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Arc the Lad : Twilight of the Spirits
The first incarnation of the AtL series on the PS2, Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is a tactical RPG, though more the latter than the former.
The game follows two viewpoints: that of Kharg, a human prince, and Darc, a Deimos (monstrous humanoid) slave. The two must unite to fight off a powerful army that seeks to capture the five elemental stones and gain ultimate power. The plot is, as it sounds, fairly cookie-cutter, and there isn't a huge amount of character development or really deep storyline. It's certainly not enough to support the gameplay. There are several attempts at "messages" - the splintering between the Deimos and the Humans as a metaphor for racism being the main one - but as a whole these are shallow.
The gameplay is "tactical", in a way, though the numbers of your party aren't as high as would be expected in such a system. Similar to Phantom Brave, each character has a radius that they can move in. Walking within range of an enemy allows you to attack them. Different weapons have different ranges, and certain skills also have longer ranges. Positioning for combination attacks becomes important.
The graphics are decent, and reasonable for a PS2 game of the time, but for the most part the character designs are uninspired. Every part of the character costumes and design seems to be stylistically taken from some other RPG, and none of them stand out in any way. The music is similarly generic; no particular piece stands out. This game is so remarkably average that it is unbelievable.
As a whole this game isn't excellent in many ways. It is simply another one of the seeming thousands of PS2 fantasy RPGs, and it doesn't add anything major or important to the formula that would be worth discussing.
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