- "Slaughter is the route to all power."
Square Enix's answer to the Monster Hunter franchise, with a lot less realism and a lot more gratuitous violence. Developed by Access Games, Lord of Arcana is a Spinoff of Lord Of Vermilion, a Collectible Card Game that was incredibly popular in the arcades of Japan. It was released in 2010 in Japan in 2011 globally.
Lord of Arcana features you as a powerful warrior who makes a deal with the gods to travel to the world of Horodyn, giving up your memories and former strength as payment. Horodyn is the home of the Arcana, a mysterious dark force that its first king used to conquer the world in a mere nine days. Now you've come to claim that forbidden power for yourself.
The story is mostly inconsequential and can be ignored entirely if you please. Gameplay consists of taking missions from the "Slayers' Guild" then heading out to kill certain monsters or collect 20 Bear Asses. When you've completed enough missions, you can take on an Arcana Release quest, fighting one of the eight legendary beasts trapped within the Arcana to claim its power for your own. Like Monster Hunter, enemies drop parts that can be crafted into new equipment or items. Lord of Arcana also features Harvesting, where you can attempt to use your Arcana power to transform a defeated monster into a Monster Core, a valuable resource for Item Crafting.
While Monster Hunter took a realistic edge in its combat, Lord of Arcana opts for Hack and Slash. Encountering enemies whisks you away to a separate battle field, and your moves are often more flashy than powerful. Defeating an enemy while locked-on allows you to use a Coup De Grace, a Finishing Move that is less of a Mercy Kill and more of a ridiculously violent cutscene death. You even have to finish off boss monsters with a Melee Duel, a combination of Cutscene Power to the Max and Press X to Not Die.
A sequel called Lord of Apocalypse was released in 2011, featuring two new weapon types, NPC mercenaries that you can hire to go on quests with you, and a more substantial plot (with named characters and everything!)
Lord of Arcana provides examples of:
- Adventure Guild: The Slayers' Guild.
- All There in the Manual: To the point where most of the important information is buried and some isn't even explained at all. Good luck figuring out what Light Magic does. (It increases your chance to daze an enemy).
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: If you're playing ad-hoc, you can have a party of up to four players.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the advanced Battle Arts and flashier moves- especially the ones where you leap into the air- leave you vulnerable to counter-attacks for a deadly amount of time.
- BFG: Firelances. (But its size actually works against you.)
- BFS: Two-Handed Swords. Maces to an extent.
- Boring, but Practical:
- The Firelance. You can't jump or roll or block or move fast or deal much damage or anything. But you can attack from a distance, which gives you an incredible advantage over every other weapon class.
- Basic drops like Impish Horns, Clean Water and Beast Lard may seem boring compared to some of the rare drops you can get from bosses. But it's the more common drops you'll use to synthesize the basic healing items you'll come to rely on more than your equipment.
- Broken Bridge: Your Guild Rank. If it's too low then you can't do certain Arcana Release quests, even if they're available.
- Chainmail Bikini: Armor is usually quite sensible (if you ignore the insane agility with which you move during cutscenes) but occasionally you get armor that exposes some large part of your bare skin. And it's not just girls, the guys have to deal with this too!
- Character Select Forcing:
- Some enemies are a lot easier to defeat with certain weapons. Then there's the Green Slimes... you didn't happen to equip any kind of magic other than Fire or Light Magic, right? Whoops, it's now hideously tedious and painful to defeat them.
- Though the Green Slimes are still not as painful as Drake Shade, who has TEN THOUSAND HP. It also takes tons of damage if you hit the rider... but the only reliable way to do that is by using the Artillery or Sniper battle arts of the Firelance.
- Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Most bosses have parts that you can target and destroy, taking out a large chunk of their power and gaining some unique loot in the process.
- Dutch Angle: The camera tilts this way when an enemy is low on health.
- An Economy Is You: The blacksmith, since his entire recipe book is based on Monster Cores and you're the only person in the village who can acquire them. He even lampshades it constantly, referring to you as "my only customer" and himself as "your personal blacksmith".
- Eldritch Abomination: Vermilion.
- Evolving Attack: How your magic and weapon skills increase.
- Excuse Plot: Unless you talk to the NPCs, you might not even realize there's a plot at all.
- Fake Ultimate Mook: Some of the Arcana monsters can fall under this. Grendel, for example, spends most of his time in the air not attacking you, and telegraphs his attacks so blatantly that you have plenty of time to react.
- Game-Breaking Bug: If you import a demo character into the EU version of the game, it will crash every time you try to open the item menu. This is due to a bug caused by certain items in the demo being absent in the full game.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: The main plot. Except not really! It turns out that you only have to collect half of the Arcana in order to break the seal leading to Vermilion, and the other half are optional post-game content.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Some even pop out of the corpses of monsters! And are bigger than the corpses themselves!
- Lag Cancel: The second and third swings of the 2H Sword's combo can be cancelled into a block. This makes the huge, sluggish greatsword actually safer than the small, quick 1H Sword.
- Luck-Based Mission: Harvesting. The only way to improve your odds is by collecting more Arcana and equipping a certain orb.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Monsters literally explode into large chunks of flesh when you defeat them.
- Mook Chivalry: HAHAHAHAHAHA nope. The complete absence of this is one of the main sources of difficulty.
- Press X to Not Die: Melee Duels (Cinematic Scenes in the Japanese version).
- The Quisling: The Vendels take a condescending tone with you at first, but when it looks like you might actually pull off your quest to collect the Arcana, it's "All hail our new Lord Ruler!" time.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: All the Arcana.
- Shout-Out: A couple here and there.
- Bahamut shows up as one of the Arcana bosses.
- When using the Two-Handed Sword's final Battle Art, Nirrti, the character's left arm droops, they hold their sword one-handed over their shoulder and their eyes glow red, along with attacking and walking much more animalistically. Sound similar to anybody?
- Sprint Meter: "Pulse", a meter that measures your heart rate and goes up if you do anything other than basic attacks and walking.
- A Taste of Power: You do the tutorial area at Lv.45 with some pretty good equipment, maxed out magic and weapon skills, the Bahamut Ultimate Card and an inventory chock-full of items.
- Time Skip: There's a one year gap between your victory over Vermilion and the post-story content. Nothing much has changed in the village.
- Turns Red: All of the Arcana bosses can do this.
- 24-Hour Armor: Some armor could at least be functional (the Assassin's Coat line or the Fencing Gear line) but when you have your character decked out in full plate with massive shoulder pauldrons...
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Of the "invincible while rolling" type.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Bahamut. At least the previous Arcana bosses were your size.