When I bravely accepted the task of reviewing Arc the Lad II I had never actually heard of the game because it was never on the Spartan shelves of the rental store down the road in my youth and internet involved a lot of CCHEEEEEECHHHH noises that frightened me. What a shame ‘Greg’s Video rentals’ didn’t have a larger ‘obscure US import’ rack because Arc the Lad II is one of the best JRPGs I’ve ever had the pleasure of gorging myself on and I would have killed to play this as a child instead of re-renting Spyro.
Released in the US on the 16th of April 2002 and more recently on the PSN store Arc the Lad II’s appearance has aged better than my old teacher Miss Green (I’ll make a Mrs out of you yet you saggy bitch) its vibrant colours and character design coupled with its smooth animation still look fresh in comparison to modern 2D games. Where its cracks begin to show are in its pacing, modern games (thankfully) play fast, with very little-
- MONSTER ENCOUNTER!
- FADE TO BLACK!
- FADE IN!
- ATTACKING AGGRESSIVELY SLOWLY!
- MONSTER DIES!
- FADE TO BLACK!
- FADE IN!
I sadly just don’t have the patience that gamers had back then. When I was younger I would happily sit through adverts and people talking to me without whipping out my phone and playing Temple Run but now… If I’m not slashing something or running from monkeys I find myself getting a little agitated and there is a lot of time spent not disintegrating things with fire fists in Arc that I felt this feeling a lot, however there is just enough flashing lights that it was worth the milliseconds of waiting I was forced to withstand through the whole game.
The story follows after the events of Arc the Lad I but now the main character is a hunter called Elc who kills shit with flame and is pretty torn up after watching his village’s population drop sharply to one after an unexplained brutal execution by some soldiers. When he grows up he teams up with Arc the Premium Lad to face off against the imperialist scum to stop their efforts to bring back the Dark One who will bring about the total destruction of everything everywhere. It seems that the odds of children who still have both their parents and children that are ‘chosen ones’ are not very well balanced. Oh well I don’t care that you have the power of the fire guardians channelled through your veins at least I have a Dad Faggot.
I have a special place in my heart for fiery things ever since I was male so I was overjoyed when I first clicked on the enemy to attack and the option of FIRE STORM was presented. Tucking a certain appendage into ones waistband I continued the game and soon found myself accompanied by a young girl with a wolf pet that fought alongside us. Fire and wolves. Are you shitting me Arc?! NO ONE HAS EVER WANTED FOR MORE THAN FIRE AND BLOODY WOLVES!
What?! RPG elements!? Shit son Arc the Lad II got those in spades! Not only can you level up your character you can equip them with weapons, armours and accessories AND train them up to be proficient in other types of weapons other than their starting one. Sit down bitch next question.
Intuitive combat? Check.
Rememberable characters? Done.
Open world gameplay and a Hunter Guild that you can take quests from to raise funds and fame for your characters? That’s pretty specific and you are making it look like I’ve just come up with a lazy way of listing features without linking them together cleverly BUT YEAH ARC GOT THAT! In fact, Arc got that so hard almost half the game is optional and only players that are willing to work through the quests at the Guild will unlock the secret dungeons and stories.
Whether like me you are reasonably new to the JRPG genre or consider yourself a seasoned veteran (you really should have already played this you elitist bastard), Arc the Lad II will offer you more in terms of emotional attachment, gameplay quality and length than so many modern games couldn’t dream of. Top that off with a low, low price of just £3.59 it easily makes my list of top PS1 games to buy of the PSN network.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.