Ain't a wild ride.
You play as a team of Dream Chasers: Rudy, the dull mute hero type who has the power to wield the fearful ARMs, Jack Van Burace, the victim of a poor localization who's got a few skeletons in his closet, searching for 'Power' and lastly, Cecilia, the princess who loves escaping out of the castle, because every JRPG princess loves escaping her castle. While Wild Arms 2 and 3 had this fantastic and original Spaghetti Western theming to them, Wild Arms 1 is more of a generic fantasy game. There're golems, ancient steampunk-ish technology waiting to be found, princesses, castles, an ancient race of elves-equivalents named Elw and, lastly, the enemy race: The Machines. While there're a few twists and turns, a few more obvious than others, the story was a bit too 'me-too' as far as RPGs go for my liking, and characters were too one-dimensional. It fails to engage the player, but at least it has a few interesting ideas.
But what's really puzzling is how the game progresses. More than once will the game expect you to just roam around, suffering dozens upon dozens of random encounters, until you somehow bump into where you are supposed to go next. It's poor game design, add to that the poor translation and you've a recipe for annoyance. Some puzzles are a bit too vague as well. There's this instance in which you have to speak with a nun, of course the game doesn't tell you that you need to, but she's blocked off by a kid that mentions being scared of the giant rat monsters. Somehow you have to realize that you've to use the flying mouse on the kid to get him to move and then talk to the nun... Seriously?
It's interesting to see Wild Arms' origins, but this first game leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, battles are fun, but not as fun as they are in future games thanks to all the added bells and whistles. It lacks the fantastic customization that you could do on your party, and while I'm sure the tool system was original at its time... the puzzles get SO much better and so much more creative than this game. Heck, even their stories are much more engrossing and original than this generic pastiche of tropes. Wild Arms 1 is not a bad game, but it stands eclipsed by its much superior sequels.
5.5 out of 10