Let’s Playing: Lord of Arcana (Demo)

By Ishaan . August 20, 2010 . 5:18pm


Square’s Lord of Arcana demo went up for download on PSN and a bunch of Japanese websites yesterday. In case you haven’t already, you can grab it here.


I’ve only played about 45 minutes of the demo myself, but so far, the game already appears to suffer from the same troubles as Monster Hunter on the PSP — specifically the camera controls, which are mapped to the D-pad, meaning you can’t move the camera and your character (controlled using the analog nub) at the same time. You can double-tap the L button to centre the camera, but doing it while running will often disorient you.



Here’s a quick rundown of the basic controls for anyone that doesn’t read Japanese:


Analog nub: Movement

D-pad: Camera control / Scroll through menus

Select: Open item use menu

L button: Centre camera / hold down during battles for L-targeting

R button: Dash

X: Guard / Cancel choice / Roll (use Analog nub to roll while holding down X)

□: Attack

O: Confirm choice / Pick up item / Finishing blow (can only be done while an enemy is targeted)

△: Once the metre at the bottom of the screen fills up, press △ + O for your special move (in the demo, this summons Bahamut)



The opening chapter of the demo has you fighting goblins (and some other bigger creatures) through a dungeon until you reach the end, where you’re required to take on the usual giant, fire-breathing dragon. I missed the battle transition aspect of the game in our previous coverage, so I was very surprised to see that the game takes you to a separate battle screen during each monster encounter, which I found rather annoying, personally.


The other thing I’m not a huge fan of are the quicktime button press events in the middle of boss battles because of the way the camera pulls you out of the experience. I felt like God of War on the PSP did a better job of implementing QTEs while letting you feel in control of your character.


Has anyone else played the demo so far? What’s your experience been like so far?

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  • You can use your index finger to control the camera while moving.

    • Code

      rar, you must channel your inner claw Ishaan!

      • I tried! But the thing is, it isn’t really all that useful when you’re, say, making a turn or something and you want the camera to keep up with you.

        Tapping up and down on D-pad works great for camera (since it only goes up or down a couple angles, just like Monster Hunter) but the left/right buttons aren’t as effective because they’re not as conveniently placed and it’s harder to not disorient yourself while running about! Even centering the camera with L tends to do that sometimes.

        I really wish they’d taken the risk and mapped camera circling to L/R. :(

        • I never understood why they don’t do that more often. I mean, L/R control the camera, but if you press both down, it should recenter it. It’s not that complicated! Just use some other function to dash, like double-tapping. This frees up the entire D-pad as well for any personal customization options.


          • I don’t get it either. You’re developing the game from the ground up. You have the power to mold the mechanics to suit the controls. I don’t see why there was any need to copy/paste the Monster Hunter controls in a game that’s clearly trying to set itself apart. :/

          • Code

            Yeahh honestly the claw is more of a curse then a gift, Ishaan don’t suffur the same fate as me, I’m too far gone~! Fight the claw!

            Seriously though, I have to kind of agree, although I do like MH’s controls for the most part (an acquired taste likely) but I think all these games could benefit from custom control options, or at least options that take the camera off the d-pad. PeaceWalker for example I couldn’t play with the claw, trying to do so, I found you lost the a marginal amount of mobility well aiming/shooting. So I tried another layout and bamn, immediately went from tricky to super comfortable in one simple switch.

      • kupomogli

        I’m a Monster Hunter noob. Maybe five to ten hours in MHFU. I was always wondering what people meant when saying the claw, but yeah. After playing and trying to find an easy way to work the camera I finally figured out a good way to do it which also brought me to why people call it the claw.

        Controlling it that way actually works very well, but if Monster Hunter 3 comes out with L/R controlling the camera I’ll pick it up earlier.

        • Code

          Actually Monster Hunter 3 uses the right analog stick, which is by far the most comfortable camera option!

  • Liked it,somehwhat,i’m a Monster Hunter nut(so i’m used to the contro lol) and i liked the fact that its not a MH clone,but the game seem too slow for me and i cant cant imagine myself roam in a dungeon for hours where i can only use my sword to open a chest or interact with the environment,but the RPG element are nicely done,the QTE are really nice and work great,but the summons cinematic are too inexistant,too quick in a way,and its far from the wow feeled when i was playing FF7 or Crisis Core and used the summons…..But the graphic are really cool by the way….May get it if it come on the PSN(PSP Go owner)but hope for a sequel too :/

  • Cloud_ST

    Kinda sounds like MH with bad implented QTE,God Eater seems,for now at least,a lot better than this.

  • Code

    Just gave it a shot! rar, sure I might have been really laying into this game, pretty much from day one, but I’ve even gotta see if it really is as bad as it looked to me! rar, I’ll see this train wreck through with my bare hands given the opportunity~!So far I was a little surprised given the fact videos really paints this image of the game being a looser faster MH-type action game, but it’s much different from my experience playing it. It feels a little like Crisis Core’s battle system modified to be more action based. Monsters wander the dungeon, and colliding with them/attacking them initiates transition to a battlefield. What gets me though is how unresponsive monsters are, it feels like although your playing an action game, there still running on ATB, with slow predictable attacks. Even Velociprey in Monster Hunter have a liveliness to them, but I just didn’t get it from these little goblins. It just feels like between monster’s passive AI and your moveset you just rips up all lesser monsters, well they blankly wonder about. Then I fought a pretty sorry looking boss monster, which was a flying iguana and then I felt kind of bad when it exploded into meatballs T_T’ QTE’s didn’t mind too much, but I just don’t think the game packs enough punch, it never drew me in enough with it’s hits, to make QTE’s feel really rewarding — other then throwing the goblins down by the head, kerpow! Overall though the game feels kind of draggy. Also my female character has a really muscly back T_T’ it’s like the hulk wearing a corset — terrifying. What I did like though was you can do a ukemi to pop up faster after getting knocked down, this is something I’ve wanted in MH forever >w<' Also chests in the dungeon, I like chests, it's like getting a present, and I like presents. There's a certain vibe that makes me a bit reminiscent of PS1/ early PS2, not sure what that's about. Overall not as bad as I expected, but it's still pretty flat and just really doesn't feel like the MH-genre — God Eater I felt was way better and more interesting to boot, and well I'm comparing games, God Hand was far more amazing.

  • goronyan

    The controls are easy to learn and there’s a targeting mode like in GE, IMO it always means that the attack movement will not be fluent even with the target selected (this goes to GE too). But “I” didn’t have to complain about the camera at all (Why do people always complain about monster hunter camera? ぐぬぬぬ・・・). If you have played monster hunter (760 hours) and/or God Eater(70 hours and 52% of progress) for a considerable time, you get used to quickly put you thumb on the D-pad every time you need to do a little fix at the camera, besides you’ll use the L button most of the time and you still have the targeting mode to help you.What really pissed me off was the star ocean-like battle encounters with a few enemies, this is meaningless for a game of this genre. It just makes the battles easier as opposite of God Eater, wich you have to kill 3 giant bosses, plus minions, at the same time in a small field.About the battles: TOO much animation and few action, well it’s square-enix so I knew this could happen (why didn’t they put CG’s to start with? lol), I just dunno how the “cinematics scenes” will affect players in adhoc mode. The graphics still need a little improvement, but I don’t need to complain about the bgm.Conclusion: This game looks more an Warriors Orochi with Star Ocean encounters (in easy mode) than a monster hunter clone too me.I’m having more fun playing corpse party thanks.

  • ShinNoKami

    So…. Squeenix still hasn’t fixed it’s camera problem that seems to be present in every action-rpg game they have? Fantastic.

    I’ll be trying this out after I’ve played the bejeezus outta my Phantasy Star Portable 2 demo. :D

    • doomspeller10

      well… I’ve played Dissidia for 600+ hrs and I don’t find the camera issues to be anonnyingly frequent, and I main Sephiroth, a character who chases a lot (for those who haven’t played it, cameras are prone to get screwed when chasing in small environments). The camera is also mapped to the D-pad in this game. Actually, I like the Dissidia controls more than I like the Chains of Olympus controls… somehow dodging with L+R just didn’t feel right. My opinion of Crisis Core is similar to dissidia, the controls feel right, except the obvious fact that you can’t really control the camera during battles, I never had much trouble with auto-locking system. I can’t speak much about Kingdom Hearts, I’ve only played a bit on the PS2 AFTER dissidia, so it felt a bit awkward having to dodge by jumping (i only played it for an hour, so I don’t really know if that is improved later)

      • ShinNoKami

        >> The main part of Dissidia that annoyed me were the chases. Dratted walls kept coming in and blocking my view. I’ve encountered times in KH where Roxas was slashing at the wall thanks to the blasted camera not swinging around in the middle of a combo.

        I guess to each his own. :/

        • doomspeller10

          indeed, there’s no agreement when it comes to preferences XD
          actually I liked the chase sequences quite a lot, the slow motion effects, and also using them to throw difficult opponents into banish traps for unavoidable HP attacks (it really helps in the colosseum)… but yes, when the camera gets screwed, your only hope to avoid everything is to memorize/follow the audio cues and the screen lighting. There are sometimes when the camera tries to turn too fast when you’re trying to dash and it gets all weird also… but anyway is less buggy than the japanese version.
          I just hope they can fix those bugs further for Agito and the 3rd birthday.

          • Utterly unrelated but I salute your 600+ hours ~ !

            I’m about 450+ hours into Dissidia. (^_^)

          • ShinNoKami

            XD;; they didn’t kill Dissidia for me completely but they did make chases annoying. I do love them when they’re out on the open field though! Hard to play when you’ve got the audio down low and there’s a wall in your face.
            I’m hoping they fix it before Agito and 3rd seeing as those two games seem to rely on an action RPG engine, too. >.o I’d hate to be dodging a monster attack and suddenly end up with wall in my face…

            AGAIN. XD

  • doomspeller10

    I haven’t played MH for more than a couple of hours so I can’t be really sure about this… if you can lock-on an enemy then the camera shouldn’t be a big deal… though holding down the L trigger doesn’t sound good either.
    EDIT: D’oh! I guess this feature might come in handy in Lord of Arcana then.

    • SeventhEvening

      In monster hunter there is no “lock-on”. So the camera must be controlled manually.

  • I just can’t find the charm in Lord of Arcana. At all. It’s feels generic at best and far too close to the set up in Monster Hunter.

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