The fourth instalment in the Desert Punk Wild ARMs series, released as Wild ARMs: The 4th Detonator in Japan. Notable for combining Platformer elements with a experimental strategic RPG battle and stat growth system.
Jude Maverick is a typical teenage boy whose peaceful life is forever changed when a fleet of airships literally break through the sky above his sleepy hometown. With this comes the discovery that his village is actually a massive airborne shelter, one designed to protect its inhabitants from a ravaged wasteland and the military forces seeking a forbidden weapon known as "ARM". In the ensuing battle against the invading army, Jude accidentally "bonds" with the ARM and becomes the host of its incredible power.
Escaping the destruction of the shelter, Jude is forced into the ruined world of Filgaia: a planet that has been pushed to the brink of complete collapse by decades of continual warfare. Pursued by an elite unit known as "Brionac", Jude must discover the secrets behind the "ARM" and what the military plan to do with it, all while struggling to find a place in this harsh new world.
On his journey he is joined by three others: Yulie Ahtreide, whose experimentation at the hands of the army has left her with the ability to control ARMs; Arnaud G. Vasquez, an intelligent but cocky mercenary who takes Jude under his wing; and Raquel Applegate, a swordswoman and artist Walking the Earth in search of its last remnants of beauty.
The gameplay of Wild Arms 4 mixes together RPG and platforming sections, and an experimental new battle system based upon hex grids. While interesting, the system had a few balance issues that were straightened out properly in Wild ARMs 5.
This game provides examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Though present in the game, there are many instances that subvert this trope.
- Nearly every boss in the game is an adult that your party barely beats 4-on-1. Later they all have special abilities that you have to find the Achilles' Heel of in order to even damage. If anything the message is that kids are useless (but plucky).
- Lambda specifically states that the problem is that his team forgot the value of teamwork, which is the entire reason they lose.
- The Alcatraz: Illsveil Prison, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, is a max-security prison island where war criminals are held. The island is guarded by tha army and it's Super Soldiers and have powerful missiles that can destroy anything that gets too close.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work:
- The Cabal plan to lobotomize Yulie and hook her brain to a computer terminal as a convoluted scheme to make themselves immortal so they can continue to rule forever. They have no combat ability, and it'd be rather unheroic for the heroes to kill a bunch of defenseless old men, but fortunately Lambda deals with them without the heroes even learning of the plot.
- Implied with Hugo and Enil. While you don't see them die by Jude hands (but Lambda confirms that they're dead), it's implied that they were killed for their failure, probably by the Jane Does who were following the party.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: An NPC in the playable epilogue tells a 'parable' about the delusional using faith as a shield until the faith is lost and they realize how evil the delusion was.
- Bittersweet Ending: Raquel eventually succumbs to her condition and dies after giving birth to Arnaud's daughter, having finally found true beauty. Also, despite having promised to help build up Halim, Jude ends up living alone out in the wilderness.
- Bullet Time: Gameplay-wise, Jude's Accelerator ability slows down time, allowing him to dodge obstacles, solve some puzzles or just to catch up a train with a bike.
- Combination Attack: Characters learn combination attacks and can executes them by having the required members stand at the same hex.
- Darker and Edgier: Especially when compared to other Wild Arms titles, and especially when you consider that the main protagonist is a child.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If you die in battle you can just retry the battle as many times as you please, unlike previous games where you had to use valuable coins to do so.
- Doomed Hometown: Jude's hometown, Ciel, is attacked by soldiers in the beggining of the game.
- Duel Boss: Jude fights Kresnik by himself.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: You learn the Arc Impact Combination Attack iust before the final battle.
- Evilutionary Biologist: The scientists who ran the White Orphanage. They took orphaned children and used a variety of cruel methods to attempt to mass-produce artificially evolved humans who were Gene Drivers. Of all their subjects, only 19 survived the initial experiments, and only Yulie and Kresnik were not eventually killed or turned into mutated horrors.
- Game-Breaking Bug:
- Two monsters were removed from the overseas version (but not from the in-game bestiary), making it impossible to obtain one of the Ex-File Keys without using cheats.
- In the PAL version, playing the game in 50 Hz mode may cause it to freeze in certain places, like at the "The Great Wall", or when using Yulie summons.
- Hero Stole My Bike: Jude borrows one to chase a train down.
- Puzzle Boss: Most of them, in particular the Brionac bosses.
- Prequel in the Lost Age: It seems to be set during a period of time constantly alluded to in other games in the series of a massive world war where cyborgs and nanomachine monsters freely roamed the lands. Many of the world's bigger cities have been destroyed in the chaos and are slowly turning into the types of locations you see in games such as Wild ARMs 3.
- Racing the Train: Jude does this while riding a bicycle. The bike eventually breaks from the strain.
- Recurring Boss: Surprisingly averted, considering the series. Only two members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad are fought more then once.
- Sorry I'm Late: There are a series of battles in which the four protagonists are supposed to fight alone. However, Yulie ends up against impossible odds since it was a ploy to split them up and capture her. About two rounds into the fight, assuming you survive that long, the rest of the party will show up to rescue her.
- Title Drop: While each game in the series works the acronym "ARM" in somehow, this marks the first (and, so far, only) time the term "Wild ARMs" is used - to refer to the monsters growing out of control in the final dungeon.
- Trauma Conga Line: The second half of the game seems bent on making Jude suffer as much as possible.
- Visual Initiative Queue: During battles, the turn order is displayed at the bottom of the screen.
- The Wall Around the World: Ciel is a floating isle surrounded by a barrier (disguised as the sky) that makes it invisible to the war-torn outside world.