August 19, 2013

When you think it’s a sidequest and it’s not (WA3 post)

Posted in video games tagged at 7:46 am by riulyn

Halfway-through Wild ARMs 3 and I’ve felt an openness to this game that isn’t so common nowadays and not even present in the later Wild ARMs games. There aren’t these “invisible plot walls” where a character says “you can’t go there yet”, but finding certain locations even with your scanner requires you to have heard about them from someone. It’s a game where multiple times you are told to ask around and visit towns you’ve been to over and over again, though they give you some pretty quick ways to travel around the world as early as with horses but eventually with a dragon (which I’m on my way to get now).

Being told you should go ask around usually means you find that one person who helps advance the plot. Sure there is some of that, but many times in this game when you go talk to people, they tell you about 10+ things going on. One of them is the “plot-moving” event usually, except in this game where you find out you’ll have to do most of them after all.

For example, the sandcraft sounds like a sidequest at first. It opens up super early, and the girl asks for something that’s really rare at that time in order to get one. Some time later, you find out you need her craft to get to a required location. Unless you have been super lucky, you’ll end up getting the required materials by fighting what at first sounded like an optional boss.

Right now I’m being told about a place for fighters to gather, about a dragon, etc. The story has given me a clue of where I should actually go via a cutscene of a certain gem-hunting group, but with how this game has gone, I figure I’ll need the dragon sooner or later and dragons are fast. While confused as to how to navigate the lair, I stumbled upon a LP and found that the person visited the dragon lair like 5 levels before I did.

The only problem I’ve really noticed with this kind of “non-linear” plot progression is that levels don’t seem to matter as much as they did earlier in the game, where there was more of “you go here next”. Story bosses haven’t been hard in general except for the first encounter with an enemy who liked to use Negative Rainbow to majorly damage my party (left intentionally vague), but now they’ve become more “long” and less “dangerous” as I just chip away at them. Or sometimes I get lucky and Grav works against them.

Levels are still nice to have, though, as you can allocate points for skills to protect against status, different elements, etc. There are a lot of status effects in the game and there’s always some battle where I forget what the status symbol is actually representing and waste a few turns using the wrong items trying to cure it… The instant death skills that more and more enemies are starting to use is pretty annoying, though, and I don’t have enough wards, but I got it on the guy with the revive spell and the guy with the heal spell so I will survive those battles of attrition at least. And if not, I have plenty of Gimel coins.

Anyway, the game itself is still great and I’m not exactly tired of it, but after playing so many linear games and the shiny Tales of Xillia just distracting me, I’m a bit more half-hearted towards the game than before. I guess it’s good that I wasn’t planning to play WIld ARMs 2 this year anyway, since I’ll probably need a Wild ARMs break again.



  1. Joseph said,

    It’s a pretty solid jrpg in a lot of ways. I really liked how open it felt and was pretty excited when I finally got the sand cruiser. How’s xillia after a few more hours? Also, any interest in ffxiv?

    • riulyn said,

      When I first got the sand cruiser I did some exploring of the world but barely unlocked any new locations because I hadn’t heard of those locations yet from some townsperson, so that put a damper down on the exploring. Exploring with the dragon is awesome though, since there aren’t encounters πŸ™‚

      Xillia is getting better combat-wise (more artes and party members means more potential links). I actually did restart as Jude and am farther (~ 10 hours instead of ~4) than I was with my Milla run. I have mostly concentrated on playing as Jude this time and he’s the more standard fighter type though I do use his healing spell regularly. The only new battle thing is being able to switch party members mid-battle which is an amazing addition, though I’ve used it more to get 5 people at the end of battle screen instead of 4. More party members means more potential win quotes πŸ™‚

      FFXIV sounds great but I really won’t have time for it. Or rather, I shouldn’t have time for it as I need to start writing my dissertation, finish my last few experiments, and job search. Since I’ve become more involved online talking about games and such, I could probably be okay with playing MMORPGs but maybe when I’m settled financially/career-wise I’ll think about it more.

      • Joseph said,

        Haha that makes sense. I’m going to dive in head first. I’m not really big into MMO`s but for the first I’m kinda pumped about one. Hope it’s as good as our looks. Still hasn’t picked up xillia but soon I hope. And yeah actually blogging has definitely enhanced my interest in online games

      • Joseph said,

        Well I finally picked up tales of xillia. Gorgeous visuals and great battle system. Only issue after a few hours is the story. Don’t know why but these characters are just not clicking for me at all. I’m certainly going to stay with it but I hope they gel more soon. Very forced interactions at this point imo. Also for some reason I keep feeling like Milla is too similar to the lead female from graces (whose name is escaping me right now…) anyway, just wanted to vent a little and see if I’m crazy. Also could it be a translation issue? Can’t play with language in Japanese unfortunately either:)

      • riulyn said,

        I think the characters are intentionally portrayed as awkward with each other at first? It didn’t really jump out at me, so I guess it seemed logical. But yes, the game gets better. I’m not sure when stuff really takes off but I think it’s when a fourth party member joins. Which POV did you start off with by the way?

        If you are talking about skits seeming to trigger out of nowhere, well I don’t think that’s ever really remedied.

        Milla feels quite different from Sophie to me. While she is somewhat clueless on how the human world works, she is a lot more mature and rational and a take-charge type of person. Really I can’t think of a Tales female that seems quite like Milla. Granted I haven’t finished the game either but I’m in Chapter 4 so over halfway through.

      • Joseph said,

        Yeah that’s true. Sophie was like a clueless kid, while Milla more like an awkward genius. I guess it was just a few of the early scenes and skits that seemed familiar. Looking forward to picking up some more party members then. I’m playing Jude because fists are my favorite rpg weapon choice thanks to Yuri:) Specifically I think I was just annoyed at the way Alvin showed up, which was pretty much out of the blue, then everyone randomly decided to get all buddy buddy and travel together for no apparent reason. Granted pretty much every jrpg starts out this way, but it felt a little too forced I guess. Anyway, not meaning to sound negative about the game. Actually really enjoying it. Love the leveling system sphere grid style, as well as the linking in battles which keeps the button mashing at bay. Good stuff. My favorite element is that the character designs seem more real and adult and less cartoony than previous installments. Oooo and I am apparently addicted to leveling up my shops lol. Hey never asked you this: all time favorite tales game? Mine is eternia/destiny 2

      • riulyn said,

        Oh, no worries. Even if I thought you were being negative, I figured your mind would be changed πŸ˜€

        It’s really hard to pick my favorite Tales game. I tend to like the most recent one I’ve played the best because my memory sucks. I think at the moment I’m going with Vesperia, but Eternia is my favorite of the early ones. Also I feel like the Tales writers really liked that game as elements of it have been copied in the later Tales installments *cough especially Graces cough*

      • Joseph said,

        Yeah I was replaying eternia this summer and the similarities really jumped out at me lol. This conversation has got me thinking of writing a post about the lead female characters of the tales games…

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