Game review: Enchanted Arms is anything but enchanting

Posted by Mark Raby

Columbus (OH) - Despite its fun characters and impressive cutscenes, numerous flaws in Enchanted Arms prove that there's still much room for improvement in PS3 role-playing games.



See screenshots of Enchanted Arms...

Enchanted Arms is a RPG title that follows a group of teenage adventurers in their quest to save the world.  It sounds like every RPG, and the problem is it does nothing else to distinguish itself from other, more intriguing games from previous console generations.

Battles in the game are turn-based.  Upon encountering an enemy, characters are placed in tiles in a chess board-style arena.  Every attack has a specific range of tiles, and every enemy in the range is attacked.  The unique system works well for the most part, and - fortunately - is the glue that holds the nearly broken game together.

Twice during my jaunt through the game, it crashed.  On both occasions, I was attmepting to wander around the open-ended areas before heading to the next part of the story.  This made me wary of deviating from the strict, linear progression of the story, resulting in a stale, less interactive experience.  This is especially boring because the game requires a ton of backtracking through previous areas.

The story of the game is slow going at first, then becomes intriguing, but as it continues to pick up momentum, it gets overly convoluted.  It feels like like the developers wanted to cover every RPG and soap opera plot twist possible into a rapidly unfolding narrative, failing to flesh out any unique story.

The game has a couple visually impressive cutscenes, but a failure to cast even one worthwhile voice actor glares through the game  like a sore thumb.  It's also unfortunate that cutscenes are very sparingly placed, leaving most of the game experience with mediocre, uninspiring real-time graphic rendering.

Given the fact that it's a port from the Xbox 360 and took more than eight months to transfer to the PS3, the least that could have been done was to polish the graphics a little bit, but no such luck.  That's especially disappointing when the PS3's main draw is supposed to be its visual rendering powers.  Trust me when I say there are better ways to spend 40 - 50 hours than following the footsteps laid out in Enchanted Arms.

With the PS3 still in its infancy, we have yet to see what a fully developed RPG could look like on the next-gen platform.  Enchanted Arms is not it.