Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!
If you are a fan of anime these days, it’s pretty likely that you’re at least somewhat familiar with Fullmetal Alchemist and the remake Brotherhood. When I was a kid, the original series was one of my favorite shows. The idea of transmutation, turning one thing into something else, limited only by your intelligence and creativity, resonated with me. I wasn’t alone either, even with the controversial ending of the first series, it still is regarded as one of the top animes of the last 20 years. And with its popularity in the mid-2000’s, inevitably there was going to be a video game. Today’s game is Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel, developed by Racjin and released on the Playstation 2 in 2003.
If you aren’t familiar with Fullmetal Alchemist, let me give you the brief rundown. The world is very reminiscent of 1920’s era Europe but with one major difference. The theoretical pseudoscience of Alchemy is actually a real thing and using it, alchemists are able to transmute matter into other matter. Edward and Alphonse Elric are two brothers who attempted to use Alchemy to bring their mother back to life, a taboo in Alchemy, but it backfired. Ultimately, Ed lost his arm and his leg and Alphonse lost his entire body, with his soul being merged with a suit of armor. Both now seek out the Philosopher’s Stone, a mythical artifact that may allow them to restore their bodies.
Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel is a side-story to the main series, so outside of knowing some of the key players and the premise, you don’t need much knowledge of the series to play the game. On a train across the country, the Elric brothers encounter violent chimeras, alchemical fusions of two or more different animals, as well as a girl whom the chimeras will not attack. Thus, the Elric brothers investigate the situation and find that the mystery of this girl may help them find the answers they have been looking for.
Players play as Ed throughout the game and it plays like a 3D beat-’em-up using alchemy to create new weapons out of the environment. Al is also typically helping but is computer controlled. The game has RPG elements involved such as leveling up through gaining experience points and equipping accessories which change the brothers’ abilities.
As you may have guessed, being an anime adaptation in the mid-2000’s, Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel was not well received by critics or fans. The plot was mixed with some folks enjoying it while others felt it was derivative. By its nature as a side-story, the plot is ultimately not relevant to the series, which can lessen the impact quite a bit. More than the plot, though, the gameplay was seen as repetitive, overstaying its welcome despite the game’s short length. This didn’t stop them from trying again though, with the game receiving two direct sequels by the same studio.
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