Opinion: Character Spotlight on Vyse from Skies of Arcadia


Note – This is the second of my Character Spotlight pieces from the old LVLs (Jade was the first). This has not been revised from its original appearance beyond some slight editing.

As one may expect, spoilers will follow, so tread carefully.

Vyse, from Skies of Arcadia (DC, GC, Sega/Overworks)

Vyse is not your stereotypical JRPG protagonist. For one, he’s the antithesis of angst.  While many protags have said angst, despair, hatred or some other form of negative energy powering his or her actions, Vyse is very happy-go-lucky. He’s able to crack a smile, laugh with his friends, enjoy the quest that he’s undertaking, and see the positive side of things.  He’s a refreshing breath of fresh air to play as.  He does have his serious moments, but overall Vyse gleefully bucks the common trope of mopey, moody heroes.  Secondly, Vyse is never looking out merely for himself. He does not use his allies to serve his own needs –- the majority of the game spins around Vyse aiding his newfound friend Fina recover the lost Moon Crystals. When crewmates Aika, Fina, Drachma, Gilder or Enrique are in a pickle, Vyse puts himself into harm’s way to rescue or aid them, no matter what. He wants to improve the world of Arcadia, and considers this to be an overarching goal that coincides with his other adventures.

He also cares very strongly for people. Vyse’s bond with Aika is highlighted early on, and his newfound friendships with Fina, Gilder, Enrique, Drachma, and the Delphinus’ NPC Crew showcases his ease at making friends. Vyse is all about working together. Even when he’s alone, he’s thinking about how he can aid others. A good example of this is when Vyse is stranded on a deserted isle. He gives its former inhabitant a proper burial, and when that locale becomes Vyse’s base, the spot gets a grave. It’s a fine display of Vyse’s compassion.

One thing you must certainly do not want to do is piss him off, though. If an enemy goes after his friends, abuses their people, or attempts to disrupt peace, Vyse will guaranteeing become a thorn in their side. His desire for justice makes him a proud Blue Rogue, the game’s equivalent of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. The Valuan Empire, whose egotistical Empress and brutal Generals make life in Arcadia more hellish than it needs to be (especially in their homeland’s Lower City, which is a dirty, disgusting slum full of the poor and malnourished, making the game’s brief visit to the snobby, wealthy Upper City a shameful sight), are on Vyse’s hitlist. He loathes the Empire for its mistreatment of not only their own people, but their petty wars with other nations that cause chaos and death in those regions. As part of his quest to rescue the Moon Crystals, Vyse and his friends tangle with the Empire’s Armada multiple times, often disrupting their plans and forcing the Valuans to run off with their tail tucked between their legs. It’s quite a satisfying ride to be on Vyse’s side in this conflicts.

Vyse loves the skies. He feels most at home at the helm of a ship, piloting it through the clouds towards unknown sights and sounds. Vyse’s passion for exploration becomes infectious -– hunting down Discoveries, visiting new locations and listening to his reactions is golden. His excitement becomes the player’s excitement. You want to sail with Vyse, finding everything the game’s world has to offer. It’s very compelling stuff.

Vyse is true blue -– he’s a friend, a rogue, a sailor, and an incredible character. His excellent design by Itsuki Hoshi, his well-translated lines, and his chipper voice help build upon Overworks’ foundations, making Vyse one of the most endearing heroes in a game I’ve yet played. His pluckiness, vigor and good will make him deeply memorable, and I will always use him as a comparison basis for other games. A fine job, Sega.