Graphically this game is quite simply adequate, it reminds me very much of Brave Fencer Musashi, the graphics were good at the time, but not the best the system had seen on the PS1. FMA is simply the same thing, just on PS2. The character models are good looking, but not that great, monsters are nothing but palette swaps of past fought enemies, nothing new there, and the same could be said for the rest of the graphics, murky textures and bland locales keep this game from being a treat to the eyes. There are some really good cut scenes in the game and I would expect no less considering how the game is based off an anime.
Unfortunately graphics aren’t the only thing the game that reminds me of Brave Fencer Musashi, the basic mechanics of the game, being a simple beat-em-up with a gimmick is also painfully present. Where as it was fresh and new with Musashi, it’s simply boring and tiresome in Full Metal Alchemist. From the get go you’ve got the basic attacks which are all mapped to the square button, alchemy is assigned to the circle button, and the x button is for jumping. Which this translates in to is a mash fest for simple unimpressive combination attacks. Pressing circle button intermittently in between certain hits of the combo will expand them allowing you to add in maybe one or two more hits. It’s really simplistic and I must stress thing again, really boring. Running through area after maddening area simply pressing one button can only go on for so long before I decide, ‘Hey, I think it’s time to go play some Ace Combat 5.’ Because really, after a while you’re going to want to put this one down and play something with a little more meat on the bones.
The only real saving grace to the game, if you would want to consider it that; is the story. I actually have watched all fifty-one episodes of Full Metal Alchemist, so I’m eager to see what kind of wrinkle in the story is being created here. For the most part I enjoyed it, and if you’re a fan, it’ll be the only thing worth trudging through this game for. But really, am I the only one out there that can take fighting Outlaw A, B, and C so many times? I mean, the names are menacing I know and I wouldn’t want to face them in a dark alley, but at least Final Fight gave us names, albeit crappy ones but they were names none the less! Whoo… tangent. Unfortunately story segments come far and few between, unlike the save points, bless the soul who decided to use them so frequently, or else I might have had to put up with this game longer than absolutely necessary.
Once again, an anime property spawns a game; much like those Gundam games we see so many of on the shelves. And like so many others, it is nothing more than an attempt at creating a cash cow that ravaging anime fans will rush to pick up, only to return to the local game emporium for some credit. Save the money on this one and give it a rental if you absolutely must play it. The length of the game means you’ll beat it in a week if you really sit down with it and commit a few hours a day, but you’ll be feeling deja-vu the entire time you play. Isn’t this enemy near the end of the game just like one I fought way back at the beginning only a different color? Why yes, yes he is. Again, save your money, wait for some of the Naruto fighting games to make it state side or just wait for the next Full Metal Alchemist game, from what I hear from my import friends that game should actually be worth plunking down fifty bones for.
Another terrible game based on an anime property. So much promise and such poor execution.
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