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Master of the Wind, Arc IV (PC) artwork

Master of the Wind, Arc IV (PC) review

"Game: Master of the Wind, arc IV "

Game: Master of the Wind, arc IV

Authors: Volrath and Artbane

Reviewer: The Doctor

Time flies by. It’s already been several months since the fourth arc of Master of the Wind was released, and I’ve only just played it. As is mandatory, (And if I don’t Artbane will cry), I will now review the game and share my feelings and impressions with you all.

Since every arc of Master of the Wind is really only one segment of a bigger game, it is becoming more difficult every time to find new words to say “This game is great”. You will have to pardon me if I do not sound as professional as before, but given that I am certain that most of you have already played this game thoroughly, simply read this review for your own enjoyment.

As we rejoin our merry group of adventurers, Shroud, Stoic, The Baron and Laurel in Port Arianna, they are still as ever dedicated to taking down Equipment King , while remaining oblivious to the bigger picture and the dark, dark forces that are massing around the world. Traveling to the elf city of Rellenia to grab a report on Equipment King’s involvement with the secret cult known as the Hand, and then to the desert city of Artega to track down the author of a similar book you lost back in arc III, our heroes will again bump into the usual cast of villains, as well as their old enemy, the vampire Andau. Along the side, you’ll get to sort out the trouble at Fairy Central, an ongoing plot since arc II. This particular quest delivers some of the best comedy and parodies in a long time.

Your travels bring you to exotic areas... which are half a day of carriage trip away...

While not exactly a plot as complex as Xenosaga, the game does make up for it with amazing writing and an ever-expending cast of characters that you can’t help to love or love to hate. Because of the aforementioned ever-expending cast of characters, arc IV seems to fill a lot of it’s length with storyline and cutscenes rather than actual gameplay in order to give every newcomer (or oldcomer with renewed importance, such as the drunk kobold Bubba (seriously, I’m not making this up)) some screen time. That being said, the arc is left with only two (and a half), rather short dungeons to speak of. While this will certainly please those who’d rather run from every random encounter, those who actually enjoy beating the crap out of monsters will be disappointed. Surprisingly, I also felt that a few scenes, particularly those involving the newly sired (read: made into a vampire) Gabriella, were a bit weak writing-wise, with the same events being explained and shown over and over.

If the villain you were chasing didn't use the golem... how did he get to the end of the dungeon?

After four arcs, it comes as no surprise that the battles are beginning to be slightly bothersome. With the heroes’s tendency to miss every other turn, and the enemies’ habit to bring their brothers and sisters and cousins with them into battle (read: there are usually three or more monsters in battle), you’ll probably find yourself swearing whenever the screen twitches. Thankfully, with the first dungeon only having battles when stepping in front of jail cell doors, and the second dungeon being very short, you won’t have to swear too much.

As usual, mini-games are an important part of the game. The classics, such as Bones’ and Cades’ arrow pressing mini-games, do not return this time, which is probably a good thing, before they become repetitive. This time around, we are dealt with games such as “direct a skull around while shooting rats” and move around a golem across a labyrinth to make your way out, which, while ingenious, can be tedious if you circle around look for where to go with the golem’s “snail on sleeping pills” speed. Further down the road, you will have to split in two (predetermined) teams to take on Andau’s new home sweet home, a system very reminiscent of Final Fantasy III’ (VI for you purists) take on it, even though it wasn’t as masterfully exploited than it was in Squaresoft’s classic, perhaps due to the dungeon’s very short length. Uncharacteristically, there have been some reports of deadly bugs (and by that, I mean errors in the coding of events) during some dungeons, one of which I had the displeasure of experiencing myself. And if you don’t have my connections, these bugs could easily spell “END” for your game, beware!

Yeah, that clown made it's way around several other games

The music throughout the arc remains enjoyable to listen to, with pseudo-singing (you know, the aaaah-aaaaaaah-aaaah…) added in most compositions, complete with a piece reminiscent of Castlevania’s glory (to my ear, anyway) in the last dungeon. Despite the new tunes, the old tunes, especially the one in Port Arianna, can feel overused.

Graphically, I have very little to say that I haven’t said before. Mapping’s good but not incredible, and the facesets used clash with the characters they represent, and with each other, like Paris Hilton at a nuclear physics’ convention.

With Arc V just around the corner, everyone just waits to see if Master of the Wind’s future will live up to all its promises.

In a nutshell…

Scenario (8.5/10):

While the plot itself barrows a lot from modern economical, spiritual, and other -al dilemmas, suing the cast and NPCs to pass on the authors’ message, the storyline itself isn’t at all that too complex once you get a look at the bigger picture: in the end, bad guys want to do bad things, even if they think they’re the good guys. The true strength of Master of the Wind lies in the superb writing and its diverse and fun cast. The fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously either, by parodying the RPG genre (if not a little too often lately) add to the overall merriment.

Visuals (7.5/10):

Good original art, Decent mapping, Bad faces.

Audio (8.5/10):

The music’s good, let’s leave it at that.

Gameplay (8/10):

Very good mini-games and gameplay mechanics, but tedious battles.

Final rating: 8/10


Doctor's avatar
Community review by Doctor (July 31, 2008)

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