Developer(s) – From Software
Publisher(s) – From Software & Ubisoft
Designer – Masanori Takeuchi
PEGI – 12
Over the years, From Software have developed a variety of different kinds of RPGs; there was the first-person RPG, Eternal Ring, reminiscent of the then-obscure Elder Scrolls series, and of course, the more traditional action-adventure RPG in the form of Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne. With Enchanted Arms, they tried their hand at developing a turn-based RPG, and I happen to think that whilst it isn’t a classic, it makes for a better game than some of their previous efforts.
Graphics – 8/10
The visuals in this game were particularly well-rendered and detailed at the time, effectively showing off the graphical capabilities of both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles early on in their shelf life; in my opinion, doing so much more effectively than other early releases, such as King Kong, Lair, Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo: Elements of Power. I also particularly enjoyed the FMVs in this video as not only were they impressive on a technical level but from a conceptual standpoint too; especially the scene in which the Queen of Ice and Emperor of fire do battle with one another.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
Differing from many other turn-based RPGs, Enchanted Arms presents players with a turn-based fighting style very reminiscent of chess, whereby characters can be moved across a grid made up of a set number of squares in order to avoid enemy attacks; as well as a plethora of different characters to capture and fight with as well as the four main characters, having somewhat of a Pokémon feel to it. It was especially refreshing for me when I first started playing it, since at that time, I was beginning to notice a decline in the number of decent turn-based RPGs, as Final Fantasy XI was both online and subscription-based, and Final Fantasy XII’s Gambit system didn’t sit well with me at all.
Controls – 10/10
Fortunately, despite the differences between Enchanted Arms, and many other turn-based RPGs developed prior, there are no issues with the controls whatsoever. In fact, it’s quite impressive how well From Software has handled the overall control scheme; doing so in a manner far better than Final Fantasy XII.
Lifespan – 7/10
Discounting online play, the main story can take up to 40 to 45 hours to finish, which is fair for a turn-based RPG. As I pointed out in my review of Citizens of Earth, turn-based RPGs can be made to last an extremely long time, but 40 to 45 hours is much longer than the average game can be made to last, and this game shouldn’t lose out on too many marks.
Storyline – 5/10
The game’s story follows four heroes named Atsuma, Karin, Yuki, and Raigar. Atsuma is studying to become an enchanter when he and his two friends, Makoto and Toya, come across the mysterious sealed ward, where they meet the game’s main villain, the Queen of Ice, who destroys the university and its city, and captures and enslaves Toya; and Makoto goes missing. Atsuma is then detained, subsequently escapes along with local resident Karin and her bodyguard Raigar, who then, later on, meet with a hunter named Yuki, who then resolves to put an end to the current crisis by capturing the Queen of Ice’s brethren through Atsuma’s uncontrollable magical right arm and defeating her. The basic premise of the game’s story is fairly well done, and there is a good couple of twists and turns thrown in for good measure. However, the voice acting in this game, I can say with complete clarity, is the most irritable and poorly executed voice acting that I have ever encountered in any other game I’ve ever played; and I’ve played the original Resident Evil.
Originality – 6/10
Though this game is, for the most part, a collection of different features as opposed to it being a fully cohesive concept, it does stand out greatly among many other games of its kind in the amount of variety that it offers in terms of gameplay, and the fact that there is indeed an online mode to battle with other players. It can be said that it also stands out because of how bad the voice acting is, but of course, that makes this game stand out in a much more negative way.
In summation, Enchanted Arms is a very enjoyable game to play from start to finish, but I can’t help but feel that if the voice acting wasn’t so irritable and impossible to put up with, it could have potentially made for a classic. I can respect the fact that From Software did indeed consider gameplay over story, but I think it would have worked infinitely better if they just hadn’t included voice actors and have the dialogue pure text-based like in classic Final Fantasy games.