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on July 28, 2010
As a child of the 80s, I grew up with traditional Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPGs) such as Final Fantasy II and III (aka IV and VI respectively), Lufia I and II, Xenogears, Phantasy Star, Breath of Fire III, and many more. These were the golden JRPGs that made most of us older RPG fans hooked on most things Japanese. They maintained a good story that didn't require a mastery of Jungian and Fruedian psychology, characters a player could actually relate to and understand, simplistic game play that didn't involve 14-different styles of useless upgrades, and were generally fun and relaxing to play enough to make the phrase, "let's all go on an adventure," actually fun to yell!

HOWEVER, in the past 8-10 years, JRPGs have gone... well, weird. With hair and clothing styles birthed from cross-breeding members of Depeche Mode and Lady Gaga, along with the self-loathing characters that suffer from more inner-turmoil than a Coldplay album, JRPGs have just gotten terrible lately. Sure, there have been some notable good ones in recent years such as Tales of Vesperia and... uh... *flips through collection*... Tales of Vesperia, but the vast majority of JRPGs for the console systems have really sunken to new lows (Magna Carta II anyone?). If anything, North American RPGs have really come into their own with titles such as Fallout 3, Mass Effect I and II, Knights of the Old Republic, Fable I and II, and, dare I say it, World of Warcraft.

With all this in mind, Arc Rise Fantasia was a complete breath of fresh air. When first announced and featured back in 2008, software developer Imageepoch promised a classic-style JRPG that went back to combating evil nations, airships, flying dragons, and crystals without weird hair or emo characters. While Arc Rise Fantasia has a very simply story and set of characters, Imageepoch advertises it as such as they know EXACTLY what they created.

This is good as Arc Rise Fantasia will treat traditional JRPG fans with a game they can actually enjoy and not feel weirded out while playing it. Speaking of enjoyment, while RPGs on the XBox360 and PSXIII have advanced graphics and in-game achievements/trophies, it is also for this reason that Arc Rise Fantasia is also a breath of fresh air. While playing the game for the past two days, I found myself considerably more relaxed than usual while playing through say Lost Odyssey or Infinite Undiscovery. This is probably because I'm not constantly staring at a player's guide or trying to do ridiculous tasks to get any achievements or get the better ending.

I was able to sit back, enjoy an iced raspberry 7UP, and relax as I played through the game akin to how I felt while playing Final Fantasy VI or Breath of Fire IV not having to worry about missing something that you only get if you preordered the game from somewhere or have to download a patch to get 100%.

Pertaining to non-abstracts, the graphics are toned down compared to console RPGs but this is also a breath of fresh air as the designers didn't disproportionately allocate all their funding to graphics and not actual development. For the Wii, the environments are quite pleasing if not soothing. Several times I found myself wishing I was back on the west coast sipping on the same raspberry 7Up on a beach or near the harbor where I grew up. It was quite nostalgic. The in-game graphics are not so bad although mouth/lip syncing seriously leaves something to be desired.

The game play itself is fairly simplistic. Your battle party has a collective action points pool allowing some character to attack more than once per turn while others stand by. This allows for more developed tactics as you can easily tailor a strategy of attack for each individual battle. Also, battles go by considerably quicker than traditional JRPGs. At level 14 I found myself skimming what were supposed to be moderately difficult fights in under 20 seconds and gaining a decent amount of experience. This makes the game play bearable as it avoids becoming monotonous and repetitive.

Outside of battle, you can customize your weapons with gems that unlock with experience. This allows you to more-or-less keep the kewl looking weapons while maintaining up-to-date attack power and attributes. I still cannot quite figure out how to get the magic orb thingy to work right, but I have not yet needed to get it going since I rely more on items and brute force rather than magic. You can also somewhat change the appearances of the party members via tailors and other clothing items found throughout the game. A nice little side-thingy, but not truly relevant to game play or the plot.

The music is something truly to behold. Yasunori Mitsuda, famed composer of Chrono Trigger and Xenogears has graced Arc Rise Fantasia with a wonderful soundtrack that has a striking resemblance to Eternal Sonata and Skies of Arcadia, but still maintaining its own signature. I personally loved every piano sonata and suite there was. I hope to find and obtain the soundtrack.

Now onto the one big complaint we all have; voice acting.

To put it bluntly, it's beyond bad. How these voice actors stay employed it beyond me. However, this is solvable by simply turning the voice volume off, but then it means you can't have voice acting. Oh well.

All in all, Arc Rise Fantasia is a wonderful break from contemporary JRPGs as it gives fans a nostalgic feeling while new fans can enjoy a good game without worrying about gamer score or trophies.

Now, if you all will excuse me. I'm gonna fill up my 7UP and go play some more!

95%, a solid A-!
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on July 27, 2010
This game is amazing. The graphics are a sight to see and pleasant to the eyes. The characters all stand out and aren't horrible to look at. For those of you who like anime, the artist/studio is the infamous Bones. One of their animes? Eureka Seven. See the resemblance?

Anyways, here's my Pros and Cons

The graphics are amazing.
The music was done by the famous Yasunori Mitsuda (he did the Xenosaga series, Shadow Hearts series, and the Chrono series), and is pleasant to the ears and gets good when in a battle and when some dramatic scene is played.
The controls are simple and can be used with the Wii Remote w/ Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and GameCube Controller.
The battle is interesting as there's an AP system, which is a lot like Skies of Arcadia, and can be diverse throughout the party.
The overworld is a lot like the Tales Of Games and is vibrant.
Many things to do, like upgrading weapons during battle and then using transferring the power from the weapon to another.
The magic system is like the ORIGINAL Final Fantasy, where you use a point system (which is your MP) and can upgrade it in shops
They have on-screen monsters, so no random battles (though I'm used to that due to Final Fantasy)

It's slow in the beginning and the battle system is a little hard to get use to, but is way easier than you think.
I haven't played the game far enough to get the cons, but I'm sure there are some that can be obvious.
The voices...........THE VOICES!!!!!!!!!

The biggest drawback in this game is the voices. About 90-99% of you reading this will agree on the voices. They are horrendous. In fact, this is some of the worse voice acting I've ever heard....EVER!!!! L'Arc is below average (He could have been voiced by Johnny Young Bosch and it'll be better). Alf's voice is wayyyyy too deep, like he chained smoked before he came into the game (his voice acting though is better than some of the other characters). This new guy I met, Niko, sounds like he has a horrible cold and has a sinus problem, and the worse of them all........the main girl, Ryfia. She is literally THE worst voice in the game. She was voiced by Yui Makino. For those of you who don't know her, she has a very cute voice and fits extremely well with Ryfia. But seriously, her English voice actor!?!?!? Monotonous, sounds too old for a 16 year old character (sounds like a 25 year old), doesn't fit her character, her fighting voice is crap....I can go on and on about her and you'll believe everything I just said.

Anyways, this game is good. No joke. The battles, story, graphics, and controls are awesome and isn't something to be shunned about. Seriously, if you can get past the voices (seriously, the old Speed Racer cartoon sounded better than this), you're in for a good game.

4/5 stars. -1 because of the voices.
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on June 16, 2011
Ok first thing I want to say about this game, is that it is WAY under rated! From reading all the reviews before I bought this game, of the many I read all them complained about the same thing! Bad voice acting, and I will say the voice acting is the worst out of all the games I've ever played, and I can understand that there are people who can't stand it. And for those who say the graphics are bad, DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM! Just cause they aren't as good as the xbox 360 and playstation 3 graphics does not mean the graphics for this game is bad! It's not like it's nintendo 64 or even game cube graphics! Again the graphics for the wii are not as good as xbox 360 and playstation 3, so what can you expect? Anyway when I think of best things about this game I think of mainly three things. First is the fact that it took around 70 hours to beat the game not including the many times I lost from most of the bosses. Not to mention I didn't finish all the side quests for the game, not to mention most of them! Though a good 10 hours of the game involves just going around leveling up cause of the many bosses I had a hard time beating. The second great thing about the game is how hard most of the bossed are! Out of the around 20 bosses there were only 4 I think that I beat on the first try! Last boss was the most ANNOYING! The final boss was actually very hard! The third thing great about this game which many people point out in their reviews is how great the storyline is! Also for those reading this who have not played the game I want to warn before you buy this game that it is a very emotional story, so if you don't like emotional stories I would suggest not buying this game. Though if you like stories that are emotional and have lots of surprises, then I would highly recommend buying this game! Another great thing about this game is how strategic this game is! There is a lot of thought process in this game, and for most bosses you have to be VERY careful to make sure not to make a wrong move, or else the whole battle could turn around, especially for the final boss! Also I've noticed some people mention in their reviews thinking VERY early in the game that they wish they didn't buy the game and then later on change that thought, and I want to say I can understand people thinking that since to warn the beginning is rather boring since there isn't much you can do at first, and just like every story it doesn't start that interesting. But as you get further in the story and level up more, the story and gameplay get much more interesting! It doesn't take long in my mind for the story to get interesting and get me thinking. The story is very unpredictable, so you never almost never know for sure what's going to happen. Also one more thing to point out, is for those who have played any tales game and like the things about them outside the gameplay, I would highly recommend buying this game cause of how similar it is to the tales games! No joke! The only thing that is different is the gameplay! Almost Every little details is the same! They have skits, the stasis effects have the same effects, you go around walking on a map and when you get near enemies they start going after you. Get hit from behind and they get upper hand, while if you get behind them and touch them you get the upper hand. And the thing I find the most scary is that they even have the little screen crack effect when you go into battle and the screen makes a cracking noise and the screen looks like it's cracked! And both tales of symphonia and this game have a little girl as the strongest member in the group! The main character looks a lot like Lloyd from Tales of Sypmhonia, and acts a lot like him! The storyline is very similar to Tales of Symphonia 1 in some ways. There's plenty more things this game is similar to Tales of symphonia or any tales game, but I'll stop here at that. Hope this info was helpful. And for those who decided to buy this game, hope you enjoy the incredible Arc Rise Fantasia!
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on May 11, 2011
I was actually quite pleasantly surprised when I heard there was another RPG for the Wii on it's way to these shores from Japan. After sinking some time into Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (decent game BTW) I was definitely ready for an original IP. I somehow knew this game was going to be something special, even if there were going to be flaws. To say this game exceeded my expectations would be an understatement though. I did not expect the battle system to be as addictive as it is, nor did I expect the music to get stuck in my head like it does. I also didn't expect it to take an element from the Tales series, and use it to great effect.

Gameplay wise, it's quite a traditional JRPG. Walk around the overworld map to get to your next destination, whether it be a town or a dungeon. Fight some battles and grind your characters by battling foes and bracing for a difficult boss battle ahead. However, the battle system itself is quite refreshing. It's a combo of Skies of Arcadia meets Grandia with it's own uniquue twist, and it works very well. I believe other reviews have gushed about the battle system so I personally won't drone on and on about how deceptively complex it really is. It's weird that it's simple to use, but there's ALOT of strategy behind it. You also need to be careful with your magics as well, you can't spam spells on enemies unless you got plenty of MP recovery items on you.

I will warn you right now, this game's bosses are HARD! I can't remember the last time I ever got a Game Over while fighting the first boss in an RPG. Yeah, this game is no walk in the park. But you know what? That's not a bad thing. If anything, it shows how the game really forces you to think and strategize with your battles.

In my first paragraph, I stated this game took an element from Tales. It certainly did in the form of skits. Skits are little bits of dialogue that you can press a button to see, in this case it's button 2 on the Wii Remote. These skits actually do alot to flesh out the characters as a whole, and actually even have some light-hearted moments between them too. I can't blame the developers for borrowing this element as it adds alot to the cast of characters.

Speaking of the characters, I have to say that I actually have warmed up to them. There's something about Ryfia in particular, her genuine naivity but also her determination and belief makes me somehow like her. And the voice overs? Yeah, they're really bad to start out with, but believe it or not as you progress further in the game the voices do improve in terms of quality. Dunno why the quality was not consistant throughout, but yeah the voices are certainly not great, but at the same time not the worst I've ever heard, that honour goes to Evergrace on the PS2.

Graphically this game has alot going on. The overworld map is very detailed and looks amazing. It's very organic looking, you can actually see lots of trees sticking up from the ground, different elevations on the landscape, and monsters roaming the fields for you to do battle with, some in herds, some as single monsters. Simply put, the world map is definitely a highlight of the game graphically.

The towns? Some are simple and straightforward, others seem to be bustling metropolises packed with lots of people. All in all though, they are pretty good looking if I say so myself. The characters are quite detailed, having facial expressions in battle and the like. Spells look quite alright, especially the main character's I also like the costume designs as well, even the extra bonus ones I have seen in skits at times. Somehow they are very befitting of each character, which I find to be quite cool. Ryfia's one piece bathing suit in particular is fantastic and fits her right on the money.

Audio wise, well, I already touched on the voice-overs. I can assure you I won't be ranting on about how perceivably "bad" they are, like I said I heard WAY worse. The music though, pretty fantastic stuff to say the least. Composer Yasunori Mitsuda is the main guy at the helm, though there was a team of two others as well, I forgot whom they are. But the music is excellent, the battle theme hits the right notes, and alot of the themes actually fit the mood right on the money. Simply put, your ears are in for a treat with the music. I don't feel you'll be disappointed at all.

All in all, this is a solid game and a great one to add to your Wii collection. Especially if you're an RPG junkie like myself. I'd definitely recommend this one to those looking for a lengthy and engaging adventure and can put up with a couple flaws. Other than those flaws though, this game hits it out of the park. Five stars I am giving this because I feel it deserves it.
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on January 25, 2012
Arc Rise Fantasia (ARF) is yet another JRPG that has been boggled down by western media. ARF currently holds a whopping 64 score on metacritic. It just baffles me that a gem like this can slip through the cracks but yet a WRPG that is utterly broken in so many different ways can score a 92-96. Anyhow sorry for that mini rant, but let me explain why ARF is that gem I described.

ARF is a return to the more classical PS1/PS2 era of JRPGs. There is lots of exploration, a decent story to be told, fantastic OST, solid round of characters, and the best of all DIFFICULTY! ARF is possibly one of the toughest classical style JRPGs I have played this generation outside of The Last Remnant (another gem that fell through the cracks). The game does not hold your hand, and it forces you to learn how to fight better, similarly to the Demon/Dark Souls games. This difficulty may be a turn off for new gamers who are just jumping in, but as a person who has been gaming for well over the last decade now, it was a joy to be had. I am absolutely tired of mind numbing games that hold no challenge. So I was overcome with joy when I died to that first boss battle, and the many that came after it. Hell even the final boss fight took me quite a few hrs to take out, after multiple deaths!

I clocked out of ARF at 54ish hours. That involved me doing pretty much all of the side quests PRE-End Game. I still have not yet went back in to tackle the even more challenging bosses after the main game. So there are dozens of hours one could find themselves playing this game.

If anyone elses review on here didn't make it clear enough. There is one glaring flaw with this game, and it is the voice acting. Half of the characters sound absolutely lifeless, while the other half do a decent job, but they aren't Ali Hillis, or Laura Bailey.

If you are a fan of classical style JRPGs, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give this game a shot. We want more of this, support the developers who actually bring this stuff over. On a whole scale, I would actually rate ARF better than Xenoblade (Yes, I did import. Great game as well). ARF is a mix of Final Fantasy and Tales of. If you are a fan of either of those series then you will definitely enjoy this.


Quick Review:


Deep story
Solid Characters
Fantastic OST
Difficulty ~ YAYAYAYAYAY (Seriously, stop force feeding me easy games!!!!)
Length of the game


Voice-Acting is fairly weak
That Deep Story has quite a few terms that may get the player confused as hell. Luckily they added a dictionary to the game.
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on September 30, 2010
For the most part, the other reviews hit it on the head. The gameplay is pretty nice and the battle system is very creative and engaging. The voice acting is terrible, and other than a few skits, the dialogue is tepid and boring.

The one thing I wanted to add, that I find horrible in terms of shameless self-promotion, is that the character, L'Arc, is named after a previous game the company produced, Luminous Arc.

Additionally, there's a few "blogthroughs" online (players blog about the game as they play it) for this game. I've found it extremely enjoyable to read these (often critical) blogthroughs as I play through this game.

I bought this game on a Gold Box Deal, and I'm not sorry I did. A month later and I'm still playing it. I'm about 58 hours in at this point, with much more to play. (I'm a slow player, I talk to the townspeople, who are all boring, but it does eat up time.) And I rarely ever feel like I'm grinding levels. As far as a cost per time analysis, this was a good buy for me.

Another bonus: I dislike most of the characters. I like disliking characters. If that's you're style too, this might be a good game for you.

One thing to add - the game locked up for me on one of my return trips to Carbunculus. I've heard of this game locking up in Jada as well. My problem was fixed by going into the settings and disabling the voices/music for the point that kept locking up. I sent my copy back to Amazon and they sent me another one, which did the same. A fixable problem, but annoying.
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on July 28, 2010
I had very high hopes for Arc Rise, not to say I'm disappointed by it, just that there are a few annoyances I had to overlook before really getting into the game. After nearly a year delay from it's original US release, Arc rise comes at a time when there arent any Wii rpgs in play, so its a nice diversion from my party games and platformers. It has great graphics, a cool battle system, and likeable characters. If anything its very reminiscent of the Tales series, right down to the enemy encounters and skits. Though the production is great, it seems their budget ran short when came time to do the englisg voiceovers. HORRIBLE. I stayed with it a while, and when I found it unbearable, I looked for a Japanese option, which there isnt. I would even have settled for an option to turn the sound off and just read subtitles. There are slight hiccups n the framerate, as well. Honestly even with the crappy voices these aren't dealbreakers. If youre looking for a good RPG until Last Story hits, or if Xenoblade makes an american release, this is a good choice.
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on December 24, 2014
Really interesting game with absolutely horrible voice acting. It's times like these where I wish they allowed you to switch the spoken language back to the original Japanese and turn on subtitles. But the game itself is really good
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on December 14, 2010
I'm going to start by saying that the voice acting isn't really that bad. Before I bought the game I was worried because that was what everyone was talking but I decided to give it a shot and I have to say that I have no regrets. When you first start the game you'll see why people don't like the voice acting, however, I got over it within thirty minutes. If you are looking for a game with a captivating story and challenging boss battles which are very satisfying then this game is for you. Don't let the one thing that everyone else is complaining about be the reason you don't get this game. You will not regret getting it.
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on June 7, 2013
This is the first time i've played a game where i've capped out the game time meter long before finishing. I reached 99 hours 2 dungeons before the end game. Besides those 2 there was still a fair amount of extra end game content to be completed afterwards.

The combat style of a shared points meter is one of my favorite ways to add strategy to a normally boring turn based game. This game did it perfectly. You can plan out a strat for each of your characters in any way you want to. Want to focus on combining magic attacks? How about a beefy tank, healer, dps combo? You can even do strats like double your max health and stack increased healing with health regn. Half the fun of the boss battles and the game being harder was ignoring what a guide would tell me to do and trying to come up with my own strat.

The story itself was one of the best ones i've played in ages if not the best jrpg story i've ever played. It had every typical jrpg story aspect in it that I could think of. It felt a lot like playing a tales of game while maintaining its own distinct differences. I dont want to spoil anything though by getting too far into it.

If I had a complaint, it wouldn't be the voice acting. You unlock weapon enhancements from each new weapon you have and this takes time. Until you get the ability to hit everything on the screen with 1 regular attack, it takes a rather large chunk of time. A larger part of why I hit 99 hours so early was due to wanting to unlock everything I could. I'll try to save you guys some time by telling you the best way to earn wps for unlocking is to go back to low level areas and stack everything on the characters training including on the weapon they are training as it starts to unlock more. Once you get mass attack it cuts down the time to 1/3. I didn't mind that grind though and it isn't a must either. It just makes the game harder as you have fewer options against each boss if you don't choose to do so.
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