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Rogue Galaxy (PlayStation 2) artwork

Rogue Galaxy (PlayStation 2) review

"Imagine, if you will, the following scenario: A young blond orphan living on a desert planet ruled by galactic war suddenly finds himself confused for an infamous hunter and whisked away on glorious adventures. Now, but for a few key points, many gaming fans find this core idea so irritatingly familiar it near instantly drives them away from this game. "

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario: A young blond orphan living on a desert planet ruled by galactic war suddenly finds himself confused for an infamous hunter and whisked away on glorious adventures. Now, but for a few key points, many gaming fans find this core idea so irritatingly familiar it near instantly drives them away from this game.

But does taking a page from a classic set the standard to high? Was it just coincidence or an ambitious boast?

Set in a distant galaxy and a distant time, Rogue Galaxy revolves around a one Jaster Rogue, orphan and amateur monster hunter with a dream of leaving the desolate desert planet of Rosa behind. Shortly after you pick up the controller, his chance arrives in the form of an absolutely stunningly huge monster that begins to ravage the town for no real reason. Concerned for the people's welfare, Jaster makes directly for the scene of the carnage and is joined shortly by a mysterious hooded man who is also intent on destroying said beast. However, this mysterious stranger abandons you partway through the town with a parting gift of his sword, something he calls a battle recorder and the assurance that you can finish the monster on your own. Flustered but not discouraged, you guide Jaster to the beast, joined by a short masked man with a scottish accent and an effeminate robot. You are then presented with your very first honest-to-goodness boss battle and boy do you feel small. Once defeated, the monster collapses in a large heap of metal and flesh and your strange companions forcibly offer Jaster a chance to join their intrepid band of space pirates. Thus, the adventure begins.

But how does Rogue Galaxy really sell itself after this ambitious but less than unique beginning?

The game is a visual feast, showcasing cel shaded graphics from renowned Level 5, but unlike Dragon Quest, the story that aspires to new heights misses and falls flat. Sure, there are enough unusual plot twists to make the story unique, but as this demonstrates, unique doesn't always mean interesting and captivating. While it could have been interesting, the plot simply doesn't flow. Instead, it whets your appetite and raises your hopes with a short burst of captivating foreshadowing and then proceeds to fling you into a 7 hour dungeon which you are not only underleveled for, but must defeat in order for the story to progress. That might have been tolerable if it happened once or twice, right? Every RPG fanatic has faced their share of long dungeons. Rogue Galaxy however makes them a staple. Prepare to spend 80% of the game fighting your way through visually beautiful but repetitive, complex, and multi-houred dungeons.

So, with so much time focused on gameplay, surely it would be entertaining, addictive and unique, right? Wrong. Another good idea that falls flat in execution, the pseudo-real-time battle system allows you to control one character in a hack-and-slash scenario while your other two party members follow a simplistic AI of 'attack' with one or two conditions. This is fun, engaging and action packed at first, with large bosses and challenging enemies, but it quickly palls. As your characters learn their devastating all enemy attacks, the challenge wears off as one, sometimes two of these AP consuming blasts will finish a battle. Most battles are then boring and less than challenging, and the occasional AP attack resistant monster is less "challenging" and more tedious and annoying in a generic "poke it with your sword 'til it dies" sort of way.

Aside from battle, there are number of amusing if strange sidequests. Create your own items in a factory. Synthesize your old weapons into new ones to eventually make the ultimate weapon. Capture and battle insects in a pokemon-like mini-game. Some novel ideas went into Rogue Galaxy but they just couldn't save it.

In the end, the ambitious space pirate epic that Rogue Galaxy could have been doesn't try hard enough to break away from convention and ends up tripping itself up. The good ideas are far too overshadowed by tedious gameplay and a painfully slow moving storyline.

A decent rental distraction while waiting for something better to come out, but I wouldn't bother buying it.

Lavieta's avatar
Community review by Lavieta (April 09, 2007)

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