Arc the Lad: End of Darkness
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 08/04/2005


Arc the Lad: End of Darkness marks the second foray of the Arc the Lad series on the PS2. The story takes place after the events that took place in Arc the Lad: Twlight of the Spirits. At first this game seemed to house potential, but End of Darkness just couldn’t hold its own and failed miserably.

The story begins with our hero Edda, who has special exorcist-type
powers he can use on monsters. He learns this one day when he goes out
on a quest to become a village hunter. He realizes he has a talent: he
is the only one that can defeat the malademons, which are special
monsters that don’t die and can only be exorcised.

Sounds good so far, right? Well the problem here is the fact that the story in End of Darkness
moves very slowly and has very weak execution. When you become a hunter
you get to join the guild. This gives you the opportunity to sign up
for various missions based on people’s requests. As you progress
through them, the storyline expands but this takes some time and most
of the missions are either too boring to hold any interest or way too
easy to merit any possible gratification out of it. The only thing that
keeps the player interested is the cameo appearances you get from other
characters in Twlight of the Spirits, so it’s cool to see what they’re up to. In this game they are now called “the heroes”.

Screen Shot
You don’t wanna tick HIM off!

Gameplay has been completely modified since the last Arc title. Instead of it being a half-tactical, half-traditional system like Twlight of the Spirits,
it is now an action RPG. BIG mistake. Namco should have stuck with the
older system because this one just did not work. At least it has some
minor depth and strategy to it, but the controls simply don’t do this
game any justice at all. Why would they make an attack button the same
button as a dodge? This fatal flaw leads to numerous temper tantrums
and controller flinging. End of Darkness also runs on a card
system. Everything in this game concerning magic is based on cards. You
have to buy magic cards in shops or find them to use spells. Character
cards are special cards that you find or pick. When you get ten mystery
cards that lets you unlock a character from a previous arc the lad
game. First you have to materialize the card then you can use that said
character. Concerning experience points, this game has none. The only
form of “leveling” up is through hunter ranks that let you strengthen
your characters skills and abilities.

In the graphics department, there’s not much to say. Everything in terms of design is just like Twlight of the Spirits. Nothing was improved or changed. The sound in this game is even very familiar to Twlight of the Spirits, including recycled music tracks. No originality whatsoever.

Screen Shot
Hey…hey! It’s getting crowded in here!!

The online mode is one of the
only things that keeps this game from falling completely apart and
makes it mildly entertaining. When you login you get to select
whichever character you wanna use based off of what you obtained and
then join a server to participate in co-operative missions that let you
win prizes like mystery cards that let you unlock more characters in
the game. There is a total of 24 characters to unlock. The thing is
with this online mode you have to level up your character in-game and
buy spells first before trying harder online missions or your screwed.
Chatting with people is pretty simple too because if you have a
keyboard that’s compatible to your PS2, you’re set.

Overall Arc the Lad: End of Darkness tried
its best to deliver but mostly failed. Its weak story, unoriginal
gameplay elements, and irritating controls will challenge you to hit
the power switch off and play something else more decent.

-Q Jets

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Below Average
Story Below Average
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Bad
Replay Value Bad
The Verdict: 3