VG REVIEW: Rogue Galaxy
Sony, for PlayStation 2
rated T for Teen (blood, crude humor, mild language, mild suggestive themes, use of alcohol and tobacco, violence), $39.99.
Just about every aspect of "Rogue Galaxy" screams "old-school role-playing game," from the random battles in dank dungeons to the 40-plus hour epic storyline with its cardboard heroic characters.
It's old-school in a good way, though, because "Rogue Galaxy" offers enough diversity and fun to keep the proceedings from becoming overly familiar and dull.
The game is the brainchild of the folks at Level 5, a developer known for its rpgs (their last big project was the critically acclaimed "Dragon Quest VIII").
The plot involves a brash young lad with the unfortunate name of Jaster Rogue. Eager to explore the galaxy, he pretends to be a renowned bounty hunter in order to join up with a gang of space pirates. Adventure quickly ensues.
Anyone who's played a Japanese rpg will be on familiar ground here. Thankfully, the battles aren't turn-based, but happen in real time, and you can switch between characters or weapons on the fly, a welcome change.
The big draw is the items that the various monsters and other creatures drop upon being defeated. These odd objects can be used to upgrade your skills, or be fused with other parts to make cool new weapons. Mixing and matching things to see what you come up with is a large part of the fun.
There also are plenty of side quests and minigames, including one that has you collecting bugs that then face off against one another in a pint-sized arena.
On the downside, some of the tried and true rpg conventions burden the game. Save areas are sparse. The story and characters feel more than a bit rote. Even worse, you can't heal your characters via magic, so you end up spending a lot of your cash on healing potions -- money that could be spent on better upgrades.
Problems aside, "Rogue Galaxy" has enough craftsmanship to smooth out any rough patches and offers a fresh coat of paint on an aging jalopy.
Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007