"I have been hearing about how Skies of Arcadia was this innovative RPG, one that is underated an unappreciated. Well, I have heard that about alot of game and most times it is unappreciated for reasons. I say most of those games, because Skies of Arcadia is definitely an exception to that. Well, back to my little story; so I heard about this Skies game, and I didn't believe it would be that great, but then my Playstation 2 broke. That left me with no RPG's around as I sent my PS2 to be fixed. So..."
I have been hearing about how Skies of Arcadia was this innovative RPG, one that is underated an unappreciated. Well, I have heard that about alot of game and most times it is unappreciated for reasons. I say most of those games, because Skies of Arcadia is definitely an exception to that. Well, back to my little story; so I heard about this Skies game, and I didn't believe it would be that great, but then my Playstation 2 broke. That left me with no RPG's around as I sent my PS2 to be fixed. So I decided there were really no other prospects, so I went out and purchased Skies and decided to give it a shot. Sense that moment on, I have never taken my hands on it until the final boss battle, and there was nowhere else to go. Every moment of the last two and a half moments I found myself either thinking or playing about Skies, and now it is over, and it is more than any man could ever have anticipated.
STORY (33/30): I knew the game was good, as soon as they introduced the Five Admiral of Valua. That, in my mind, is the cornerstone and strength of Skies of Arcadia. Never has there been such a crew of memorable badguys, that you look so forward to the next run in. They each have their own distinct character, which will develop in front of your very eyes. How these antagonists interact with Vyse and his crew is crucial to the storyline, and you will find yourself caring for everyone of those badguys, as much as the heroes of the story.
Of course, with every great story you have memorable heroes and a grand quest. The quest at first seems to be stereotypical, as you are out searching for six crystals, that represent the typical stuff like water, earth, fire, etc... Vyse is your typical hero, who is brave and possesses all the normal positive traits. Aika is the traditional sidekick, and Fina is your newcomer who seems to flip everyones life upside down. The are three other playable characters, who have a much larger story, and their own goals that go along with Vyses. These characters are very indepth, as are all the other characters you meet along the way, who may even comeback to help you later on (how nice of them...)
So the story is intense, the characters memorable, and the ending extravagant. There will be no questions left unanswered when you finally complete Skies of Arcadia, and the credits will tell you what becomes of all you allies, and recruited crewmembers. That was a very pleasant surprise, and some of them end up in interesting ways. So all in all, Skies has shown the greatest villains, and a memorable story, that proves that Square is not the only company of story-creating of that caliber.
GRAPHICS (14/15): I have never seen such an immense world, adn the whole idea of it was pure genius. While this isn't exactly graphics, the whole game takes place in the sky and leads to impressive visuals. The world is colorful, the ships all are amazing to look at, and the characters all have their distinctive features. Now, I have read that this isn't improved much on the Dreamcast version, but if that is true than it amazes me the power of that old system. The game is beautiful, probably the most visually splendid RPG out there, and it's graphics are very underated.
SOUND (9/10): An RPG must have powerful music, or else the game just won't really be truly on top. Skies of Arcadia has a superb variety of music. While the sailing music will get a bit old, because of the amount of time you are sailing and the repetive battle music, cause you are fighting alot(that is where I deducted the point), the rest of the music is varied and interesting. The music in the credits are superb, and each dungeon has it's own special feel. The music helps to that feel, for it fits the theme, whether it be bright or gloomy. The voice acting is not really around much, but when it is, it usually sounds good (although it is only one token line for each character). I would've preferred if the characters could speak all their lines, but nothing is perfect.
GAMEPLAY (30/30): An RPG needs two things, a great story and entertaining gameplay to go along with it. Skies of Arcadia possesses both. First of all, the world map is extravagant. You fly around in various ships, working away from island to island in a huge sky. At first you can only travel to certain areas, until you get ship upgrades to move into the next important areas.
Now, while you are flying, you are not immune from battles. You can still be randomly attacked, and most are just regular RPG battles were you pick moves or magic to attack your foes. Like most RPG's, you have special moves that you earn by gaining ''Moonberries''. These special moves are very useful, especially to give quick injury to your opponents. Not only do you have regular battles, but yuo also have boss battles, who all will fall either really easily, or really hard all depending on your strategy. Now, this is where battling on most RPG's end, but Skies has one other feature. There are ship battles, where you will pick features such as your cannons or torpedoes to attack opposnig ships. At first these battles are confusing, but they catch in quick and are a REALLY nice feature in Skies. The battling is really well created to the game, and helps toward the overall feel.
Of course, in Skies of Arcadia there are dungeons. Each dungeon has it's own special features and enemies, and our usually a fairly long trek to reach your overall goal (most times a crystal). All of these dungeons usually make sense towards the storyline, and there feels give it an original sense. You will have to search out all of these for hidden chests, or weapons for your characters, because usually the next weapon ot be found will be your most powerful. Weapons are easy to equip, and can be set to either control fire, or various spells. This isn't just important to injure opponenents, it is all important as it will affect which type of magical spell you learn next. Most spells are not that important, although they do make use of status-altering spells, mroe than most games. The whole Skies system fo leveling up characters and magic, and just the gameplay in itself is traditional and original at the same time, and a definite a complete package.
REPLAYABILITY (9/10): Of course, I always begin by mentioning how long the game itself is. Skies of Arcadia took me about 68 hours to completely conquer, but that was also because I went out to fulfill ALL of the sidequests. The whole discovery searching adds alot to the game, as in you will be traveling around for hours searching for all 88 of them. Then you have the bounty hunting, and the moonfish sidequest. All with their own little stories involved, and rewards. So with those subquests added in, the game is lengthened, and give you a good amount more to do, then just the game itself. Also, once you complete all those above things, there is a secret boss you can fight, someone who would be fairly familiar to you... And the game itself, I could see myself playing through one more time, just for fun, for it was memorable and fun, although like all RPG's the story would no longer be new, but why change a classic.
DIFFICULTY (5/5): Skies of Arcadia was an RPG that reminds me alot of Final Fantasy. The puzzles are not too difficult that you will be running to some strategy guide; you'll be able to figure out most things by yourself. The enemies at times can be very challenging, until you find a few tricks of the trade that will make them really easy. Near the end of the game, no enemy evne gave me a remote challenge, but at first tehy will. You really won't need to endlessly level up either, although at times it might be a good idea.
OVERALL (100/100): Skies of Arcadia was a game I almost overlooked, and how I would have resulted in regretting that decision. For the past two and a half months this is the only game I truly played, because I loved it so much. It had an intense storyline, emmence gameplay, and just that special addictive nature. I highly reccomend any gamer to buy it, for if you don't you may live to regret it. I know I sure would.
Community review by ratking (May 18, 2003)
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