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The Next Level
Overall, Arc The Lad Collection is something Working Designs should be very proud of. It is an engrossing and enjoyable experience that all RPG fans should really be able to get hooked into. The flowing storyline of the series is possibly its greatest highlight and the pay off at the end of Arc The Lad III proves that. This really isn't a game that can be rented to enjoy (along with the fact that you'll have a hard time finding it to rent anyway) and while the MSRP of $74.99 may deter some people it really shouldn't be much of a factor considering the sheer amount game and goodies Working Designs has provided for you in this collection.
Yes, this series has truly turned into a game collectors dream come true. Just be warned, the series will take you over 100 hours to complete, and many more to master. Arc the Lad Collection is addictive, fun, and involving, which are the three most important aspects of any game.
This was truly a wonderful series to play and I can only hope that Working Designs brings the planned Arc 4 for the PS2 to the rest of the world as well.
But if you're an ordinary gamer rather than a scumbag journalist on deadline, and you don't mind graphics that are just a touch behind the cutting edge, you should get plenty of mileage out of Arc the Lad Collection. Working Designs has done its fanbase a kind service with this one, and in exceptionally classy style -- the translation from beginning to end is thoroughly readable and pleasantly restrained.
Game Informer Magazine
This is a hard compilation to judge. At $70, you're paying $23 per game, plus fluff. Each Arc is great, but will you pass up Final Fantasy X for the collection? Probably not. Should you pass them up period? Hell no! With the classic strategy gameplay and trademark Working Designs writing, anybody with a taste for RPGs will find more than a mouthful here.
There are lots more little joys and gripes to be found here, but Working Designs has really topped any previous release of this type and brought a true classic out in classic form. Fans of Arc the Lad will obviously be thrilled, but even newcomers will see the quality of this game shining through. Arc II is really where you'll spend the bulk of your time, and Arc III is only average compared to its predecessors, but taken as a whole this collection is above average. It's fair to say that any PlayStation owner who considers him- or herself a fan of classic RPG action would be missing something special to not get this collection. If you're only a casual fan of the genre, it may not be worth the money for you, but the one thing you won't do is bust open this beautiful package and think you didn't get your money's worth. It's not a perfect collection, but there are plenty of great moments and solid action to keep you happy through close to 100 hours of play.
Overall, this game is an old school console RPGer's game. If lots of characters building, painstaking translation, and a solid battle system sound like a good way to spend 100+ hours of your time - the Arc the Lad Collection is a good investment. If you like lots of goodies, toys, and fancy collected game manuals on top of that gameplay, it's a great investment. In a time when many of the next-gen console game makers are still trying to figure out how to make a good RPG, Working Designs has brought up a timeless classic which is fun to play and manages to make even 100+ hours seem too short.
Localization is well done, which is expected of Working Designs, and the entire product package contains more extra goodies than you can possibly shake a mage's staff at. This is a must-have for any hardcore enthusiast.
Game Informer Magazine
These aren’t the greatest RPGs of all time, but they are fun and you really get a lot of gameplay for your money.
Without a doubt, Arc II is the best game in the collection. It manages to be epic in scale and accessible to gamers of all levels at the same time, a balancing act the other two games can?t quite pull off (though Arc III comes close). The package will take a major chunk of your life to finish, but the impressive battle system and story makes the time seem to zoom by. Even without the trinkets and extras, the three RPGs should be worth the high retail price to hardcore fans.
Arc the Lad was originally released in Japan during the summer of 1995. It was a strategy RPG hung on the familiar premise shared by countless console role-playing games--it told the story of a young man who came of age and gathered faithful companions on a journey to save the world. Two direct sequels followed that continued to trace the efforts of good against evil in a tale of increasing breadth and scope, and we would never have seen these games outside of Japan had it not been for the efforts of Working Designs. It's a noble endeavor, and if you can find the time to tame the Arc the Lad Collection and the patience to sometimes painstakingly level your characters, it's worth a try.
Price notwithstanding, Arc the Lad Collection offers a good amount of role-playing depth. You get a real sense of accomplishment saving the world with three generations of heroes. All in all, this is a solid collection that is worth a look, provided the price is right.
All in all, Arc the Lad is an enjoyable little snack of a game to kick off the series, and while it only lasts about ten hours, it features a variety of side quests, including an optional 50 floor dungeon which both extend the length, and lets players rack up experience and equipment to carry over to the sequel.