North American box art
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Enchanted Arms, known in Japan as [eM] -eNCHANT arM- (エム エンチャント・アーム Emu Enchanto Āmu?), is a science fiction/fantasy-based role-playing video game developed and published by From Software for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Although the game was intended to be an Xbox 360 launch title for the Japanese market, its release date was pushed back to January 12, 2006, by the developer, From Software. Ubisoft published the game in August 2006 in North America, and in September 2006 in Europe. The game retitled as Enchant Arm for its Japanese PlayStation 3 release. At the time of its PS3 release, it was a launch title for the European market.
Since its release, it has been confirmed that the game uses only a single DVD, in contrast to earlier multi-disc reports. It also comes with an art book and mini-calendar in Japan. The supplementary content included with the initial American product shipment was a 48-page prequel manga.
The story of Enchanted Arms begins as Atsuma studies to become an Enchanter along with his friends Makoto and Toya at Enchanter's University in Yokohama City. When the three skip class to attend a local festival, an earthquake occurs and the man-made golems in the area become berserk and are now attacking people. Rushing back to the university, the three find that things are in chaos, and that the mysterious "sealed ward" had been opened. While seeking to discover what has happened, the group meet up with the Queen of Ice, a Devil Golem sealed long ago. With her immense Ether capability and regeneration power, she overpowers the three. She takes Toya as ice falls on Makoto; as a result, Atsuma fights her by using his right arm that turns into something out of the ordinary that could harm a Devil Golem.
Detained in London City, Atsuma learns that the Queen of Ice had destroyed Yokohama. Escaping with local resident Karin and her bodyguard Raigar, Atsuma discovers that reveal that the two are part of a resistance movement that opposes King Caliban's plans to revive the Emperor of Fire, another Devil Golem hidden right under the city. They find that Yokohama is now an icy wasteland. Venturing further in and returning to the university, they encounter Professor Kou, a teacher at the university. He reveals that he was very interested in Atsuma's right arm and started the golem riot to awaken its power, all for the Queen's revival and the restoration of Magic, the greatest technology in existence. Toya, possibly having been mind controlled, is now the Queen's Magicore, the power source and activation device of a Devil Golem. The Queen turns on Kou and destroys his laboratory.
In London, Atsuma is recruited into the Arsenal, the resistance group and the golem hunter, Yuki, who he encounters in Yokohama before the golem riot, joins him. After an attack from the London Knights, the arsenal suspects Raigar, a former knight and brother of Ooka, leading the attack. The others reveal to everyone that the Leader and his giggling companion are collaborators and give the Emperor of Fire's Magicore to Ooka. Ooka and Baron Hartson conspire to ruin the King's public image and revive the Emperor themselves. Karin reveals she has no choice but to merge with the Emperor, for those who have ancient blood can activate and control Devil Golems to some extent. The Emperor fights with the Queen in the city before he is defeated and consumed by Atsuma's right arm to save her.
Hearing of a secret art taught near Kyoto City, the group leaves London to go there. The Queen orders Lord Tokimune, Shogun of Kyoto, to revive the Lord of Earth and thus, they could not enter the city until tomorrow. They stay in Iwato village and meet Sayaka, Raigar's fiancee. They learn that the secret art is taught by the Ascetic Monk, who lives in the Ascetic Court, which is accessible from the village but Tokimune has the key to get in. Though he refuses an alliance with London City, he stubbornly allows them the key. Once they get it, Karin is kidnapped by ninjas, led by Oboro, a former knight.
Rescuing Karin, the group confronts Tokimune, who was collecting Ether to revive the Lord of Earth. Despite being warned by Sayaka and Tokimune not to enter the Ascetic Court, Atsuma and the others defeat Sayaka and meet the Ascetic Monk. The group is told to get a portion of the Lord of Earth's core material in order to master the art of "Gaea". Though the group succeeds, the village is attacked by ninja, and confronts Tokimune. While escaping, Tokimune is killed by Oboro who learns the location of the Magicore: inside the Shogun; he is then killed by Queen Of Ice. They fight against the near revived Lord of Earth, but when he transforms into his full form, Atsuma pulls him into his right arm.
The Lord of Earth's Magicore is drained of Ether, so they seek the help of the Sage, Raigar's teacher. But she rejects them so they wait until she cools down. The Queen of Ice appears to invite them to her ice castle north of Gravekeep Holm. Atsuma is sent into a mental vision where he retrieves a God orb, which was molded into a weapon for him. Raigar learns from the Sage that Atsuma's parents left him as a child at the base of her tower, so sick that she used the cells of an unknown Devil Golem named Infinity, to save him. She also theorizes how to separate a human Magicore from a Devil Golem; just insert its original one to set the human free.
Atsuma, Karin, Raigar and Yuki go on to defeat the Queen of Ice and save Toya; the mysterious man the group encounters several times reveals himself as Makoto soon afterwards. Atsuma has a vision and the mysterious voice then reveals itself as Infinity, who was ordered to reconstruct all matter in the world to the time of the Era of Magic. While Infinity attempts to absorb Atsuma, Toya and Makoto free him from Infinity's control. When Infinity begins to revive, Atsuma remembers the opposite word of Gaea, "Fury", and transforms into his half-golem form, combining everyone's enchanting to defeat Infinity. Yokohama is restored and the population returns as the game ends.
The protagonist of the game is Atsuma (アツマ?) (voiced by Daisuke Kishio), a student who is able to draw ether and enchantment power from others through his right arm to fight golems. Assisting him in his journey are Karin (カリン?) (voiced by Kana Ueda), a native of London City, a fighter who can use her legs to fight enemies and a member of a resistance movement; and Raigar (ライガ Raiga?) (voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda), Karin's bodyguard and another member of the resistance movement. Also assisting him is Yuki (ユウキ Yūki?) (voiced by Ryō Hirohashi), a hunter who attacks Golems to earn expensive bounties by using her two guns.
- Toya (トウヤ Tōya?): Atsuma's classmate at Enchant University. Toya is cool, intelligent, good looking and very popular, especially with the girls. Enchant University even has a Toya fan club [TFC]. Toya's nickname is the "Blue Calculator"(Atsuma calls him "Stone-Cold Calculator." and he is also known as "Blue Computer.") due to his calm and calculated nature. His bloodline runs very deep because he is a direct descendant of the ancient Enchanters. As a result of his heritage, his talent and enchanting abilities are especially strong. Toya has a bright future as an enchanter. Even though he and Atsuma are like opposites, the two have developed a deep friendship. This mystifies everyone and their relationship has incited hatred for Atsuma amongst his classmates for they believe he is a bad influence on Toya.
- Makoto (マコト?): Atsuma's and Toya's classmate at Enchant University. Makoto is homosexual and his friends like to call him the "yellow otomegokoro." He is blindly in love with Toya (though Toya does not appear to reciprocate Makoto's feelings) and Toya is the center of all of his actions and thoughts. Makoto has a confrontational attitude with Atsuma because he is jealous of Atsuma and Toya's close friendship. Makoto has a tendency to act first and ask questions later and bases his actions on likes and dislike rather than on the logic or social conventions. It is learned near the end of the game that Makoto survived his "death" and was undercover as the "Mysterious Man"
- Sayaka : Sayaka is from Iwato village. A master swordswoman with many techniques who is forced to fulfill her vow to serve the current Shogun of Kyoto. She is also the fiance of Raigar but her father Josei has a deep hatred for what Raigar and his evil brother did during the war of London and Kyoto. Sayaka also owns a pet cat named Jezebel.
- Mysterious Man: His name, age, background, and intent are all unknown. He seems to value the pendant he wears, but the reason is shrouded in mystery. He periodically appears to help and give adivce to Atsuma and his party, but his motivation is unclear. He possesses superior physical and enchanting abilities. It is presumed that he is a very powerful enchanter, but his identity and how he received his great abilities are unknown. His main weapons are two giant Yo-Yos.
- Josei: Josei is Sayaka's father. An elderly man living in Iwato village who only hates Raigar but respects everyone else. Despite several attempts by Atsuma to get him to forgive Raiger, Raiger eventually earns the respect of Josei when Atsuma, Karin, Yuki, and Raiger repel a ninja attack on the village led by one of Raigar's arch enemies Oboro.
- The Sage: A 200 year old Sage who lives on top of the Sage's Tower. It's revealed the Sage is a female but also appears to a young and beautiful 20 year old woman. Raigar used to be her apprentice but apparently left to fight in the London/Kyoto war. She seems to know a lot about Atsuma's arm but she can unleash a banshee scream if annoyed.
- King Caliban : The 16th King of London city who apparently ordered a major resource lockdown in London City. It is rumored that he plans to revive the Emperor of Fire in order to fight and defend against the Queen of Ice.
- Professor Kou : Atsuma's teacher at the Yokohama university. Atsuma always seems to fall asleep during his lectures. He seems to have a sadistic look on his face, and other students fear him. He fights Atsuma and gets killed by the Ice Queen afterwards.
- Junkyard Boy: A poor boy living in Junk City. He scavenges the junk piles for relics and owns a dog named Sandy.
- Cassanova : A minor resistance member who fights along with Karin and the Resistance.
- Crawford : Atsuma's first opponent in Yokohama before Yuki in the Golem battle tent
- Cota : An Akita Inu and Atsuma's dog. After Atsuma, Toya, and Makoto, leave town square to the school while the golems are going berserk, he leads them to the Sealed Ward.
Major/Minor Antagonists and Plot Devices
- Queen of Ice (クイーン・オブ・アイス Kuīn obu Aisu?): The Queen of Ice is a Devil Golem with several hundred times the Ether capacity and power of an average Golem, sealed within Yokohama City. A combat Golem with the Ice Elemental who can affect the movement of particles to slow, solidify, and shrink objects. This Devil Golem takes the form of a female and is very intelligent. She is the primary antagonist of the game as Atsuma and his friends go on a quest to stop her evil intentions. She is known in legend as the Ice Witch.
- Ooka: Ooka is Raigar's evil brother. At every turn during the London City affairs he tries to attack the London resistance and get revenge on Raigar for events in the past that earned him his scar. Ooka first appears when Atsuma attempts to head to Yokohama across the Yokohama bridge. However Ooka ordered the demolition of the bridge before Atsuma could cross.
- Oboro: A dark ninja who appears to be serving the shogun of Kyoto but actually owes his allegiance to no one and intends to revive the Lord of Earth for his own purposes. He is also a longtime enemy of Raigar.
- Baron Hartson : The current Baron of London City. He is suspected to be in league with King Caliban. But it turns out that he is against the king and wants to take the throne for himself.
- Fubial: A selfish yet rich golem hunter who lives in Junk City. He appears to be a rival of Yuki and is a merciless person who does not tolerate failure from any of his hired guards and is widely feared by the people of Junk City.
- Lord Tokimune: The current Shogun of Kyoto City. He is a selfish and mean hearted person whom almost everyone despises because of his crude attitude. Tokimune also enjoys cuddling with his bodyguard golem Honoka. In fact, he prefers the company of his female golem consorts to humans. In the game he is coerced into reviving the Lord of Earth by the Queen of Ice. However he is not aware of the true intentions of Sayaka and Oboro.
- Honoka: One of Tokimune's main bodyguards.
- Emperor of Fire: The devil golem hidden under London City. He possesses devastating fire ether attacks and possesses a second form where he wields a giant fire staff. He s absorbed by Atsuma after he is defeated. The Emperor of Fire is known in legend as the Flame Demon.
- Lord of Earth: The devil golem hidden somewhere in Kyoto. Though he does not appear to be powerful he possesses a powerful defense force making him a golem with immensely high defense. He also has Raigar's special EX attack. The Lord of Earth is known in legend as the Stone General.
- Infinity : A devil golem who was created to obey one command: to reconstruct all matter in the world and return it to its original state. Infinity was part of Atsuma's right arm and responsible for the events of the game before he was destroyed by him at the end of the game.
Combat / Battle system
The fights in the game are turn-based and use a grid field similar to what might be found in games like Shining Force, but on a smaller scale. Allies generally attack first and enemies afterwards, except in the case where the party's speed is significantly lower than the enemy's, in which case the enemy attacks first. Almost all characters and enemies in the game have an elemental affinity—Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Light, and Dark. Characters hit by their opposite element suffer double damage while characters hit by the same element only suffer half damage. The elemental relationships are as follows:
- Fire <--> Water
- Wind <--> Earth
- Light <--> Dark
The player must position up to four characters in strategic positions on the grid to take advantage of their skills. It should be noted though that when a battle begins, the player's characters are placed randomly on the grid. The characters can either be the ones used in the main storyline of the game, or the robotic golems which are acquired throughout the player's travels. The characters' life is measured in Hit Points (HP), and the power to perform their techniques is measured in Ether Points (EP). A reduction to 0 HP results in the character being knocked out (KO'ed). If an ally or enemy is KO'ed, the player or the enemy has three rounds to revive the character or they are lost for the remainder of the fight. In the case of a character being KO'ed due to massive damage (referred to as "Upper"), the character is lost immediately. Damage may be mitigated by standing behind another character. Standing behind two characters nullifies the damage. This mitigation does not work for Distance Damage attacks, however.
Active techniques used in battle are separated into 3 categories: Direct Damage (attacks that hit the enemy in spaces adjacent and beyond to the attacker), Distance Damage (attacks that hit the enemy in spaces non-adjacent to the attacker), and Support (healing, stat boosting, and status curing). The main characters of the game acquire techniques through leveling-up, triggering certain events, and buying them at stores. Passive techniques that boost stats, protect against status changes, or provide other beneficial effects may also be acquired. Even though there are many techniques the player can acquire throughout the game, only six active techniques and six passive techniques (per character) can be readied at any given time. All active techniques use EP when initiated. In the event the player doesn't have sufficient EP, the character can either rest a turn or use a restorative item to recover EP.
The majority of techniques use a three-tier system in terms of power and/or effect: Regular (no prefix), High, and Mega. The techniques in themselves do not improve with usage or experience, but a more powerful version of the technique must be acquired as the player progresses.
As enemies are defeated, a special gauge shared by all the main characters called the EX Gauge fills up. The amount of power in the gauge determines what special attacks or status affecting techniques the characters can use. A full gauge can allow multiple EX techniques to be used in succession or one powerful technique. The main characters acquire new EX techniques by triggering certain events in the game.
Additionally, if the same enemy is attacked by multiple party members, a Chain Gauge fills up for each character. If two or more characters with a full gauge attack the same character, a chain attack with increased damage is initiated.
Statistics and points
Each battle fought expends Vitality Points (VP) for the characters involved in the battle. The longer the battle lasts, measured in turns, results in more vitality points lost. In essence, these points are used to automatically restore them to full health after every battle. If a battle is ended in a turn with no damage incurred, there is no expenditure in VP. As long as characters have at least one VP, this restoration will happen. If not, the character will begin battles with 1 HP and 1 EP. VP may be replenished at way-stations on the map, or by restorative items. VP also comes back slowly if a character is switched out of the party and put in the reserve ranks. Running from battle expends a great amount of VP, but is generally successful (except in the case of boss battles). This system encourages players to use a variety of characters, instead of relying on the same four individuals for every battle.
Emerging victorious in battles earns the characters Skill Points (SP). SP can be used to purchase new skills (for non-golem characters), or to boost the characters' HP, EP, Direct Damage, Distance Damage, Support, and Speed parameters. Direct Damage, Support, and Speed parameters have a cap of 999. Only characters which took part in the battle receive SP.
Leveling-up also increases these stats, which happens when a character obtains enough experience points. Characters and golems that travel in the player's reserve ranks gain experience, regardless of whether or not they actually took part in a battle. The maximum level which can be obtained is 999.
The player can obtain robotic assistants named golems to assist in battle. Golems have preset techniques that cannot be modified, but they can level up and use SP. They are also the only characters the player can put in the party that have the Light and Dark attribute (As none of the controllable human characters have these attributes).
Although the player chooses one of three basic golems near the beginning of the game, later golems must be constructed before they can be used. The materials for construction may be purchased or gathered from enemies defeated in encounters. The number of materials varies according to how powerful the golem is, as well as its physical strength, speed, and intelligence.
Up to eight golems and three human characters may accompany the player in the reserve ranks in the 360 version, gaining XP as the player wins battles. Other golems must wait in storage to be used, gaining no XP. Golems may be switched from the party to storage and vice versa by accessing any store location in the world. The PS3 version does not contain the store locations and instead all players and golems reside in the reserve ranks.
The online element of the game involves selecting characters from a particular save point and using them to battle other online participants. Strategy is involved in picking the best characters and starting positions to maximize damage. This mode is only supported on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Above and beyond these staged battles, the title includes no additional multiplayer capabilities.
Enchanted Arms received positive reviews, with an average critic score of 72.08% for the Xbox 360 version and 66.52% for the PlayStation 3 version at Game Rankings, In the October 2006 issue of Official Xbox Magazine, Enchanted Arms received a review score of 6.5 from the editors. The magazine stated: "But ultimately, it's hard to whole-heartedly recommend this game to anyone but the most diehard turn-based RPG fanatics." GameSpot  gave the game a 7.1, claiming that the game is an experience quickly forgotten after finishing. However, the title did receive a score of 84% from RPGFan.com, an 8/10 review score from Play Magazine, an A- from Gaming Age, an 8.5/10 score from Planet Xbox 360, an 8/10 from GameCola, and an 8/10 card from Deeko.com. The G4 program X-Play gave Enchanted Arms for the Xbox 360 a 4 out of 5 and the PlayStation 3 version a 2/5.
In its review Deeko.com called Enchanted Arms "a great game" and stated that its storyline is surprisingly enjoyable and its battle system is addictive. They go on to state that the full-motion video cinematics of the game are described as on-par with Square-Enix's offerings. The review also mentioned the in-depth character development of Atsuma, whose torment and emotions intensified as the story moved. This made him unique and more human compared to the lead characters of other RPGs. RPGFan.com reviewer Patrick Gann, who gave the game a score of 84%, extolled the game's visuals and gameplay, calling it "one of my favorite RPGs of the year." 
Penny Arcade spoofed the game's critical reception in its cartoon dated September 6, 2006. In the accompanying column, and additional news post the authors assert their opinion that many of the 'flaws' highlighted by reviewers are actually common features of the Japanese RPG genre, with Tycho writing: "Japanese role-playing games tend to be fairly linear in terms of narrative and feature a ton of strategic combat. These are genre staples. If you don't like those things, or if you wish they were something else, that isn't really the genre's fault. If you told me that you weren't fond of turf or "kicking," I would hope that you'd have the wisdom to avoid soccer." and that at least one review included severe factual inaccuracies
- "Enchanted Arms for Xbox 360". Game Rankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- "Enchanted Arms for PlayStation 3". Game Rankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- RPG Fan
- ENCHANT ARM 公式サイト From Software's Enchant Arm site
- Ubisoft's Enchanted Arms site
- Enchanted Arms Metacritic review aggregation
- Q&A with Ubisoft Localization Specialist Michiko F.
- Enchanted Arms at MobyGames