JRPGs are really a tale of two cities. In one city, a bunch of witty, genuinely enjoyable games sit patiently, just waiting to be loved. In the other city, the games are filled with so many cliches and obnoxious caricatures that they’re looting and wrecking up the place. Skies of Arcadia for the Dreamcast is very much the latter.
Don’t get me wrong—I like some JRPGs, but this is definitely not one of them. All I heard was how this was a standout game, how it should have been able to save the Dreamcast, how magical the whole thing was.
But it’s not. I was clearly lied to. It’s like someone had the bright idea of throwing in every cliche and cardboard-cutout of a character possible, then decided that the only people in the entire game who get character development are the bad guys. Belleza and Ramirez are the only reasons to play through this at all, because the characters who come with you aren’t going to grow. No matter what, Vyse will always be hopeful. Aika will always be cheery. Fina will always be the damsel in distress. No one grows or changes.
“Oh, but you can fly around in the sky,” you say? Yeah, with random encounters every three seconds. Flying around simply isn’t worth the effort when you’re so frequently inconvenienced. I mean, I could jump out of a third-story window and fly for a few moments, but it’s not worth it because it hurts like a bitch. Just like playing this game.
“Oh, but the music is great,” you argue? Go to hell, the music is awful. I can open my mind and appreciate music from even the original NES, but almost every theme in this game is either head-splittingly joyful or totally generic. It literally gave me a migraine and forced me to turn off the sound.
Here’s the best part. Eventually you’re trying to keep these crystals (so original) from the evil country (even more original). One of them lies in a cave system and requires fighting a giant monster. Why kill the monster if it’s already protected? By that point in the game you’ve pretty much established that everyone who’s going after the crystals is pitiful and weak. They’d be no match, and I seem to remember no one from that country even being able to fly low enough to get in there in the first place. That means you’re basically taking it from out of reach and making it obtainable. So stupid. Even better, you’re an air pirate. How would they possibly get them if you just dropped them off your ship at different parts of the world? No one goes down there, and even if they did/could, they’d have to dig for decades to find them. The whole thing is ridiculous.
Here’s what you should do: