Thursday, September 13, 2018

Skies of Arcadia: a difficult start

I bought Skies of Arcadia for the Dreamcast (for £5 when HMV was clearing its stock).  I bought Skies of Arcadia Legends for the Gamecube (for about the same when Game was clearing its stock).  I have never played either.

But now, with the release of ReDream, a clean and simple Dreamcast emulator, and a few spare hours with my laptop in a Taiwan hotel, I have at least started it.  There are a few graphical effects on the screen which wouldn't be there if I were playing on my Dreamcast, but at the same time I wouldn't have such a clean picture ... and in fact I wouldn't be playing it at all.

The game isn't exactly the quickest to start, with cutscene after cutscene introducing the cast and situation.  The characters are well designed, if not immediately likeable, and there's a good world that feels ready to be explored.

But when the game starts properly, it's just all a bit slow.  You have to traverse long distances (across admittedly beautiful scenery) to find the next checkpoint, and it feels very linear and scripted.  I'm sure that the game will eventually open out, but after an hour I had only just landed the ship, after a few easy battles, and had managed to get stuck in a cupboard.

This is a problem I have with most JRPGs, to be fair, and as I get older and I have less free time it becomes ever more noticeable.  While this is a game I'd like to play more of, I suspect that realistically I can expect to forget about it now and have to replay the first part again in the future.