPG.