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Video Game / Wild ARMs XF

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Make bonds spin the threads of fate
Princesses will meet together at the promised land
"Some lies are worth living"

A Turn-Based Strategy game in the Wild ARMs series, released for the PSP.

Wild ARMs XF (pronounced "Wild ARMs Crossfire") follows the story of a Drifter named Clarissa Arwin, whose mother was seeking answers to the decay of the eternally unlucky planet Filgaea. Along with her protective adopted big brother Felius, she is tracking down Rupert, who stole her mother's sword. Entering the kingdom of Elesius, she is almost immediately mistaken for the dead heir to the throne, Princess Alexia. This proves useful when she finds out that the citizens of Elesius are chafing under the restrictive rule of four Evil Chancellors: Charlton, Edna, Weisheit and Rupert. Clarissa adopts the role of the Princess Royal and leads a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in a quest to restore justice to Elesius.

Though billed as a straight-up Tactical RPG, featuring a Class and Level System and grid-based movement, XF is more of a puzzle game: you are given a specific set of tools and must use them to solve whatever challenge is presented to you. This is reinforced by a new statistic, "Vitality Points," which function rather like your deck in Hearthstone: when you run out, you take escalating HP damage, limiting your ability to simply out-endurance the opponent. While all of this is a logical extension of the entire T/RPG formula, it results in occasional bouts of Railroading and Trial-and-Error Gameplay. The Class system takes similar cues to that of subgenre titan Final Fantasy Tactics in requiring each character to unlock various skills by earning "Class Skill Points," but allows greater freedom of mixing-and-matching of learned skills. It also limits each class to only four "Original Commands" (IE spells), forcing each of them to focus on a niche and lowering the incidence of less useful classes. Finally, the game uses a hex-based map instead of square tiles, and adds bonus damage when enemies are surrounded on two, three or six sides.

The game received mixed reviews and was a Franchise Killer until the 2018 release of the Mobile Phone Game Wild ARMs: Million Memories.

A manga adaptation was produced with side-stories and an epilogue set after the game.

This game provides examples of:

  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Usually you're limited to six units, although on some maps that's reduced to two or one.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The throne is regained and the world saved, but King Hrathnir and Princess Katrina die before the credits. Felius's fate is unknown, but it seems likely he's either dead or won't be able to return to Clarissa and the others until much later, as traveling through subspace allows time-travel, but it can't be controlled precisely when. If Felius shows up like Clarissa is waiting for him to, they'll be the same age. Which removes one squick to a possible relationship).
    • Expanded upon in the one shot manga where the story leads up to the end of the game, whereafter there is a Time Skip. The gang gets back together after several years after having disbanded some time after the last battle. Clarissa is investigating strange readings that have her VERY excited. She and co. go to ground zero of the readings, and there be Felius. It is also implied that Katrina became one with the Filgaea version of the lifestream, or even become a Guardian.
      • Chapters of the Epilogue Manga can be found on the Internet. Google is your friend here.
  • Block Puzzle: Less so than the other games in the series but still present.
  • Chekhov's Gun: An actual gun, in fact. Strahl Gewehr's more important than just a way to shoot mooks. Also, the sword Iskender Bey.
  • Combination Attack: If Character A "locks on" to a foe and then Character B attacks that foe, you get a more powerful combination attack from the two of them. This is required to take down the final boss, although the game does a poor job of telling you so.
    • There are also Formation Attacks if you can box the enemy in a line, triangle or hexagon formation.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The lava levels. You'll only be hurt if you stop on the lava. Walking over it or standing near it is fine. Also, Lluvia jumps into the lava to save Labrynthia's life by holding up a piece of bridge she's standing on. He has enough time to give a final speech about his political views before dying.
  • Cool Starship: The Lombardia.
  • Dating Catwoman: Ragnar vs. Chelle, The Dragon of the Zortroa Kinship; they even both have the Raving Revenge move.
  • Deadly Ringer: The Fantastica class uses bells as weapons.
  • Deflector Shields: Asgard's barrier abilities.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: After defeating the final boss, It reveals that it's immortal, and comes Back from the Dead. So in a cutscene, they kill it again. And again. And they indicate they'll keep doing it with such passion that the monster, an incarnation of fear, gets scared of them. This allows Princess Katrina, who it possessed, to take control long enough to perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Early-Bird Boss: Creedmore Prison's two battles. The first is a trial-and-error Stealth-Based Mission, and the second one is an Escort Mission (either protect the AI-controlled villagers until they reach the goal, or just kill the boss.)
  • Empathic Weapon: Iskender Bey and Strahl Gewehr, which will only work for Melissa (and later Alexia) and Clarissa, respectively.
  • Fake Difficulty: Monsters don't drop the ingredients you need for Synthesis; that just wasn't programmed into the game. So you can't upgrade your gear unless you waste money paying your Generic characters to search for items...
    • It is, however, completely possible to beat the game by buying shop available weapons and without upgrading a single weapon.
    • There are also many, many missions that are simply Unwinnable if you don't take enough people in a particular class, arbitrarily chosen by the developers, because of obstacles like switches that can only be pressed by characters in the proper job, or locations that are just out of reach to all except the single most mobile class. At least the developers had the wit to include a "Let's start this battle over" button, streamlining the Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
      • Also a pre-battle report that'll usually tell you if a certain class would be a good idea, or at least hint at it very hard.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Played straight, despite being a Western. (At least Heroes Prefer Swords is averted; of the six named characters, the one you get last is the BFS-wielder.)
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The Zortroa Kinship.
  • First-Name Basis: Clarissa finally stops calling Alexia "Your Highness" after a long, uphill battle on Alexia's part.
  • Frills of Justice: Specifically mentioned as a favorite of one of the blacksmiths.
  • Fun with Acronyms: ARMs - Artificial Reincarnation Medallions.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: averted in Labrynthia's pre-battle briefings, whose text reflects the conditions of the battlefield (for instance, when the characters have been hit by a trap which inflicts depression on them, Laby mopes and groans her way through the DER. (And, when she's not available, there is no briefing, just Visible Silence from Clarissa.)
  • Genetic Memory: The "Legacy Ruins" that Melissa sought are not a literal place, but rather subconscious data encoded within people's DNA and passed down through the generations.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several. King Hrathnir sacrifices his life to destroy a weapon that would have killed the rebel army and half the occupants of the capital city. Later, Princess Katrina sacrifices her own life to stop the immortal Fear Clysmian that is possessing her and thus save all of Filgaea. Finally, Felius destroys the Lombardia and apparently himself to destroy the gate that threatens both his homeworld of Elw Borea and Filgaea.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Iron fans (Arcanist), books (Elementalist), spanners/wrenches (Gadgeteers), and handbells (Fantastica).
    • And let's not even talk about the Improbable Defensive Equipment. Why a single bandanna should be sufficient protective gear for Ragnar is something best ignored.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Laby notices that whatever the time-displaced Chevalet Blanc ends up doing in the past is already "pre-ordained", and would not change their present.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: In the epilogue manga, Ragnar shows up at the reunion with two Zortroa children in tow, and his friends ask him if they're his kids. Ragnar insists they're not. (it doesn't help Ragnar's case that the girl greatly resembles Chelle.)
  • Job System: An intricate and well-balanced one, too, arguably surpassing the competing system in Final Fantasy Tactics. In addition to every Job having (as mentioned) only four abilities, the game doesn't restrict you to 1 Extra Set Of Spells, 1 Reaction ability, 1 Support ability and 1 Move ability. Instead, you can equip anything you like, with the restrictions that a Set of Spells requires 2 "Skill Slots" and the cap on Skill Slots must be raised by Level Grinding.
  • La Résistance: Chevalet Blanc. (Bilingual Bonus: "White Knight" in French.)
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Subverted and Lampshaded, since Labrynthia thinks early on Clarissa might be the dead princess and lost her memories. Kinda Double Subverted: See Switched at Birth.
    "That kind of thing only happens in stories! People don't just lose their memories that easily!"
  • Ley Line: The ley points.
  • Locked in a Room: A series of puzzle maps in which Levin and Felius get over their antagonism of each other.
  • Long Game: The Big Bad's been biding for the chance to get back to his home dimension for centuries. This works to his advantage, however, as it allows him to cultivate Lost Technology and amass great power so that, if and when he comes back to his world, he can easily conquer it.
  • Mêlée à Trois: In the final battle at Schnell Ruins, your party is pitted against not only one of the Big Bads, but a bunch of zombies he just summoned and thereafter lost control of, who are now attacking everything in sight. It is completely legitimate to just bottle up and let the two of them take care of each other. (And basically suicidal to try and do it yourself.)
  • Mirror Match: The Doppleganger enemy.
  • Missing Mom: Levin's mother is dead, as is Melissa Arwin. What happened to Mrs. Hrathnir is never addressed, despite the game implying that King Hrathnir only got to the throne by marrying her.
  • Money Spider: A relatively early enemy encounter, the Harpy, can net about 1900~ gella if killed by a character with a Gella Bonus skill.
  • New Game Plus: Allowing you to keep your money, EQ and items, but not your levels or classes. It also gives you an additional exp multiplier, 2x on your 2nd playthrough, 3x on your third, and so on, and no one knows of a limit yet.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Predictably for the genre, RFX (aka Speed), which determines how frequently a character takes turns. Unlike the game's other combat stats, there is no equipment and only a few abilities that raise it.
    • (The "Move" and "Climb" stats would be similarly crippling if not for the game's most-mobile class, Excavator, becoming available within 10 battles.)
  • One-Winged Angel: The final boss has three forms, the last of which is a giant monstrosity with wings.
  • Parental Abandonment: All of the characters except Levin and Alexia or rather, Clarissa lack living parents. And Alexia's father dies in Act 2.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: the Flatwoods' rare Creeping Chaos encounter. Overkill damage divided by 2 = CSP gained from battle. (Tip: bring in a Sentinel, his Originals "Allowance" and "Amplifier" would get a better chance of optimum reward.)
  • Player Mooks: You can recruit and name generic Drifters to fight with you.
  • Prestige Class: Classes are unlocked as you progress. The enemy, of course, has had them for ages...
  • Proud Warrior Race Girl: Chelle and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the Zortroa Kinship.
  • Puzzle Pan
  • Quirky Bard: The Fantastica class is only useful in two battles which require destroying or moving objects to proceed. You're better off only using it to learn the OCs and Fant EQ and then equipping them on a character with a different class.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Melissa was a replacement for Yulia for Felius in a lot of ways. It helps that she looks a lot like her and can use her Empathic Weapon Iskender Bey.
  • Save Scumming: Made possible by the option to Load an old save during a battle. Useful when you're trying to get a very specific random encounter for grinding purposes (IE, one Creeping Chaos at The Flatwoods).
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: The letter of the law is averted, as there are only four flavors of weapon & armor for each class, ever; instead of buying new gear, you upgrade it using "Synthesis." But the spirit of the law is still in play, as shopkeepers can't create higher-level product for you until your collection of Solve the Soup Cans tokens is large enough, and they are scattered across the world.
  • Spikes of Villainy: One blacksmith specifically comments on how they love to make these in their work.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: 2D sprites against a 3D map.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: In some missions, the goal is to guide the main characters to a destination while avoiding being spotted by the enemies.
  • Steampunk: It is Wild ARMs, after all.
  • Superboss: Ragu Ragula pops up in a single optional mission. The bonus boss from all of the Wild ARMs games.
  • Switched at Birth: An unusual variation. Clarissa and Alexia were both wearing the same dress and trapped under the same rubble when they were three. They were mistakenly switched up, the real Clarissa becoming Princess Alexia and the real Alexia becoming Clarissa; hence why they can use the "wrong" Ancestral Weapons.
    • While never directly stated in-game, it's heavily implied near the end that they've figured it out. It also makes perfect sense when considering it as one of the reasons why Alexia abolishes the monarchy in the ending.
  • Time Travel: After Katrina's Rite of Divine Coalescence, Chevalet Blanc gets sent to the past, even meeting up with a young King Hrathnir and Melissa and Clarissa Arwin in the process.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Entrenched in the game's philosophy, to the point that battles come with an "Oops, Let's Start Over" button.
  • Weird West: It's the Western Steampunk flavor that makes the series unique.