Lords of Arcana Review
Company: Square Enix
Available on the PSP NOW!
The latest title from Square Enix Lord of Arcana is made for the Playstation Portable and is an action game heavily based on quests, and customization. If you plan to beat this game, teamwork is the key to proceeding through some heavy hitting enemies.
As you begin, you get to name your hero, customize his look and voice, and what style of weapons you want to use. You get the choice of single-handed sword with shield, double handed sword, axe, or a long-range spear with a gun attachment for more range.
You enter the world of Lord of Arcana equipped with some powerful weapons and abilities including the ability to summon Bahamut to attack your enemies, but once you reach the end, you are stripped of everything and no memory. You’re sent to a strange town where you are told to collect “Arcana”, which can help one control the land as the previous king had, and are roughly ignored until you join the guild.
As the game progresses enemies become much stronger and powerful. Soloing isn’t impossible, but can become very difficult, so partners are very important.
Crafting items, weapons, cards (magic and summons) and orbs (added effects) are done by collecting items around the stages and random monster cores. Defeating enemies again after the story mode allows you to gain their cores over and over, this is random and not always 100%, which can become frustrating when you fight a boss 3 times without a core in sight. After having all the ingredients, you can craft a new weapon or advance your current one.
Choosing your weapon effects your fighting style both in battle and out of battle. Single-handed swords give your character speed and a shield for defense, while axes, spears, and two-handed swords give them more strength but lower defense and speed. Each weapon has its unique special attack in battle and collecting crafting materials allows you to choose what style of magic you use as well as what Arcana Summon will back you up.
The battle sequence is quite fun. You can choose to attack an enemy, striking them to gain pre-emptive strike, or they can run at you while you gain advantage because of the active battle system. With that, you have free control and the ability to block and dodge, attack and use spells you’ve collected. When lowering an HP for boss, you can activate a cinematic battle sequence which is done by pressing button combos, which can cause massive damage to the boss and be the end of them.
Exploring the dungeon for crafting items is important. You’re given a time limit from 15 minutes to an hour to complete your mission, so sometimes it’s best to ignore exploration and go straight to the end and focus on your collection with easier quests. You are also very limited on the items you can collect, so you have to choose what items you want to proceed with. The problem is when you defeat an enemy and are collecting the items they drop, you are given 15 seconds to toss and organize what items to proceed with, or you lose the items you may need.
The biggest downfall of this game is the lack of online play; you need to have other players around you to team up, which is hard if no one else around you has a copy of the game. It was hard enough taking on Bahamut the first time around at nearly level 20. At the time, I had 3 revive items and 18 potions, only to lose it all and still die. If you own a PlayStation 3 however, you can use Ad Hoc Party mode to find people online to play with for a more enjoyable experience. When playing with this method, loading with your partners is very simple with no lag and tons of action.
The game had many potentials, but is very limited with exploration, with the same stages over and over. The lack of online takes away from a lot of enjoyment and gives frustration when having to take on Bahamut and his powerful attacks for the third time. Playing with a few friends will help you proceed through the game much faster and see more to the game than by yourself.