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Arc Rise Fantasia
Nintendo Wii

Reviewed on: Nintendo Wii

Image Epoch
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
Rated: "T" for Everyone

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

The Japanese gaming development industry is in a weird state of flux right now. Once the proud home of such AAA titles as Chrono Trigger and the epic Final Fantasy VII, critics have labeled the industry as all but dead, and void of any real new ideas. Could Arc Rise Fantasia, the Wii exclusive JRPG from Image Epoch change anyone’s minds? Erm, probably not...

Arc Rise Fantasia is easily the best RPG to grace Nintendo’s motion controlled white box to date, but that’s not saying much as it’s one of few. It’s a solid title through and through, but everything from the story to the visuals and the gameplay screams “been there, done that.” If you’re cool with that, you’re going to love Arc Rise Fantasia, but sometimes - you’ve just got to want more.

You probably know what to expect from Arc Rise Fantasia’s story without even playing the game, a group of effeminate villagers with names I can’t pronounce go on an epic quest against elemental monsters that leads them to finding the heroes inside them all along. More specifically, the story follows young mercenary L’Arc, and the mysterious Ryfia who are racing against time to save the world from imminent disaster after imminent disaster. Yep, it’s all here, from the weird haired, big eyed character stereotypes to the worlds - you’ve seen it all before. In truth, there were a few moments I didn’t see coming, and those made for the best moments in Arc Rise Fantasia; but more often than not you’ll be able to telegraph the game’s plot.

"...extremely fun and rewarding when you find a strategy that proves effective..."


Undoubtedly, Arc Rise Fantasia’s best moments are when you’re using the game’s combat system. Consider the system as a unique twist of turn based and action RPG elements. At the beginning of each battle you’re given a set amount of action points and it’s up to you to figure out how to distribute them. Everything you do uses these points in different amounts and it’s extremely fun and rewarding when you find a strategy that proves effective and uses the least amount of points. Of course, you’ll have more of a need to find these strategies in the much larger boss fights than the standard random cannon fodder you’ll encounter throughout the world, but that’s to be expected.

One issue that many JRPGS have when they head west is with localization, or how the game company changes the voice acting from the original language to English. Most developers do reasonably well for their titles. Here, Image Epoch did not. Not only is the voice acting so terrible it’s hilarious, it’s also obvious that it wasn’t much of a priority for the developers either. It’s quite easy to lose interest in the game when the voiceovers are being delivered as if whoever is delivering them (let me tell you, they’re definitely not actors) is reading off a cue card and trying to be as emotionless as possible. Hey, perhaps I’d be a bit more interested in the game’s story if I felt like the characters cared even in the least.

"...filled with mostly impressive character models and environments..."


Luckily though, Arc Rise Fantasia isn’t as hard on the eyes as it is on the ears. Visually impressive for a Wii game, Image Epoch has delivered a title filled with mostly impressive character models and environments (the game’s map being one of the few environments that sticks out as rough). I was especially a fan of the game’s magic visuals, as they more often than not tend to be quite impressive. Of course, you won’t really get to enjoy many of the game’s best effects as for some reason the developers chose to use a fixed camera that is determined to get you lost and frustrated.

If you only own a Wii and are a fan of JRPGS, you’re going to love most of Arc Rise Fantasia, but if you own any other system from the last ten years or so, it’s a rental at best. Besides the novel combat system, there’s almost nothing in Image Epoch’s latest that’s going to entice you. 



Short of a few hints and shortcuts spread throughout the web, there really aren’t any cheats available for Arc Rise Fantasia. Why not? Why can’t I have a cheat for unlimited action points? How about the cheat I’ve been asking for in every RPG I’ve played for the last few years to unlock every spell and magic attack for instant use?

Does the ability to mute the voices of the characters count as a cheat? ‘Cause then it’s a hard 10...

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