A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Arc Rise Fantasia is a traditional Japanese role-playing game. The monster-battling action is pure sword and sorcery fantasy -- lots of slashes and flashes, no blood and guts. Parents should note, though that some of the text and spoken dialogue contains light sexual references and one mention of getting high. Players can also gamble with their fake game money in blackjack and poker competitions.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
ARC RISE FANTASIA has players taking on the role of a young mercenary named L’Arc in a quest to save his planet from monsters and worse in this very traditional Japanese role-playing game. Much of the player’s time will be spent wandering the world map and several monster-infested locations within it. Touch a monster and your party, composed of a rotating cast of characters, will enter a turn-based battle where you can either set assigned tactics for automated fighting or choose each character’s actions on your own. The narrative portion of the game takes place mostly in towns, where your protagonists will meet important non-player characters that drive the story forward. A significant amount of time is also spent in the game’s menus, where players can sort, equip, and transform armor and weapons and assign and alter magical powers and special abilities.
Is it any good?
It’s unlikely to make many top 10 lists at year’s end, but Arc Rise Fantasia is a solid and enjoyable Japanese-style RPG. The cut-scenes are good quality, battles are fast and rewarding, and character growth is quick and dynamic. The basic battle tactics system doesn’t require much time to master but can be very useful, and smart weapon customization decisions can have a profound effect on character performance. The ability to play with a GameCube or Nintendo Classic controller rather than remote and nunchuk will be a boon for traditional JRPG fans, as well.
Take note, though, that if you’re looking for innovation you won’t find it here. This game borrows heavily from older RPGs and offers up few of its own ideas. Also be aware that its characters are classic stereotypes and not particularly memorable; there are no Cloud Strifes or Tifa Lockhearts here. Still, it’s a competent effort that may well appeal to old-school RPG-starved Wii owners.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the differences between Japanese and western games. What are some of the hallmarks of each? Does one style appeal to you more than the other? What do you think of the ways in which Japanese games tend to portray male and female characters?
Families can also discuss the difference between fantasy and realistic violence. Do you feel sympathy for, say, snarling skeletons or animated flowers when you strike them with magical energy? Would you feel differently if these enemies were human and you were using guns instead of magic?
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