Whenever I get a package from Square Enix I know for a fact there are two things I can expect in their game. The first thing is a unique type of a game that almost always tries to go outside of the box. The second thing I think it’s safe to say that it almost always going to have some sort of RPG elements to it. Now of course I am sure there are some exceptions out there, so please don’t spam my e-mail box, those are just the two things I expect when playing a game that comes from Square. Well now Square Enix is out with another game that hits both categories dead on, in Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel for the PS2. So does this game make light for the action RPG market? Read our full review to find out!
For those of you who are not avid Cartoon Network viewers (like myself) you would probably have no clue that they have a current anime series running under the same exact title. I took a few sittings of the show and it’s actually not that bad. The game of course is based directly off of the TV show, and this is one of the reasons why I thought the game actually had quite a good chance of being a pretty decent game.
The backstory behind Fullmetal Alchemist is actually a pretty strange one, which involves the Elric brothers who are on a quest to find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. Why are they going after this legendary stone you might ask? Well to be quite blunt about it, these guys are just not the brightest scientists and screw up big time when trying to resurrect their dead mom. They ended up totally obliterating Alpohosone’s body and Edward ended up losing his right arm and his left leg in the process. But yet the two still remain and now are on their mysterious and interesting quest to try and find the Philosopher’s Stone.
So many of you may be wondering now what type of game is this, and how well does it end up playing out. Well first off like I said, this is an action RPG that never once goes away from it. Of course if you watch the show you are probably quite aware of the fact that alchemy plays quite a large role in the action, and thus the developers put a lot of emphasis on this in the game itself. You can charge your alchemy by holding down the O button which works really well but unfortunately there just really isn’t enough variety in the game’s use of the alchemy to even be that big of a factor. Basically this ability allows you to transform objects into weapons, and although on the surface this idea would seem to have made for an excellent gameplay addition, the developers in my opinion didn’t let the alchemy grow out to its full potential. The alchemy also works to offer some different types of attacks that really don’t help the game all that much.
Another problem the game faces is in its level design, which seems to struggle from beginning to end. We all know that these type of third person action games usually can struggle with level design, but this game never even seems to make an attempt to try and improve it. The levels in which the game provides are rather bland and don’t throw a whole lot of variety at you. You will just take on waves upon waves of enemies and the whole thing just seems like your running around in circles.
Unfortunately the beating on this game will continue as the computer AI in this game can be laughable at times. I say this because the game really doesn’t offer up much of a challenge when it comes to the gameplay. I mean besides some of the boss characters, the game doesn’t pose much of a challenge, most of the combat in the game requires no effort whatsoever, and using the special abilities and such are just for your own personal enjoyment, as you really don’t need to use the alchemy to be successful in the game.
As you can see the more and more I talk about Fullmetal Alchemist, the more I am showing what a missed opportunity the developers had in terms of the gameplay in the game. The ideas behind the gameplay are all there, and in fact you can without a doubt see all the potential the game has. With that being said, the game does a rather poor job of using that potential and brings out a rather lack luster experience in the gameplay department.
If there is one thing about Anime games I have liked in the past it is their visual styles, which never cease to amaze me. For one reason or another, these games seem to get a lot of attention in the visual category than any other genre. So does Fullmetal Alchemist impress me?
Fullmetal Alchemist hits and misses when we talk about the visuals, which is something a lot of games for some reason have been doing a lot of lately. Once again the character models in this game are gorgeous and you can see they have done a great job of taking the TV characters and making them into beautiful console characters. Not only is that, but the style of the characters is something to be admired as well. On the negative side though, the game just doesn’t give enough variety or detail in the environments, which in my opinion were very disappointing. I found the environments to be very bland and really lacked that strong visual style as portrayed in the TV shows.
Overall the visuals of the game are still very good and still do a very good job of portraying a pretty standard looking anime action game.
The one thing about this game is that it starts off with a pretty good feeling, one that really makes you want so much more out of the game, yet a feeling that shows that this game does have the potential to offer quite a bit. From there you get an unfortunate steep drop off that leaves you with another feeling yet one that’s definitely not as exciting, and that is what they were thinking. You will start to see the game do the same sort of thing over and over again. Luckily though the combat has enough variety to stay somewhat interesting throughout.
Going into this review I didn’t think this game was going to be all that great, I started the game up and had high hopes for it after seeing the first level or so, and then that dramatically dropped to a pretty mediocre game. Unless you’re a huge fan of the TV series, you can probably just either shy away from this one or keep as a back up choice for a rental.
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.