had a short life, but Sega did manage to put out a handful of great
games for the console before disappeared into the annals of video
game history. The critically acclaimed Skies of Arcadia was one of
them. A traditional RPG, Skies of Arcadia featured random battles,
lots of exploring and boss battles that would please any old-school
gamer. The game even took place on islands floating in the air and
giant flying airships (shaped like boats), reminiscent of old Final
Fantasy titles. Now Sega is doing GameCube owners a great service by
porting (via Point of View) the excellent RPG to Nintendo's new console.
You take the roll of Vyse, one of many "air pirates" that
steal from the rich, corrupt government of Valua and use the money
to feed themselves. That may not sound very noble, but they do make
sure to always help out those in need. On a pillaging mission, Vyse
and his childhood friend Aika save a mysterious girl named Fina from
a Valuan ship. In typical RPG
fashion, before long they are wrapped up in an adventure that brings
them to the ends of the Earth as they hurry to collect six moon
crystals that will bring about the apocalypse if they fall into the
wrong hands. In summary-form the story sounds ridiculous, but the
characters in Skies of Arcadia are usually realistic and always
interesting, and the attention to detail is often astounding. Every
character you meet has a story to tell. In short, development team
Overworks has created a fully contained universe with its own
history, cultures, politics and hierarchies. Like a good fantasy
novel, Skies of Arcadia will leave you wanting to hear more about
the residents of this land.
The Dreamcast version of the game had gorgeous, if cartoonish,
graphics, and a one of the best scores ever heard on the console.
The characters communicated through text, and not words, but the
great music and sound effects made up for that fact.
The only real complaint logged against the Dreamcast version Skies
of Arcadia by most critics is that random battles (which occur when
you are either walking around, or when you are sailing your airship)
happen far too often; to the point where the game can become pure
frustration for long stretches.
If marketed correctly, Skies of Arcadia could become a huge hit for
Sega for the GameCube. If it is a direct port of the Dreamcast
version, rest assured that the game will be one of the best titles
yet available for the GameCube.
But if Sega takes that extra step and fixes the one major problem
wrong with the Dreamcast version (the overuse of random battles),
Skies of Arcadia could go down as possibly the best RPG in history.
We'll find out when the game is released later this year, at a