Decent Role Playing games always take their time to make it to a console, simply because for them to be good, they take a lot of work to develop and to squeeze all of the power out of the machine - and over the last few months the Dreamcast has been a bit spoilt for choice when it comes to Role Playing titles.
Enter Skies of Arcadia, which instantly grabs your attention with it's captivating if not a bit obscure magical storyline of air pirates in flying ships - Characters are well thought out, and have some interesting personalities to them. Vyse is the main character, and is the hero of the game, providing help to anyone who requires it.
The game is huge, and has an enormous world to discover, which should offer gamers literally hours of gameplay. There are also many twists and turns to the storyline, which keeps the game interesting, and should provide enough of a challenge for everyone - whether you're an RPG fan or not.
It soon becomes obvious why the game is on two GD-ROMs - the graphics are amazing, and as you can see from the screenshots on this page, they are bold and very crisp. The huge animated sequences are really impressive and add an immense amount of atmosphere and quality to the game, showing just what the Dreamcast is possible of - it looks really amazing.
Good use of the vibration pack is made in Skies of Arcadia, and the ships make the pack thud quite strongly as they thunder across the screen - this really adds to the amazing graphics, and emerses you fully into the experience.
Characters evolve their skills by using various coloured weapons, such as Yellow lightning weapons, or Red which is for fire. The more you use a specific colour on a character, the better they become with that sort of weapon, increasing their points as they do so.
The "spirit point" system allows you to focus your character skills on getting your team further through the game - no longer do you have to watch as the "weaker" players get killed, instead they can increase the spirit points which can benefit the group as a whole.
If you don't have a real passion for RPG's then you'll probably not play this game enough for you to really get far enough in to the game - at first the game seems a bit complex, and after a couple of hours play many gamers may just want to give up from being bored of the text based dialogue and fighting, but it's only after a god few hours of play that the real gripping storyline works it's way through, and you can fully realise the potential for this fascinating title.
Parts of the game seem a bit random, and the number of battles which you have to do if you really explore the world can become quite tedious. Skies of Arcadia requires you to explore, and it's a major part of the gameplay, but the seemingly random battles do hamper the flow of the game some what.
The length of some of the battles can be a bit too long, with many of them being drawn out over a fair amount of time, and this could be seen as either being bad for people with a short attention span, or an absolute delight for fans of tactical battles.
Overall this game offers everything that an RPG fan could want - decent storyline, amazingly rich and powerful graphics, and literally hours of gameplay. Yet again Sega have shown that they know how to make earth shattering games, and this is a must buy for every Dreamcast owner.Overall score: 9 out of 10
Recommended Price: £29.99
Available: NowBuy Skies of Arcadia from Amazon