Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel

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Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel
Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel
North American version cover art
Developer(s) Racjin
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Designer(s) Tomoya Asano (assistant producer)
Hiromu Arakawa (story supervisor, character designer)
Series Fullmetal Alchemist
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release
  • JP: December 25, 2003
  • NA: January 18, 2005
Genre(s) Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player

Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel (鋼の錬金術師 翔べない天使, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Tobenai Tenshi, lit. "Alchemist of Steel: The Flightless Angel") is an action role-playing game developed by Racjin and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2 console. The game features an original story by Hiromu Arakawa from the creator of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. It is based on the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series, also published by Square Enix. The game was released in Japan on December 25, 2003, and in North America on January 18, 2005.

The game follows both protagonists of the series: Edward Elric and his younger brother, Alphonse, as their explore lands full of giant creatures known as chimeras as well as thieves. Once meeting a girl named Armony, the two brothers start learning where the chimeras come from. The player primarily controls Edward, an alchemist who can transform objects from the game's stages into weapons to defeat his enemies. Additionally, he can receive support by Alphonse's AI in order to fight multiple enemies.

Despite good sales in Japan, critical reception to the game has been largely negative. Critics have been divided on the game's graphics and gameplay. However, the story has also received praise for the cast's characterization while other reviewers found it easy to predict the twists and outcomes.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay of Broken Angel featuring both Alphonse (left) and Edward (right) using transmutated weapons to fight the enemy chimera

Broken Angel is an action role-playing game, which is similar to that of a 3D beat-em-up. The player takes control of Edward Elric. Besides using his metallic arm as a sword, he is also able to transmute weapons to enhance attack power. Thanks to this, he can attack enemies he cannot reach and utilize defense.[1] Players are able to equip Ed and Al with various accessories that can either enhance or hinder their performance. Alphonse is the computer controlled, though the player can summon him to aid Edward by pressing and holding the R1 button.[2] Alphonse can also be given weapons by Edward in order to enhance them. When Alphonse's health is depleted, Edward can restore him by using alchemy in his armor. However, once Edward loses all his health, the game is over.

The game also carries RPG elements such as leveling up by winning enough experience when defeating enemies. Enemies' attacks can also affect the player's commands with items he picks up across the stages and activate them while opening the menu.[3]

Plot[edit]

On their way to Central, the Elric brothers Edward and Alphonse, who are being escorted by Major Alex Louis Armstrong, are encountered by terrorists claiming to belong to the country's state military. While the Elrics and Armstrong defeat the terrorists, the train crashes with the town of Heissgart. Exploring the town, the Elrics split from Armstrong with the former encounters only Chimera. They also meet a young girl named Armony Eiselstein (アルモニ・エイゼルシュタイン, Arumoni Eizerushutain) is not attacked by chimeras. Edward decides to chase after she calls him "shorty". They eventually find her in New Heissgart when she is saved by them from thieves and requests them to teach them alchemy.

The Elrics learn Armony is the daughter Professor Wilhelm Eiselstein (ヴィルヘルム・エイゼルシュタイン教授, Viruherumu Eizerushutain Kyōju). He is one of ten famous Alchemists and considered a world authority on catalytics – the study of making efficient alchemy. He was researching the "Philosopher's Catalyst", a legendary material that has powers comparable to the Philosopher's Stone. When the town of Hiessgart (where he and his daughter resided) came under attack of chimeras, he brought the refugees to safety and led the efforts in building New Hiessgart. When Wilhelm requests the Elrics to bring them Etherflowers, they are accompanied by Armony who is still wishing to learn alchemy. Although initially reclutant due to the Professor's orders, Edward and Alphonse teach Armony alchemy. However, Armony's body is weakened and two small wings appear in her back. Later, it is revealed that Armony is not who she thinks she is. Armony a product of Wilheim's daughter, Selene. In an accident involved with the catalyst, Selene's body fused with it and she became Armony. Armony, however, has memories of the two of them together, causing her to be oblivious to her situation. The catalyst in her body is the reason why she was not attacked by the rampant chimera.

An assistant from Wilheim, Camilla (カミラ, Kamira), is revealed as the mastermind behind this experiments. She is a bounty hunter of sorts seeking out Professor Eiselstein's "Philosopher's Catalyst". Camilla helped the Professor create the true Catalyst by posing as a scientist named Greta Riddell, who he makes his assistant. She eventually reveals herself when she kidnaps Armony in an attempt to take the wing from her to become more powerful. However, Wilhelm interference with an Etherflower and the wing is destroyed as Camilla appears to fall to her death after attempting to kill the Elrics for her plans being ruined. In the end, with Colonel Roy Mustang and Armstrong as guards to prevent Edward's interference, the catalyst within her body is released, killing both the professor and her. The Elrics later return to Central alongside Armstrong while reading Armony's letter to them. Mustang's group arrest the military who had been seeking Armony.

Development[edit]

Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel was developed by the Japanese company Racjin and initially produced by Enix, before their merger with Square in April 2003.[4] Development for the game began before that of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime series.[5] Hiromu Arakawa, the author of the original manga, oversaw the story of the game and designed its characters, while Bones, the studio which would be responsible for the anime series, produced 30 minutes of animation.[5][6] Themes emphasized during the creation of the game include the bond between Alphonse and Edward, as well as the series' basic concept of Equivalent Exchange, which states that "man cannot gain without sacrifice". The developers looked at other titles for inspiration, particularly Square's action role-playing game Kingdom Hearts, in addition to other games based on manga series, such as Dragon Ball, Naruto or One Piece games. The biggest challenge they had to overcome was to try to make the title a "full-fledged" game rather than a simple "character-based" game.[6] Tomoya Asano, the assistant producer for the game, noted that development spanned more than a year, unlike most character-based games.[4]

In Japan, the game was showcased at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2003, the first time that Square and Enix had appeared at the show as a single company.[7] In the United States, the game was showcased at the Electronic Entertainment Expo of Los Angeles in May 2004, with the presence of Asano. For the North American version of the game, the developers made the difficulty level more challenging and aggressive.[6] A novelization of the game was also written by Makoto Inoue on July 30, 2004, with Arakawa providing illustrations.[8]

Audio[edit]

Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel Game Original Soundtrack
Fullmetal Alchemist 1 OST.jpg
Soundtrack album
Released February 18, 2004
Genre Video game music
Length 60:43
Label Aniplex

The score for the game was composed by Tomohiko Sato, Makoto Suehiro, Isao Kasai, and Kenji Tani. It includes three vocal songs: "Flowers of the Hearts" sung by voice actress Motoko Kumai, "Emotionally" sung by Saori Yamada, and a remix of the first TV ending theme song, "Kesenai Tsumi" (Inerasable Sin) sung by J-pop singer Nana Kitade entitled "Kesenai Tsumi~raw“breath”track~". The soundtrack was published in Japan as a copy-protected album by Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, on February 18, 2004.[9]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 56 out of 100[10]
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Revolution D-[13]
GameSpy 2.5/5 stars[1]
GameZone 7.1 out of 10[12]
IGN 6.4 out of 10[2]
RPGFan 68%[11]
RPGamer 3/5[3]

The game was popular in Japan. It sold 250,000 copies as of 2004.[14] However, critical reception has been mostly negative with the game having an average of 56 out of 100 in Metacritic.[10] IGN negatively compared it with Square's 2002 video game Kingdom Hearts noting the similarities in which in both games the playable character is assisted by AI though The Broken Angel's felt inferior. Despite also citing as a short game, the reviewer praised the story.[2] Darryl Vassar from GameSpy agreed with IGN's review but found Edward's alchemy "fun" due to how the player can interact with the levels' objects. However, he criticized the game's graphics.[1]

GameRevolution's Joe Dodson was far more negative, stating the plot is sometimes "lame" due to the reasons the main characters are in chase of Armory. He also found the enemy AIs poor based on how can easily the players can avoid them.[13] RPGFan's Neal Chandran found the story as "told a bazillion times, with plot twists a child could see coming a mile away." Nevertheless, Chandran enjoyed the dynamic between the main characters both in fights as well as dialogues. When discussing the game's elements, Chandran criticized its linearity and the reuse of old dungeons.[11] RPGamer's Joel Pan shared similar feelings with IGN in regards to the game's similarities with Kingdom Hearts but more positive as Alphonse's AI will come to the player's aid when necessary. While also finding the alchemy entertaining, RPGamer noticed the player needed to go into a menu to use items which ruined the game's fast-pace combat.[3] GameZone reviewer called it "an alright game", finding it appealing to fans of the Fullmetal Alchemist series. However, like other reviewer writers he felt the graphics underwhelming.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Vassar, Darryl (2005-01-18). "Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel Review". GameSpy. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  2. ^ a b c Dunham, Jeremy (2005-01-06). "Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel Review". IGN. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  3. ^ a b c Pan, Joel. "Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel". RPG amer. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  4. ^ a b Gantayat, Anoop (2004-09-24). "TGS 2004: Fullmetal Alchemist Q&A". IGN. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  5. ^ a b IGNPS2 (2003-09-10). "Square Enix's New Game". IGN. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  6. ^ a b c Alfonso, Andrew (2004-05-13). "E3 2004: Fullmetal Alchemist - Interview". IGN. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  7. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (2003-09-28). "TGS 2003: Hands On with Fullmetal Alchemist". IGN. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  8. ^ "ゲームノベルズ 鋼の錬金術師 翔べない天使 (Game novels) (新書)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  9. ^ "Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel Game Original Soundtrack". Chudah's Corner. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  10. ^ a b "FullMetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel (ps2: 2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  11. ^ a b Chandran, Neal. "Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel". RPG Fan. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  12. ^ a b Berner, Matt (2005-01-26). "Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 2006-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  13. ^ a b Dodson, Joe (2005-01-06). "Square's Least Metal Moment.". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on 2005-06-25. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  14. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (2004-06-14). "Fullmetal Alchemist 2". IGN. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 

External links[edit]