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"Some lies are worth living"
Wild ARMs XF follows the story of a Drifter named Clarissa Arwin, whose mother was seeking the answers to decay of the eternally unlucky planet Filgaea. Along with her protective adopted big brother Felius, she is tracking down Rupert, who stole her mother's sword. Entering the kingdom of Elesius, she is almost immediately mistaken for the dead heir to the throne, Princess Alexia. This proves useful when she finds out that the citizens of Elesius are chafing under the restrictive rule of three Evil Chancellors: Clarissa adopts the role of the Princess Royal and leads a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in a quest to restore Elesius to its proper rule.
This game provides examples of:
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Usually you're limited to six units, although on some maps that's reduced to two or one.
- Block Puzzle: Less so than the other games in the series but still present.
- Bonus Boss: Ragu Ragula pops up in a single optional mission. The bonus boss from all of the Wild Arms games.
- Chekhov's Gun: An actual gun, in fact. Strahl Gewehr's more important than just a way to shoot mooks. Also, the sword Iskender Bey.
- Class and Level System: An intricate and well-balanced one, too, arguably surpassing the competing system in Final Fantasy Tactics.
- Combination Attack: If Character A "locks on" to a foe and then Character B attacks that foe, you get a more powerful combination attack from the two of them. This is required to take down the final boss, although the game does a poor job of telling you so.
- There are also Formation Attacks if you can box the enemy in a line, triangle or hexagon formation.
- Convection, Schmonvection: The lava levels. You'll only be hurt if you stop on the lava. Walking over it or standing near it is fine. Also, Lluvia jumps into the lava to save Labrynthia's life by holding up a piece of bridge she's standing on. He has enough time to give a final speech about his political views before dying.
- Cool Starship: The Lombardia.
- Dating Catwoman: Ragnar vs. Chelle, The Dragon of the Zortroa Kinship; they even both have the Raving Revenge move.
- Deflector Shields: Asgard's barrier abilities.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: After defeating the final boss, It reveals that it's immortal, and comes Back From the Dead. So in a cutscene, they kill it again. And again. And they indicate they'll keep doing it with such passion that the monster, an incarnation of fear, gets scared of them. This allows Princess Katrina, who it possessed, to take control long enough to perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Empathic Weapon: Iskender Bey and Strahl Gewehr, which will only work for Melissa (and later Alexia) and Clarissa, respectively.
- Fake Difficulty: Monsters don't drop the ingredients you need for Synthesis; that just wasn't programmed into the game. So you can't upgrade your gear unless you waste money paying your Generic characters to search for items...
- It is, however, completely possible to beat the game by buying shop available weapons and without upgrading a single weapon.
- There are also many, many missions that are simply Unwinnable if you don't take enough people in a particular class, arbitrarily chosen by the developers, because of obstacles like switches that can only be pressed by characters in the proper job, or locations that are just out of reach to all except the single most mobile class. At least the developers had the wit to include a "Let's start this battle over" button, streamlining the Trial and Error Gameplay.
- Fantasy Gun Control: played straight, despite being a Western. (At least Heroes Prefer Swords is averted; of the six named characters, the one you get last is the BFS-wielder.)
- Fighting For a Homeland: The Zortroa Kinship.
- First-Name Basis: Clarissa finally stops calling Alexia "Your Highness" after a long, uphill battle on Alexia's part.
- Frills of Justice: Specifically mentioned as a favorite of one of the blacksmiths.
- Fun with Acronyms: ARMs - Artificial Reincarnation Medallions.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: averted in Labrynthia's pre-battle briefings, whose text reflects the conditions of the battlefieldâ€”for instance, when the characters have been hit by a trap which inflicts depression on them, Laby mopes and groans her way through the DER. (And, when she's not available, there is no briefing, just Visible Silence from Clarissa.)
- Genetic Memory: The "Legacy Ruins" that Melissa sought are not a literal place, but rather subconscious data encoded within people's DNA and passed down through the generations.
- God Stat: predictably for the genre, RFX (aka Speed), which determines how frequently a character takes turns. Unlike the game's other combat stats, there is no equipment and only a few abilities that raise it. This enforces Character Tiers: Levin, with naturally high RFX and the eternally-useful "Blast" spell, is basically this game's TG Cid, while Alexia and Labrynthia lag way behind him until a Fragile Speedster class becomes available.
- (The "Move" and "Climb" stats would be similarly crippling if not for the game's most-mobile class, Excavator, becoming available within 10 battles.)
- Heroic Sacrifice: several. King Hrathnir sacrifices his life to destroy a weapon that would have killed the rebel army and half the occupants of the capital city. Later, Princess Katrina sacrifices her own life to stop the immortal Fear Clysmian that is possessing her and thus save all of Filgaea. Finally, Felius destroys the Lombardia and apparently himself to destroy the gate that threatens both his homeworld of Elw Borea and Filgaea.
- Improbable Weapon User:
- Iron fans (Arcanist), books (Elementalist), spanners/wrenches (Gadgeteers), and bells (Fantastica).
- And let's not even talk about the Improbable Defensive Equipment. Why a single bandanna should be sufficient protective gear for Ragnar is something best ignored.
- La Résistance: Chevalet Blanc.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Subverted and Lampshaded, since Labrynthia thinks early on Clarissa might be the dead princess and lost her memories. Kinda Double Subverted: See Switched At Birth.
"What? That only happens in stories! Real people don't lose their memories that easily!"
- Ley Line: The ley points.
- Locked in a Room: a series of puzzle maps in which Levin and Felius get over their antagonism of each other.
- Melee a Trois: in the final battle at Schnell ruins, your party is pitted against not only one of the Big Bads, but a bunch of zombies he just summoned and thereafter lost control of, who are now attacking everything in sight. It is completely legitimate to just bottle up and let the two of them take care of each other. (And basically suicidal to try and do it yourself.)
- Mirror Match: The Doppleganger enemy.
- Missing Mom: Levin's mother is dead, as is Melissa Arwin. What happened to Mrs. Hrathnir is never addressed, despite the game implying that King Hrathnir only got to the throne by marrying her.
- New Game+: allowing you to keep your money, EQ and items, but not your levels or classes. It also gives you an additional exp multiplier, 2x on your 2nd playthrough, 3x on your third, and so on, and no one knows of a limit yet.
- One-Winged Angel: The final boss has three forms, the last of which is a giant monstrosity with wings.
- Parental Abandonment: All of the characters except Levin and Alexia or rather, Clarissa lack living parents. And Alexia's father dies in Act 2.
- Player Mooks: You can recruit and name generic Drifters to fight with you.
- Prestige Class: Classes are unlocked as you progress. The enemy, of course, has had them for ages...
- Proud Warrior Race Girl: Chelle and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the Zortroa Kinship.
- Puzzle Pan
- Replacement Goldfish: Melissa was a replacement for Yulia for Felius in a lot of ways. It helps that she looks a lot like her and can use her Empathic Weapon Iskender Bey.
- Save Scumming: made possible by the option to Load an old save during a battle. Useful when you're trying to get a very specific random encounter for grinding purposes (IE, one Creeping Chaos at The Flatwoods).
- Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: the letter of the law is averted, as there are only four flavors of weapon & armor for each class, ever; instead of buying new gear, you upgrade it using "Synthesis." But the spirit of the law is still in play, as shopkeepers can't create higher-level product for you until your collection of Solve the Soup Cans tokens is large enough, and they are scattered across the world.
- Spikes of Villainy: One blacksmith specifically comments on how they love to make these in their work.
- Spoony Bard: The Fantastica class is only useful in two battles which require destroying or moving objects to proceed. You're better off only using it to learn the OCs and Fant EQ and then equipping them on a character with a different class.
- Sprite Polygon Mix
- Stealth Based Mission, done better than most
- Steampunk: It is Wild ARMs, after all.
- Switched At Birth: An unusual variation. Clarissa and Alexia were both wearing the same dress and trapped under the same rubble when they were three. They were mistakenly switched up, the real Clarissa becoming Princess Alexia and the real Alexia becoming Clarissa; hence why they can use the "wrong" Ancestral Weapons.
- While never directly stated in-game, it's heavily implied near the end that they've figured it out. It also makes perfect sense when considering it as one of the reasons why Alexia abolishes the monarchy in the ending.
- Trial and Error Gameplay: entrenched in the game's philosophy, to the point that battles come with an "Oops, Let's Start Over" button.
- Visible Silence
- Western: It's the Western Steampunk flavor that makes the series unique.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue