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    Rogue Galaxy

    Game » consists of 5 releases. Released Dec 08, 2005

    Join Jaster, a young adventurer, as he is hired by space pirates to search the universe for Planet Eden, a world of untold riches and eternal life.

    sparky_buzzsaw's Rogue Galaxy (PlayStation 2) review

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    Rogue Galaxy in 2015 (PS4 Re-Release)

    When they're not shoving out confused, mechanically stillborn garbage like White Knight Chronicles, Level 5 can crank out some damn great games. Their greatest trifecta to date is the loosely-defined trilogy of PS2 era action-RPGs Dark Cloud 1 & 2 and their spiritual successor Rogue Galaxy.

    At the time of its release, Rogue Galaxy was ambitious, but suffered from severe frame rate problems and long, often buggy loading times, particularly when it came to the game's gorgeous cinematics sequences. Thanks to a snazzy PS4 update, most of these issues have been fixed, though there are still some noticeable points at which the game slows down. Thankfully, though, these are relatively sparse and the frame rate never dips low enough to be much of a bother. The loading issues that plagued the PS2 version are all gone, and the game loads in and out of areas much faster.

    Trophy support has also been added. These are largely related to the story and gameplay milestones, and offer up a nice little reason to replay the game. It's worth noting that with these re-releases on the PS4, they aren't actually adding any new gameplay elements, though the graphics seem just a little bit crisper. I can't tell you how nice it is to have the enormous font sizes of the PS2 era back again. The UI is immensely readable.

    From a 2015 perspective, the gameplay still largely holds up. You play as Jaster, a wannabe space bounty hunter/pirate of sorts, who goes off on a pretty standard quest with pretty standard RPG companions. The story's not nearly on the level of Ni no Kuni, so fans of that game shouldn't come into this hoping for more of that. Instead, the real focus is on the game's awesome combat. Armed with a gun and a sword, you take on groups of enemies in fairly timed random encounters in real-time combat. The AI-controlled party members will sporadically give you the option to use their abilities in the middle of battle, giving you two options at any given time. If your team is getting its ass handed to them, the AI will recommend healing items or defensive spells. If you're on the attack, you'll get buffs or offensive skills.

    Leveling up is in itself fairly rote, but learning new skills is a fascinating process. Each character has a skill grid, and each skill takes a certain combination of common and rare items to unlock. It gives the player a reason to go back and thoroughly explore dungeons for more items and better drops from enemies, but the rarity of certain items does tend to make this part of the game a slog at points, especially with no clear indication of where and when items might be available in shops as opposed to dungeons.

    Rogue Galaxy gives the player a large, if fairly linear, Star Wars-esque galaxy in which to explore. Unfortunately, the game rarely takes the initiative in creating original, interesting worlds in favor of blandly generic worlds with a surprising amount of local color to them. While the game plays up to all sorts of eye-rolling sci-fi and RPG tropes, the actual interactions between the character and the world around him are by and large fun and worth the time investment.

    The dungeons themselves tend to be sort of a chore. Combat itself is a lot of fun, but dungeons tend to overstay their welcome by a long shot. Some of them, like an early prison dungeon, are blandly designed and hold little interest to me beyond advancing the plot, so I tend to rush through them and wind up underprepared for the next area. Thankfully, the game generously allows the player to heal at save points, meaning that if you're careful about exploring, you never have much of a worry when it comes to grinding.

    Weapon customization is a fascinating idea in this game, though it too can feel like a bit of a grind. By using weapons in combat, you eventually reach a point where the weapon becomes maximized, allowing it to be fused with another maximized weapon of the same type. These fusions will lead to better weapons with better stats - or in the even that they don't, the player is given ample warning that what they'll create isn't on par with what they have. In theory, it's a cool system that allows players to easily get overpowered gear for certain areas with careful crafting. But it's also possible to wind up with weapons that wind up dealing elemental damage an enemy is immune or strong against, leaving the player feeling useless until they can get another weapon, which will almost inevitably be weaker than the one they just made until they can recraft it again. This wouldn't be so bad without the "maximizing" concept, which is often slow and laborious, requiring the player to sit through a bunch of random battles for questionable rewards.

    While the main game itself is pretty much straightforward and easily understood with lots of explanations and helpful tips, there's a frustratingly obtuse mid-game mini-game revolving around the player building machinery in a workshop to crank out more items to be sold in shops. It's clear here the designers wanted to make something that spoke of Dark Cloud's awesome city building stuff, but didn't really plan it out enough to make the experience user friendly. Instead, what we're left with is a Crazy Machines-esque mini-game that doesn't clearly define when or if the player is doing the right thing at any given moment. Even something so simple as connecting power cables to the machine isn't rewarded with an easily identifiable visual cue. Coming straight from Dark Cloud 2's amazing set of mini-games and city building elements, this is a huge let-down and is easily the worst part of the game. If you plan on exploring this - and you should, since it unlocks a lot of the game's best stuff - please do yourself a favor and have a video or FAQ guide up to help you on your way.

    Overall, though, Rogue Galaxy holds up remarkably well for a decade old RPG. It's the sort of game I wish Sony or Level 5 would return to, if just to create one without the blemishes that mar what would otherwise be one of gaming's all time great RPGs. With a better story, smarter levels, and a mini-game I don't want to drag out to the desert and leave to die, a sequel to this could be phenomenal, even today. Maybe especially today, given the dearth of ambitious RPGs like this.

    Other reviews for Rogue Galaxy (PlayStation 2)

      The PS2 Still Has Life In It! 0

      Level 5 brings a superb adventure of space piracy and saving the galaxy in their latest title, Rogue Galaxy. Though the game is very traditional, as far as RPG's go, it doesn't follow the Japanese style per say, trading that in for the Star Ocean style instead. In fact you will notice quite a few similarities with this title and Star Ocean III. Luckily for all involved, Star Ocean was a fantastic game and this one is just as good if not a little better. Level 5 proves that you don't have to be a...

      1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

      A very solid and satisfying voyage for the wide-eyed adventurer. 0

      Rogue Galaxy is a very enjoyable adventure that offers an abundance of things to do and places to explore. The game is far from perfect, but it serves as a worthy purchase for aficionados of Action-RPGs. The game starts on a simple note: A youngster on a remote desert planet yearns to explore the galaxy. After a major mix-up, he is whisked on an adventure that will have him discover his hidden potential and eventually save the galaxy. The game definitely succeeds in weaving a tale of adve...

      0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

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