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Vyse the Legend
23-09-2008, 01:01 PM
Skies of Arcadia Legends (Released for Gamecube)

http://www.gametab.com/images/ss/gcn/1055/box-l.jpg

Welcome everyone to the wonderful world of SOA Legends, the Gamecube enhanced remake of the original Dreamcast game. Now for those of you who have heard me mention it, or can tell from either my name or sig, I really do love this game, infact it is my favourite game of all time (and that's saying something,) so you may be able to tell what score I'm going to give it already. However I hope you will read through and find out why I feel this game is such a classic, and is one......no - the best RPG out there for me!

The story begins when a young girl and her airship are being attacked by a much larger and armoured unknown ship. Enter our heroes Vyse and Aika, two young members of the Blue Rogues pirates, whose job it is to rob from the rich and give to the poor (yes very Robin Hood indeed.) After a hard fought battle, the group manages to rescue the girl, known as Fina. Now without ruining any details, the three of them then set out on an adventure to rescue valuable crystals, before the hands of the evil Valuan Empire can get them, and use them for their own evil purposes. Playing as Vyse, you will embark on a massive quest that will take in all your RPG elements of love, hatred, war, exploration, adventure and excitement in an attempt to become the world's greatest Air Pirate and see all the wonderful sights that there is on offer in the world of Arcadia. I really can't emphasise how wonderful the story is, sure there may not be anything here that's revolutionary, but everything has such a charm and passion to it, that you really feel a part of the cast, and what to see what happens next, something that a lot of RPG's fail to do, and have you already bored within the first hour or two.

http://www.armchairempire.com/images/Reviews/Dreamcast/skies-of-arcadia/skies-of-arcadia-3.jpg

(Above) Well at least you can't say that Vyse isn't honest about what he does

In terms of gameplay, there are really two elements to it. First you have the ground based exploration. This will include all the usual towns and cities, and various dungeons that you will have to explore in your quest. The second part is the exploration in the air. That's right, as the game name suggests we are in a day and age of airships where pirates roam free around the world of Arcadia, some good, others not. I won't forget that first time I took the wheel of your first airship and piloted it around the skies, it really is an awesome feeling, something that is hardly done in so many RPG's, were usually you are stuck walking around a world map, but not here!

http://a248.e.akamai.net/f/248/5462/2h/images.gamezone.com/screens/21/0/20/s21020_gc_9.jpg

(Above) One of many, many locations you can expect to visit in the game

Now in both air and on land you will encounter your typical enemy encounters, which you have to defeat to gain experience and learn better skills. To add more to each fight, your weapons can be charged with one of several elements, like fire and ice, and will help you to do more damage against enemies that are weak to them, so you don't always have to rely on magic to hit a weak point. Another new addition is the usage of your SP meter. This meter fills up every round in battle, or when you focus on your turn. Once full, you will be able to launch all kinds of very powerful moves against your enemies, so whether you play safe and heal, use general attack or magic moves, or go for the all out assault with a max SP bar is up to you, and along with the excellent AI will keep you on your toes for each battle. And if that isn't enough (what there's more!!) during your adventure in the skies you will come across rival pirates that will challenge you to a ship fight, and this is where the game takes a whole new light!

During this battle, you and your enemy will fly around each other determined to take the other out and into a sinking fireball. To do this you will have to use the weaponary that each ship has to offer from missiles, cannons and much more. You have several turns to choose which skill to use, in addition to using attacking and healing magic, just like a regular hand to hand battle, and take down the enemy ship's HP bar. You also will be able to recruit your own crew over the game, each with their own fighting and defensive advantages when in combat, and use of your super powerful Moonstone Cannon, that does an AWFUL lot of damage. All the while the battle will unfold before your eyes, as you watch your instructions take place, it really is an awesome sight, and adds a new and fresh dimension to just your regular battles everytime. The only downside I really have with the game, is the frequent (and I do mean FREQUENT,) appearance of enemies as you travel the skies or dungeons. You can avoid them later on, but by that time you will have had to go through so many battles, that you do lost count, which is a shame, as it does spoil the exploration, having to stop and start every few seconds for yet another fight.

http://i.testfreaks.com/images/products/600x400/186/skies-of-arcadia-legends.240570.jpg

(Above) Don't automatically take smaller ships as being weak, they can still do some real damage

So how does the game look as you travel across the world? Well the graphics aren't too bad, though you can tell that little has changed from the DC port, and really doesn't use the full capability that the GC has to offer, which is a shame, but still all the environments from towns to even the sewers, and whilst up in the clouds flying through the air are presented very well and even the battle animations, (of which many games are lacking quality,) are lovely to look at. The soundtrack is wonderful, and each and every tune is done to perfection, and suits the occassion just to a tee. One moment you will hear the grand orchestra as you take to the skies, the next you will hear a more darker piece as you fly into enemy territory. The characters themselves sadly don't provide much speech, just the odd one liners or battle quotes, that are ok if a little cheesy, but nothing that ruins the games experience.

http://www.gamershell.com/static/screenshots/6889/131141_full.jpg

(Above) Even the largest of cities, looks so small when you are high up

So what else is there to do in this game you ask, well a lot that's for sure! SOA Legends add many new features to the game that help to increase the games length and them some. Whilst flying the skies you can uncover all kinds of discoveries on seemingly deserted islands, or a lost tower high amongst the clouds. There are 80 of these to find, and finding them will reward you handsomly with money and special weapons, though be warned some are beyond difficult to find, and you may be spending a lot of time, looking for just the one. There are also bounties placed on Pirates, which you have to go out and defeat in order to receive your reward. All of these take place in hand to hand combat, but each has there own little story to help things from seeing stale, and the fights themselves will take you to your fighting limits, (don't say I didn't warn you should you die! :D ) You also have to find moonfish hidden around the world, that help power up Fina, improve Vyse's rating, by saying the right words when faced with difficult decisions, and I haven't even got time to say the epic 4 part fight (yes 4!) with new addition - The Angel of Death, who for me is one of the toughest boss fights in any game! Phew I need a lie down now, but as you can see there is A LOT to do!! :D

Conclusion. I really could spend all day going on about how great this game, and what makes it stand out from so many other RPG's, but hopefully this review will have given you some insight as to why it is still such a classic even in today's day and age. Ok there are some downsides, but when you view the game as a whole, they really do pale in comparison to the sheer size, scale and pure awesomeness that there is. So if you have yet to play the game, then I can't urge you enough to give it a try, and prepare for a title that will life long in the memories, and as my name suggests - is truly legendary!

+ Fantastic storyline that has more highs and lows then there are hills in Wales (a lot if you don't know the place!)
+ Excellent battle system, particularly in the air with the brilliant ship fights
+ So much to see and do, that you could be playing until your hair has turned grey
+ Brilliant soundtrack that captures the mood just right

- The random enemy encounters are too frequent, and do often get in the way of exploring
- Occasional dodgy camera during some dungeons

Overall - 10/10

Daeanu
23-09-2008, 01:11 PM
Vyse, another excellent review :) I also will have to get me a copy of this game because it souns awesome. Top job on the review again Vyse

Vyse the Legend
23-09-2008, 01:16 PM
Cheers Flame, you'll have to let me know what you think when you get around to playing it. :)

Star Hustler
23-09-2008, 06:58 PM
I have played it great game and awesome review vyse as always! :)

MWright967
23-09-2008, 07:58 PM
Excellent review. Keep it up Vyse.

Dante
23-09-2008, 08:38 PM
Now Vyse, you're in that game, that's bias. :p

Vyse the Legend
23-09-2008, 08:59 PM
Thanks folks! :)

Hahaha and nothing wrong with a bit of bias Dante, I mean nothing like praising yourself every now and then! :D

thebluesamurai
23-09-2008, 09:01 PM
Nice review for a nice game dude. The sound of the airship battle music always reminds me of 4 oclock in the morning, where I've fell asleep in the middle of a battle. ;)

ps, I'm glad you mentioned about the damned camera.

Vyse the Legend
23-09-2008, 09:35 PM
Hehehe oh the airship battle theme is my favourite in the game, but I could never fall asleep in any battle. I mean what were you doing playing it at 4am!?!? :D

And yeah even though I love the game, I felt it only fair to still bring up any bads points I found, even if it means tarnishing my very own game! :p

thebluesamurai
23-09-2008, 10:51 PM
Hehehe oh the airship battle theme is my favourite in the game, but I could never fall asleep in any battle. I mean what were you doing playing it at 4am!?!? :D

And yeah even though I love the game, I felt it only fair to still bring up any bads points I found, even if it means tarnishing my very own game! :p

I play RPG's the way they are intended. Religiously until it's 100%

I'd play until I fell asleep, wake up and pick up the controller.
The cannabis never helped me stay awake either but lets keep quiet about that one eh? ;);)

Vyse the Legend
23-09-2008, 11:35 PM
I play RPG's the way they are intended. Religiously until it's 100%

I'd play until I fell asleep, wake up and pick up the controller.
The cannabis never helped me stay awake either but lets keep quiet about that one eh? ;);)

Now THAT is hardcore RPG gaming at it's finest! :)

The playing even during sleep I mean, not the cannabis bit, I'll just pretend I never heard that. :p

Daeanu
25-09-2008, 01:25 PM
I tried to buy the game from the local gaming stores today but they didn't have it so I just ordered it online, I can't wait for it to arrive :)

Vyse the Legend
25-09-2008, 01:31 PM
Woohooo, I hope you enjoy it, I'm going to feel responsible if you end up not liking it, for praising it so much! :p

Daeanu
25-09-2008, 01:39 PM
If I don't like it , I think i'll be shocked because aslong as your review I looked up some vids of it aswell and it looks and sounds awesome :)

Vyse the Legend
25-09-2008, 01:41 PM
Have you bought the GC or DC version?

Daeanu
25-09-2008, 01:44 PM
I bought the GC version, is there any difference between the two?

Vyse the Legend
25-09-2008, 01:47 PM
Ah ok, well if you ever get stuck or in need of some help, (which you may as some of the sidequests can be tough,) then let me know! Definately be interested to see what you think when it arrives in a few days (well I assume it's a few days, your postal service can't be that bad hehehe.) :p

Daeanu
25-09-2008, 01:52 PM
I should get it by next monday or tuesday if all goes way in the post :)