The first 3-D title in the series, Wild Arms 3 is a wild west, cel-shaded departure that surpasses its RPG parents on most levels and will be well loved by fans of the series. The character design is excellent and the cel-shading is initially quite striking. The cels are textured as well as coloured and while at first it's a subtle and beautiful effect, it's flat (the textures do not move behind the cel-contours gliding over them) and can start to look a bit thin. The gameplay is a nice compromise between Zelda and Final Fantasy. Puzzles are frequent but not frustrating. Random battles knock often but as you play you can earn limited opportunities to refuse these. The four playable characters are fairly deep and interesting at times, but parts of them have been seen over and over in Japanese games and anime. It's nice that you play each singly as a back-story at the start of the game and then they all meet as a party for a long quest with many optional side-quests. This gives good replay value. The battle system is solid. Your party packs various firearms and spell abilities. Battles can tend to alternate between too easy and too hard. For example, you can play with auto-combat on so that you don't have to do a thing and your characters will soundly defeat most enemies on their own AI. On the other hand, when you encounter bad guys you can't beat, you are stuck in a loop of fighting them to your death over and over until frustration sends you to quit and reload from the last save. All told, this RPG-cum-Japanime Western will please fans of the genre, who'll find it easy to overlook the game's shortfalls. --Ashley Pond V
- Cell shading technology delivers vibrant and energetic visuals.
- Artistic anime sequences tie into gameplay visuals and enhance an epic storyline.
- Prologues for each character deliver depth and development.
- "Expressive-communication" allows a player to read character moods and emotions.
- Interactive field environments require the solving of intricate puzzles found around every corner.