Throwback Bit Thursday: Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits

Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, might just be the best PlayStation 2 JRPG that almost no one ever played. In fact, in terms of its plot, it might just be one of the best JRPGs ever, period.

The 2003 game, is the sixth installment in the legendary Arc the Lad series. The series is legendary mainly because it had been confined to Japan until Working Designs brought it to the states in the excellently packaged Arc the Lad Collection.

The series itself, despite its ‘Legendary’ moniker, was not very good. Therefore, Arc the Lad Twilight of the Spirits had it rough in the US, as it had to compete with entries from better known franchises.

A Rough Looking Game With a Soul

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits’ character rendering is not stellar, but it does the job.

The game features some artistically impressive environments, and well designed characters. The problem with Arc the Lad Twilight of the Spirits lies in its simplistic character rendering, and some what primitive environments (in terms of rendering).

Final Fantasy X, in term of visuals, Twilight of the Spirits was not. However, as I stated before, the artwork in the game is top notch, and you can see that there is a lot of heart behind every character design in the game.

The game lacks CG rendered cut-scenes, and instead relies on its engine to render the more dramatic moments in real time. The decent acting, and the fact that in 2003 even a mediocre looking PlayStation 2 game was far above anything possible on the original PlayStation helped to carry the game through.

A Story for the Ages

Kharg and Darc
The tale of two brothers that are oblivious to each other’s existence, but were raised to hate what each other represents, and are on a collision course. Is one of the better tales of the PS2 era.

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits’ visual package falls well below the Final Fantasies, and Star Oceans of its era, but the same cannot be said of its storyline.

If storyline is what most matters to you, it would be justifiable to walk away from Arc the Lad: Twilight of Spirits’ conclusion thinking that it was one of the greatest JRPGs ever made.

A tale of two brothers that were separated at birth, and raised under very different, if opposing conditions. The brothers grow in a world divided by two racial classifications: Humans, and Deimos.

Darc, and Kharg’s story is one of racism, discrimination, and a lesson in placing yourself in your enemies’ shoes. Both brothers are half Deimos and Half human. Kharg looks human, so he got to live and enjoy a normal childhood, and life.

On the other hand, Darc looks half Deimos…or in his case – living with the Deimos – half human. Thus, he is both hated by the humans, and despised by the kind that he most resembles for what he represents.

You get to play as both brothers in their respective globe saving ( and race saving) quests. You get to see the same story from two very different perspectives, and the game does a magnificent job at this.

Darc is more relatable, after all, who doesn’t like the tormented hero? But Kharg brings his own charm to the story.

The game’s strategic turn combat system is easy to pick up and master. Leveling up is easy, and as such, the game’s story is excellently paced.

Why RPG Fans Should Play it

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, has one of the better, and more intriguing stories of the PlayStation 2 generation. What the game lacks in production values it more than makes up for in its brilliant story, and the human lessons that it teaches through it.

The game can be downloaded on PS Store for only 14.99. If you own a PlayStation 4, and love JRPGs, then there is no reason not to try one of the better hidden gems of the genre.

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.