Spreading its wings and taking its players on a journey of unprecedented combat and immersive interaction, the role playing powerhouse that is Lord of Arcana will have gamers yearning for more with the latest handheld title from Square Enix. Join the reviewers of GamesMediaPro as we bring you the all the facts in our spoiler-free run-down of the hottest RPG of the PSP year so far.
Set in the mythical land of Horodyn, Lord of Arcana takes place in the towns, villages and sprawling vista’s of this magical realm that takes its name from its first king, a man who’s sizable boot’s you now mus fill if you are to save the kingdom and its people from the terror’s that stalk its plains.
You play as ‘The Slayer’, the latest in a succession of monster-thwarting heroes, tasked in the games simple storyline with honouring the pact that you have forged with the God’s to undertake an arduous quest, you must attempt to locate and recover the mysterious ‘Power of Arcana’ in the hope of restoring some kind of semblance or balance to a land torn asunder by chaos and disarray.
Graphically, Lord of Arcana is sublime. With some truly epic cut scenes and stunning movie sequences that will assist you to better understand the game’s plot. Rather than enduring long drawn out exasperated affairs Square Enix have instead granted players beautifully crafted and informative dialogue-laden cut scenes that can often be found to offer advice and tips to aid you on your way.
The games sound takes full advantage of the Playstation Portables far superior output and the voice acting is more Hamlet than ham-fisted.
The story, admittedly, could have been a little meatier, but truth be told it does not affect the standard of the gameplay adversely.
The gameplay is handled with typical RPG-esque overtones, in that from the onset gamers are thrust immediately into the character customization tool that see’s players being allowed to modify everything from hair colour to gender for your adventurous avatar. Those dissenters would be do well to remember that even though Lord of Arcana may ‘only be’ a handheld title, it still has deeper customization than a good deal more retail based console titles, with even the forthcoming Dragon Age II having a great deal more presets.
Once you have created your character you then go on to select your ‘weapon of choice’, even being given time and scope to test out which of the excellent arsenal of attrition you favour before making your final decision.
Of particular note in the weapons selection has to be the cracking Polearm, One-Handed Sword and the magnificent Mace. Although the Firelance and the Two-Handed Sword also gave redeeming quality’s of their own.
Combat is in real-time, thank the Lord, ( of Arcana? Ed. ), and not the more Japanese styled RPG turn-based affair that never seems to sit too well with the more ” up and at ’em ” Western audiences. Battles begin when you happen across enemies in chance encounters as you roam the land in search of your objectives. Though it has to be said that players can perform sneak attacks by ‘ambushing’ their adversaries to gain a damage bonus. But take note, dear readers, as this is a double-edged sword, as whatever you can do then so can your enemies.
Combo’s and Chain Attack’s are all achieved by rapidly pressing the square button, but there is also a melee attack for those of you who prefer to mete out your damage up close and personal. For the more magically orientated players there are also the spell’s and summoning abilities to look forward to, with the Final Fantasy favourite Bahamut even putting in a damaging appearance.
Our only real gripe with Lord of Arcana is the camera control. Why it was ever agreed to place the camera control’s on the D-Pad is, frankly, beyond us? But this is the only flaw in an otherwise masterful handheld title.
As is the norm with any RPG, Lord of Arcana has plenty of opportunity for character progression. XP is gained through a wide variety of activities from spell’s to potion making right through to combat and objective completion. However, do not expect to become a Terminator in Tights and Armour in 20 minutes, as progression is tough in Lord of Arcana, and rightly so! This is an RPG, if you want easy gaming then send us your details as we have a copy of Viva Pinata with your name written all over it.
A real bonus to players has to be the multiplayer levels and missions that will see gamers lining up via the Playstation Network for some merry murder and mayhem magic style. Missions can be downloaded via the Guild on PSN.
Although we always offer spoiler free game reviews here at GamesMediaPro, (if you want to know more details on the storyline and location then buy the game ), we feel we have to correct the reports by some reviewers out there who have caused any number of gamers to contact us via email worried about the lack of interaction between battling players in the online modes. These reports are grossly inaccurate and obviously denote a lack of real time spent in-game by the person’s responsible for the ill-informed drivel. The main point of the report stated that during multiplayer combat, that friends would become unavailable, and ‘un-joinable’ until the combat resulted ultimately in your teammates victory or demise. This is bad reporting, false and is, in fact, easily resolved by merely pressing the ‘start’ button and either responding to, or requesting, assistance from your online buddies. It would seem, however, that such as basic feature was beyond even the most ‘Pro’ of ‘Game’rs? Hmmm.
Offering untold hours of real quality gameplay that fans of Sony’s handheld system will simply adore and is sure to be a big hit with gamers of all ages. Lord of Arcana is a cracking title that suffers only from a minor camera issue and nothing more. Otherwise the game is a solid RPG that delivers outstanding graphics and gameplay from its opening sequence to the final credits.
Graphics: Another role-playing jewel from the masters of their craft over at Square Enix. The game never once stutters or sputters and the cut scenes are truly a thing of beauty. Gorgeous and glitch free with gameplay that runs smoother than a playboy’s opening line to a recently widowed heiress. 8
Gameplay: Cracking combat combined with some genuinely immersive gameplay that moves along at a steady pace and never makes you feel like you are trying to play catch-up to a storyline that is running away from you. Lord of Arcana has a lot to see and even more to do. With the expected playthrough time running longer than a lot of retail RPG’s this is one game that you won’t be putting down. 7
RePlay Value: There is just so much to do in Lord of Arcana that a follow up playthrough will be required more than once for most gamers. With the addition of the downloadable online missions that you can play with friends prolonging the experience, Lord of Arcana will outlast most of its rivals. 7
Presentation: Once again Square Enix have come up trumps and delivered the goods with yet another stunning handheld title for Sony’s Playstation Portable. With gorgeous looking locations and an expansive story that will suck gamers in to its engrossing world, Lord of Arcana is by far and away the best looking title for PlayStation Portable in 2011 so far. 8