Recommended to me by my good friend Ray Reilly, Wild Arms 2 is a wonderful title for the first Sony PlayStation (PSX) that I unfortunately did not discover until about a year ago. In spite of it being very dated, I still enjoyed this game greatly.
Wild Arms 2 takes place in a setting that resembles the “old west” with steampunk and fantasy elements thrown in. The story revolves around three heroes – Ashley, Lilka, and Brad. The three band together with a group known as ARMS to fight against the evil organization Odessa, which is bent on destroying the world. Sound familiar? Sure, the story is just about as generic as it can get. But Wild Arms 2 isn’t good because of its story…
The game begins by letting you choose which of the three main characters you want to start with, thus providing a little bit of background story about that character. After completing one character’s story, you can then choose another character to play as. After playing through all three of these character’s prologues, the characters meet up with each other and embark on their quest to destroy Odessa.
Wild Arms 2 has some of the best puzzles I’ve seen in an RPG. Half the fun of this game is using your brain to figure out how to advance past a particular area. The puzzles can be challenging, but still manage to be fun without creating huge amounts of frustration. An interesting, though not entirely original, twist to this game is the use of “tools.” In most RPGs, when you’re walking through an area, there’s not much you can do to actually interact with the environment. However, in Wild Arms 2, there are plenty of “tools” at your disposal that you can actively use on the field (such as inside caves, dungeons, mountains, etc). These tools grant you temporary special abilities, such as freezing/burning objects, jumping high, rapid movement, and much more. Efficient use of these tools is very often necessary for solving puzzles.
For the most part, the battle system is your basic turn-based menu system with random battles. It’s old fashioned and overdone, but I still love it. There are some twists, though – in addition to a character’s normal attack, you also have the option to use their firearms. Firearms pack a big punch and can deal lots of damage to enemies, but they have limited ammo – so be careful. Ammo can be easily refilled at shops for fairly cheap though, so it isn’t a big concern.
If you’re a fan of classic RPGs and don’t mind the outdated graphics, Wild Arms 2 is a worthy buy. It has its weaknesses, but if you can get past them, the game is a worthy addition to your collection.
Wild Arms 2, originally for the Sony PlayStation, is also available for download via PlayStation Network.