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Skies of Arcadia

Preview By: Roger Taylor

Developer:  Point of View/Sega
Publisher:  Sega
Genre:  RPG
Est. Release:  Q4 2002
Posted:  3-20-02

The Dreamcast 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.

(Dreamcast screen)

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.

(Dreamcast Screen)

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 yet-to-be-determined date.
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