Since it took about 2 years for it’s localization, Rogue Galaxy came at the end of the Playstation 2’s life span, which was a little too late to get the attention it deserved. It was almost like a legend at my country! Everyone was saying how this game was great, but nobody owned a copy back then. But The legends were true! Rogue Galaxy is really a master piece! One of the best games I’ve played recently, even though it comes from the distant past of 2005…
The story has many similarities with Star Wars Episode IV, but not enough for it to be considered a rip-off. You play as Jaster Rogue, an orphan who was adopted by a priest and lives at the planet Rosa. This planet is filled with deserts and thanks to a recent conflict, the people of Rosa are prohibited to do space travels, but Jaster’s dream is to explore the galaxy, so when two space pirates mistake him for a legendary mercenary, he embraces the opportunity and joins their crew in the quest for the illusive planet Eden, which is said to hold the biggest treasure in the whole universe: The Everlasting Soul.To open the path through dimensions and reach this planet, Jaster and his new friends must uncover the secrets behind ancient scriptures and seek the lost relics of the late emperors of the Galaxy. During this journey, he will unfold the true history of the current civilization and will even come across a mysterious being known only as the “Star King”, who was said to have ruled the Galaxy in the past by using his supernatural abilities.What is the connection between Jaster and the enigmatic Seed – who shares the same face with our hero and seems to possess the powers of the Star King?This game has become the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about “adventure”. The motif is to experience a fantastic tale without being limited by science or any other useless details. Right at the beginning you get this message when you see that the Dorgenark – the ship used by the space-pirates – is literally a pirate ship! It’s made of wood, has sails and it flies through the vacuum of the space with seamlessly no propulsion whatsoever. They can even breath while they are in the deck! It’s totally stupid and totally awesome!Nothing comes easy in this adventure! When Jaster tries to come abord the ship for the first time, he gets attacked by a giant worm! This scene is super cool and it serves to introduce the main heroine of the game: Kisala.I love every single character in this game! There are too many to describe here, but they don’t feel like those stereotypes we usually see nowadays. We get people like an ex-engineer who lost his face during an explosion and has to wear a mask that looks like a snout, which forces him to live away from his wife and daughter out of shame.There’s also an anthropomorphic dog who was an ex-soldier who fought in the inter-planetary war, but now lives a bitter life as a miner, until he learns what was truly important to him thanks to his alliance with Jaster.Your party members are not the only ones who are unnusual. When you less expect, you will be lending a hand to a humanoid Dolphin named Flipper and a Shark known as Jaws who are fighting against the evil humans who are ruining their paradise! The setting is full a bat-shit-crazy stuuf and I love it!The plot is very creative and has interesting effects in the game. Like one of the final dungeons in the game, that is actually a puzzle that has to be pieced together by telekinesis in one of the most fantastic scenes I’ve ever seen in a game!
This title is a total nightmare for completionists, since there’s a huge amount of things to be done! A charming frog voiced by Itou Kentaro (Abarai Renji from Bleach) has the useful task of eating your weapons to throw up a fusion between his meals. This is how the weapon-fusion system works, and for how silly as it looks, it is actually quite complex.But “complex” wouldn’t even be enough to describe the item-craft system! To make even the simplest of items, you need to put together a whole factory. It’s a puzzle with it’s own set of rules and multiple solutions. This system complexity can put any Atelier game to shame! It’s so complex that I spent hours just to craft a single item! There’s no doubt this is the most complicated item-creating system in gaming history! It feels like a mini-Sim City packed together with the main game. They could even sell this short segment as a stand-alone game and make profit out of it!Talking about stand-alone games, the Insetron is another mini-game that is so deep and complete that it could be sold as one of the many Pokemon clones! But every single one of those systems can be completely ignored by the player and you can finish the game without using those even once! Of course, if you choose to use them, many bonuses await you! As far as combat goes, Rogue Galaxy handles it quite well with its real time action system, even for nowadays standards! Your party members are always visible following the leader and whenever a battle starts, the screen doesn’t change and there’s no loading time, you fight in whichever field you were exploring and the terrain can be used in your favor or against you. You know, the thing that BandaiNamco is bragging for finally being able to do in Tales of Zestiria.The loading times is optimal! There’s no transition screen when you enter a house, since the house was already loaded together with the whole city. You hardly ever spot any loading screen. I believe the only time is when you go from a planet to another, and it’s only for about 5 seconds. Since I was running this on the PS3 hard disk, it was just for 2 seconds, though…By the way, since I was playing the emulation being sold at the PSN store, I ran into some “freezing” problems while exploring the planet Juraika and while crafting some items. It seems this happens at random, and it can be quite annoying, but other than this, the emulation was perfect!
The graphics are top-notch! The character designs feel really fresh, since you will not be seeing the regular cast of “top models” full of “bishoujos” and “bishounens”. Instead, you get a party composed of the most sorted bunch of people (even though not all of them are really people).Curiously enough, the art-style used by Level-5 is very similar to what you would see in some of the late Ghibli films (maybe a foreshadowing for their future team up). The faces are a bit more “rounded” than what you would usually see nowadays (especially for male characters) and men are a bit bulky, with long shoulders and tiny eyes. Some of the vehicles and robots look like something directly from “Laputa”!
The original Japanese cast is excellent! There are many talented people, like Onosaka Masaya (Vash the Stampede and Sendou Takeshi) and Ishizuka Unshou (Kizaru from One Piece, Joseph Joestar from Jojo), but I must admit the voices are not perfect: Jaster is voiced by Tamaki Hiroshi (a skilled actor) and Kisala is dubbed by Ueto Aya (a suberb singer). While both are really good at their original job, I must say they are no seiyuu material. To be honest, even the western voice actors did a better job. Actually, the voice acting in the localization is not too shabby.Being more blunt: It’s really good! There are also a lot of skilled people working in the localization, like Yuri Lowenthal – who is one of the best voice actors in the whole world – in the role of Steve, the robot with a gentle heart.
The first music you hear in this game is the title screen theme – which is an orchestral piece in Latin. From this point on, you can already be sure even the worst song in this soundtrack will be superior to many other game music! I obviously love this soundtrack! It’s freaking beautiful! They hired a whole orchestra, so there’s a good variation of instruments and each track feels refreshing and different. Each song fit well enough in their respective backgrounds, forming the perfect atmosphere for each scene.
As much as I hate to admit, there are some bad points to this game: The plot was going really well, until all was turned into a soap opera based on Superman’s origin. There’s a new main villain that comes from nowhere, while the previous main villains are used in a really lazy manner in the last minute. The final battle is tiresome, annoying, difficult, unfair, with no check points and it takes too long to be finished (over one hour). Without mentioning that any little mistake will lead to a Game Over, forcing you to start from the last save…With everything taken into account, this was still a great game! Unfortunately, like most Level-5 titles, Rogue Galaxy received many Awards, was highly praised by critics but it sold poorly! Maybe they would be better received if they waited to release this on the PS3. I am sure this game would have no problems meeting the PS3 standards, since its graphics are much better than games that are being released for the PS4! (Like a certain Quintet coming out tomorrow…). Rogue Galaxy is now on sale in the Japanese PSN. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “JRPG” fan or not, because I absolutely recommend this to any RPG fan.