Giant sword? Check. Mysterious hooded character with deep voice? Check. Goofy sidekicks with funny accents? Check. Cliched beginning of a story? Check. Rogue Galaxy has everything it needs to call itself a full fledged RPG. The story begins with Jaster, a young man whose dream is to sail to other planets and become a space pirate. Lucky for him, he gets mistaken for Desert Claw, the legendary bounty hunter, and is invited onto an airship to work and explore the universe.
Rather than a typical review, I thought I would shake things up a bit and write a bit each day about my impressions of the game. This way, it’s easy to see how the game progresses. Some clarification first. Day 1 is actually the second day I played the game. My first day playing the game has been recorded as a separate initial impressions piece.
– I will give my kingdom for someone in my party to have a healing and revival spell so I can stop spending so much money on items!
– Teleport/save points are handy!
– Teleport/save points seem to be spaced too far apart in some areas and are too abundant in others.
– It’s a shame didn’t take more advantage of platforming elements later in the game.
– Fighting seems overwhelming at first, but I got used to it after an hour or so and it makes random battles more enjoyable.
Onto the play diary (beware of spoilers!):
[ Day 1 ]
I started playing as Kisala as my main character, but I switched back to Jaster because he has a ranged subweapon. I wish someone had some healing magic. Maybe I can unlock it for Kisala later on. Her Revelations chart seems more geared toward magic and she already has a protective spell, so hopefully she gets some kind of healing spell later. Buying potions is getting expensive, but at least the teleport/healing points come up fairly frequently.
Fighting is still a bit confusing. So much happens on the screen in addition to the actual fighting that it’s hard to catch everything: suggestions that other party members make, watching your health, and watching your action gauge. I also got some skill that lets me unleash combos (for massive damage) with R1+Square, but I haven’t gotten the hang of timing the button presses. I’m sure it’ll come in handy, but it’s overwhelming trying to keep track of the combo gauge and collecting spheres to build up the combo gauge on top of staying alive in battle.
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This game seems to have a little of everything. There’s a Pokemon aspect with insect collecting that I unlocked, but I hope it doesn’t become mandatory. There’s also a weapon synthesis feature that lets you combine two like weapons into a more powerful one. I still have one blanked out choice in the main menu and I’m curious at what it could be.
[ Day 2 ]
Another few hours in, and still no healing ability. Buying healing and revive potions are using up most of the money I earn. Fighting is getting easier as I’m getting the hang of things. There was one lame part where I was fighting, but everyone else in my party moved into some deep water, so I hopped in as well — only to find out I can’t fight and swim at the same time, but apparently, enemies can still hit me with projectiles, so I died.
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I’m very glad about being able to teleport from save point to save point.
[ Day 3 ]
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I’m disliking more and more the fact that no one in my party has any healing magic. Either I need to get better at fighting, or someone needs to learn a Curaga equivalent, because I’m tired of spending so much money on healing items. There seems to be so many choices in regards to upgrading weapons: should I buy a better weapon or should I level up the current weapon to its max skill so that I can combine it with another weapon in a similar class to get a better one?
The characters are starting to grow on me more. Jaster is likable and I’m rooting for him and Kisala to have a little fling. Two characters get on my nerves though: the R2D2 and C3PO wannabes, especially the one with the Scottish accent. He has a pretty good area attack, but I just can’t stand his voice. The voice acting in this game isn’t as atrocious as I feared, but I still would have preferred Japanese dubbing with English subs. At least that way I wouldn’t be annoyed by bad accents. At least the localization is decent. I laughed when one of the characters actually said, "OMG" as "Oh-em-gee."
I read somewhere that someone was criticizing the game because dungeons seemed very cut and paste. I can see what they mean, but the weird thing is, I don’t mind. The on-screen mini-map and an arrow pointing to the goal on the map helps tremendously and I haven’t gotten lost yet. I did notice that the game had more frequent save points in the beginning, but the save points got scarcer as soon as I entered the prison. I was actually starting to worry about not making it to the next save point because I had run out of heal and revive potions. Note to self: don’t set team to "Go All Out" when running low on healing items.
I like how when loading a save file, the screen shows a summary of what’s going on in the story up to that point. It’s helpful in reminding me what my next goal is and it makes the loading more bearable. Maybe I’m getting spoiled by the lack of loading when traveling from area to area, but I did notice some loading between FMV scenes. It’s not as bad as some games though. I think the longest loading time between scenes was just 5-7 seconds and I’ll gladly take that over loading during actual gameplay.
[ Day 4 ]
Some things I’ve noticed so far:
– Towns look busy and filled with people in cut scenes, but are pretty barren other than the occasional NPC or two when I actually get to walk around.
– I wish there were some way to skip special attack scenes automatically without me having to press triangle to skip it each time
– For the love of god, someone learn some healing power!
– Save points are never where you want them. Why are there so many in towns where nothing happens, but so few in dungeons?
– The dungeons are starting to get harder and more maze-like. I hope the game doesn’t go downhill from here. I can understand other peoples’ criticisms of how the dungeons seem like each room is cut and paste over and over again.