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PSP  header logo

Arc the Lad III

For: PSP

Third time's a charm, right?

Product: Arc the Lad III | Developer: ARC Entertainment | Publisher: MonkeyPaw Games | Format: PSP | Genre: Retro, RPG, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Arc the Lad III PSP, thumbnail 1
PS One classics have it hard. How exactly do you offer something new and interesting when you’re already ten years older than the competition?

The truth is, you don't. Instead PS One classics offer up interesting and engaging experiences that either evoke a sense of nostalgia deep down in your belly, or provide genuinely timeless fun.

This is the problem that Arc Entertainment's Arc the Lad III faces in a world that knows very little about its existence.

Workin' 9 to 5

As the third entry in the series, Arc the Lad III looks for ways to improve upon its predecessors. One way it attempts this is to have you scurry about completing various jobs via the Hunters Guild.

While this may be a great method for bringing side-quests in and developing the personality of your team, it's a dire way to move the story forward. You'll regularly be perplexed as to which missions are actually integral to the story and which ones are nothing but time-wasting distractions.

The story is the well-worn "young boy saves the world from an evil corporation" sort, which drags itself out for too long. The story doesn't even properly kick off until the closing hours of the first disc.

Somehow, though, you never tire of its charms. This is mostly down to brilliantly simple combat mechanics that turn skirmishes into fast-paced battles - a welcome difference from the long slogs found in other tactical RPGs like Disgaea.

A monster-catching ability - allowing you to summon them for battle - may not be anything new, but its inclusion means that upon first meeting an enemy you'll run in gleefully trying to snatch it for use in a tougher battle. It really adds a surprising amount - especially once you get past its clunky implementation.

It's not all fun and games

Arc the Lad III also features all the standard extras you'd expect of any self-respecting RPG, including weapon-sythesising, item-synthesising, and a Pokédex-style monster compendium accompanied by a trading card system.

As if that weren't enough, there are even some basic mini-games hidden away in a town Bazaar and in Hunter's Guild missions.

Visually, it's an improvement on Arc the Lad II's somewhat clunky aesthetics, delivering sharp sprite-based characters in a carefully 3D-modelled world. It's nothing groundbreaking, and it doesn't hold a candle to the visuals seen in the Final Fantasy series, but when it's shrunk down onto the PSP screen you'd be hard pressed to find an issue with how this 13-year-old game looks.

While it may not be the most revolutionary of RPGs available, neither now nor on its initial release, you'll find that Arc the Lad III is an engaging, enjoyable, and addictive adventure that's definitely worth a look if you want an easily absorbed RPG. Just don't expect anything you haven't already seen before.
Arc the Lad III
Reviewer photo
Vaughn Highfield | 13 July 2012
Although it fails to bring anything new to the genre, it's a pleasant romp that lends itself well to portable play
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