Maybe you’re a fan of action/RPGs that focus a bit more on action…so much so that the role-playing elements take a back seat to the flashy, over-the-top action. If so, you should definitely pay attention to Square-Enix’s handheld adventure, Lord of Arcana, which showed up at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. Although portable aficionados probably wanted to see more about Final Fantasy Agito XIII - a game that should see a “proper unveiling” along with Versus XIII at January’s Fabula conference – this game here looks quite promising. If you take a look at the TGS gameplay video below, you might see that Lord of Arcana is an interesting cross between Dissidia: Final Fantasy and Monster Hunter, both of which are extremely popular PSP titles. Square-Enix may give us the best of both worlds and although it may seem a tad demanding, we’ve heard the developers will implement a certain degree of accessibility.
Basically, you’ll have two types of attacks at your disposal (not counting the world-ending special skills), and you can chain those two attacks together for…well, a long time, it seems. If you can manage to go long enough, you’ll trigger the option for an enemy-specific finishing move, which ought to be a crowd-pleaser. But that’s not the only uber-powerful option: there’s also the Bahamut (no, not the actual dragon in RPG lore), which is a meter on the screen and once its full, you can release “The Ultimate Spell.” Check the screenshots for a peek. Combat will come down to stringing together a series of successful attacks, all the while awaiting the perfect time for a destructive final blow. You will also notice that you can travel with companions; we see three other fighters in that clip below, and that leads us to the obvious question: are they entirely AI-controlled or do we issue orders during/before combat?
We don’t have an answer to that yet, but the RPG element comes in with the character customization and the damage counting system, which – as you can see – includes HP. We can also expect a fair amount of depth in terms of battle details; for instance, some monsters will have specific weak points you must discover, and there might be a few intriguing landscapes to explore. We get the feeling there will be more linearity involved, though, simply because we’ve heard mention of “linear dungeons.” Of course, the focus remains squarely on the combat, which means you’ll be spending the majority of your time hunting and slaying all sorts of crazy demons and evil creatures. Will it get too repetitive? Well, that’s hard to say. Provided there’s more than just a couple of buttons and few smashing skills, and we get a decent story to go along with the action, the quest should remain entertaining throughout.
Personally, I like being able to customize my characters. You can outfit them with different clothing and weapons and after outfitting, you’ll be dropped into a dungeon or specific area where monsters abound. You’ll find treasure chests as you move about, which will provide you with useful items, and you should quickly get used to fighting. In addition to hacking and slashing, you’ll be able to lock on, use those collected items, and dodge as necessary. Hopefully, the incessant action won’t cause the camera to wack out; that’s our only other concern right now. Lord of Arcana looks to be a smashing good time; a dungeon-crawler with a bit more intricacy and depth the likes of which Square-Enix can certainly provide. And hey, the visuals and overall presentation don’t look too bad, either.
10/5/2010 Ben Dutka