The fourth installment in the Desert Punk Wild ARMs series, released as Wild ARMs: The 4th Detonator in Japan. Notable for combining Platformer elements with a experimental strategic RPG battle and stat growth system.
Wild ARMs 4 follows the story of Jude, a child who has grown up in the small, peaceful village of Ciel. At least, it's always seemed to him to be a small, peaceful village.
That was until the day military airships literally break through the sky, and Ciel is revealed to be an airborne shelter built by a group of scientists seeking to hide from the rest of the world. These military forces seek to capture those scientists and the mysterious weapon that they created, codenamed "ARM".
In the ensuing battle, Jude suddenly bonds with the ARM and gains its incredible power. Fleeing the destruction of Ciel, he crash-lands in the middle of the post-war wasteland of Filgaia. Pursued by an elite military unit known as "Brionac", Jude must discover the secrets behind the ARM and the army's true intention while searching for a way to live in this dangerous and desolate new world.
With him is Yulie Ahtreide, a young girl victim to horrific army experiments that have left her with the ability to control ARMs; Arnaud G. Vasquez, a cocky but intelligent Drifter who fights with powerful magic; and Raquel Applegate, a swordswoman and artist searching the world for its last remnants of beauty.
The gameplay of Wild Arms 4 mixes together RPG and platforming sections, and an experimental new battle system based upon hex grids. While interesting, the system had a few balance issues that were straightened out properly in Wild ARMs 5.
- Adults Are Useless: Though present in the game, there are many instances that subvert this trope.
- Nearly every boss in the game is an adult that your party barely beats 4-on-1. Later they all have Game Breaker abilities that you have to find the Achilles' Heel of in order to even damage. If anything the message is that kids are useless (but plucky).
- Lambda specifically states that the problem is that his team forgot the value of teamwork, which is the entire reason they lose.
- If anything, this game seemed to be trying to create an Adults Are Evil variant in its place.
- The Alcatraz: Ilsveil Prison, which appears in most of the games. Also doubles as the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Anti-Villain: Kresnik and Gawn. Depending on your point of view, this could be stretched to all of Brionac as well, apart from Jeremy.
- Ax Crazy:
- Belial is nuttier than a fruitcake.
- Jeremy shows traits of this as well early on, but once he becomes a Half-Human Hybrid with his ARM, he's even more crazy then Belial was.
- Badass Normal: Gawn and Augst are the only members of Brionac without a supernatural power or special ability, and the former is nevertheless their best fighter while the latter is their strategist.
- In the main group, Arnaud seems to fill this role. He has no connection to arms and no combat experience. Just his brains and knowledge of spells.
- The Big Guy: Raquel as a class 2.
- Bittersweet Ending: Raquel eventually succumbs to her condition and dies after giving birth to Arnaud's daughter, having finally found true beauty.
- Also, despite having promised to help build up Halim, Jude ends up living alone out in the wilderness.
- Block Puzzle: It is a Wild ARMs game, after all.
- Break the Cutie: And the Ugly, and the Not Bad Looking But Needs To Work Out...
- Sticking with this game's putting minor variations on old tropes, you could say this one is Break 'em All.
- Bullet Time: The gameplay convention for Jude's Accelerator ability.
- Camera Screw
- Chekhov's Gun: If you take the time to fully investigate the White Orphanage and Aerial Fortress Eulalia, you can find a veritable armory of these lying around.
- Combination Attack: One for each pair, set of three, and a hidden one for the whole party.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Some of the officers in Brionac.
- Disappeared Dad: Jude's father.
- Doomed Hometown: Ciel.
- Duel Boss: Jude vs. Kresnik.
- Evilutionary Biologist: The scientists who ran the White Orphanage. They took orphaned children and used a variety of cruel methods to attempt to mass-produce artificially evolved humans who were Gene Drivers. Of all their subjects, only 19 survived the initial experiments, and only Yulie and Kresnik were not eventually killed or turned into mutated horrors.
- Floating Continent: Ciel, although it's only a town (and the surrounding forest) rather than a whole continent.
- Forgotten Superweapon: The Divine Weapon
- Heel Face Turn: Gawn and Kresnik. The latter may still be alive at the end, but as for the former...see below.
- Hero Stole My Bike: Jude borrows one to chase a train down.
- Human Aliens: It's a Wild Arms game, so this is standard.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Hauser is eventually driven insane by this belief.
- Couple this with Generation Xerox, and that interpretation of the epilogue in which Jude is assumed to have become a hermit doesn't look so improbable after all.
- Ill Girl: Raquel. Implied to be dying of radiation poisoning
- Item Crafting: Rare weapons and accessories can be obtained this way.
- Ley Line: The ley points.
- Metal Slime: The Grow Apples (Exp) and Melchoms (money).
- Morph Weapon: Jude's "Shapeshifter" ARM.
- People Jars: In the White Orphanage.
- Prequel in the Lost Age: It seems to be set during a period of time constantly alluded to in other games in the series of a massive world war where cyborgs and nanomachine monsters freely roamed the lands. Many of the world's bigger cities have been destroyed in the chaos and are slowly turning into the types of locations you see in games such as Wild ARMs 3.
- Recurring Boss: Surprisingly averted, considering the series. Only two members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad are fought more then once.
- Sea Monster: The Sapphire Drake.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The only happy people are the ones who died horrible deaths.
- The Smart Guy: Arnaud.
- Sorry I'm Late: There are a series of battles in which the four protagonists are supposed to fight alone. However, Yulie ends up against impossible odds since it was a ploy to split them up and capture her. About two rounds into the fight, assuming you survive that long, the rest of the party will show up to rescue her.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Played straight until you face Belial, then subverted in that each member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad after that seems to be weaker than the last.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Taken to an physics-defying awesome degree in Gawn's final inspiring speech.
- Title Drop: While each game in the series works the term "ARM" in somehow, this marks the first time the term "Wild ARMs" is used - to refer to the monsters growing out of control in the final dungeon.
- Trauma Conga Line: The second half of the game seems bent on making Jude suffer as much as possible.
- The Wall Around the World: The barrier surrounding Ciel.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Several members of Brionac whom the party defeats but doesn't kill.
- What The Hell, Villain?: Gawn is pissed when he finds out Lambda murdered the Cabal.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue