I remember playing some awesome role playing games on the Super Nintendo as a kid. In fact, that's almost all that I remember. And yet, every RPG that I have played since starting this journey has been mediocre at best. Meh.
Arcana is an interesting take on the role playing genre that deals with cards. No, not Triple Triad from Final Fantasy 8. Nor is it part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise and its damn near 50 games. The closest thing I can think of to relate this game with would be the Chronicles of Amber books. If you haven't heard of them, and you like the fantasy genre, you should check them out. They are a great read and a lot of fun, unlike Arcana.
|Magic tarot cards and craziness all around. Plus, Corwin is a badass.|
The controls for this game are as basic and simplistic as you can get. D-pad for movement, and a single button for actions. Normally, this would be rage worthy, but the controls actually work for how this game is set up. You see, unlike 7th Saga (which had the same controls), Arcana does not have NPCs to interact with or objects to search. I guess that is one way to fix the problem.
|Fuck em, who needs NPCs anyway?|
Graphics are going to be hard to judge. Everything deals with cards. Your main sprite is on a card, monsters that attack are on cards...etc. The sprites and animations on these cards looks really good as well. But then you get to everything else. This RPG takes place through the first person perspective, and everything you look at is boring as shit. Dungeons consist of a single gray brick wall copypasta'd a million times. Towns are literally a slideshow of 4 or 5 generic houses. And spells...well, the spells are a complete joke. Most spells can be described as a random squiggle of lines and dots.
The gameplay is what really matters, and for the most part, it's not that bad. The random battles didn't annoy me like usual, and the game didn't completely rape me either. I think the best part is not needing to grind. I hate when games make me grind out levels. I thought the idea of using cards was neat until I realized how pointless they were. Spells and cards are a waste of time (except healing of course), as melee will do more damage every time. And that's the problem with this game. It tries a lot of different things, but it fails to execute most of them.
Arcana is one of those games were you can see the potential. You can see how they were trying to be original in both style and gameplay. But, for whatever reason, they failed to execute them on nearly every level. Still, I give this game 2 cards out of 5 for trying, and for not pissing me off with an overabundance of random battles. I really hate random battles.