Zwei: The Arges Adventure Review

By Shawn Collier on September 11, 2018

Most western Falcom fans have heard of the developer’s Ys or The Legend of Heroes series, but the Zwei series is a bit of an unknown except by the most ardent fans, as until just recently the second game in the series was finally given an English release by publisher XSEED Games, which we reviewed recently. XSEED is also bringing over the predecessor and first game in the series, Zwei: The Arges Adventure. So being the origin game, how does it hold up in today’s gaming climate?

Similar to its successor, The Arges Adventure has a much more playful atmosphere than Ys or The Legend of Heroes. The protagonists of this game is siblings Pipiro and Pokkle. On a seemingly uneventful day, they witness a masked man who they follow until they see him steal six idols from the town’s shrine. The village puts up a reward, which the siblings accept and venture forward to return the idols to the shrine.

While the overarching narrative is simplistic compared to other Falcom games, where it excels at is the NPC interactions and the humorous moments between the characters. Similar to The Legend of Heroes (specifically the games starting and following Trails of the Sky FC), the NPCs feel like unique entities with their own dialogue between them and the protagonists. There’s also some story moments where I was belting out laughs in thanks to the excellent English localization by XSEED.

If you played its successor, you’ll have a decent idea of the gameplay at hand in The Arges Adventure. You can access the dungeons in any order you wish, but this game being 2D instead of 3D it presents some issues in the dungeons. In its sequel, due to being 3D you could generally see around the dungeon’s interior objects, but in this entry it occasionally tends to obscure enemies or treasure. The dungeons themselves feel more cramped than its sequel, which is understandable as this game came out first, but it’s still a knock against the game if you’re coming in after playing the sequel first.

Similar to its sequel, you have physical attacks from Pipiro and magical attacks from Pokkle at your disposal. It requires a bit of use of the game’s action button due to how these attacks work, but thankfully there’s an auto-fire option available in the settings. Dungeon bosses have that Falcom flair to them, although they’re dreadfully easy unless you’re playing on a higher difficulty.

Unique to the PC port is the inclusion of the Japan-only PSP version’s soundtrack alongside the original soundtrack. XSEED also added in the various mini-games that weren’t in some of the game’s prior ports, as well as more tutorials to help explain some of the game’s finer details. All in all, this makes the English PC release essentially the de-facto version of the game for those wanting to experience everything from the various Japan-only releases.

Final Thoughts

While some of the game’s aspects don’t hold up to modern-day standards and it feels a tad bit outdated when compared against its successor, it’s still a wonderful game for those who played the sequel and want to experience its predecessor, or just want to play more of Falcom’s back-history.

The Western release is the de-facto version for those who want everything the Japan-only versions included in one package.
The NPC and story dialogue is well-crafted and quite humorous at times.
Feels outdated compared to its successor and modern-day gameplay advances, which may turn off some people.
The 2D graphical approach causes occasional issues detecting enemies and treasure in the dungeons when they are unfairly obscured by the dungeon’s environment.
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