Its 2020 and we’re in dire need of a good action-RPG! We know already there are going to be dozens of action-RPGs releasing this year—like the Final Fantasy VII Remake and Tales of Arise—but we can’t wait forever…we need a new game now. Luckily, developer Compile Heart with publisher Idea Factory hears our prayers and have delivered us Arc of Alchemist! Those who love to explore and fight hundreds of enemies might see Arc of Alchemist as a must-buy of 2020! However, we have put in some time into Arc of Alchemist and have some things to say about it. Find out more in our full review of Arc of Alchemist for the PS4!
What to Expect
Arc of Alchemist is a deep action-RPG title where players become explorers who need to also fight to stay alive. What once was a beautiful world has now become nearly uninhabitable and it’s up to your team to gain special orbs that can possibly resurrect this dying land. You’ll need to gear up and lay the beat down on various enemies all while scouring this dangerous landscape for resources. Create your own central hub to better equip yourself for the explorations and maybe you can revive the world!
Rumor has it that the barren world Quinn Bravesford knows of was a planet filled with water and life. Humanities’ constant warring actions and an overabundance of need caused the land to wither and die. Now a world filled with machines and other strange enemies, Quinn’s mission is to unite four orbs within her Lunagear. If Quinn can accomplish this, the world possibly will be restored to its former glory! However, are these legends just rays of false hope from the past? Quinn embarks on her mission regardless to save the world and prove humanity can undo the mistakes it made long ago.
Let’s be upfront right here and now readers. Arc of Alchemist isn’t a bad game. However, like many action-RPGs out there in the gaming world, Arc of Alchemist falters when it comes to the overall experience. For everyone one thing Arc of Alchemist does right, it messes up another and that does dampen the experience of what could have been a great action-RPG in 2020. You’ll understand more of what we mean as we dive deeper into the world of sand and machines!
Arc of Alchemist is pretty straight forward. Players assume the role of Quinn Bravesford who wishes to save the world with her team of combat ready explorers. After the opening credits, you’re dropped into Quinn’s world and learn quickly this is no environment for the faint of heart. Quinn’s world is dangerous with deserts going for miles and machine-like beasts roaming the land. Luckily, while Quinn might seem cute and overly calm, she’s no slouch in combat!
Combat is one of the big elements of Arc of Alchemist and this is where things begin to hit high/low notes. Arc of Alchemist is no turn-based affair. At any moment your team can be hit with random enemies or baddies and you’ll need to hack and slash for dear life! Every character has an arsenal of special attacks/abilities and each character controls just a bit differently, this is a good thing for Arc of Alchemist. However, as you fight against various monsters you’ll immediately notice this isn’t a Ys game. Controls in Arc of Alchemist feel a bit sluggish and often you’ll spam the same attacks which will cause repetition to grow in extremely fast.
While you control your main character, the AI takes the reigns on whoever else is in your party. Here’s some good news, Arc of Alchemist nailed the AI quite well! Players can customize what each character focuses on and their formation to really make some deep gameplay strategies and this works because your AI partners are truly helpful. You’ll need to think on your feet during combat too as bosses can quickly destroy a player who doesn’t order his team strongly.
Another two major elements in Arc of Alchemist is the base building system and exploration. Exploring the once ocean world can be often just okay. There are plenty of environments to roam around in and traps often keep you from just holding the run button in one direction. You can also interact with environments using various powers to find secret paths or hidden spots rich with loot to grab. The problem overall though is environments feel lifeless and often don’t look that great. There are only so many times a desert becomes engaging.
Base building though is where we truly felt engaged in Arc of Alchemist. If you’ve ever played games like Dark Cloud or Harvest Moon, you’ll appreciate the base building system in Arc of Alchemist. Players can craft their own buildings for various necessities. As you pour more resources into your base, you’ll unlock new places to build and even gain stronger items/tools for your team of explorers! Add to this the fact that you can make your base look like a mini-city and you’ll find you can easily spend hours of time in the base building mechanics.
Lastly, let’s talk about the sound/visuals. We’ve already mentioned that in terms of environments, Arc of Alchemist can be a bit weak. Thankfully, the sprites for your team and the enemies you face are well detailed and look absolutely gorgeous. The voice acting also does a great job of making characters just a tad more engaging. Equally, the music hits all the right notes whether you’re in combat, exploring or building your metropolis hub! Arc of Alchemist might not be the best looking game out there but we appreciate several rather important elements within it.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Where the Ys series has perfected action-RPG mechanics, Arc of Alchemist falls just a few steps short. Customizing your base to make your own central hub and having tons of characters to choose from is amazing but combat can feel a bit sluggish and the story falls to being a bit overly simple. Just like how the art design can often look mediocre—the settings especially—the sprites for your team of fighters/explores is incredibly detailed and truly well done. Arc of Alchemist hits the right notes to be a fun game but it equally misses the right beats needed for that perfect experience like the Ys series offers. We don’t like comparing two different companies but if Compile Heart wants to make a game as amazing as Ys then they need to learn from where Arc of Alchemist fails.
Amazing sprite design
Deep RPG mechanics
Building your base is both fun and truly robust
Solid voice acting/soundtrack
Great AI system which is rare for action-RPGs
Various settings aren’t the nicest to look at
Combat can often feel stale and sluggish
Exploring areas can become a bit repetitive
Doesn’t have that engaging of a story
Honey's Final Verdict:
Arc of Alchemist can at times feel a bit stiff and really isn’t the best example of a great action-RPG but in our minds, it does an okay job. We enjoyed the cast of characters, loved the deep RPG mechanics and felt the character sprites were incredibly well done. However, Arc of Alchemist’s main combat system and story can be a bit weak which will ensure not everyone falls in love with this game. Do you agree with us or are you not even going to play Arc of Alchemist? Comment below to let us know! Even more game reviews await in our amazing hive here at Honey’s Anime!
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!