Arc the Lad: End of Darkness is the follow-up to 2003’s Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, but that’s not to say it’s more of the same experience. While Twilight of the Spirits is best known for it’s strategic and fast-paced gameplay, End of Darkness takes the gameplay in another direction altogether as a hack-and-slash action RPG with card-based spells and an equipment system.
OK, I know what you’re thinking: “oh no, not another card-collecting game.” But in this case, the card collecting is just a twist on the basic looting systems in other RPGs. As you collect new cards, you use them to equip new items, spells and special attacks. The result is actually a nice addition to the game, and to the genre.
The fighting system doesn’t add nearly as much, though, as it’s mostly a button masher like you’d expect from a hack-and-slash RPG. So, like many action RPGs, the fighting can become quite repetitive, although there are enough different spells and attacks to break up the monotony from time to time.
You can also unlock characters from previous Arc the Lad games, each with his or her own special abilities and fighting styles, which is a nice treat for fans of the series. The unlockable characters aren’t the only things that make a return appearance in End of Darkness, because this game takes place in the same world as Twilight of the Spirits and recycles most of the same monsters, areas and music. As a result, if you’ve played Twilight of the Spirits, this game may feel more like an expansion pack than a new game.
The biggest and most-valuable addition is the online multiplayer modes. You can play online with up to eight players for some four vs. four deathmatches, or you can get a group of four players together for some co-op dungeon crawling. There are many rare cards to be found in the co-op game for your characters, so get your team of adventurers together and go slay some baddies.
As mentioned before, Arc the Lad: End of Darkness uses the same locations, monsters and music as 2003’s Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits. As a result, the two-year-old graphics are unimpressive, and you’ll see the same enemy characters used over and over again. The same thing goes for the battlegrounds, which, like the monsters, locations and music, are recycled way too often. There is also no voice acting other than a few lines that your character repeats over and over again in battle. I know we’ve all been told to recycle, but I don’t think that pertains to video games.
Repetitive button-mashing gameplay and recycled graphics and music keep Arc the Lad: End of Darkness from being on the A-list, but the online multiplayer modes are enough fun to give this game a try.
- Gameplay: 6
- Single-player is repetitive, but online is just plain fun.
- Graphics: 4.5
- Everything looks like a copy-and-paste job from the previous title.
- Sound: 3
- Bad music, and very few lines of dialog.
- Replay: 7.5
- Endless hours of fun to be had online.
- Overall: 6.5
- A below-average action RPG, this is only really worth playing online.
— Randie Kilgore