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.