Arkadian Warriors (XBLA)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Monday, February 11, 2008

Graphics: 1.00
Sound: 1.00
Gameplay: 1.00
Replays: 1.00
Gamelength: 1.00

Arcade dungeon crawler fans rejoice, for our savior has arrived! The arcade dungeon crawler is back! Or is it?

Sierra Online attempts to bring back the arcade-like feel of Gauntlet Legends” style game play with their latest dungeon crawler, “Arkadian Warriors”, but they might have been better off scrapping the project altogether.

Graphically, there’s nothing to brag about here. This game looks like a high resolution Nintendo 64 title, which by today’s standards isn’t exactly a good thing. The frame rate is as smooth as it could ever be, though, so it’s not all bad. There’s also a good amount of color, but not so much that it gets to be annoying. As far as the environments go, there’s not a whole lot of variation. For the most part, you’ll simply be roaming around through the most generic dungeon settings you could possibly imagine and fighting the most generic creatures ever to grace the dungeon crawler genre. This is forgivable, though, as the game looks a lot like the obvious inspiration of “Gauntlet Legends”, which is a good thing for those looking for some serious nostalgia. If you’ve never played Gauntlet Legends, simply play the trial version of Arkadian Warriors and you’re honestly not too far off.

The sounds effects are pretty standard and I would be willing to guarantee that you’ve heard them all before at some point or another. The same goes for the extremely generic style of music, which all fit into each of the game’s settings, but simply don’t stand out. Every single aspect of this game’s sound track is forgettable at best. There’s not a single point in this game in which I found myself even remotely impressed by the sound quality.

There’s not much of a story in “Arkadian Warriors”, which is somewhat surprising considering the fact that it’s a quest-driven dungeon crawler. There’s basically no point to anything and the quests ALWAYS consist of killing a specific number of enemies or simply clearing a boss fight. Honestly, there’s nothing to say. The story is non-existent and there’s barely even an excuse to be killing things.

“Arkadian Warriors” plays like a dumbed down, yet somewhat enhanced Gauntlet Legends. For those of you who haven’t played Gauntlet Legends before, let’s just say that the combat is as generic as you’ll get and for the most part, you’ll simply be mashing the attack button over and over throughout the course of the game. However, Gauntlet Legends made this fun by providing awesome music, cool characters and an incredible amount of stage variation, all things which “Arkadian Warriors” seems to lack. In this game, every now and again you might transform to do even more damage or throw in a special move just for the heck of it, but honestly there’s not much need for any of this. The game is too easy for words and overall extremely mindless without any variation. There are a few enhancements that make the game somewhat fresh the first few times you notice them. The first of these enhancements is the transformation ability. Each of the 3 classes has it’s own beast form, though none of them are really any different other of the way they look. It’s quite simple, at that. Your transformation meter builds up as you attack creatures. When the meter is full, you hit a button and you’re immediately transformed into your (immensely overpowered) beast form. You can’t do much other than walk around and continuously mash the attack button, which sets off your beast’s automatic area damage attack. The beast attacks are all absolutely overpowered, which isn’t even necessary because the game is easy enough just mashing the attack button in your human form. The second enhancement is the equipment system, which is ripped out of the classic PC title, “Diablo”. Equipment is randomly generated and dropped in dungeons. You also receive equipment from various quests, which aren’t as random. Equipment has a small bit of variation, mostly consisting of weapon damage bonuses or various resistances. Beyond those little bonuses, equipment doesn’t do too much. I ran through the game almost entirely without spending any money or buying new equipment and I still had no trouble at all. The final addition to this game above the classic Gauntlet formula is the ability to use various skills/spells as you level up. You have no say in this system and abilities are unlocked automatically as you gain more levels. Your abilities will range from a generic fireball spell to laying traps. So, let’s recap: You wander around a town, get a quest from someone, go kill things, upgrade equipment, level up and repeat this process for 10 hours. If this sounds fun to you, you’d probably be better off just buying another game of the same genre. Plenty of them exist and you’d have a hard time finding one that’s worse than “Arkadian Warriors. It’s an all right game if you’re bored, have friends over and don’t have absolutely anything else to do, but otherwise you’d be better off doing practically anything else. It might be worth noting that this game has an online multiplayer mode, but honestly it doesn’t even help. There’s no saving this game.

Overall, I’d say “Arkadian Warriors” was a good try, but a miserable failure. The graphics suck, the music is horrid, the sound effects are a decade old, the environmental variation is non-existent, the equipment system is practically useless, there’s no character customization, the combat is boring and the list just goes on. I didn’t enjoy myself at all after roughly the first 5 minutes of the game. There’s a lot of content in terms of game length, but it’s not enough to justify the $10 price tag. If this game were free for a weekend special of some sort, it still wouldn’t be worth playing. I don’t think this is even worth consideration. I have to say, this game is so bad that the excessive length is actually a bad thing.

Pros:
-The frame rate is smooth.

Cons:
-Everything else.

Bottom Line:
This game is really terrible. I don’t know what the developers were thinking. I was really excited for this game prior to actually playing it, but I was quickly let down. It would take a lot to convince me to play a sequel in the event one is ever published. What I’m trying to say here is quite simple: Don’t even consider buying “Arkadian Warriors”. Just wait for something better. It wont be difficult to find something more enjoyable than this.

Overall Rating: 1.00

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