After a vicious attack by beasts on his hometown and a comical case of mistaken identity, Jaster Rogue ends up in the company of space pirates. This introduction sets the tone for Rogue Galaxy: a blend of sci-fi action and zany comedy. The game is quite light-hearted, with most of the diverse cast being odd creatures with eccentric personalities and strange voices. The overarching story is not particularly engrossing so far, but the characters keep things interesting. Rogue Galaxy has many comical moments, largely due to characters having funny voices and clever lines.
"A pirate ship zooming over a planet is...a beautiful sight."
As with previous Level 5 titles, Rogue Galaxy has cel-shaded graphics that enhance the cartoon-like nature of the game while smoothly blending with star fields, structures, and landscapes. A pirate ship zooming over a planet is a strange juxtaposition, but it's a beautiful sight.
Rogue Galaxy is an action RPG, but combat is more than just hack-and-slash. Each character has a main weapon and an offhand weapon -- usually one for close melee and one for ranged attacks. The player controls one character, while the other are controlled by AI. Slashing everything with the melee weapon is amusing for a while, but it's a bad tactic. Besides, there are other fun ways to fight -- shooting, kicking, smashing debris on the field or picking it up and throwing it at enemies, or even picking up the enemies themselves and throwing them at walls or each other. Players also have to give orders to the two AI-controlled characters while managing their overall tactics. Victory requires team supervision and sometimes breaking enemies' special defenses.
The game also offers a quality audio experience as well. While none of the music is breathtaking, it is largely enjoyable. The voice acting, however, is above average. The cast features popular talents like Steve Blum and Kari Walhgren, and almost every line is delivered in a credible manner with good timing. Comical characters do not come off as too cheesy, and regular characters rarely sound stiff.
The main problem so far, however, is that in spite of the North American version being printed on a dual-layer DVD, there is still some lag. This could be due to review copy quality, and fortunately the lag occurs for a second or two before and after boss battles and walk-in cutscenes. It doesn't crop up in battle, while exploring, or while using the menus.
Rogue Galaxy still has a lot of unexplored potential: item creation systems, a mini-game with fighting insects, and character development through the Revelation Flow. Level 5 made many changes to Rogue Galaxy before bringing it to North America, and most of those are waiting to be discovered. So far, the outlook is quite positive. Look for the full review at the end of this month once this reviewer returns from exploring the galaxy.