I am not sure what it is but for me it just seems like there is something in the air that is constantly reminding me that the end of this line of consoles is quickly approaching. Maybe it’s because we see more of the same games over and over again. With that being said, today we get the chance to take a look at a game that was last published by SCEA and now Namco has the rights to the series when they teamed up with developers Cattle Call to create Arc the Lad: End of Darkness for the PS2. So is this game going to be worth your hard earned money? Read our full review to find out!
When Namco got the rights to Arc the Lad: End of Darkness, we were immediately told that this game was going to be a departure from the turn based RPG formula of its predecessor, and move towards the action RPG style. We also found out pretty soon that this game was going to include online play, which is always a welcome feature since so few of PS2 games make use of its online capabilities. So how does Arc the Lad: End of Darkness rate?
Well first off, you got to hand it to the developers who really had their work cut out for them with this game, since they planned on really starting from the ground up. This all began with a very different storyline that starts five years after the previous game. In this game you take control of Edda, who is the last in a very long line of "exorcist" who have the unique ability to expel evil spirits. For one reason or another evil spirits are at it again, and from there you are really thrown into the core of the game’s story mode. The plot may feels familiar to countless other RPGs in the market, but in the overall sense it is a nice storyline for this game.
So once you get down past the story, you will see the new route that the developers decided to take with the game. The familiar turn-based battle system of the franchise has been replaced by a faster real-time system. I think this game serves as a perfect example of catering to modern gamers are not used to the slow speed of the turn-based system and prefer to act straight away. With that being said, the game gives a pretty typical hack and slash experience throughout, that to be honest, doesn’t feel overly different from any other action RPG on the market already. The game has it so the action can be mixed up at your own discretion, using a sort of to do list that allows you to take the missions and go on with it, which for me wasn’t all that original but it still worked.
The one thing that I did have a problem with in the single player was that the gameplay does get awfully repetitive. For the most part you are going to be feeling like you are doing the same thing over and over again. The game also requires some backtracking, which means going through the same places you have already been and take on a different mission. Another thing is the missions after a while all seem to be the same and therefore the game does get tedious.
But of course moving past the single player and onto the feature that I think most of us were extremely excited about, and that is the online play. So how did it turn out you might ask? Well for me I have to say that the transition from having to play this game alone to playing it cooperatively with a friend was really just a treat in itself. The game doesn’t do anything really mechanically different when playing online, but it does just feel like you have more of a purpose with multiplayer. I have to say that overall I really appreciated what the developers did with the online play and for me it worked.
Overall Arc the Lad: End of Darkness doesn’t really have anything that stands out over the other action hack and slash RPGs on the market. The single player needs some serious patience in the second half of the game, but you’ll have more fun in the solid online mode. The game faces some tough competitions, but still manages comes out with a pretty good playing game nonetheless.
When we look back at the previous Arc the Lad game, we find that the game’s visual style hasn’t changed one bit from that game to this game. End of Darkness has some really nice creative character models that use a very interesting style that I really appreciate. Being able to see games that go away from the normal is always a nice thing and the developers did a nice job of being creative in this game.
However that creativity is somewhat lost when it comes to the game’s environments, which to me seemed extremely lackluster, with a lack of any sort of creativity that was so nice in the character models. Another thing I noticed was that the game really didn’t have much variety in the environment category, and therefore it seems like you are going through the same level over and over again. Overall though the visuals of the game are still good and use a very unique visual style that for me worked very nicely, just don’t expect it to blow you away.
Arc the Lad: End of Darkness is a game that has its ups and downs, but if you really like these sorts of games then you are going to find a lot to enjoy in this game, both offline and online. The game’s single player mode isn’t anything to write home about, but still does have an interesting storyline and a pretty good combat system. When this is translated online I found that the cooperative play is really what this game does best, and for me this portion of the game was a lot of fun. The game is nowhere near perfect, but it still was a pretty fun experience.
Sure there are some better action RPG’s out there, but Arc the Lad: End of Darkness, on its own merits, is still a pretty good game. The simple combat system works really well for the game and the storyline for me was really interesting. I would have liked more diversity in the single player mode, but the online mode really helped out its cause. Overall the game isn’t without its faults, but if you are in the market for an action RPG, this game would be a great rental if not a good purchase.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.