|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Image Epoch||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ignition Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 27, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Still, the game's battle system was not enough to make up for its lack of production value. The game's initial cutscene looks decent, but once the visuals snap into the game's engine, the game falters. The environment is full of blocky and repetitive elements, and even the animations are poorly done. Although my standards for visuals on the Wii are lower than on other consoles, these visuals would look bad on a PlayStation 2. I was highly disappointed with the graphics in the game, especially because there is such a contrast between the polished cinema scenes and the jagged, blocky world in the game's engine.
Unfortunately, the audio isn't much better. The game's background music is pleasant overall, but it is all-too-frequently interrupted by a terrible voiceover. As an anime fan, I have experienced some bad voiceovers, but the one in Arc Rise Fantasia has to be one of the worst I have ever experienced. The dialog does not match the game's animations at all, and the voice actors do a poor job of incorporating emotion into their performance. The game's main female lead is the worst offender, and has a phantom accent that seems to have travelled from Canada to Asia, with a few stops in the United States on its way to the game. Although some voiceovers are memorable for being so bad they are humorous (I'm looking at you Resident Evil series), Arc Rise Fantasia's voice over is just poorly done overall. There are also some weird translations at work , where characters will randomly ask to rest or complain of sickness and then the issue is dropped and never addressed again.
It is a shame the voiceover and poor graphics sink this title, as the basic foundations for a good JRPG are present. While the story isn't the most original in the world, there are plenty of people (myself included) who don't mind the occasional throwaway story (JRPGs are kind of like the romantic comedy of the gaming world). However, the look and sound of the game just don't match its potential, which makes it difficult to play through. I constantly felt myself on the cusp of wanting to like the game, but some particularly ugly element of the visuals or poorly done bit of dialog snapped this title right back into the mediocre designation.
Arc Rise Fantasia is a decent game if you like the old-school JRPG format. The battle system is fun, and the story (despite pulling every cliché out of the JRPG handbook) is entertaining enough. However, the poor production values drag this title down considerably, and will turn off many potential players. Though there is almost no innovation in this game, if you like nostalgia, you're likely to find some enjoyment with Arc Rise Fantasia. Just don't set your expectations too high.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor