blissfully wandering through Arc the Lad I, popping in the next disc of the Arc the Lad
collection is a mindboggler. Everything is so different, yet so much the same. And better.
Early on I heard that Arc the Lad II was the best segment of this adventure, and so far
Im believing it whole-heartedly. With the same style of strategy RPG battle, a whole
new cast of likeable characters, plus all the old ones to boot, and a brand new career to
As I said
in the last portion of this review, if there is anything wrong with Arc the Lad I,
its tough to see. That is, its tough to see until you pop in Arc the Lad II.
The second installment offers very little change in the way of control and general
gameplay, which is very good. However, the stats and experience readings have been made a
bit better, the menu systems are a little more streamlined, and the gameplay is more
varied. In the first part, the battles seemed a bit too easy sometimes, and the game was
too much of a linear journey from battle to battle. Sure, there are plenty of sidequests
and diversions to go back and check out in Arc the Lad I, but these didnt offer the
variety of Arc II.
your characters from the first game into the second installment. However, you wont
immediately get to play with your ultra buffed out Arc and friends. Instead, Arc II
centers around Elc and his similarly loveable crew. The story is a continuation of the
first games plot the evil generals are still trying to destroy the world, and
this time Elc gets all mixed up in things.
to his involvement with world-saving and rogue heroes, Elc is a Hunter. He performs tasks
and eradicates monsters for the townsfolk. Hunters are a tough breed, think Han Solo meets
Truck Turner. You can play an entire Hunter career in Arc II Elc rises in ranks,
makes money, and eventually gains access to new areas by succeeding as a Hunter. Due to
his experience in the trade, he comes to know of Arc as a terrorist out to destroy the
government who sports a hefty price on his head. This leads to some tense storylines as
Elc and Arc cross paths repeatedly and you, the player, are the only one who realizes they
should be good friends.
everything gets sorted out and youre cruising the world in Arcs air boat with
the crew from the first game and the crew from the second game. Of course, thats
where things get really hectic, and the story takes off. Again, Arc II offers some great
story, and the folks at Working Designs have done a stellar job of translating the
dialogue. The quality dialogue is always one of the best aspects of a Working Designs
major aspect of Arc II is capturing monsters. Youll notice that monsters level up as
you fight them, and at first that seems odd. However, you eventually gain, through Lieza,
the ability to capture monsters and use them in your party. That means your party can get
almost infinitely huge (and it also lends the game a strange Pokemon-like quality). To
accommodate such huge and varied parties, Arc II allows you to pick the active members of
your party for each segment of the story. This lets you switch up your gameplay between
old and new characters as well as monsters youve collected, and it lends the game an
overall unique feeling. It is fun to swap characters in and out of the party.
may indeed be the highlight of the series. It is a much longer game than the first
installment; however, that length (or the brevity of Arc I) just becomes part of the
Collection, which offers well over 100 hours of gameplay. Arc II makes me glad that Arc I
was so easy I recommend chugging through the first installment at a good clip so
you can get to all the real goodies in the second game. The second disc of the Arc the Lad
Collection definitely makes me more sure about asserting that every RPG fan needs to have
this game in their collection.
we got in this part of the Arc the Lad Collection before Arc III. So while Im
waiting to bust out the final episode of the trilogy Ive been biding my time
fighting monsters. And I dont mean that I (or Arc or Elc, whoever I am after way too
many hours at the PSone) am fighting the monsters the monsters are fighting the
monsters, and theres something a lot like putting two spiders in a jar about the
I have to be
honest and say that at this point in time Arc Arena Monster Tournament just doesnt
appeal to me the way that the RPG games do. In Arena you can import all of your beloved
monsters and enter them in tournaments where they fight against other monsters for fun and
profit (and experience). It looks, feels and plays just like the RPG titles in the game
with one crucial difference you dont actually get to fight your monsters. You
outfit them, set up groups, train them, and all the rest, but once the fight starts you
just sit and watch. That is much less fun than actually playing the strategy RPG style
thats the nail in Arenas coffin. Heres the scenerio in which this might
be fun: First of all, you really dig Pokemon and Arc the Lad, so youre into the
characters and the idea of capturing and fighting monsters. Second, you have a friend who
is similarly addicted to Arc the Lad (wouldnt it be cool to have multiplayer?) and
loves the monster collecting aspects of the game, too. Third, you and your friend, in
order to share the experience of Arc the Lad, get all of your monsters together and fight
them while either downing Ho Hos and Twinkies until you have a ripping sugar high or
swilling brews until youve got a great buzz on. Then, perhaps, fun. Otherwise, not
so much fun.
spite of the amazing disappointment I felt when I realized just what Arena was (I believe
my exact words were, "Thats it?!?"), I dont hate Arena for existing.
I consider it a bonus in a package that, even without Arena, packs weeks and weeks worth
of gameplay. Arena is not the Arc title I will be returning to as I play through the last
third of the trilogy, but it might give me a little thrill once Ive turned on my
other friends to the game.