Oh boy, another game from my youth. And it's another RPG to boot.
This game is set on the Spaghetti-Western inspired Filgaia, you have your gallows-like-bars, cow boy styled NPCs and the music is very cowboy-ish, there's plenty of firearms and the main character's last name is Winchester. However, that's about where the influences go, the rest of the game features plenty of out-of-place technology and a bayonet wielding main hero! Just like in Wild Arms 3, at the start of the game you get to pick from one out of three characters, even though you have to go through all three of them, which will have you play through a small introductory chapter. When all three characters finally join together, ARMS is formed, a team of warriors that seek to bring down the evil group Odessa, that aims to place the world under their rule. There's a lot to the plot, and like every JRPG ever holds plenty of twists, all while seeking to answer the question of what is a "Hero". Sadly, the game's translation is pretty darn awful, at times the dialogue will be making sense, and bam, a totally dumbfounding line follows that makes no sense what-so-ever. Liz and Ard, two secondary characters, are a particularly bad example, as in the Japanese version they'd speak in proverbs.... which were translated in a very literal way, needless to say, their dialogue makes no sense, and it gets worse when the party follows suit. You can get the gist of the story, luckily, but be prepared to go through plenty of lines that make no sense in their context.
Combat is also very entertaining, as the are many factors to it. First of all, every character attains their Skills in a different way: Brad and Ashley must find cartridges that bestow them with new skills, and these skills consume bullets that must be replenished at stores or via-items, however, they can upgrade these skills. Lilka gets hers by finding hidding Crests and then engraving them with spells for unlimited use, Tim must slay a certain number of enemies while wearing the corresponding Guardians, Kanon's are unlocked as she uses her skills and Marivel must steal them from certain enemies. Furthermore, in battle there is a gauge called Force Points, which rises as you hit and get hit, and starts at the level you are in(Say Ashley is level 31, then at the start of every battle, his FP will start at 31). These skill require you having a certain FP, but do not consume it. However, each character has 4 unique Force Powers that do consume FP. Finally, bosses usually have different parts to them, defeating each part grants bonus experience points and gold, plus, disables some of their attacks(Not necessarily their strongest's). All these options make combat pretty entertaining, getting into fights was just fun.
Graphics are pretty decent, on the overworld and dungeons, the characters are 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds. The backgrounds are alright, but the sprites are fairly plain with not a whole lot of expressions to them. Battles are fully in 3D, and while character models are quite chubby, it makes them quite charming. Monsters look quite good, and there's a lot of variety to them, you probably won't see them all in your first playthrough, even after trekking through the optional stuff. Music is nothing short of great, and while I wish that there were more tunes, what's in is really good, and used in all the right places. The last boss, for example, is extremely memorable thanks to the music that plays alongside the context and what happens during the battle.
8.0 out of 10.