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Reach For The Skies

Reviewing: Sega Skies Of Arcadia Legends  |  Rating:
Kevin Roman By Kevin Roman on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 5 | Gaming Expertise:
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This game is an improved port of the Sega Dreamcast version. The things that are new are: faster load times, a lower random encounter rate, and new discoveries/sidequests. Skies of Arcadia Legends has fun characters although its plot may be cliche with the evil empire, Valua. The pacing is great because even in the start of the game, Vyse's dad (whose son, Vyse, is the main character), Dyne, tells the guards that outnumbered his son, that they miscounted, when the guards told Vyse they outnumbered him, before Dyne shot one of them. In short, you play as Air Pirates, who travel the world and try to help people in a Robin Hood fashion by robbing Valua and helping innocent people.

The gameplay also has flaws although fortunately it provides uniqueness. The best part of the game is the ship battles. Your airship fights using cannons and a special attack that only appears at opportune times. The fighting is a lot of fun since you have to strategize on how to use your spirit a lot moreso than in regular battles. You also have a crew later on in the game to improve your capabilities. Your support spells are a bit better here because you can reliably lower your enemies' stats with Driln/Drilnos (unlike boss battles where you fight on foot), you can't use special moves besides the ship's, you gain twice as many spirit points per turn (which helps because your magic costs are the same in both types of battles), and item use is limited to what you have for your ship.

Regular battles have you attack using spirit to do special moves and magic, but unlike many other rpgs, it is shared by the whole party and some recovers every turn. Another feature of this game is that you can change the elements of your weapons to attack. Unfortunately, your spells are generally worthless because items you buy can do the same thing but do not take up spirit. Also, your special moves do more damage than spells.

Another possible problem with the game is that dungeons can be a bit too long. In other words, you may need to play for about 40 mins to an hour just to get to that save point. It also doesn't help that although you can skip the animations for special moves, you can't skip magic animations and your characters can take about 6 seconds doing their normal attacks when they run towards their enemies to do a short-range attack rather than do the quicker, long-range attack.

I do recommend playing this game over the Dreamcast version because it makes that version obsolete. To me, it doesn't seem like the graphics got much of an update (they feel dated) and the sound wasn't exciting. However, the Dreamcast version had an intolerable battle system, with its high encounter rate and 15 second load times, to which this Gamecube remake, cut both in half.