“I don’t get it.”
Well, I don’t get what the big deal about Wild ARMs is. I mean, there’s this annoying guy in my fourth period who just never shuts up about it. Ever. I think I’ve learned more about the game from hearing him blather about it all day than I would ever have learned from playing it myself, and let me assure you, that is way more than I needed to know.
And I know everyone else around him must feel the same way, since he’s the only one I’ve met who’s even heard of this crap. So you probably don’t even need to read this, but if you must…
What it is
First thing that guy ever told me was, it’s an RPG for the PS2. For those of you who don’t know, a PS2 is a ridiculously overpriced box of toys, and RPG is Japanese for “utter waste of time.” Which is not to say that RPGs aren’t good games. In fact they’re great fun, and I know, because I used to play some of them all the time. I don’t get those Japanese and their weird names for things. Anyway, so that’s what Wild ARMs is. It’s a game.
How does it work?
Ah, you’re asking about how to play? It’s very simple. First, you meet three or four characters. Then you have to introduce them to each other—you know, have them exchange names, addresses, phone numbers (which is odd since they don’t have phones) so they won’t kill each other during the first battle. This process takes a while (since it usually involves being led around on a bunch of side quests, betrayed by several friendly-looking characters you just met, and thrown in prison at least once,) but once your characters know each other getting under way isn’t that hard. Halfway through the game you realize you here wasting your time with the people you were fighting, and go off to fight someone else. This person usually appeared earlier on in the game and is in fact, the coolest character in the game.
Getting under way always involves being attacked by a huge military force you can’t hope to beat. That’s why it’s important to teach your characters the important art of running. Characters in Wild ARMs run when you press the X button. This is by far the most useful command in the game, as it is necessary to survive any given encounter with evil. Heaven forbid the people should actually try fighting back for once, but the game never lets you do so.
This process of avoiding death, being betrayed, being thrown into every prison on the planet and generally getting screwed goes on for most of the game, with the occasional pit stop during which you confront a huge, ancient being and have to beat the crap out of it or it won’t help you (why?). After far too much of these sorts of things, the game begins to come to a close, which is signaled a while in advance by the apparent death of a main character who comes back to life two levels later.
Once you’ve reached the end of the game, you get to meet all of the bad guys, who will not only try to beat the crap out of you but will angst for hours on end when they fail. Literally. They never shut up. Anyway, after beating the last of the head bad guys, the designers seem to feel that you haven’t suffered enough yet and make up one last FREAKING HUGE boss who is totally irrelevant to the entire rest of the game, and force you to fight him. If you win, he gives you a cookie. Mmm, cookie.
After you win the game, there’s about two hours of end-of-the-game cinematic crap that no one really needs to see, since no one was paying attention to any of the middle-of-the-game cinematic crap either. But you have to sit through it so you can save your game and prove that you beat it. Y’know… bragging rights. You managed to endure 40+ hours of this, and you deserve the respect that entails.
Insofar as I’ve come to know them, these are the characters of importance in Wild ARMs.
- A blue-haired guy. He’s the one who’s always on the cover that you see in video game stores some times. I think his name’s "fate", or something like that. He never talks. Which is a relief if you ask me.
- My favorite character: Mysterious Traveler! This guy has a mysterious past, mysterious powers and a mysterious hairstyle—and why he stays with the other two despite their obnoxious behavior is mysterious as well!
- The princess. It’s in the cosmic laws of the universe that there has to be at least one princess in every RPG in existence, but in this one you get to play as her. She tends to angst a lot too. Don’t ask why.
- Irritating talking animal. The game wouldn’t be complete without a sarcastic little mouse who ditches the group at every available opportunity, only to be brought back by some random plot event.
- He doesn’t fight with you, but there’s usually some guy behind the scenes who is always there to tell you exactly what to do next. Shame he turns out to be evil. Oops, did I say that out loud? Oh well, no one really cares about spoilers here anyway.
- Someone from another species. This one is a must. Doesn’t matter what gender, age, magical powers, planet of origin or anything like that, there just has to be someone important who isn’t human. The recent trend has been to make vampire-like things because vampires are cool. Everyone knows that.
- The Giant Purple _____ is a series staple as well, throughout the series it has become a regular, usually angsting about the current state of the universe and how it “must be saved for the future generations to come”. It is also known to change its appearance, though it is consistently both giant and purple. It is also desire incarnate, because apparently mankind’s true desire is a giant purple ______.