Wild Arms 5 looks like an RPG from back in the days when the men were effeminate, the girls half-naked and the hair crazy. No amazing, morphing, almost-real-looking graphics from XSEED, no sir. Released as a 10th Anniversary edition, Wild Arms 5 is another pedestrian addition to a franchise that hasn’t changed much throughout the years.
In Wild Arms 5, we follow Dean and Rebecca, two teenagers (of course) in the Wild West-themed world of Filgaia, who get caught up in an adventure when they stumble upon a lovely (again, no surprise there) young woman name Avril, who has fallen from the sky clutched in the arm of a golem. She remembers nothing except her name and the name of Johnny Appleseed. There’s nothing for it but to gather up their ARMS (read: weapons) and head out to save the energy of the world from… something. Something bad, at any rate. It’s not incredibly clear what it is, but it’s definitely bad. Everybody heads out, and sure enough we run across monsters and that’s when the game gets a little clunky.
The general gameplay is predictable console RPG: go to town. Talk to people. Hear about monster in a dungeon. Leave town, enter dungeon. Kill monster(s). Return to town. Get better ARMS. Rinse, repeat until closing credits. Spend some time wondering where exactly XSEED found the writers for the dialogue, or if they just pieced together words that sounded good. From exclamations like “Butter my butt!” to a save point bird that demands to know if you will throw him into the “lust sea,” half the fun in the game comes from wondering what people are going to say next.
Characters talk a lot. Which is a shame, because what they say is usually some form of a grunt combined with a “yeah” or a “come on!” and the music these exclamations cover up is actually one of the better parts of the game. As they run through their state-of-the-art-in-1993 world, the music is the highlight, from cheerful flutes to lonely whistling… which says a lot about what the game looks like. It’s as if XSEED missed the graphics upgrade of 2000 memo.