Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 01/30/07 | Genre: RPG
Although the PlayStation 2 has been out for many years and Sony has launched the PlayStation 3, the great games keep coming out for the aging platform. But who wants to play a "last-gen" game when the next-gen looks so pretty? Okay, I admit that these are some of the same thoughts I have had since the Xbox 360 and PS3 have been released. The strange thing is that these last few PlayStation 2 releases from Sony's First Party are so nice to look at and play, it may make you think twice about gaming on a 360 or PS3. A great example of this is the latest Role Playing Game from Sony and Developer Level 5: Rogue Galaxy.
Rogue Galaxy is a new franchise from the Developers who have worked on such classic titles like Dark Cloud 2. The game features a very stylish look and feel with cel-shaded graphics so nice it will make you forget that you are playing on the last generation's hardware. Since games first started using the cel-shaded method, it is quite amazing to see how far the technology has gone. Rogue Galaxy is like watching a beautiful animated movie that you get to control. Even with the high level of detail, Rogue Galaxy doesn't stutter or slowdown at all. It plays at a steady framerate and even has relatively few loading screens. As we enter the next-generation of game consoles, it is exciting to think what we may be seeing there as the next hardware cycle comes to a close.
Rogue Galaxy begins by limiting your choices and actions while the player grows accustomed to the game. You first control Jaster Rogue who joins up with some space pirates. At first the scope of the story isn't clear but after several hours into the game, you will be able to control different characters and be given more freedom.
One of the more unique features of Rogue Galaxy are the weapons you obtain. Early on you meet a character that can combine weapons together to make something new. This allows for the player to mix and match and try to create more powerful and unique weapons. Players also gain special abilities by placing items on a gird screen. These features alone can cause you to spend many, many hours trying to unlock everything.
Players will find the central part of Rogue Galaxy in the combat system. I really enjoyed what Level 5 has done in past titles so I felt right at home with their latest title. Enemies appear on the screen as you are walking around and quickly hitting your attack button can be the key between life and death. Fortunately you can briefly stop the action by going to a menu to select a special ability or use an item. One thing I was surprised to see missing in the combat was any sort of healing magic. As most longtime RPG players are aware, healing is the key to staying alive in any fight. Not in Rogue Galaxy. Instead of healing magic, players will be forced to use Potions to restore health and bring characters back to life. I for one welcome a nice potion or two but would really prefer having some sort of healing magic at my disposal.
The player only directly controls one character. As we mentioned above, the first several hours will only allow for control of Jaster. Even when you can control someone else, that will remain your primary choice. However, in combat, the lack of good Artificial Intelligence (AI) can cause some frustrating moments with your team. You will find that they die very often and you can hope your suggestions are carried out. Fortunately if you find the AI to cause you to die, there are many save spots lying around and Rogue Galaxy allows for quick warps between any save spot you have previously visited.
No matter who you have in your party at any given time, everyone will get experience. This helps ensure that all characters are constantly growing more powerful. Besides the regular experience points, all of your weapons will also level up as you use them. This gives Rogue Galaxy yet another layer of complexity and gives you incentive to fight just one more battle.
Rogue Galaxy is a beautiful PlayStation 2 game that will provide players with hours and hours of gameplay. In a world of next-generation consoles, this is a RPG that can stand proud next to any game on the market. We highly recommend Rogue Galaxy.