Wild Arms 5 Review


Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the tenth anniversary of the Wild Arms series. We now bring to you Wild Arms 5, the latest entry in the series and one of the weirdest games that has crossed over to the states. This is arguably one of the best games in the Wild Arms series, mixing the series trademark features with an interesting storyline and some fairly interesting characters. While always interesting, and very rarely boring, this game is a nice change from the other "by the book" RPGs we have seen recently.

Turning on Wild Arms 5 is like taking a trip into a world that is in a quasi-Wild West time period. On one hand you have gunslingers drifting from town to town seeking their fortune, or simply running from (or after) something, but on the other hand you have high technology including flying ships and a futuristic looking city completed with skyscrapers and a dome enclosing the whole thing. The world of Filgaia is a world of clashing time periods that blend sci-fi and spaghetti western in a memorable game that has you stepping into the role of Dean, a teenager from a small community. Dean along with his best friend, Rebecca, and the strange amnesiac, Avril, must explore the secrets of the only words Avril seems to remember: Johnny Appleseed.

More than just another entry in the series, Wild Arms 5 actually attempts to take mature subject matter and present it in a way that players can easily grasp and gives a good long look at human nature. However this isn't handled as well as you might hope and mixed with the insane sense of humor this game has at times, it ends up not coming off as smoothly as you might hope. A good example of the subject matter is the disparity between the humans and the Veruni.

While the spacefaring Veruni are regarded as nobles due to all the assistance they have given human society, humans are generally regarded as slaves and laborers and are treated fairly poorly. Over the course of the game you will come face to face with the extreme conditions that the humans are forced to deal with under their Veruni "masters" and it is truly sad to know that things like this are actually realistic. But at the same time the game rarely looks too hard into it and your little group solves many of these problems via lots of violence, something that should get them blood hunted but oddly doesn't.

However while the game makes you ponder things like this it treats other such moments, such as the realization that one of the heroes in the world is actually a horrendous villain, as far less serious. Simply because someone gives you a motivational speech, and then explains why they're so gosh darn evil, doesn't excuse them from trying to help slaughter all of humanity. Sadly things like this are far too common in this game. They present a very mature situation and then they solve it via some cheesy, almost cartoon worthy, solution. Remember boys and girls, genocide is okay so long as you get beaten up by a group of dopey misfits and then confess the reasons for your sins to them.

Much like any good series that has lasted for as long as Wild Arms has, many of the series' trademark systems are things that you either love or hate. One thing that they do not do is leave you bored of things to do. While walking on the world map you can tap the square button to search for hidden treasures. This gives you a pretty good reason to explore the world as much as possible and is the only way to find some of the better items in the game. Exploring gets easier in time as you will gain several faster methods of moving about the world, one of which cuts out the random encounters entirely.

Even moving around in the dungeons is a far from boring experience since this game has some platforming elements to it. You will find yourself moving boxes, pressing switches, solving puzzles and even using the series trademark ARMs (high-tech guns to you non-initiated yokels) with a variety of ammo to solve quests, including lighting torches, discovering hidden passages, hitting hard to reach switches and blowing up obstructions. It's an interesting way to make dungeon crawls in RPGs less boring and more interactive.