Every year Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Halo, or some other blockbuster franchise gets an additional sequel while other deserving games and series are left to collect dust. This isn’t to say that the previously mentioned games have no merit, but more addressing the fact that the gaming industry has been emphasizing the same copy and paste game experiences for quite some time now.
Each week the Split Screens community will highlight one exceptional game or series that has been begging for a sequel. These titles have brought something fresh and exciting to their genre while exemplifying what a compelling game experience is all about.
So I’ll get us started with our first game…
Skies of Arcadia
Plaftorm(s): Dreamcast, Gamecube
Skies of Arcadia follows the story of Vyse, a young air pilot, and the motely Delphinus crew as they help to defend their world against the treacherous ambitions of the Valuan Empire. Developed by Overworks and published by Sega, the game boasts a deep and compelling narrative, beautiful visuals, an excellent battle system, dozens of recruit-able crewmembers, and airship fights galore!
The game was ported to the Gamecube in 2002 and retitled Skies of Arcadia Legends featuring minor technical tweaks, Wanted-List minibosses, new discoveries, and new side-quests. Both the Dreamcast and Gamecube versions of the game were received with critical acclaim, but no sequel was ever put into development. Since the game’s release, Vyse and his crew have appeared in a number of other Sega titles including Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed and Valkyria Chronicles.
Why it deserves a sequel:
Skies of Arcadia comprises of all the elements that make-up an exceptional rpg experience: superb characters writing, expansive environments, exciting combat, and a story you actually care about. The story takes Vyse and his Blue Rogues through an emotional journey filled with war, hope, love, and loyalty as the fledgling air pirates combat near impossible odds. The game’s world and characters are also rendered beautifully on both the Dreamcast and the Gamecube; displaying the graphical capabilities of both systems.
The game, thankfully, gets airship combat right as well and sports some of the best airship designs ever seen in a game (those of you who have fired the Delphinus’ moonstone cannon will understand). Often throughout the story the Delphinus and its crew will come face-to-face with versatile and unique airships that put players to the test through turn-based aerial combat. Each airship possess varying skills, attacks, and ultimate attacks which make every encounter feel fresh and exciting.
The world of Arcadia is also a wondrous place to explore. The story takes the player and the Delphinus crew across a vast world of open skies and expansive geography including tropical sky islands, ancient ruins, and unending deserts. Being able to traverse this dense world in the Delphinus beside the colorful and energetic Blue Rogues is an experience not to be missed.
Skies of Arcadia also takes queues from other great rpgs like Suidoken by allowing you to seek out and recruit several different members for Delphinus’ crew. Each member’s skills vary and the game requires that you meet specific requirements before courting them (being a certain level, having a particular item, etc). Add-in the discoveries scattered across Arcadia (various hidden locales and wonders you’ll find throughout the game), side-quests, and Wanted-List missions, and you are looking at dozens of hours worth of mile-high, swashbuckling adventure.
All of these elements combine to form an immersive rpg experience that has deserved a sequel since the 2002 Gamecube port. However if this supposed letter from Sega CEO Hajime Satomi is to be believed, we may never set sail on a new adventure with Vyse and company again. Here is to hoping a remastered edition for new-gen consoles will be on its way in the future! A world as rich as Skies of Arcadia’s shouldn’t go to waste.
Reviews & Impressions: