2005 was a mammoth year for Zombie, it was his last year of school (since he wasn’t allowed back to finish it the following year), Batman Begins came out reigniting his love of the Caped Crusader, he met Alanah who looked stunning in heels, fishnets and duck mask but I’m not going to explain that it’s my own personal business. Not only was 2005 a big year for Zombie but it was also a huge year for Gaming where Titans came out swinging and taking no prisoners. Resident Evil 4, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Tekken 5, Devil May Cry 3, God of War, Spider-Man 2, Guitar Hero and Dragon Ball Z: Sagas Kingdom Hearts II.
One game that was released during 2005 was Rogue Galaxy, unfortunately its original release was only in Japan leaving the rest of the world waiting until 2007. In it’s native Japan Rogue Galaxy was good seller, it’s worldwide release however didn’t fare so well with the release of the Playstation 3 many late entries into the Playstation 2 library such as Rogue Galaxy were easily overlooked. It wasn’t until I found a copy on the cheap in a store that I had deja vu and was struck with an ‘awww yeah’ moment and brought it home to get stuck into. Now that it has been re-released on the Playstation 4 and is more accessible to all I thought it’d be a perfect time to take a second third fourth look I have played this game a lot alright!
Rogue Galaxy is a JRPG in which you take the role of Jaster who after a case of mistaken identity gets wrapped up with a band of misfits and pirates on the Dorgenark who seek a treasure which may just lead to them saving the world. Yes it’s cliche checking every box in the JRPG checklist resulting in a melodramatic space faring tale where you team up with a Dogman, whingy lizard and a toad who eats weapons but if it ain’t broke.
Combat is smooth and functional each character has a melee and ranged weapon, as well as a bunch of special moves when they really need to bring the pain. Bringing the pain is something that this game does truly well being brutal at times with constant difficulty spikes that will keep you on your toes. Each characters HP maxes out at 999 while the common enemy can easy deal 300 damage a hit, if you do some math that gives you 4 hits before a game over and that’s just the standard beasts you encounter. This is made easier through customized partner AI which for the time was pretty spot on, nine times out of ten they will either rush in or stand back constantly attack, that other one time they can be found open jawed, drooling and staring at the sky.
Two systems Level-5 have put into place (taken from their previous efforts Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle) are the Frog Log and Revelation Flow systems. Early on in the game you encounter a toad who can eat two weapons and combine them into new better weapons allowing for experimentation and a constant source of new stronger weapons to keep up with the stronger monsters you end up facing. Meanwhile the game features the Revelation Flow for each character which is basically a map in which you can place items you have collected upon your journey in order to teach your character’s new skills and abilities. The Revelation Flow charts allow your characters to gain new powers like enhanced melee or boosting the parties attack to the simple yet vital defenses, HP and resistances.
If you dislike item farming in a game then this isn’t for you, a lot of the items you need to get abilities are rare and you don’t need just one or two, often you will need between 15-20 and you will need to start farming early. On the first world you get to visit you can collect 3 Star Earrings to learn some BASIC moves for 2 of the 3 party members you have, these can be collected from only 2 types of enemies one which has 1% chance of appearing and and a 1% chance of dropping it. But that’s ok though because the other beast that drops them appears 15% of the time and has a 4% chance to drop the item. You can spend hours days looking for items, hell I once spent 10 hours trying to get 8 of one kind of item and only ended up with 6.
I could be here all day telling you about this game, you get a factory to make items (which can require more farming for items to put into it), the ruins you get to investigate, the beautiful CGI cut scenes which still look outstanding and the story which spirals out and before closing in on a rush to finish out the game. There is so much going on with and in this game that covering it all in a review isn’t easy as no matter what I said I would miss things.
Is Rogue Galaxy perfect? No. Is it worth the 70 odd hours you can spend within it? Hell yes. Rogue Galaxy isn’t a game that is about the destination, it is all about the journey. The music, themes, character arcs all represent this and it sits at the games emotional core. While a psychical copy on the Playstation 2 can cost a pretty penny these days it is easy enough to grab on the PSN Store complete with trophy support. If you like JRPG’s or Level-5 the guys behind Nino Kuni and Dragon Quest VIII & IX then pick it up and join the pirate crew of the Dorgenark.