Skip navigation

Arkadian Warriors


Developer of Assault Heroes and the mini-golf XBLA title, Wanako Games took a shot at creating a simple RPG title to attract the role playing portion of the Xbox Live community. Arkadian Warriors is a hack and slash, action RPG with light fantasy elements and Xbox Live co-op play for the entire story mode. It also takes advantage of the size upgrade at a little over 100 MB and it sells for 800 marketplace points. It joins a limited number of role playing games on Xbox Live Arcade, but is it better than the recent role playing title Puzzle Quest?

Gameplay

If anything, this is an extremely light RPG. My co-op buddy coined it as being Diablo for Dummies. All the elements of a RPG are included, but the amount of options is ultimately shallow. You can equip the character with three types of weapons and 2 to 3 types of armor, both specific to class. For instance, my warrior can carry a sword, hammer or spear and wear a suit of armor, helmet and shield. There are also three types of potions that can be carried around; health, mana and power (mapped to the D pad). Additionally, the player will be awarded a variety of spells as they level. One spell can be activated at a time and is used be hitting the B button. Also, the player has a beast form available to them when enough enemies have been killed. It's an extremely powerful creature that annihilates everything in its path almost immediately. Otherwise, it's just spamming the A button during battle.

I realize this is an arcade title, but RPG's should always have a solid story. The opening starts out fairly promising, but the missions meander around and fail to build on the tale. It's really just a random sampling of "help the townsfolk" tasks. A few of the missions border on ridiculous as well. Take the little girl about midway though the game. At first, she wants you to go get her doll that was lost in a dark, dank dungeon. Ok, I get it; she was playing in a place she shouldn't have been. After you recover the doll, it goes from cute to morbid as the next task is to recover her mother's bones. Of course, the bones are spread over several levels of a dungeon. Apparently, the goblins, snakes, spiders and griffins have spilt up the woman's remains as if it were some sort of underworld currency.

The missions are certainly repetitive, but the worst part is the complete lack of purpose. There's nothing in each mission that's worth hunting around for. There are no super-powered weapons or extra strength armor hiding in the dark corners of the dungeon. The only extra collectable comes in the form of secret rooms with a few piles of gold. Gold is already plentiful in the game and the added bonus of the secret room booty is minimal at best. The townsfolk will occasionally give you an equipment reward at the end of the mission, but it's rarely better than what I'm already using.

Hit detection and targeting are two more of the game's weak points. Although melee weapons seem to have a wide swinging berth, the actual range of impact is very small. Enemies standing as 10 and 2 will likely be unharmed. Targeting a specific enemy is easy, but a bit slow to react. Unfortunately, it's impossible to target chests or, more importantly, exploding vases. Heroes with ranged weapons will be shooting blind and often miss important objects completely.

The 2 player co-op mode works very well, but it doesn't mesh well with the single player game. You can search based on the level completed in the game as it's preferable to match up with a nearby level for the basis of enemy difficulty. There is little discernable lag, but the player is limited to stay in viewing distance of the other player. There's no running off to do your own thing. It's also strange that the developer limited the number of players to 2 people rather than including the last class in the mix. The best combo seems to be warrior / sorceress for the extra healing ability.

The main issue I have with co-op is returning to my single player game. I played several levels in co-op and headed back into my single player game only to find out that I was severely overmatched due to my equipment / experience. Splitting the gold / experience in co-op mode is the culprit. While the amount of gold / enemies increases slightly in co-op, I was only making about 60% as much on each level and my character suffered. The only way to remedy that is to replay some levels to rebuild the character.

There hasn't been an arcade title released for gamerscore whores recently, but it seems that Arkadian Warriors breaks that streak. The extreme simplicity of these achievements is shameful for a RPG title. Essentially, you only have to complete the main quest and put in a couple more hours to get to level 20 / do a little co-op for all the achievements. There's little challenge in any of the tasks and seems reminiscent of the easy achievement sets on early Xbox 360 titles.

Graphics & Audio

Visually, this title is moderately impressive for a 100 MB arcade title. The opening cinematic seemed more like a full length Xbox release rather than an arcade title. The character models, while cartoonish, are quite detailed and the animations are solid. The color scheme is bright and the explosion effects are delightful, but occasionally overpower the screen.

The camera angles stink though. The camera can be rotated to circle around the player, but it's painfully slow and fleeing enemies often run out of view before you can move the camera. There's also no option to invert the camera rotation. It seemed backwards to me and I found myself correcting my thumb constantly. As an added bonus of poor design, the camera rotates jointly in co-op mode. I found myself fighting to change the angle with my teammate all the time.

The musical score is fairly average for this type of release. There's a decent amount of variety in the tracks and it changes pace on a regular basis dependent on the situation. The music is immediately forgettable though. The sound effects are on par for a typical dungeon crawler. All the enemies have separate battle cries and the weapon / spell clips are diverse as well.

Conclusion

The entire single player campaign is absolutely short; as in a handful of hours. It's possible to blow through the entire game in five to six hours and a couple more for the last few achievements, perhaps faster in co-op. The difficulty is far too easy (no slider included) and there is no reason to replay the game with another character as the pitiful story remains exactly the same. I love seeing great original titles, like the recently released Undertow, hit Xbox Live Arcade, but this just isn't one of them. It's overpriced at 800 points and should be half that for the limited amount of playtime that it offers. The only possible use I could see this game having is to introduce little children to the basics of an RPG. Other than that, stick with Puzzle Quest for all your arcade role playing needs.