I love RPG’s. Fact. I haven’t played this game in about 8 years. Fact. But, I still hold it as one of my favorite games ever made. Fact.
I can understand why someone would be skeptical to believe that this could be one of my favorite games if I haven’t played it in so long, but part of the reason is that a lot of my love for this game is pure nostalgia. Between the ages of about 12 and 14 I think I completed this game roughly 3 times, one of them was sort of playing it/sort of watching my brother play it. And it isn’t a short game. Although multi-disc games are barely seen these days given the advancements in data storage etc they are still indicative of a slightly longer than usual game. Skies of Arcadia is no exception, and believe you me, my memory serves me well in telling you that there is a lot to do in this game.
The world in this game, is incredible. There is so much to explore and everywhere genuinely feels new and exciting. Place names escape me now, given the length of time it has been, but there is a beginner village type place (if you’ve played any RPG before, you know what I’m talking about,) that is beautiful and fun to explore, containing side quests, shops and everything else you could want from an RPG environment. As the game progresses we go through huge fortresses, wild jungles deep caves, middle eastern style deserts and more. Even giant storms need traversing (I will be honest, I remember the monsters in this part being a huge pain in the ass, but in a fun sort of water temple in Zelda style way.) This ties in with the point I was making earlier that there is just a lot to do in this game, main quest wise and side quest wise. There are also mini games and side quests that work through use of the consoles (Dreamcast) VMU device, which was a sort of hybrid tamagotchi/memory card. It could be ridiculously irritating, because it’s only source of audio was a violent beeping sound that convinced you it was gonna blow up or something. It used to ring through the house in the early hours of the morning like the blood curdling scream of someone being butchered. To be honest I’d rather hear the screaming, but it’s all fun nonetheless.
The story in Skies of Arcadia has all the great content that you would expect in an epic fantasy story. There are friendships and rivalries that constantly take new twists and turns. There are boss battles that will leave you speechless (honestly, there is a fat blob monster who’s biggest source of damage is a spell called Bile, and it will kill you so many times.) There are set pieces that will fill you with excitement and wonder, as well as a beautiful score to tie everything together nicely, like a good Christmas present. It’s sad, really, that I can’t think of a better word to describe a Christmas present other than “good.”
It’s a shame really that I haven’t been able to play this recently enough to write a more detailed review that can give you more of an idea of what to expect from the game, but my attempts to download a Dreamcast emulator have failed, and I haven’t got the money to buy one. Yeah you read that sentence right. What I can remember however, as a final note, is that the battling in this game is awesome. Each weapon can be switched in order to side with a particular energy (fire, ice, dark, light etc.) This is used to combat particular enemies, so if you are fighting a fire enemy, you switch the weapon to water/do water spells. Although this is a standard rock-paper-scissors esque mechanic of the genre, the switching weapons does make it slightly more interesting. Also each character can learn special abilities from finding items called “Moon Berries,” or something like that, and some of the special moves are ultra badass. Like, FF7 style limit break awesomeness, but better because they are pirate themed. Arrrrrr.