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Saving the (Rogue) Galaxy, saving gaming (for me)?

Jason Karney's picture

I've become rather burned out on gaming lately. I think it started with the perfection that was Xenosaga III: a game that, in my opinion, was the perfectly balanced zenith of its series. It melded an evolution of gameplay with a story that wrapped up all the outstanding questions from the prior two games. It even gave me a teary-eyed moment, and how many games can do that?

Thus from Xenosaga III I set out on a quest to play Final Fantasy XII. And I really don't like it. I'm sorry to say that. I've completed every new Final Fantasy put out since VII. FFXII wasn't a game to me, it was work. Tedious, slowly progressing work, which really dampened my enthusiasm for games in general. Not even watching another so-called console war could bring me back. I don't know if I'm going to ever finish playing XII, but my dislikes are for another post, because this is about Rogue Galaxy.

I popped in the game Sunday night. I'd bought it with a gift card my other half gave me for Christmas. I had loosely followed the Japanese release of Rogue Galaxy, and knew it was supposed to be a good game, coming from the generally acclaimed Level 5. But I had avoided the bulk of details about story specifics and gameplay; all I knew was to expect a large and visually pretty RPG that involved space pirates and a main character who may have been a stowaway.

Right away I was impressed. The 3D, sort-of-cel shaded look was very impressive to me, as was the initial voice acting. The game picks up quickly; there isn't a several hour wait to get into some action. No, the game right away establishes the setting and throws the player into the protagonist's boots with some tense action. The game is good about doling out how to play as it goes, I felt. I actually liked this a lot; I learned all the details about the battle system and general gameplay without having to crack the manual. And all of these tidbits are then available for review at any time. I want to stress that I think this learning experience was very well done.

The characters I've met so far are quirky, all with unique personality and again, with top-notch voice acting. I like the way the party members talk to themselves; such as random voiceovers from the hero-to-be, saying where he is headed, pondering a dangerous beast or wondering about his future. It really adds ambience to the game.

I made it through the first boss battle, which added to my arsenal a strategic weapon of sorts as I learned about finding this gigantically screen-filling creature's weak spots. I also learned that fire burns, unless you have a spare supply of CO2 tanks.

And by the way: the Revelation Flow seems more fun, and easier to manage, than Final Fintasy XII's obtuse license board.

I'm very intrigued so far, and perhaps this is the game to truly rekindle my interest in video games, especially RPGs.

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Hey Jason! Thanks for the

Hey Jason!

Thanks for the comments... RG is definitely on my short list at the moment, and your enthusiasm just bumped it up a few more notches. Are we going to be seeing more of you in the near future?

Drink Coffeecola- it's good and good for you!

Hey Jase

Hey Jason! It's good to hear from you again!

And Rogue Galaxy looks very promising to me too. It's on top of my to-buy list. But how is it any different to Dragon Quest - besides the fighting? Is it also a Squeenix game?

Thanks for the impressions,

Thanks for the impressions, Jason, I'm pretty much in a JRPG slump as well. Couldn't even find the heart to progress further than a few hours into FFXII and VP2 was the last title to grab my attention. I have good hopes for this one, though, can't wait until it arrives.

That, and I can scarcely say no to an inteligently cel-shaded game.

I've been remiss in getting Level 5's Dark Cloud series, hopefully this will get me to know their work and traits somewhat better.

Brad - the enthusiasm is

Brad - the enthusiasm is continuing. Not sure what you'll see of me in the near future. :)

Shun - I didn't play Dragon Quest 8 to compare. Rogue Galaxy is not a Squenix game. It's developed by Level 5, and published by Sony. I can tell you that this game has a traditional looking pirate ship that flies through outer space!

Reharl - Hey! I'm glad I wasn't the only person to tire of FFXII. Hopefully you'll find that Rogue Galaxy renews your JRPG interest. I'm enjoying it so far. I admit I'm only just through the prologue-like introduction; but I'm quite intrigued. It's got that "feel" that makes me want to keep playing, and it's tough for an RPG to do that so quickly, I think. I keep finding little touches that make me appreciate the game more; touches that show time was spent polishing it.

Thanks. I got this game

Thanks. I got this game pegged on the priority list.

By the way, kind of off-topic, but I don't think it's time for JRPG kind of gamers to give up yet. There are a lot of promising RPG titles either released, or on the way, to DS. There's Final Fantasy III DS (vintage Final Fantasy goodness), Dragon Quest Rocket Slime, the upcoming Pokemon, the upcoming Dragon Quest (which if the previews are to be believed, will be a more action-oriented title), and the upcoming Zelda Phantom Hourglass. And if that's not enough, the GBA's still holding up pretty strong with its Summon Nights 1 and 2, and Yggdra Union.

Might check out RG, thanks

Might check out RG, thanks for review.

Dont agree with ya on FFXII - game kept me for 100+ hours - that was a great trip through world of Ivalice ,, again.

Very good post, thanks a

Very good post, thanks a lot.

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