Well, being sick has some major advantages. One is that I can finally finish a long-running RPG game, such as Rogue Galaxy. It's a two year old game, so there will probably be a few spoilers in this one. As for a simple summary: a hundred hours of gameplay shouldn't be fifty hours of grind.
The game itself is a Playstation 2 game, with some interesting concepts and a pretty zippy story. Baring one major thing, I actually enjoyed the game for the plot. The major thing, well it gets pretty obvious. Most games have a theme in their story. Sometimes it is just a young man's attempt to stand up on their own, to reach the stars they always dreamed up. That story was a good one. I like that story. Even the tender moments where he finds out that his father has been watching over him, helping him gain his full potential. Or his mother, a mere ghost waiting for him to return to her so she can help him reach that potential. Fairly good story (and the mother was pretty hot too). From there, we can talk about his love interest, the main female of the story. Tragically, she is also an orphan, raised by a dread pirate most of her childhood. We find out her parents sent her out ten thousand years ago in a lifeboat from another galaxy, to save her and themselves. And then they wait for her to return where she has to defeat one to reach her... full... potential.
Okay, I can live with that. Oh wait, another player character. Oh, she lost her mother when she was young. How terrible. Oh, and her sister was blinded. Oh, and the creature who killed her mother was the village god. I can live with that.
Another player character! Oh, he is fleeing his family! And they are hunting them, his wife and daughter. Showing up in monster-infested dungeons.
Well, that would be... nope. We have the pirate who wants to bring his dead girlfriend back to life, the villain who wants to bring his wife to life, the queen that took on powers of evil to save her son, and the scientist who put the memories of his dead son in a robot. Oh, and the warrior who is pining over his best friend turned evil and the elf girl who loves him for ten years but neither will admit it. Don't forget the ghost lady waiting forever for her husband who's corpse was fifty feet away! Or the ghost king who cannot move on until his two ghost sons finally resolve their thousand year spat.
Of the seven characters you play, one of them doesn't have some sort of family issue either holding them back or driving them forward. He just has some sort of unrequited love thing going on with his apprentice, but otherwise same damn thing.
So, detect a pattern?
You know, I like themes. I do like themes. But, when the theme is slammed into your forehead fifteen times with a 2x4, it gets rather tedious. That is probably the part about the game I didn't care for. It was like a sitcom plot where today's episode will be Obsessed Family!
Tedious describes a bunch of other parts of the game. The final dungeon took me six hours to complete. It ended up with nine consecutive boss fights. No chance to save, no chance to recover the healing potions which you can only have 30 of each, and seven of the fights were one-on-one which means if you died, you had to start them all over again. These nine fights were preceded by four hours of following a long, boring dungeon where every one of your seven characters can cry and sob over their individual family plot.
It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the combat. The game gives you some lovely attack spells, including the passionate kiss that inflicts a couple thousand damage. However, over half of the monsters are tall. What does this mean? Tall creatures are immune to fireballs, exploding kisses, or even this really strange penis extension maneuver called Random Beam (robot mounts the dog creature's waist and spins around). Because, of all the massive combat, it only happens on a plane at waist level to the characters. Even your gun appears to be incapable of aiming up when you damn well know that you have to hit them in the head. It's a good thing resurrections are cheap, because the computer-controlled players don't know that you have to jump up to attack often either, so they kept on dying.
In addition to the tall creatures, you have the shield ones. They require a power attack to hit. Hold down the button for a second, pray no one hits you, and release. Once broken, you can smack their ass. This is fine, I thought Final Fantasy X did it very well, but they decided to mix it up by giving some of the creatures barriers! Barriers work just like shields, no damage until you break it, but strong attacks don't work. You have to use the barrier gun, which requires nine button presses to change if you don't have it equipped. And the barrier gun doesn't work on the shields. This is annoying since only you can break barriers. It is more annoying when they throw six creatures, two are shielded and two have barriers, and the bastards won't hold still long enough for you to target the right one with the right attack.
I hate the barrier gun with a passion.
If I ever use a barrier gun in this way, you have my permission to shoot me. With a high-powered 2x4 launcher. And that is why I do reviews, to figure out what I like and don't like about a game.
Things I liked. Well, there was some. The bug hunting game was okay, but a bit cumbersome to actually do. Same with the weapon combination minigame but it took way too many button presses to analyze, scroll, click through the weapon stats, cancel it, page back to the frog, combine the weapons, page back to the weapons, select the two weapons, then cancel the combination process.
The factory bit was actually pretty cool, except for the need to layout the damn extension cords on the factory floor. Why yes, an epic game of organizing cords to get your artifacts! Such fun!
That was also tedious. And boring.
The game had a lot of potential, but it got most of its hours from grinding and tedium instead of actually fun play. There are places where you just run straight for about two minutes to get to the door. Just to show off how big the stage was.
I try to find something enjoyable with every game I play. There are probably only two things I liked about it. The experience point system was based on revelations. Each skill had 2-6 random items you find that I guess you gather together, meditate on, and unlock a power. That was kind of cool, actually. It was a bit more realistic in some ways, though contrived in places. I actually like the factory bit, it was a lot more enjoyable that Star Oceans building and I could actually see a minigame about building things that I could create using ideas from that game.
Also one cut scene for a power attack. You have your normal array of people screaming as they power up their weapons, a pirate drinking beer and powering up, the love interest farting on a sock and killing people with it (the insta death charm, she's got 3 levels of it!), the flaming explosions, winds.
And then the coffee drinking power boost. Just a single character sitting on a chair, sipping some coffee and sighing happily. And everyone gets a boost in attack power. The first time I saw that, I laughed so hard it hurt and I almost lost the fight. It was worth it. Just a single point of silliness that really did wonders for my mood.
Other than that, I couldn't wait for the game to end. I don't like endurance trials in my RPGs. If you are padding out the "hundred hours of gameplay" with thousands of pointless fights and tedium, it isn't a fun game.