Review by Arch Angel 13
Reviewed: 03/05/07 | Updated: 03/06/07
A little predictable, but still a worthwhile game
Ah, Rogue Galaxy. This game had completely flown under the radar. There was little announcement of this title's presence, and one could easily never hear of the game before seeing it on the store shelves. With the sun setting on the PS2, an RPG has to make a big impression to stand out from the huge amount of titles already released on the aging console. Rogue Galaxy does just that.
Graphics never can and never will make a difference in my opinion of a game. That being said, I still appreciate quality work in the graphical department, and this game delivers. Though Rogue Galaxy doesn't feel like a comic book or cartoon, the cell shaded graphics really feel like the best choice here. The characters are very well detailed, and the cutscenes are some of the best cell shading ever seen on the PS2 or otherwise. Even the mediocre environments are nicely detailed from a graphical standpoint. Overall, this game looks good.
The voice acting cast for Rogue Galaxy can easily be considered "all star". Many well recognised names bring their talent to the title, including Will Friedle (Boy Meets World, Kingdom Hearts 2), Wendee Lee (Cowboy Bebop, Big O), and Steven Blum (also of Cowboy Bebop and Big O). They all perform excellently, and the voice acting is top notch. So, you may be asking yourself, "Why is sound getting a 7 rather than a 10?" Well, one reason... the music. If I had to chose one word to describe the music, it would definitely be "forgettable". It's no where near the quality of the graphics or the voice acting, in both composition and actual sound quality. All the music was in MIDI format, and there wasn't a single piece of catchy or "toe-tapping" music, let alone amazing or inspiring. You may not even notice there is music playing most of the time.
When you begin first begin Rogue Galaxy, probably the first thing you'll notice is the Kingdom Heart-esque combat system. Combat all takes place in real time, with you controlling one of the up to three characters on the field. The other characters on the field are controlled by AI, though at any time you can order them to use an ability or item. In addition, at any time you can take control of any character, even outside of battle. Every character has two weapons, a main weapon and a sub weapon. The main weapons are generally melee weapons such as swords, spears, and daggers. Inversely, most sub weapons are ranged weapons, from guns to throwing stars. There are a few characters that don't follow the aforementioned formula for weapons, but it serves only as a novelty, failing to dramatically alter how battle is conducted.
The difficulty of the combat in this game does leave a little to be desired, though. The game begins at a fair difficulty: easy enough to get used to the game, hard enough so that you don't plow through it. It's not too long before you'll stumble onto a section of the game where the enemies begin to get more numerous and much stronger. It's this point in the game that's the only true difficult area. After you manage to make it out of this section, it's unlikely you'll ever find another challenging battle. It's smooth sailing from then on.
Aside from combat, there are TONS of sidequests to tackle. There are well over 700 weapons divided among 8 characters, however only approximately 100 of those weapons are buyable. The rest must be made by combining old weapons together. Depending on how hard you work, you could easily spend between 50 and 200 hours just making all the weapons. There's also a huge pokemon-like mini game which involves catching bug-type creatures and battling them against opponents on a large chess board for prizes. Other extras include a factory mini game, where you can make items that can't normally be bought, a 100 floor dungeon only available after beating the game that gives incentive for multiple run-throughs... there's just too much to cover. Needless to say, there's plenty to do in this game.
The story starts out like no other RPG. A case of mistaken identity soon leads to a young adult finding himself in league with a bunch of pirates seeking to gain the "ultimate treasure". For about 2/3 of the game it manages to stay away from many of the typical RPG cliches, creating a rather original story. However, there comes a point where the cliches start rolling out, and when they do, it really begins to snow ball. It never gets too bad, and it does stay on course with the ideas the earlier story set out, but by the end it does begin to feel just a bit too familiar. Overall, the story is nicely paced, well written, and excellently presented... but just a bit predictable.
So there you have it. Rogue Galaxy is in every way an above average game, but in no way a masterpiece. If you enjoy RPGs, beautiful cell shaded graphics, or are simply looking for a game that has plenty to do, Rogue Galaxy is right up your alley.
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 7/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 8/10
Overall - 8/10
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