Review by iiaznsk8erii
Rogue Galaxy defines mediocrity. An average game in all respects.
Rogue Galaxy is a combination of a number of RPGs such as Final Fantasy XII, Star Ocean 3, and Kingdom Hearts. It is an action RPG with tons of dungeon crawling and fighting. Does being a jack-of-all-trades make Rogue Galaxy a very deep game or just average in all respects?
Here's the breakdown:
This game's graphics are reminiscent of Dragon Warrior VIII's with its cel-shaded approach. The graphics are clean and pure, but they lack the detail of 3-D. If you are an anime fan, then these graphics are right up your alley. The only time the graphics suffer is during dungeons. They look like the developers just copied and pasted the same motif over and over. I give Rogue Galaxy a seven because its contemporaries (Tales of the Abyss, Final Fantasy XII, Valkyrie Profile 2, Xenosaga III) have done a much better job with graphics that this game borders on unacceptable.
You play as Jaster Rogue, a youthful lad who seeks adventure in his small town life. Little does he know that fulfilling his dreams will also save the galaxy and reveal the secrets of his life and his comrades. If this sounds too cliche for you, then do not expect to be surprised by this game's storyline. Rogue Galaxy uses every RPG cliche in the book. As a result, the game can be entirely predictable. Though simple, there are definitely some good moments in the game, but these moments are few and far between. The only real positive is that I feel gamers definitely become more attached to the characters than in some other RPGs.
Rogue Galaxy's battle system is a typical hack-and-slash system that takes aspect of the games mentioned above. However, there are definitely some unique innovations such as the use of a sub-weapon with its own power bar and limited use. Others include a charge attack (holding the attack button for a short time), picking up enemies and objects, and finishing attacks called "Burning Strikes." There are a variety of ways to handle battles; unfortunately, they all become thwarted by Abilities. Each character has a number of "all-out" attacks amongst their Abilities that basically wipe out all the enemies in one fell swoop. This is perhaps a boon as random battles are numerous, but it kills the challenge of the game.
You may decide to not use these Abilities, but sometimes you do not have a choice. Rogue Galaxy battles are very unbalanced. It will take about 8-12 strikes to kill an enemy while only 3 strikes for an enemy to kill you. As a result, using Abilities to win random battles saves players a lot of trouble.
Gamers will spend the majority of their time in dungeons because they are extremely long, and random battles occur every 10-15 seconds. Expect to spend 2-3 hours in every dungeon. There are no puzzles in this game at all, so expect to literally just dungeon crawl your way to the boss.
Regarding bosses, it is apparent that the other two characters serve to buff up Jaster and then act as meat shields. Most RPGs tend to have the main character as the strongest one, but it is more so apparent in this game. Jaster can do the most damage in the shortest amount of time, and he's very accessible since he is fast and has the best sub-weapon. Relative to him, everyone else pales in comparison (especially regarding speed). The game does not give players enough reason to control the other characters, and that's a shame for an action RPG.
Like your characters, your main and sub-weapons earn experience from every battle. After they achieve MAX level, they can then become combined to create more powerful weapons. The system is very basic, but it is the key to getting the best weapons for your characters. However, it is totally optional as weapons from shops will more than suffice.
Learning Abilities takes the form of the Revelation Flow. This is a huge grid similar to the license board in FF12. Abilities and stat increases are made up of items, and you must find them and place them in the slots. Once you get all the items, you get the ability and open up new slots on the grid. Items are readily available, and there are no tricks or quirks to it. As long as you have the items, you can get any ability any time you want.
The factory system is an item creation system in which you must place raw materials and factory parts to literally assemble the item you wish to make. Once again, it is entirely optional. It is a nice addition by utterly time consuming. Finally, I never found it created anything useful.
On the side quest side, there are a number of monster hunts or Quarries. These are exactly the same as the Marks and Hunts in Final Fantasy XII. Once you get information on a monster, you go to the designated location, use the item to lure the monster, and then proceed to kill it. Finally, there is an Insectron tournament where you capture insects and raise them to fight in a chess-like game. This is utterly time-consuming and does not yield any useful items.
Like most RPGs, Rogue Galaxy does not suffer from any real control issues. The only major gripe is that there appears to be some slowdown during battles. However, once again, you generally will not experience this if you're spamming Abilities.
With the exception of the ending song, I did not really hear any masterpieces within the soundtrack. The reason for this is that I cannot get the Ability I have been spamming for 40 hours out of my head. The low score may result from my being occupied or distracted.
Replay Value: 5/10
This game will take anywhere from 40-60 hours to complete the main storyline. That length alone will make it hard to revisit. There is a new game+, but it only carries over extra costumes you acquire in the game. There are really no incentives to playing this game again.
I had high hopes for this game, and it delivered but only at the beginning. There were so many different ways to tackle battles making me think the system was very deep and innovative. However, by the first third of the game, I could preempt everything with all-out Abilities. Couple in the fact that Jaster was really the only character worth playing, and you have a very monotonous nearly linear game with a mediocre at best storyline. Considering this may be the last RPG available for the PS2, you might be forced to purchase it. However, please give the other games mentioned within this review a look first.
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