Rogue Galaxy is a rather typically plotted RPG in which you play as Jaster Rogue, a boy living on a desert planet who dreams of heading into space who ends up falling in with a gang of space pirates and going on an adventure across the universe to find an ancient treasure. Nothing terribly original or exciting here, but the game itself more than makes up for the relatively unremarkable plot.
With some stunning looking visuals that are reminiscent of earlier Level 5 titles Dragon Quest VIII and Dark Chronicle, you explore lush, richly detailed worlds that are not only huge, but have practically no loading times at all to break up the action, which is a huge plus in a game like this, as you won't be waiting for the (sadly, random) battles to load up. The battles themselves are quite nice, played in a sort of Kingdom Hearts real time manner as opposed to turn based combat as you'd usually get in Japanese RPGs, they do get rather samey after a while, but the boss battles are usually quite nicely done and challenging with it if nothing else.
It's a large, rewarding game that is a lot of fun to play through, with some interesting sub quests and diversions from the main plot to keep you going for up to 100 hours as promised on the box easy.
If you like Level 5's prior games, you'll get a blast out of this. If not, you could still do a lot worse than get this.
on 6 May 2008
Rogue Galaxy is the latest game from the creators of Dark Cloud, which means it retains many of the good features that the series developed in its two main games. This latest installment is more mature, with a more far-reaching agenda and some characters with a bit of extra depth. The cartoon style graphics are still being used, but they look great. My only regret is that the game clearly steals many of it's new features from Final Fantasy XII!
The story is the usual...how many more times must I type this: a young adventurer called Jaster dreams of being a space pirate and exploring the galaxy. By chance (mistaken identity) he is picked up by a band of pirates, and they go off in a simple search for treasure, only to stumble across a plan to destroy the whole world. So that's that, then, now let's get onto the mechanics.
The battles are quite fun. A bit like Star Ocean or Kingdom Hearts for the PS2, you have a battle party of 3 from your total team of about 8. Battles are real time, and apart from the player you control, the other two team members act on AI. The settings for this are very basic, so your team mates will basically attack one target, attack nearest target, or do nothing. To add more creativity, the game has included "suggestions', which work quite well. While battle is underway, your two team mates will shout out for your attention, basically when they think a good special attack or item is needed. Sometimes its a heal potion, but more often, it is a request to do one of their special moves. Now because battles are quite hectic, this rather annoying sounding feature actually works pretty well. Most of the time I was charging into battle with my controlled character and leaving the other two to their own devices. A quick glance at the HP levels, which are always visible on screen (even if the team mates are not) gives you a warning if things are getting out of hand. But even so, the suggestions come at pretty good moments, always offering to heal if someone is approaching 50% or so of HP left, or use a crowd clearing attack if everyone is healthy. You can quickly accept the suggestions with one click and then get straight back to your own devices, so it does feel like real teamwork. Everyone has a few signature moves of their own, and one "limit break" style super attack which takes special strike-points to collect before it can be executed. This ultimate attack (called a Burning Strike) is possible even harder than FFXII's Quickening chains to pull off, as it demands that you watch two areas of the screen at the same time and hit buttons to an exact timing - not easy!
Battles are pretty dynamic and can turn nasty very swiftly if you don't watch what's going on. Luckily level-building is not too much of a chore and upgrades to weapons is pretty constant. This feature is carried over from the Dark Cloud games, because weapons can be combined together to form new, stronger ones, and their features modified with other items. You can spend a lot of time in this game seeking out dozens of weapons (each person has two weapon types that they use), and mixing them together to make better ones. And you'll need them - Monsters are mean and relentless, and some of them can be tough - even regular dungeon monsters can be annoying - especially if they have shields up. Out of all the good features of the game, this one really annoyed me. Jaster has a very weak gun which has the sole feature of being a barrier breaker - any monster that has a barrier needs it removing before you can do any damage, and only this gun can do it. The result is that you'll be endlessly swapping this barrier-break gun into play to break defence and then out again to damage them with a stronger one (as the barrier-break gun does zero actual damage). In later dungeons where lots of enemies have this shield it becomes a MAJOR pain to keep going to the menu for this over and over again. But that's one of the few niggles I had with battles...the other one might be that it's hard to tell who your player is targetting when there are several enemies on screen.
On the subject of creation, the old "town building" feature of Dark Cloud has also been retained in the Factory, where you can build complicated production lines to synthesize new items out of various things that you find throughout the game. This has always been a fun feature of the series. Items to be collected include things like lipstick, bananas, music boxes, flowers, bits of metal, small animals, masks and jewels, all of which have no use in the game except as factory ingredients. You could spend a very long time in the Factory mini game just trying to create new items, and it can be quite a fun distraction.
As for size, the game does not have that much to offer in locations, but boy, some of those dungeons are LONG! (if you play it, chances are that the Two Towers will try your patience quite a bit!).There are only about 6 planets so travel is a breeze. The in-game map is vital as the dungeons are often huge labyrinths constructed of cookie-cutter repeat corridors, but they still look pretty good, even with the repetition.
Let me just say again at this point, however, that some of the games ideas are clearly "inspired" by Final Fantasy XII, most notably the save icons, which also teleport you, the ability to swap team members in battle, and the Two Towers dungeon which looks remarkably like another tall tower in FXII. It also has a "quarries" sub-game, which is a direct copy of FFXII's "hunts". However it's probably an easier game to play...some of the bosses look great but none of them are particularly hard if you take a bit of care. The ending is also pretty good, with quite a long chain of bosses to kill without any saving allowed (hint - make sure to level up characters evenly!).
Overall, a good, solid fun game to play with no real letdowns. Put some time in and you'll soon be hooked all the way to the end.
on 1 April 2008
I'd enjoyed both Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle so decided to try this out and found it to be a good enjoyable game. Personally, I don't like spending a lot of time working out the best way to combine/power-up weapons or what spells to use etc (in the way of the more traditional RPG games) so I appreciated how easy this part of the game was. I liked the way each character had different weapons - which added some variety to the game. Also, the games draws you in from the beginning and I found the pace to be fast without being too fast. There are some side quests to do also - including killing/capturing monsters, capturing/breeding/fighting insects and a golf-like game (can't remember what they called it!). I did do the monsters killing, which I found challenging & fun, and the golf-like game (which took a while to get the hang up)but not the insect breeding (mainly because it seemed like too fuss).
There are some down sides to the game though. Some of the dungeon levels are extemely difficult unless you power up your weapons - which means you do end up re-playing levels just for this, which can be tiresome. But the main thing that bugged me was the boss fight at the end. Basically each character (7 of them) has a boss fight, ending with the main character's boss fight. If you loss a fight at any time, you have to go right back to the beginning. This means you spend over half an hour fighting, make one mistake right at the end (believe me so easy to do due to the nature of the final fight!), die and have to do it all over again - would it have killed them to put a save point just before the final battle? I gave up after three separate attempts at finishing this game - far too frustrating for me.
Overall a good game and fun - but I did prefer Dark Cloud/Dark Chronicle (as I managed to finish both of those eventually).
on 27 December 2007
To summarise quickly this is a very typical level 5 game, although whilst playing it you get the feeling that the developers are trying to break away from their regular pattern of game. Not that this is a bad thing, this is a very playable addictive RPG. As usual with a level 5 game the graphics and action are brilliant, and the storyline whilst not being the strongest is perfectly passable.
Its nice that the developers seem to have listened to the bits of negative feedback received from Dark Chronicle, gone are the endless dungeons, all of which appeared to look the same, in their place there are huge landscapes to explore and walk through, without having to stop and slay every beast in your path, with much less repitition in the way of progressing through the dungeon stages the gameplay feels much less structured and much less dull.
Its clear also that elements from both Final Fantasy XII and Skies of Arcadia (dreamcast/gamecube game, which is fantastic, along with plenty of elements retained from dark chronicle have been implemented into Rogue Galaxy, and work to great effect, without feeling like they have been completely ripped out of other games.
The things I hear moaned about the most with regards to Rogue Galaxy, are that the graphics are too cute, the plot too thin, and the whole interface being too childish, where I can see where these sort of remarks are coming from, I am of the opinion that this is to be expected with a level 5 RPG, and so I have no problem with it.
Rogue Galaxy is a solid, thoroughly playable RPG that will give you hours of entertainment, and offers as much or as little as you want it to. If you are a fan of Dark Chronicle then this is certainly something you will enjoy, if you are a fan of FFXII then this is certainly a title worth a look.
on 19 September 2007
Having played nearly every top rated RPG of recent years, I was expecting this to be just another title along the same vein, after all, it's difficult to be truely innovative in what is essentially a well-worn format.
However, I was pleasantly surprised, and not just because of the scope of the gameplay. Sure, it can get annoying retracing your steps in an attempt to level up or chase down enough beasts to fill you hunt log, but the envionments are well rendered and much more varied than other RPGs.
The basic idea revolves around following checkpoints through dungeons to your ultimate goal, but whilst this may sound a bit monotonous (and sometimes is), there is a completely non-linear style to this title where you can break off play and focus on something else at any point you want.
On that note, the "mini games" are completely immersive - training your own battle insects to fight in tournaments, creating items in your own factory (where you have to contruct your own factory line in a sims-esque manner) as well as a beast hunting sidequest similar to finanl fintasy 12(but no where near as large). As well as that you can fuse weapons together, track down each and every item to unlock abilities and create new weapons and generally have fun exploring massive areas and fighting a large variety of monsters.
I'd say it's well worth the money, and it will easily soak up 60+ hours of playing time (over 100 if you try to complete everything).
on 19 September 2011
These are my thoughts from playing and completing the American Version.
Made by Level 5 who produced such games as Dragon Quest 8, Dark Cloud 1 and 2, the Professor Layton series and others, this game is in a single word, Brilliant.
The Main character of this game is Jaster, Jaster is a young boy living on a Desert planet which is fairly beautiful and easy on the eye. When one day he meets the legendary Desert Claw when his town is being attacked. He then is handed a powerful sword and fights along side him.
Make no mistake this is a beautiful game and takes advantage of the PS2 hardware wonderfully.
The control system of this game has a Dark Cloud feel, you freely control your characters and get into random battles with parties of up to 3 people including yourself and whack away at monsters, but careful if you charge into battle recklessly you will die and quickly. You can also change your main controllable character if you feel like using someone different.
The Story in general ranges from both good/epic to silly and fun but needless to say at a certain point in the game towards the end, on this one cutscene I nearly died of laughter at how hilarious in a good way the scene was.
You can upgrade your weapons of both yourself and your party, and do weapon fusions, collect rare items for your ship and hunt down legendary swords.
The game also features a function called Quarrys, these are hunts posted on a planet which I won't mention due to spoilers at different points in the game which enables you to accept missions to hunt and kill powerful monsters and gain points. There is also a galactic ranking system(Offline only). Will you make it from Rank 100 to 1 and be the best in the Galaxy, who knows?
You can also get outfits for your characters and other things by searching and doing tasks. There is also a few mini games and something called, well I won't spoil but it's good.
It has everything you want from an RPG game.
Completionists will easily speand 60 or more hours on this game, maybe more, the average gamer will take around 40-50 hours.
The game also features a 100 floor dungeon after you beat, which took me around 6 hours by avoiding battles when neccessary, the reward for this is an outfit and other stuff for your characters.
on 15 September 2007
I totally agree with Nightwing's review above and would just like to say that for those that felt let down by FFXII try this. It is pretty much perfectly balanced for new and experienced JRPG players to enjoy and would recommend highly to anybody that enjoys the Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Suikoden, and Jade Empire games.
on 6 August 2012
I will say this to start, it is a crying shame that this product was released so late in the PS2's life that everyone had already moved on to the shiny PS3 releases and this was relegated to a forgotten endnote to PS2 RPGs.
As it is, there's a lot to be said for a game when I have a fantastic PS3 sitting hooked up to my TV, with a stack of games I have yet to play, including Final Fantasy 13, all three next gen Atelier games, Nier, Dragon Age and the like, and yet I am sitting here playing my way through a little known J-RPG on my old PS2.
The premise is simple, and the plot will be familiar to anyone who has experienced the standard J-RPG setup. You play as young Jaster Rogue, unwilling resident of a backwater desert planet, who spends his time longing to travel into space. When a monster invades the town Jaster takes up his sword and blaster and defeats it, only to be mistaken for the legendary hunter Desert Claw by members of a pirate ship's crew. Admittedly, he doesn't try too hard to convince them otherwise and suddenly finds himself flying out into the stars on an inevitably complicated mission that eventually leads to the saving of the universe.
Pretty standard stuff, but the writing and delivery is done well enough to keep things flowing along and the characters are likeable. It does get a little silly at times, but generally it's within the normal realms for a game of this type. The Star Wars references are just obvious rip-offs at times though - Jaster's situation bears an uncanny resemblance to Luke Skywalker, although he's far less whiny, Steve the robot not only looks, but acts and sounds like C3P0, his pal Simon could pass in stature for R2D2 (although with a broad Scottish accent) and the ship's Captain is an obvious Jabba. Sadly, you do meet up with a Jar Jar clone later as well.
Graphically, it's a matter of taste. This is Level 5, the people who produced Dragon Quest 8, so expect cell shading, lots of pastel colours and unrivalled cuteness. If you prefer gritty realism to cartoons and primary colours, and think that talking cats and dogs, or fish walking on two legs have no place in a serious RPG, look away now as this isn't for you. If you don't mind this though, the graphics are excellent and really bring each planet to life.
The gameplay is where everything comes together though, as this is an action RPG in the style of Kingdom Hearts. There's no full freedom of movement like Skyrim or Kingdoms of Amalur, but neither is the action totally limited to tiny one-direction corridors. It's a lot like Final Fantasy X in that regard - there's room enough to move around and explore to the point where it doesn't feel cramped. Random battles happen not too frequently, but enough that you can expect to be attacked fairly regularly.
Combat is a breeze once you've mastered the system, but can still be brutal if you're not prepared. Each character has a primary and a secondary weapon, with the secondary usually being ranged. Jaster, for example has a close range sword and his blaster rifle/pistol. You can move freely around the battle area while the AI controls your two other party members, and can attack about 15-20 times until the action gauge empties, then you have to run around or defend while you wait for it to refill which encourages you to pick your shots. The secondary ranged weapon is the same except you have a limited ammo supply and only three reloads per battle.
The standard mana/magic points are turned into AP for this game, and power a range of powerful abilities unlocked by obtaining various common and rare items and putting them into a grid for each character. During battle, your AI characters will shout over suggestions when they want to use abilities, which you can agree to by hitting L1/L2, but you can turn this off and trigger all your party's abilities manually by bringing up the menu, as left to their own devices they'll burn through your AP and items.
Combat, as a whole though, while sometimes challenging and sometimes annoying with the random battles, achieves what it should do in a game like this - it is fun. One minor glitch though is the need for one particular gun that Jaster carries - the barrier breaker. A number of enemies in the game have shields that can only be broken with an otherwise useless gun given to you about 10 hours in, and this isn't just bosses, it's a few regular enemies in some areas. All in all it can get very irritating in the areas that have these enemies to have to bring up the menu to replace your awesomely destructive plasma rifle with this gun, only to tag all the enemies so they can be damaged, then open up the menu to bring out the artillery again. That part is badly executed, but it's only a minor annoyance.
Outside the main quest, there's a boatload of extras to do. From hunting down rare beasts, to weapon synthesis, catching and raising insect armies for the Insectron tournaments (similar to the arena in DQ8), running a factory for rare items (a puzzle game where you place the parts to make the machinery work,) and two bonus dungeons after the endgame. 100 hours plus - absolutely, and you'll enjoy it.
If you've still got your old PS2, then by all means get this game. It runs rings around similar titles released for PS3 despite its age and platform.
on 18 December 2015
One of the best RPGs I have played graphics are really good considering it's ps2 glad I bought it
on 4 January 2012
I won't write a long review here, as others have done so in admirable style.
If you like JRPGs with a big story, brilliant art, fast and fun gameplay and a giant world to explore, then this is for your. Great characters, well acted ( when they speak)...and did I mention the awesome art style?
Forget the naysayers who have written the negative stuff, this is fun, involving and huge. Buy it now.