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Enchanted Arms embraces bilingualism


Due for release on 29 August, Enchanted Arms is the fully localized version of From Software's more awkwardly named and rather annoyingly capitalized [eM] eNCHANT arM, the first traditional Japanese RPG to emerge on the Xbox 360. For its American release, the fine French folks at Ubisoft have bravely volunteered to publish the game and translate the gratuitous amounts of Japanese voice and text into something more palatable to a Western audience.

Then again, many localizations turn out be anything but palatable, representing the aural equivalent of vicious food poisoning. The mere memory of Shenmue's soulless soccer kids causes great discomfort and anxiety, feelings that are slightly dimmed by Ubisoft's intentions to include both Japanese and English soundtracks on the Enchanted Arms disc. Excellent news, to be sure, but frustrating in the sense that Ubisoft is one of the few publishers that actually does put a great deal of care into cinematic presentation, generally avoiding talentless talkers who end up in the recording studio through sheer chance. Based on Grandia II, their English efforts might not be nearly embarrassing enough to warrant this feature.

And really, "feature" is a good word to describe it. With advanced compression techniques and new, Blu-tinged storage mediums arriving, there should be no reason for gamers not to have a choice in who they hear blathering about chosen ones and ancient, poorly imprisoned evils. It's about time that publishers and developers realized that poor voice acting is no laughing matter.

[A video involving magical limbs is embedded in the second part of the post.]

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