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Video Game / Wild ARMs

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A cult RPG series by Media Vision and published by XSEED Games, Wild ARMs combines classic RPG gameplay with a Wild West/Steampunk setting and influence. Take the best parts of Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda and toss in some The Good, the Bad and the Ugly for good measure and you've got most installments of Wild ARMs. The series currently has seven installments. The ARM in the title refers to the guns used by various characters. The reason it is capitalized is because it is an acronym that means something different in each game.

The games often deal with themes of self-discovery and growing up. Other important themes involve rebuilding the world, since each game takes place on the barren wasteland known as Filgaia. While a traditional RPG in the sense of battling, Wild ARMS also introduces tool-based exploration and puzzle-solving, giving it some minor action RPG elements. Combined with this, later iterations of the series also gave each character a special ability that complements their roles: Mage characters can use Extend to cast his magic on every enemy while the Jack of All Stats characters can use Accelerator to go first, for example.

In addition to the game series, there has been a manga adaptation for each installment, as well as an original manga known as Wild ARMs: Hananushubito / Wild ARMs: Flower Thieves. The series has also had its own anime, which is called Wild ARMs: Twilight Venom.

While the franchise hasn't enjoyed the massive success of Square-Enix's RPGs, it has managed to build up a loyal fanbase, especially in Japan where the first five games have all managed to become part of the "PlayStation The Best", which is similar to the Greatest Hits and Platinum Range labels.

The series consists of:

    Main Games 
  • Wild ARMs (Play Station, 1996) - On the dying planet of Filgaia an unlikely trio of allies found themselves chosen by the Guardian Spirits of Filgaia to stop demons, that were banished in a great war many years ago, from returning.
  • Wild ARMs 2nd Ignition/Wild ARMs 2 (PlayStation, 1999) - A young soldier from an elite unit gets turned into a demon by a mysterious group that desires to rule over the planet. He's saved by the powers of a magical sword, that used to belong to a great hero. Together with his restored unit, he must put a stop to the insane conqueror's plans.
  • Wild ARMs Advanced 3rd/Wild ARMs 3 (PlayStation 2, 2002) - Four Drifters find themselves fighting over a mysterious artifact known as the Arc Scepter. Instead of killing each other, they decide to form a team, and track down a priceless treasure known as the Eternal Sparkle.
  • Wild ARMs: The 4th Detonator/Wild ARMs 4 (PlayStation 2, 2005) - A teenage boy finds his life completely changed, when one day a fleet of airships literally breaks through the sky above his hometown. In the following chaos he accidentally bonds with a forbidden weapon known as "ARM", and must escape from an elite unit, that seeks to return it no matter what.
  • Wild ARMs: The Vth Vanguard/Wild ARMs 5 (PlayStation 2, 2006) - A couple of teens from a countryside witness as a humongous metal hand falls from the sky near them. It turns out to carry a strange white-haired girl with no memories of herself. The heroes move out to help her restore her memories and find out the truth about the world.
    Side Games 
    Supplementary Material 
  • Wild ARMs: Twilight Venom (2000) - an original 22-episode anime.
  • Wild ARMs: Flower Thieves (2001) - an original 12-chapter manga.

In August 2022 some of the former developers of Wild ARMs and Shadow Hearts have collectively announced Spiritual Successors to their respective series, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund them. The Wild ARMs side of the deal is called Armed Fantasia, which is to be released sometime in 2025.

Has an Anime Spiritual Successor in the form of Symphogear, which shares a lot of the same writing and directorial staff. Not to be confused with ARMS.

This videogame series provides examples of:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: The various tools that you get throughout your adventure are used to solve various puzzles. In particular, expect to use said ability a great deal in the dungeon in which you find the item.
  • After the End: Planet Hiades that the Metal Demons come from is implied to be Earth...after the humans all became robots.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The first three games open with three/four prologue stories with a party member as the sole character. They are largely disconnected from the plot, but serve to introduce the world and characters, as well as some Foreshadowing.
  • Attack Failure Chance:
    • If an ARM has low accuracy, then there's a higher chance its attacks will miss. (The most notorious for this is Rudy's Wild Bunch ARM in the original game.) Upgrading ARMs can mitigate this, as can the Lock-On force (if a character has it).
    • In some games, ARMs can malfunction. This can happen to Jude in the fourth game, as well as to Rudy in the remake of the first game.
  • Chest Monster: The mimics and the Black Box boss, which can only be fought if you open every single chest in the game.
  • Combination Attack: Fourth and fifth games have a unique combo attack for every pair of characters. They require both characters to stand in the same HEX.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Wild ARMs: Flower Thieves
  • Desert Punk: Especially Wild ARMs 2 and 3.
  • Duel Boss: Usually several per game, not counting prologue bosses.
  • Edge Gravity: In the first three games characters will balance on the edge of a platform, but only if there's ground below. If there's a Bottomless Pit, they will fall to their doom, and the game will reset you to the entrance of the room. Dashing also bypasses this mechanic.
  • Enemy Scan: The Analyze spell.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening animation generally changes based on how far into the game you've gotten.
  • Fake Difficulty: Wild ARMs 2, 3, and Alter Code F don't allow you to buy healing items in shops. This is justified in that healing items are fruits or berries, and you're living in a wasteland. There are sidequest that allows you to grow your own fruits and berries, but they do not usually come in until about halfway through the game.
  • Fantastic Firearms: Subverted. Arms are perfectly mundane firearms (or laser guns), but are almost universally regarded as accursed Evil Weapons wielded exclusively by demons.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The setting is generally Space Western/Desert Punk, but there are random terms and cultural elements from many different sources scattered throughout. The Baskars are a mix of Native American and a hippie-ish religious commune.
  • Foil: Rudy from the first game and Jet from the third. Both are artificial humans but have near opposite personalities.
    • Rudy is kindhearted, longs to connect with others and is deeply sentimental, using his memories as a coping mechanism when he's upset. Jet is anti-social, prefers being by himself and lacks any memories so finds it hard to get attached to anything or anyone.
    • Rudy believes he is fifteen, but was created a thousand years ago. Jet believes he is nineteen but was actually created only ten years ago. Similarly, Rudy is made from the same metal as the demons, making him unnatural, while Jet is made from Filgaia itself, turning him into a Nature Hero.
    • When the truth about what they are is revealed, Jet is initially angry, but after the next battle he's generally accepted it, while Rudy is so shocked and distressed that he enters an Angst Coma.
  • The Four Gods: The guardians Grudiev (the Azure Dragon), Moor Gault (the Vermillion Phoenix), Fengalon (the White Tiger), and Schturdark (the Black Turtle).
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The eponymous ARM stands for something different every game.
    • There's also the EMMA Motor, which appears in the first two games, but Marivel from 2 claims that the name is an acronym, and that it definitely is NOT named after its inventor. In reality, she's got it backwards (it's still a nice Continuity Nod though).
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Finding all the Puzzle Boxes, let alone solving some of the later ones.
    • Finding all of the EX File Keys.
    • Forget that: Finding all of the treasure chests!
  • The Gunslinger: Almost everyone who wields an ARM.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Taking this one step further, practically every spell in some of the games can be renamed and in some games nearly every named NPC can be renamed.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Notably averted. Unlike most other Eastern RPGs, heroes of Wild ARMs use the titular ARMs. Rudy from the original game has a sword as an Emergency Weapon, but that was retconned in the remake.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The game's were translated by different companies, with varying levels of quality.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Duplicators.
  • Ironic Name: Siegfried, one of the series' most ruthless villains, is named after a hero in Norse mythology.
  • Ley Line: The Ley Line is referenced in 1 and 3. Ley points also appear in 4, 5, and XF as a gameplay element.
  • Limit Break: The Force Point system. How it works is slightly different in each game, but in every game there are special moves you can perform by spending 25, 50, 75, or 100 Force Points. In some games, you must build your Force Points up before you can access some of your other spells and abilities. Typical moves are Extension and Mystic(which expand the range of Magic and Items respectively), Accelerator, which makes you go first in the round, and Aim, which makes your attack hit without fail. Summons also use Force Points.
  • Limited Sound Effects: exactly one block-pushing sound, multiple floor surfaces the blocks are on.
  • Lost Technology: The Holmcross, the Golems, the Dragons, the Metal Demons, ARMs, etc. etc.
  • Lost Colony: The human population of Filgaia are revealed to be colonists from Earth in the third game, and this is also referenced in the fifth. The planet's tumultuous history has meant this is largely forgotten.
  • Magic from Technology:
    • Magic on Filgaia may or may not be based on nanomachines dispersed in the atmosphere. They can be somehow controlled with "Crests", which supplementary materials depict as playing cards with mystical symbols in place of suits.
    • Mediums are pieces of technology that can be used to summon Guardian Spirits of Filgaia. They also provide the user with their magic.
  • Musical Nod: "Into the Wilderness" from the first game has been remixed and used in most of the rest.
  • Nanomachines: They are a common plot device and background element, being (possibly) the source of the magic on Filgaia, the force behind Metal Demons in 1 and 3, as well as the meaning of the acronym "ARM" in 4.
  • New Game Plus: The EX Keys unlock bonus content after you have completed the game including this.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: One of Recurring Boss Trask's central traits is his absurdly high defense.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: If you fall into them, you'll just be reset to the entrance of the room. It's a good thing, because Edge Gravity for some reason doesn't work on Bottomless Pits.
  • Non-Linear Sequel: As of the latest Word of God, there is only one Filgaia, but you wouldn't know that from playing the games. Each game is completely disconnected from the rest, and there is no official timeline. Wild ARMs 5, however, ensures that the planet has been in roughly the same state for at least 12000 years.
  • Numbered Sequels: All of the sequels except XF are numbered in their North American releases. Their names contain those numbers in the Japanese releases, but are named much more colorfully.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The Elw, native inhabitants of Filgaia, are immortal (versus natural causes), highly spiritual, and far better than humans in terms of Functional Magic and Magitek. They have the "thin and pretty" part of the traditional elf image, but their ears are vaguely rabbit-ish rather than simply pointy.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They're biomechanical extradimensional creatures who can turn into airships. Their bones are also made into weapons, such as the titular ARMs.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Metal Demons of the first and third games are humans turned into living metal by alchemical Nanotech. The demons of the second game (and one in the third) are some mix of Anthropomorphic Personification and Eldritch Abomination.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Crimson Nobles are powerful long-lived blood-drinkers who take damage from direct sunlight, but they are born normally, not by being bitten, and are not really "undead".
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Quite a few character designs, like Virginia and Alexia.
  • Puzzle Boss: Sort of. Many bosses can be made much easier by using specific trick methods, including Vinsfield's ghost: a secret boss in the second game who can repeatedly take off most of your party's health on each of his turns, but can be killed instantly, before he acts, with absolute certainty, by casting one spell.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad (Liz and Ard in Wild ARMs 2, Maya and the Schrodinger family in Wild ARMs 3)
  • Rare Candy: LVL Apples automatically increase level of one character by 1. They can be stolen from bosses.
  • Recurring Boss: Trask/Tarasque, a Nigh-Invulnerable turtle...thing that debuted in Wild ARMs 2 and has appeared in most games since.
  • Recurring Character: Similar to Final Fantasy's Cid, each game has a character named "Tony", who has a different role each time.
  • Recurring Element:
    • Take place on a world called Filgaia, with money called gella, and usually star a blue-haired hero. The party frequently includes a Cyborg or Artificial Human. Additionally, the Guardians, the Baskar and an often sentient robot/golem named Asgard.
    • Each game's soundtrack includes tracks titled "From Anxiety to Impatience" and "Condition Green!" (the victory theme). The songs are different, but these particular titles are always used.
  • Sand Is Water: Especially in 3, but present in 1 and 4 as well.
  • Scavenger World: Varies with each game, but technology is usually in a decline, and lost technologies are highly sought after.
  • Schizo Tech: Titular ARMs can be anything from regular guns to almost magical Empathic Weapon, Nanomachines are a recurring plot element, there is a communication network that covers the entire planet with exactly one tower, and there are Humongous Mecha. All the while general populace lives in a mix of standard RPG towns and Wild West settlements. Justified, because games take place during decline of technology in the world.
  • Shout-Out: Siegfried might as well have been called Nightmare in Wild Arms 3. There are also many recurring names and events throughout the series, and every single playable character is seen as an NPC in 5.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Ultimately fairly idealistic, though some games (particularly 2 and 3) tend towards cynicism a bit more then the others.
  • Space Amish: The Baskars are a religious community who live a simple life "in harmony with nature", despite having a better-than-average knowledge of the setting's Magitek. Elw have a bit of this too.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: In the first two games you control sprite characters in a 3D enviroment. The battles are completely in 3D, though.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Rudy speaks in WA4 (when using Kindred Souls) and in WA5. He also has actual voice acting during battles in the Japanese version of Alter Code F. Averted in Million Memories for Rudy, who speaks through choices.
  • Summon Magic: The Guardians can be summoned to deliver a powerful attack.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Averted so far, as all games in the series have appeared on MIPS-powered consoles, not the ARM-powered PlayStation Vita.
  • Superboss: Ragu O Ragla in every game, and bunches of others that vary from game to game.
  • Temple of Doom: A staple of the series, packed with traps and puzzles that can be conveniently bypassed and solved with the tools the party has picked up along the way.
  • Theme Naming: Several main characters are often named after types of guns.
  • Time Stands Still: Summoning Dan Dariam.
  • Video Game Tools: The series makes heavy use of various tools to solve puzzles in dungeons.
    • In the first three games (1, 2, and 3) each character has a set of three or four tools that they have to find throughout the game. Most of these are mandatory for story dungeons, but a couple of them just provides some utility. Examples of recurring tools include Bombs, Radar, and Grappling Hook.
    • Wild ARMs 4 reworks the system. Instead of having tools on you at all times, you just find them lying around dungeons where they can be potentially used. Jude can pick up and use these tools, but they disable jumping, always forcing you to leave them behind. Certain tools can interact with the surroundings, such as swords breaking after several hits so you can throw the handle, or "Wonder Staves" being lit on open fire to shoot projectiles. Radar also returns, in a manner more similar to past games.
    • Wild ARMs 5 replaces all tools with Abnormal Ammo for the Dean's ARM, but uses them in a manner closer the first three games. You collect these cartridges over the course of the game and use them for solving puzzles in dungeons (by shooting at things, that is). Grappling Hook and Radar return, albeit under different names.
  • Walking the Earth: Those who call themselves Drifters. Can be anything from heroes to outlaws to neutral mercenaries.
  • Weird West: A desert world with magic, alien demons, robots, monsters, and Magitek guns.
  • A World Half Full: Filgaia in almost all its incarnations. (It's much more of a Death World in 3, though...)
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Filgaia may be the most unlucky planet in the history of fiction. At least planets that blow up stop having problems.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The series has a tendency for this.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wild Arms Twilight Venom


Jude saves a puppy

Jude uses his Accelerator to run on leaves floating in water in order to save a puppy from a river.

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Example of:

Main / WalkOnWater

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