It’s been far too long since ‘Arc the Lad: End of Darkness’ effectively brought the franchise to a screeching halt on the PlayStation 2 in 2005, and although the Arc series as a whole has never brought the kind of mass acclaim that other venerable RPG franchises have, it’s been time wasted for those who got to experience its other entries. Now, a mere 16 years later for those in the west, the series is seeing an attempted resurgence on mobile.
Whilst the Arc the Lad series has always done well for itself in Japan, it was relatively unknown to the outside world. Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits (released in Europe as simply ‘Arc: Twilight of the Spirits’) managed to secure a release however and served as the forerunner to bringing the other games over years later.
Now that the original has been reviewed it’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive into the vastly superior experience that is Arc the Lad II. A game so ambitious and so very well presented across all levels of its design that it might just hold the title of best Tactics RPG of all time were it not dwarfed by the fandom of the Final Fantasy crowd. Arc the Lad II is a labour of love from a studio that had the balls to send their first Playstation game out there as a prelude and technical demo for what was to come, and we love them for it.
Arc the Lad was one of the first games released onto the Sony Playstation and it sits in that initial period where developers were still trying to work out what the best thing to do with all the additional space they had now that technology had made the jump from cartridge to CD. The solution Working Designs and G-Craft came up with was to include fully orchestrated music and CGI cutscenes that may look dated by today’s standards but were beyond anything previously seen in an RPG at the time.