Wild ARMs XF Review
Wild Arms XF, regardless of what you might hear from its rabid apologists, is a staggering mess of a SRPG (strategy roleplaying game). While I am a fan of the Wild Arms series, and most games that XSeed releases, I find myself terribly saddened by this spectacle that carries the Wild Arms name. Sure, some of the games in the series haven't been the greatest but this one just drags the series down to a new level of just plain awful.
XF, which seems to stand for cross fire, tells the story of a young girl named Clarissa and her guardian Felius on their journey to recover a sword from the man who stole it. Said blade apparently belonged to Clarissa's mother and seems to be some sort of high tech magical blade, the sort of things that are common in the land of Filgaia, the location of all Wild Arms games. As you can guess the story goes on from there and gets more convoluted as time goes on, as all RPGs are wont to do.
Now anyone who has ever played a SRPG will know what to expect here: different classes to juggle, lots of skills to learn how to use and constantly changing your equipment up so that you are optimally prepared for any situation. These are all staples of the genre and Wild Arms XF is no different in that regard. However the developers have chosen to throw a few twists into the mix, in what one can only guess is an attempt to mix up the gameplay a bit.
First off are the Vitality Points, another meter for you to keep track of. This one keeps measure of your stamina and is slowly depleted during any fight based on the weight of the equipment you're carrying. The more stuff you're carrying and the heavier it is the quicker this goes down. Once the VP bar is mostly empty you will start losing your hit points until you are done to a paltry 1, a guaranteed death sentence.
While you can use a few items and abilities to recover from this it throws a certain urgency into the fights that isn't appreciated. This feels more like artificial difficulty than it does any real attempt to liven up the gameplay. So rather than taking your time and trying to work the enemies into position for optimal attacks you have to balance caution with just generally bum-rushing your opponents and hoping to not get slaughtered for it.