$20 game of the week: Arc the lad: Twilight of the Spirits (PS2)
Arc the lad was one of the first games released for the Original Playstation in Japan. However, it wouldn't be until late in the system's life cycle that it would come over here, thanks to the now defunct Working Designs in the form of a 6 CD pack chock full of extras in the usual Working Designs style. It contained the series's three entries, which gave players the entire saga of the struggle against Darkness. The thing I liked best was that each sequel took place only a short period of time after the previous entry vs the "thousands of years after the big battle" cop out of %95 of most other RPG franchises. Upon reading that SCEA of Japan was planning a PS2 sequel, I was somewhat skeptical, especially after Arc 3's grand finale (Which in itself wasn't even suppose to be released). This game takes place thousands of years after ARc 3, (but this time is understandable, seeing as how it would be impossible to follow up on the events of Arc 3) and it tells the storyline of the war between two races; Human and Deimos, and an evil empire which seeks to subjugate them both. In the middle of all this are two heroes, Kharg and Darc, both twins being born to a Human mother and Deimos father, but were seperated at birth. You will alternate between both, and see the storyline from both viewpoints, and makes you feel sympathetic towards both causes. WHen the two brothers finally do meet, it's a lead-in to some very big plot twists. ALthough the combat engine has some flaws (having to buy spirit stones to cast spells), the new free walking is a welcome treat versus the grid based Strategy battles of not only Arc the lad, but most other Strategy RPGs. It may not be FInal Fantasy of Kingdom hearts, but this is worth checking out especially if you're a fan of the series.