Enchanted Arms (Xbox 360) review
"Enchanted Arms doesn't need to be original. It just needs to be good. SURPRISE! It actually is original! If you think the characters are stereotypes, then you've fallen for FROM's fiendish scheme. The dramatic bishounen character designs provide a false sense of familiarity... a familiarity that is quickly dispersed by the designers' humorous perversions of player expectations."
* * * * *One of the biggest complaints against the original Xbox was that it didn't have enough Japanese RPGs. As in: none. The console had plenty of Western-developed adventures, but fans of gaudily-dressed, angst-ridden lone wolf heroes were forced to purchase a PS2. That won't be a problem for Microsoft's second console. Enchanted Arms, an ambitious J-RPG from the prolific folks at FROM, injects the 360 with a much-needed shot of effeminate stereotypes.
* * * * *While exploring a forbidden tunnel deep below the Academy, Atsuma, his best friend Touya, and a guy who looks remarkably similar to Tidus*, reach a wall. A ladder is propped up against the wall, clearly leading to another floor.
* * * * *Yes, Atsuma is an idiot. And he's the hero. However, he's an optimistic, energetic, and likable idiot, which is a refreshing break from the typical angst-ridden lone wolf hero who uncharacteristically surrounds himself with lots of people. However, "refreshing" doesn't even begin to do justice to Enchanted Arms' characters. With his hilarious chatter and energetic posing, Atsuma charmed his way into my heart... and then FROM pulled off the ultimate coup de grace by running this genuinely likable bloke through a heart-breakingly painful wringer. *
* * * * *In the technomagical world of Enchanted Arms, mages use their sorcerous powers to operate robotic beasts known as "golems". Unfortunately, a few particularly powerful golems -- relics known as "Devil Golems" -- have gone amok. No city, be it gloomy London or festive Yokohama, is safe from icy annihilation.
* * * * *Although immensely enjoyable, I wouldn't call this the perfect RPG. It doesn't have a lush orchestral soundtrack. The middle gets a bit long in the tooth. And there's an infinite skill-points trick that makes it easy to cheat (effectively destroying the online battle mode's balance). I DON'T CARE. For gamers who want a refreshing sci-fi RPG that doesn't begin with "Final" and end with "XII", for gamers who want a simple but thought-provoking battle system, for gamers who want an unforgettable story that knows when to cut the angsty crap and just be fun, Enchanted Arms is exactly what we're looking for.
Staff review by Zigfried (September 16, 2006)
Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.
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