Review by RentCavalier
The Galaxy isn't as big as we thought...
Rogue Galaxy is a game that we've all been looking forward to for awhile. A mixture of the quick, platform-based gameplay of Dark Cloud and the deep RPG experience of Dragon Quest VIII? How could this be anything but incredible? We were all led on with the hype--no load times, multiple planets, a sci-fi setting...everything we could have needed, plus a slick visual presentation to boot. Why is it, then, that now that the game is here...it feels like we've done this before?
Ok, first off--Galaxy is NOT a bad game. It is, in fact, a very good game. It offers deep customization, fun characters, beautiful graphics and quick, accessible battles. The localization is choice--voice acting is very well done, and the designs of the characters are a nice departure from the bishie-dominated JRPG front. Plus--no load times!
Yet, for a game that has been sold to us with "wide-open" world views, this game certainly pins us in. For the first few chapters, you are stuck in a singular area with just one path to take--and that path is obliquely pointed out to you thanks to a large blinking arrow on your mini-map. And while you can jump and interact with the environment via special tools and guns, all of it is scripted--the tools only work at specific times, with specific effects, and while there are some intuitive puzzles to be found, its all terribly forced and linear. Nothing ever feels as "fluid" as it really ought to.
My biggest gripe, however, is with the "invisible walls". The developers, after lauding a wide-open, immersive experience, annoyingly hem us in with unseen barriers and annoying limitations to where and how we can move. The game's locations are cliched and forgettable--while pretty, and offering fun little insights, we see the same sort of places we've seen in every RPG prior to.
The storyline is interesting enough, but the characters are unforgivably dull--some outshine the others, but there's an overabundance of cheesy melodrama and very scripted "surprises" that could be seen a mile away.
I may sound overly critical, but the lack of the promised open-ended options really hurts the game. Especially after playing FFXII, this game can only be seen as a pale shadow of what FFXII pulled off. Even the "no load times" thing is more gimmicky than effective.
Still, the gameplay is fun, the customization is interesting, and there ARE fun characters and things to do. It's just...so average.
So universally average.
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