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Video Game / Wild ARMs 3

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My shield is strong
I'll take my chances here now
Bring on the fight
I'll find a way to win somehow
No tomorrows, no regrets
I'll risk it all for this brand new day!

Wild Arms 3 (released in Japan as Wild Arms Advanced 3rd) is the third game in the Wild ARMs Desert Punk RPG series for the PlayStation 2.

Filgaia is a world on the brink of collapse, and those who roam this wasteland in search of fortune or fame are known as Drifters. To protect themselves, Drifters are known to equip guns known as ARMs (Artifact from Ruins' Memories) that are controlled by the will of their wielder.

On a train, four such Drifters clash over a mysterious artifact known as the Arc Scepter: Virginia Maxwell, a greenhorn Drifter following in the footsteps of her Disappeared Dad; Jet Enduro, an experienced but cold-hearted Drifter with Identity Amnesia; Gallows Carradine, a crass and lazy Magical Native American running away from his duties to his tribe; and Clive Winslett, a Bounty Hunter and Adventurer Archaeologist with a cool disposition and a mean sniper rifle.

Soon afterwards, they decide to form a team (with a lot of prodding from Virginia) and track down a priceless treasure known as the Eternal Sparkle. This brings them into conflict with rival Drifter Janus Cascade, a Similar Squad of Drifters called the Schrödinger Family (led by Virginia's Foil, Maya Schrödinger), and eventually an Ancient Conspiracy threatening to consume both the past and future of Filgaia.

Notable aspects of the gameplay in Wild ARMs 3 include:

  • Magic doesn't expend MP; rather, each character has a "Force Gauge" that builds as they attack, with spells becoming accessible when it reaches a certain level.
  • Characters don't buy new weapons: they upgrade and customize their existing ones.
  • You can't buy healing items. Since Filgaia is a wasteland and all the healing items are fruit, healing items are incredibly rare, forcing you to rely on healing spells in battle and a limited Vitality Gauge, which will keep your health topped up for a time. You later get the ability to grow your own healing items, but just like real gardening it's a long and patient process.
  • You can use an item to rename almost any NPC or ability in the game.
  • You can't see items or places on the world map automatically. Instead, you have to search for them using a radar-like ping. This includes towns and dungeons.
  • Although there are random encounters, there's a "migrant seal" system which allows you to skip encounters if you wish, or even bypass them entirely if you're overleveled.

An interesting tidbit - this game was the first not to be localized by Sony. Squaresoft, of Final Fantasy fame, performed the localization process, which was noticeably of much higher quality than the Blind Idiot Translations of the first two. Unfortunately, this also created some continuity errors with certain names that were intended to be references to the first two games. Future entries were handled by XSEED (and in one case, Agetec).

For those who have no Playstation 2, people can buy the game at the Playstation Network for the Playstation 4 system, albeit emulated.

This game provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: On the one hand, Virginia Maxwell and Clive Winslett. On the other hand, Jet Enduro and Gallows Carradine.
  • After the End: Filgaia was turned into a desert wasteland by a cataclysmic event that actually only happened about ten years ago, but also erased everyone's memory of it happening, so they think it was in the distant past.
  • All Myths Are True: Every piece of Filgaia lore is both accurate and relevant to the events of the game.
  • Almighty Janitor: The Bonus Boss Bad News.
  • Bag of Sharing: Especially ridiculous in the prologue, which shares items between characters who haven't even met yet, with the items traveling back in time if you choose to play the four prologues out of chronological order.
  • BFG: The gun mounted on the sandcraft, which can do a million points of damage in a single attack.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While Siegfried and Beatrice are both defeated, Filgaia is still a wasteland. The leader of Filgaia's most prominent religion is dead, and the heroes are blamed for his death. On the other hand, the party isn't too broken up about it, and the ending sends the player off with an uplifting feeling; after all, it's not like people haven't tried to kill them before. The last thing we see is that Hope Sprouts Eternal.
  • Block Puzzle: The Millennium Puzzles. No, not that one.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Subverted during The Stinger, as the heroes are shown to have come out alive and unharmed, though everyone thinks they killed the guy who headed Filgaia's biggest religion.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: One hundred floors. No save points whatsoever. Bonus Boss from hell, Ragu O Ragla, waiting for you at the end. You have to fight him twice. In. A. Row. And he is even stronger the second time around. Have fun!
  • Cartography Sidequest: Completing the entire map nets you a nice bonus.
  • Catchphrase: Janus is "just trying to do things efficiently."
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One in particular stands out, spanning the entire damn game. Beatrice, the final boss, shows up in the first ten minutes, and repeatedly shows up for small portions of cutscenes throughout the game as an almost unnoticeable side character until she reveals herself as the Woman behind the Man who was behind 3 People who were behind One Man. Yes.
    • On the slightly saner level, the statue that is Asgard, Janus' ability to split his body into multiple forms, the four extra shrines at the Southern Temple, and Hyades. There's a bit going on in this game.
  • Continuity Nod: Several, although misspelt (as they are spelt correctly in this game, but weren't in previous ones) One of the more noteworthy ones is Todd, whom wields several Fast Draw techniques.
  • Control Freak: Late during the second act, just before going to the last shrine, Halle, Gallows's grandma, outright reveals to her grandson that she had a hidden agenda, and that she intentionally orchestrated the events of the game's beginning, in which she succeeded to bring back home Gallows, and set him up on the rails of his quest and duties (which he ran away from at the beginning of the game).
  • Cool Sword: The Dark Spear. Which is totally not Soul Edge.
  • Crew of One: Subverted, the sandcraft requires four crew members to be used, each in different jobs roughly corresponding to actual ship jobs- Helmsman, Gunner, etc.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul" The Metal Demons are a weird version of this; it's stated pretty clearly that it was after they became monsters that they took up cybernetics, but averted in the case of the heroes ARMs, which are stated to be usable only because of the everpresent nanobots in soil, air and the heroes themselves.
  • Cyborg: The demons and the dragons of the Hollywood variety.
  • Darker and Edgier: It's a toss-up between Wild ARMs 2 and 3 as to which is the bleakest game in the series.
  • Death World: The state of Filgaia in this game is the absolute lowest in the entire series.
  • Determinator: Monsters are this to a comically suicidal level during horseback battles. Even if they get hit by an attack that knocks them down, they just get back up and continue to chase after the party until they're killed entirely.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Happens several times, actually; Virginia and her team fight what appears to be their ultimate nemesis and defeat him/them only to find an even bigger threat looming on the horizon. Interestingly, the intro movie continues to change throughout the game to reflect this. The game feels very much like several seasons of a multi-arc anime because of this.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Beatrice, the purple-haired little girl.
  • Evil Laugh: Once the antagonists (with the exception of the really dangerous ones) begin to lose it, you will hear them laughing out loud like mad men quite often.
  • Evolving Credits: Another series tradition.
    • The anime opening sequence that plays when you load your save changes depending on storyline changes — villains come and go, major scenes get resolved, etc.
    • The "outro" for when you quit the game after saving shows a beautiful scene, with a sung score, detailing the party's level, stats, and equipment as scenes of Virginia's life slowly drift by.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Used repeatedly The final boss goes through ten stages of evolution.
  • Expy: Maya is an expy of Jane from the first game. Not only are they alike in appearance and personality, they serve as the rival for the resident lead female (romantic for Cecelia, professional for Virginia). Though, its Virginia who takes Jane's surname. This makes sense, since Maya is actually using her power to become any character from a book to literally be Calamity Jane in appearance, personality, and abilities.
    • Beatrice is a dream demon, like Elizabeth from the first game.
  • Foreshadowing: Everything is foreshadowed. Most of it is obvious, but you'll probably overlook Shane's explanation of his prophetic dreams, which summarizes the entire plot and is the first mention of Beatrice. Since this dream came from Beatrice in the first place, it's the first part of her Gambit Roulette.
  • For The Cel Of It: One of the earlier examples of cel-shading on the PS2, and highly successful; the look merges well with the Wild West aesthetic.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • The main characters: Virginia (Choleric), Clive (Phlegmatic), Jet (Melancholic) and Gallows (Sanguine)
    • The Schrodinger as well: Maya (Choleric), Alfred (Phlegmatic), Todd (Melancholic) and Shady (Sanguine).
  • Free Rotating Camera: Rotation Alone.
  • Gambit Pileup: By the end of the game there are multiple spanners, chess masters, and gambits of all kinds, from Batman to Roulettes, piled up in a giant convoluted mess.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • One boss is weakened by fire attacks because he has an afro.
    • The rarity of healing items (which are fruits and vegetables) can itself be interpreted as this.
    • One boss attempts to seduce Clive. He doesn't bite, and she becomes furious when Clive tells that no matter how pretty she is on the outside, she is ugly on the inside. In the following battle, she will target him exclusively as long as he is alive.
  • Gatling Good: Maya Schrodinger has one. Mentioned less for the weapon and more for her...interesting means of carrying it.
    • Also, a Force Ability is named "Gatling", allowing you to perform a barrage of regular attacks.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game never actually tells you how Finest Arts works.
    • The Dark Luceid arcana is a great spell... that is, as long as you know how it works. Nothing in the game tells you, of course. The big secret is that it's damage is affected by the elemental affinities of the target(s), losing power for each weakness, but gaining power if resist it at all (and of course, the greater the resistance, the greater the boost). It'll do next to no damage (or no damage period) on most enemies, since a good chunk of the bestiary has at least one weakness, but for the monsters that resist, nullify, or absorb multiple elements? They will break down and CRY if they see you cast this.
  • The Gunslinger: Unlike previous Wild ARMs games, which mixed swords and fantasy weapons together, pretty much everyone uses a gun. Everyone in your party wields a different type of gun.
    • This fact leads to a scene. The party is opposed by villainous Huskarls, a group of knights equipped solely with swords. The party is flabbergasted that someone would be using a sword in this day and age. When the party kills them deader than disco, the guy who sent the Huskarls after the party freely admits that he thought they'd all get killed, using swords like that.
  • Hammerspace: Wait, Maya keeps that big-ass gatling gun in her dress?!?
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Both done to the protagonists, but there is an item that will let you actually do this to NPCs. While you can't do it to bad guys, there is one exception where you can use it on Leehalt...
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Not in this game, making it one of the few JRPGs that averts this trope. Not even the other Wild ARMs games can claim this. There's even a joke about enemies coming at them with swords and being totally ineffectual.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Battling with Lombardia produces this- while you pilot a giant doom dragon jet Transformer thing. Awesome!
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Subverted - while Siegfried was The Dragon and later the Big Bad in the first Wild ARMS and is the "Ganon" to the new villains the Prophets, he's later supplanted by Beatrice, a character created for this title.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal: The last shot of the game is of a white flower blooming in Little Twister.
  • In-Game Novel: A Fan Fic of Wild ARMs 2, no less, starring Marivel and space flight. Clive reads it to his daughter as a father/daughter bonding moment.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: The first time you get to control all four characters against Janus and his gang is on top of a train in a dark and stormy night.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: These words exactly open the game. Virginia even lampshades it.
    "It sure was a stormy night..."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Maya may seem harsh, but besides the obvious motivation of wanting to get rid of other Drifter competitors, she does have a sweet spot for Virginia, protecting her in her own way (and literally saving the party's life at least once). Lampshaded by her own brother, Alfred.
    "My sister's a little... you know... She comes off as crass, but she's trying her hardest to be nice."
  • Last Lousy Point: The Black Box, which requires you to open every single other treasure chest in the world.
  • Ley Line: And an observatory to investigate it.
  • Lost Technology: The Council of Seven was founded to try and revive it, and the one major religion on Filgaia (the Order of the Ark of Destiny) is essentially dedicated to it (even having their headquarters in a millenia-old Generation Ship!).
  • Lucky Seven: A minor and possibly coincidental example, but the seventh Guardian you acquire is Chapapanga, the Guardian of Luck.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Multiple times: First there is The Prophets behind Janus, and Siegfried behind The Prophets. Then there is Beatrice behind YOU.
  • The Maze: The final dungeon and the Abyss are both like this.
  • Mega Manning: Maya Schrodinger can do this by reading comic books.
  • Mexican Standoff: The "Select a Character" screen is a stand-off between the main characters, and you play through their backstories before the stand-off gets resolved.
  • Monster Arena: Gunner's Heaven.
  • New Game Plus: The EX File Keys, which require doing some insane side quests, are used in a New Game Plus to unlock things. Good luck getting them all. You only need 2 EX File Keys to get the New Game Plus, however, and two of the keys are relatively easy to get. One is found on the world map, in the forested Yggdrasil area, and one can be pickpocketed from the Final Boss' final form
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: An direct allusion to this trope by Maya Schrödinger, who says this to Virginia immediately after saving her and her party from Asgard (who did OHKO them) : "I, Maya Schrödinger, will crush you to the ground, no holds barred. Just remember that."
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: It's one of the very few PS2 JRPGs that doesn't have a romantic subplot.
  • 100% Completion: This game thrives on this. A good way to tell how you're doing is to check how many EX.Keys you've picked up.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Janus and the Prophets gain powerful new Demon forms.
    • Exaggerated with the final boss, as it has ten freaking forms.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: It's possible to defeat the sub-boss Gespent in one turn by using the Requiem spell.
  • Papa Wolf: Virginia's father is pretty much absent, but if you dare hurt her, Papa will come to the rescue.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Didn't trigger the events to begin the Telepath Tower sidequest in time? Too bad, no EX File Key for you!
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: The Tear Drop (yet another reference to the first game) can be used with Mystic for some decent healing.
  • Porn Stash: You get to fight one.
  • Powers as Programs: The Mediums explicitly work like this.
  • Puzzle Boss: A lot. Around half the game's bosses require either a specific strategy to defeat, or have their difficulty level go through the roof if you don't use it (Trask being the key example).
    • The end boss ramps this up severely. Ten forms, each form requiring a different method to even damage, and you get NO hints. have fun!
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Clive to Melody in Yggdrasil, about the concept of external and inner beauty.
  • Recurring Boss: This game loves this trope — between Janus, the prophets, as well as the Schroedingers, yeah, get ready to see some familiar faces a lot. This also isn't including Janus's two flunkies who are fought at least twice.
  • The Rival: The Schroedinger family is essentially this.
  • Roswell That Ends Well: An NPC named Roswell sends you on a sidequest for flying saucers. Yes.
  • Sand Is Water: The oceans are, quite literally, sand. Giant sea monsters live in it, and you have to drive a boat out to fight them. Don't ask.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Janus does this to Virginia after she gives him yet another gallant and long-winded speech. Virginia gets furious.
  • Save Token: Gimel Coins, which can be used to save your game at any time you're not in battle, in addition to town-only Save Points. Gimel Coins allow you to save anywhere, but were not sold in shops. Whatever you found in chests or from the exceptionally rare drops were all you got for the entire game.
  • Schizo Tech: Fantasy and Wild West Tech, as is common to the series. However, in this game, the latter is played up far more prominently, with the fantasy elements almost removed, arguably improving the game by forcing it to focus on what was unique in Wild ARMs in the first place.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Diobarg.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: Clive give this as his reason for turning down the seduction attempts of one of the villains. She does not take it well, and in the ensuing boss fight, will only attack the other party members if Clive is dead.
  • Self-Duplication: Janus Cascade revealed his ability to make duplicate bodies of himself, in an attempt to escape death by the protagonist party. Unfortunately for him, he perished for good shortly thereafter.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Shane and Gallows, respectively.
  • Sequential Boss: The final boss takes this trope much further than most ever do: it has ten forms.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The whole world is like this.
  • Shout-Out: Oh so many, even by Wild Arms standards. Not only do many elements from Wild ARMs hover in a grey area between Expy and straight reappearance, but monsters and locations have a remarkable tendency to reference myth, folklore, and pop culture in one way or another. Norse Mythology and The Ring Cycle get a particular emphasis, from Siegfried to Yggdrasil to Virginia's father and his remarkable resemblance to Odin's mortal disguise.
    • When Shady, the cat of Maya's group, is trapped, he yells "No more walls !" Add this to the fact that in battle he only has two attacks, with 50% of chances of using each one. And that Maya's family is named "Schrödinger." And that said family's ancestors made Shady completely claustrophobic. Poor Schrödinger's cat.
    • The original name of Little Twister, Titty Twister, is a Shout-Out to From Dusk Till Dawn.
    • A Desperado poster can be seen on a billboard in Claiborne.
    • The save point dolls are named after the dwarves from The Hobbit.
    • The Earth summon bears a strong resemblance to Spacegodzilla.
    • The Huskarls are basically a team of evil Power Rangers.
  • Sneeze Cut: During the third act, Virginia is looking for a gem, and somehow thinks about Maya... Cue a change of scene with Maya sneezing.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Janus gets a dose of The Dark Side, and later The Prophets get one too.
  • The Team: A massive aversion of the typical version. The Heart is also The Leader, The Lancer is the actual emotional center, that The Big Guy is the best mage in the party with the worst melee attacks, and The Smart Guy is a Mighty Glacier with a sniper rifle. It gets to where one suspects the party's design is an intentional complex Deconstruction of the usual personality-to-party-role stereotypes in your average RPG.
  • Took a Shortcut: Martina, an unarmed NPC little girl, somehow travels the world without the use of a horse, sandcraft, or aircraft. Lampshaded several times by the party wondering how the hell she gets to the places she does.
    • Clive also does this in his prologue, since his starter dungeon can only be reached by air.
  • Train Job: The introduction of the game begins with Virginia on a train as a passenger, encountering Clive, Jet and Gallows all performing the same train job (Jet and Gallows as robbers, Clive as security)... and interfering with some villains who have also come to perform the same train job. It was a very busy train that night.
  • Traintop Battle: During the aforementioned Train Job Pileup, you battle Janus and his boys atop the train.
  • True Companions: Virginia declares herself and the three men to be one of these. While initially, the three men find it funny and decide to play along, Character Development slowly turns the whole group into the real thing.
  • Vice City: Little Twister.
  • Visual Initiative Queue: When fighting in the sandcraft.
  • World Tree: The Yggdrasil System.