Covering the Bases, but Not a Home Run
Arkadian Warriors is a very interesting title. On the one hand, it seems to do everything right. It has an easy to learn battle system, mysterious dungeon areas, different character classes, and a central hub area where you can pick up different missions. However, for everything it does right, this title fails at one central thing: innovation.
Arkadian warriors starts off pretty simply; it begins with you choosing a character class. The list here is a little thin, consisting of an archer, warrior, and sorceress. As you may expect, these character classes each have different strengths and weaknesses, with the archer and sorceress having ranged and high energy attacks, and the soldier class featuring close combat attacks. Each class has an independent attack roster, which cannot be combined or merged with others.
One thing that immediately irked me about this title was the lack of customization. For instance, if you want to be a magic-type character, you must play as a blue-haired female. You are not able to choose your gender or any other physical attributes, and unlike many other action/dungeon type games, you cannot customize your attack roster or level up certain abilities. With Arkadian Warriors, what you see is what you get, and that is definitely to this title’s detriment.
After you choose your character, you are dropped into a central hub area with shops and people just itching to talk to you. You’ll quickly learn that each person you speak with will have some sort of “destroy X number of Y monsters” quest that you will have to go on. Each time you accept a quest you will be transported to a dungeon-like setting, complete with monsters and treasure. Each one is set up with different rooms, and once you clear each floor of monsters, you can move on to the next.
Although there are a fair amount of missions in this game, one thing that never materializes is a coherent story. Although many modern games have formulaic and predictable stories, this title doesn’t even try in this departments. Characters rarely say more than a few sentences, and they don’t ever explain why you need to do a special mission or what their relationship is to you or anyone else for that matter. Although it is easy to knock a game for having a boring or over-used story, I think it is far worse that this game didn’t even try to attempt having a coherent story.
The battle system is fairly simple; it consists of using one button for a general class-based attack, one button for a special attack, and the D-pad for items. Although this battle system is ridiculously easy to learn, I was really let down by the lack of depth. There are no special combos or ultimate attacks, and just mashing your attack button will suffice for most rooms.
In addition to regular attacks, each character has an alter-ego form that will give them increased powers for a certain amount of time. This alter-ego form can be triggered after filling up an attack meter with combos. Once you initiate your alter-ego transformation, you will have a few seconds with which to vanquish your enemies with a higher-power version of your standard attacks. Although this element does add a little bit of variety to the battles, the different attacks with the alter-egos are all the same as the attacks with the regular character, and there’s no real strategic advantage or cinematic benefit to using the alter-egos.
Another area where Arkadian Warriors is largely underwhelming is in the graphics department. Although the graphics certainly aren’t bad, the character design suffers from some poor proportions, and most of the dungeon settings contain far too many similar elements. Another glaring issue you will encounter in the different dungeons is the poor lighting effects. Although the darkening effect works well to create a mysterious feeling in the dungeon, when you get close to a door or wall, the lighting element will often stop working, and you will be left with a near-blank screen. This is definitely annoying, and it makes it hard to run through the different rooms.
To make matters worse, the sound in this game is completely deplorable. There is no voiceover, and the background music is basically nonexistent, which unintentionally makes the game feel scary. There are a handful of sound effects, but these are very few in number and become quite annoying. This game is definitely one best played with the sound off.
But, for all its bad points, there are a few redeeming qualities to this title. First of all, this dungeon-crawler supports co-op play. Although there is not much substance to the game, blasting through the dungeons with a friend is a lot of fun. Another boon for this title is its simplicity. Though many hardcore gamers will decry its lack of depth (I know I certainly have), this game is great for younger gamers or kids who are fond of less complex experiences.
No one can argue that it is definitely a good thing to cover all your bases. Many modern titles suffer when they are developed with big ideas that don’t exactly play to their strengths. In this respect, Arcadian Warriors is an excellent title. It works well, and there’s plenty of content here for a LIVE Arcade title. But, at the end of the day, this title is just simply unimaginative. There is no interesting story, no unique battle elements, and virtually no variation between the different missions. If you love grinding and dungeon-crawl gameplay, there is definitely some enjoyment to be had with Arkadian Warrior. But if you crave something with a little more substance, then you may want to look elsewhere.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.6 Graphics
Graphics are generic at best. Lighting problems permeate dungeon areas. 3.3 Control
Controls are very simple and easy to learn, making this game perfect for kids. However, the lack of depth is regrettable for more advanced players. 1.9 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is basically non-existent and sound effects are repetitive and annoying. 2.9 Play Value
The game is quite short and there is no story to back up the gameplay, but as an action RPG title for younger players or those looking for something simple to do, this one works well enough. 2.7 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.