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Video Game / Wild ARMs 4

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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:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: You learn the Arc Impact Combination Attack right in the final phase of the final battle.
  • 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 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.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Downplayed. On the Japanese cover only Arnaud brandishes his weapon, while Jude is depicted in Pistol Pose. Meanwhile, on the Western cover Raquel and Jude look like they are about to gut the audience, Arnaud casts a spell and looks pretty sinister, while Yulie has her weapon edited into her hand.
  • 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 says 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.
  • Block Puzzle: Several throughout the game, in true Wild ARMs tradition. You'll need to move large blocks around to open a path in platforming sections, and there are several moments when you'll need to push a block with a giant spring on it closer to a ledge, so you can jump on it.
  • 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.
  • Colour-Coded Timestop:
    • Jude's Accelerator tints the screen blue when in use. When cutscenes show Jude using it "from outside", it's him who becomes blue.
    • One of Brionac lieutenants, Hugo, uses his time compression ability when moving in battle, which is represented by colors turning negative. When he uses in cutscenes, however, he just seemingly teleports around.
  • Combination Attack:
    • Jude learns an attack called "Joint Struggle", which makes every party member in the same HEX as him attack the enemy. Since he attacks with a sword form of his Morph Weapon, it will turn out weaker than his normal attack, should he use it alone.
    • All possible duos and trios of characters learn a unique Force Combination Art, each with its own properties. They need to stand in the same HEX to use it. There's also two four-person FCAs (one of which is secret, and the other is an 11th-Hour Superpower), as well as a dual FCA that Jude uses with a Guest-Star Party Member.
  • 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.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Several members of Brionac die in less-than-glorious deaths, but Lambda and Farmel take the cake. First, Farmel is blinded by a random explosion, and then they are literally crushed by random rocks out of nowhere minutes after they finished talking with the party.
  • Duel Boss: Jude fights Kresnik by himself.
  • 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.
  • Forgotten Super Weapon: The fourth and final ARM, the Divine Weapon. It's not truly forgotten, at least not by the people in power, but it's buried deep under the Illsveil Prison
  • 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.
  • Great Offscreen War: The game is set in the aftermatch of a world war that lasted 78 years. It was fought between the totalitarian Global Union and democratic Congressional Knights for reasons never elaborated upon. Ultimately, Global Union fell due to some kind of internal conflict, but victorious Congressional Knights couldn't adapt to peacetime, and more or less collapsed too, retaining control over only several facilities. Most members of Brionac are veterans of the war, and its echo is still felt throughout the world, with destroyed tanks scattered across several outdoors dungeons.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Subverted. When Jude duels Kresnik, losing means game over. Win, however, and Kresnik will bring Jude's HP to 1 with a Finest Art... and then he'll almost pass out from LiNKER overuse.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Jude takes a bike at Buckeye Station in order to chase a train, and then rides on it so fast, it breaks from strain.
  • Item Crafting: Late in the game, after saving the village of Halim, you get access to the local workshop. Here you can combine equipment into stronger versions for a steep fee. Perhaps not coincidentally, it's also the point after which stronger gear stops appearing in shops and chests. It's the only way to get most powerful equipment, such as Sheriff Star.
  • Kaizo Trap: When you deal the final hit on the final boss, it doesn't actually die, but instead stays on 1 HP and triggers a cutscene where the party prepares to finish it off. However, the boss stays active, and may very well kill you before you get the next turn and land the actual final blow.
  • Laser Hallway: Two early rooms on Garra de Leon consist of hallways filled with several increasingly more complex rotating lasers grids, from a single laser to a full three-by-three grid. If you touch one, Jude will recoil in pain and you'll be sent to the entrance of the room. You can make the puzzle much easier by abusing the Accelerator.
  • Metal Slime: Grow Apples and Melchoms are rare enemies that appear only in three-screens dungeons, which normally serve as Breather Levels. Both of these enemies have only one HP, so they are easy to kill, but they also have very high RFX, meaning that they are likely to run away before the party gets their turn. If killed, they grant the party as much EXP or money respectively, as hard they were overkilled, meaning that if Raquel ever hits one, you'll be showered in rewards. There's also their upgraded versions, which double amount of rewards.
  • Mini-Mecha: Congessional Knights use so-called "Gears" - bipedal walkers with open cockpit that have guns on both sides. Tony fights the party in one such gear, and they later appear in standard encounters.
  • Nanomachines: The titular ARM in this game means "Ambient Reorganization Material" - a special type of nanomachines, developed by scientists of Global Union to restore Filgaia after the war. However, their efforts were instead retooled into a weapon. These nanomachines require a special "Gene Driver" in order to work, but can be forcefully activated by anyone who takes a special drug called "LiNKER". In inactive state ARM resembles silver sand, and when activated, it either takes the form of a weapon, or remains stored in the body of its user.
  • Old Save Bonus: There's a ton of bonuses if you import a cleared save from Wild ARMs Alter Code: F. These include, but not limited to:
    • At the start of the game you'll recieve additional levels, Gella, and items, based on amount of obtained Sheriff Stars, number of killed enemies, and Mariel's level, respectively.
    • Several locations will have special red chests revealed from the start of the game, instead of requiring Detector or New Game Plus.
    • Two of Raquel's special swords will become stronger based on amount of fought and avoided battles in WAAC:F.
  • Party in My Pocket: You can only control Jude in both dungeons and towns, with the rest of the party showing up only in battles and cutscenes. This is especially notable, given that many puzzle solutions rely on Jude's Accelerator, and so his friends simply can't possibly follow him. It's never made clear how they manage to keep up with Jude.
  • People Jars: White Orphanage has several glass capsules, most of them empty. And then you come across one that contains some sort of deformed monstrosity... Which promptly breaks out and attacks the party.
  • Playable Epilogue: There's a short section after the final boss, that takes place in Halim several days after the final battle. Raquel and Arnaud prepare to leave the village in order to travel the world some more and try to find cure for Raquel, while Jude and Yulie stay in Halim to assist in its development.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: If you find special items in red chests (available only with Old Save Bonus, New Game Plus, or extensive backtracking), you can combine them into a book called "Kindred Spirits", which allows you to use a Force Combination Art that summons Rudy, Jack and Cecilia in their Alter Code: F attire.
  • 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 uses a stolen bicycle in order to catch up to a train where Brionac holds his mother and some of Ciel villagers. With the help of the Accelerator he almost succeeds, but the bike breaks from the strain.
  • Recurring Boss: Surprisingly averted, considering the series. Only two members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad are fought more then once.
  • Red Baron: All members of Brionac have a cool title, that usually doubles as a name for their special ability. Apparently, such titles were customary for well-known soldiers in the war, as Arnaud lists similar titles for several Global Union heroes - Giancana the "Soldier Prince" and Granada the "Living Bomb".
  • 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.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Zigzagged. The party starts by confronting normal soldiers and their commander, and then moves to superhuman Brionac lieutenants. However, after they defeat two proper lieutenants, Jeremy and Scythe, they are confronted by Belial, who is technically not a member, and then a commanding officer, Kresnik. After that comes one more lieutenant, a duo of non-members, and the rest of lieutenants. The remaining two commanding officers are properly fought in the final dungeon.
  • Super-Soldier: There is a miniboss on Garra de Leon that is literally called "Super Soldier". He's somehow able to take about five times more punishment than any other soldier in the game.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: During the cutscene before the final dungeon Gawn Brawdia manages to give an entire dramatic speech while hanging in mid-air. With missiles flying around. And then he gives another dramatic speech while being blown to pieces with one of said missiles.
  • Title Drop: While each game in the series works the acronym "ARM" in somehow, this is the only time when term "Wild ARMs" is used. It refers to people and monsters corrupted by out-of-control Nanomachines, the titular ARMs.
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Two Brionac members, Hugo Hewitt and Enil Aidem were defeated by the party but left alive. Despite that, they never show up again, and Lambda later lists them among the dead. It's unknown if Lambda just assumed their deaths, or if they were killed by someone else.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The game ends with an anime cutscene that takes place 10 years after the Playable Epilogue. Jude became a Forest Ranger, and is shown to care about animals; Yulie became a schoolteacher in Halim; Raquel had a daughter with Arnaud, and later succumbed to her illness, and Arnaud now cares for his daughter and runs a restaurant. There's also a blink-and-miss silhouette not mentioned in the narration, which may imply that Kresnik is still alive somewhere.


Video Example(s):


Jude saves a puppy

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

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / WalkOnWater

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