Thousand Arms

"Meis, I think I'm gaining some weight. What do you think?"
A. No, you look wonderful
B. Well, maybe a little, but I think you're still beautiful
C. Oh, you noticed too?

Developer: Red Company Publisher: Atlus Genre: RPG/Dating Simulator Players: 1 Memory Blocks: 1 block Discs: 2 Analog: No Dual Shock: Yes (I think ^_^:*) ESRB: Teen Difficulty: Intermediate

For years, Japan has had date simulator games. Yes, every loser in the country who didn't have a girlfriend could hook up with a hot anime chick. Now, thanks to Atlus bringing over Thousand Arms, every loser in America can have this same privielage! Now, I myself being a girl, will review this game from a female RPG fan's POV. (Don't be scared boys, it's not as frightning as you may think!)

Gameplay-- First of all, lemme start with the battles. It's menu based, and you have the basic fight, items, etc. Throughout the game, you'll learn different spells depending on the weapon you currently are using. However, while you can have more than one character in your party (So far I have 3 in my group), only one character can fight at a time. Yup, the other characters stay behind the main fighter and do various things. They can use items and cheer for you, but they can't fight. If a party member in the back cheers you on, you get your HP raised a little. If they taunt a monster, the monster's defense goes down a bit. Now, on the world map, it's kinda hard to see where you're going and you get into a lot of random enemy encounters. In towns or dungeouns, it's kinda hard to move around. For instance, whoever you are controlling at the time will walk into walls alot, which makes me wonder why it's not Analog compatible. It's pretty easy to get the hang of, but I'm pretty well into the game and I'm still having a little trouble in parts. Just a warning; towns are INSANELY difficult to navigate through!! The maps are worthless, so start memorizing local landmarks ^_^:*

Graphics-- Thousand Arms has a very unique graphic style. On the world map, everything is pre-rendered 3D graphics. You're main character, Meis (pronounced Mice), is a chibi-SD-short guy on screen. The dungeon/town graphics look kinda like Xenogears. However, in battles, you become a 2D anime regular sized Meis, from a side angle. The magic spells are nothing to flip over, and physical attacks are ironically far more damaging for the most part. Then there's the anime cut scenes with - GASP - voice acting!!!! Yes, voice acting. And good voice acting at that. Can you believe it? By far the highlight of the game's graphical capabilities, the interactive cut scenes rock. Ecspecially the dates you go on. In order to get new weapons and magic spells, you have to get Intamacy Points with your lady friends. This can be done by playing mini-games with your date, giving them items you find as gifts, or taking the to a "Date Spot". A date spot is, well, a place where you can go on dates. When you're on a date, the girl asks you questions, and depending on the way you answer them, you get the Intimacy Points. Points go up or down depending on your actions.

Music-- The music isn't outstanding, but it's not something that should be found in the Swamp's Worst Midi Contest. The sound effects are good, except for one thing - Meis' running. Oh my god, when he runs on screen, you just want to take the controller in your hand and beat your skull in with it. A continuos "skit-skit-skit-skit" echos as he scurries along the screen was almost enough to make me stop playing the game. My god, it got to the point of my taking my good old time by walking everywhere (which took forever) than having to listen to that "skit-skit" one more time . . . On a lighter note, the voice acting is very good, and it's very cool to have your characters speak along with the text. There's over 12 hours of recorded speaking parts in the game.

Storyline-- The basic storyline of Thousand Arms puts you in control of Meis, a 16 year old guy with a huge hammer strapped to his back. Meis is the son of a very well-known blacksmith, and he's etting out to become as good as his father. But, well, Meis sucks at forging weapons, so he needs a trainer to show him the ropes. Basically, he makes some legendary sword and gets to fight the "Emperor" (thus falls in the typical RPG save the world from evil thing). To become a good blacksmith, Meis has to learn to listen to the "spirits" around him. Uh, okay . . . Anyhow, on to the fun part: the dates! Yeah, I go on dates as much as possible. They're very fun. Plus, you get to see those oh-so-cool anime cutscenes on dates. Okay, now before you get excited, the date only goes as far as if your date has a good time, she'll give you a smooch at the end. However, if more people buy and support games like this, all the ecchi people of the world can have those hard-core virtual dates. Oh yes, I know I can't wait.

Fun Factor-- Well, if you get tired of fighting things, which let me tel you, does get pretty boring, the dates are always a fun break. Plus, the girls' mini-games are fun too. I'm not saying the only good thing about the game in going out, but it's very fun and addictive. The main game itself is fun and a pretty decent challenge, and so far I've been pretty happy with it, aside from Meis' running ::cinges:: Another thing that makes the game enjoyable is the fact that after you get what you need in a dungeon or kill the boss of the dungeon, you're magically transported back to the entrance. Yup, no back-tracking through the scary cave again.

Overall Satisfaction-- Overall, I found the game to be pretty enjoyable. I haven't gotten very far into the game because, well, I got it at the same time I got Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy 9, and Secret of Mana, and everyone knows Square always wins in the end. But, I've picked it back up and I'm having a pretty good time playing it. I'd say it's a good game to buy, and while it doesn't top Final Fantasy or Breath of Fire, it gives all the little guys a run for their money.

Highs: Dating, voice acting, anime cutscene graphics, character development
Lows: In town/dungeon control, Meis god awful running sound effect
Score: 7

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