Rogue Galaxy

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Rogue Galaxy
RG EU Cover 300.jpg
European box art
Developer(s) Level-5
SCE Japan Studio
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) Akihiro Hino
Producer(s) Akihiro Hino
Kentaro Motomura
Designer(s) Keiji Nagao
Jiro Morinaga
Programmer(s) Usuke Kumagi
Mamoru Itagaki
Takayuki Kobayashi
Artist(s) Takeshi Majima
Writer(s) Akihiro Hino
Composer(s) Tomohito Nishiura
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s) Original Director's Cut
Genre(s) Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player, Limited multiplayer
Distribution DVD-ROM

Rogue Galaxy (ローグギャラクシー Rōgu Gyarakushī?) is a 2005 action role-playing video game developed by Level-5 and SCE Japan Studio, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. The game was released in Japan on December 8, 2005,[1] in North America on January 30, 2007,[1] in most European countries on September 5, 2007,[2] and in Australia on September 6.[2] A Director's Cut of the game was released in Japan on March 21, 2007,[3] which includes all of the added features and improvements for the North American and European localizations.[4]

The game follows the adventures of Jaster Rogue, a young agricultural worker living on an isolated planet, who becomes involved in a galactic conflict, and learns the fate of the entire galaxy lies in his hands. At the time of its release, Rogue Galaxy was the largest game Level-5 had ever developed, both in terms of the amount of staff working on it and the length of production (over three years). Level-5 hoped the game would challenge the RPG market dominance of the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises. Although it was critically well received, and won several gaming awards, Rogue Galaxy did not sell as well as had been hoped.

Gameplay[edit]

Rogue Galaxy is an action role-playing game in which the player moves through a continuous environment, with no load time between overworld exploration and battles. Battles occur as random encounters, a la traditional role-playing video games such as Square's Final Fantasy X or Level-5's own Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. However, unlike such games, which feature turn-based combat, Rogue Galaxy uses a real-time hack and slash combat system in which the player fights with a party of three characters. The player has direct control over only one character, although they can change which character that is at any time. The two NPCs fight independently of the player character, based on a strategy selected prior to the battle. Available strategies include fighting especially aggressively, targeting a specific enemy or not fighting at all. The strategy can also be changed at any time during the battle. Additionally, the player can issue specific orders to the NPCs during combat, such as having them use an item or activate one of their special abilities.[5] The NPCs will also offer advice to the player character, such as suggesting they perform a special move or use a particular item. The player is given a choice of either ignoring the advice or picking one of two options.[6] NPCs will not perform any special moves or use items unless the player tells them to or has selected a particular strategy.[7][8]

Battle screen from the North American version of Rogue Galaxy.

During combat, each character has an "Action Gauge". With each action, the gauge decreases. When it is empty, the play can no longer attack, and must wait for the gauge to automatically refill, or instantly refill by successfully blocking an enemy attack.[9][10] Each character's secondary weapon has its own individual gauge, which depletes with each use, and must be automatically refilled before the weapon can be used again. This gauge is independent of the attack gauge, and during combat it can only be refilled a certain number of times before the secondary weapon is no longer available for use.[11]

As well as fighting independently of one another and performing their own unique abilities, players can also perform team abilities, although the correct characters must be active in the battle for a particular team ability to be available for use. The player also has a special attack, the "Burning Strike". In the original Japanese release, the Burning Strike occurred at random, but this was altered for the U.S. and European versions to allow the player to choose when to use it. Once the player has collected enough "Burning Chips" dropped by enemies, they can activate this ability whenever they wish. The player must then follow a series of button prompts to string together attacks in order to deal damage; the more attacks successfully chained, the higher the damage.[6][12]

When the game begins, the storyline follows a linear path, but at a certain point, the game world opens up, and the player is free to move from planet to planet using the pirate ship, Dorgenark. In the overworld, the player can move around by walking, but can also transport from any activated save point on the map to any other activated point on that planet, although they cannot transport to a save point on another planet.[13]

Revelation Flow[edit]

Character abilities and power-ups are handled via a feature called the "Revelation Flow". Similar to the "Sphere Grid" in Final Fantasy X and the "License Board" in Final Fantasy XII, the Revelation Flow is not based on a traditional experience point/leveling up system. Instead of characters gaining pre-determined statistic bonuses as they increase in levels, they gain abilities and stat increases by placing items in the Revelation Flow. Once all of the prerequisite items have been placed, the particular ability/stat increase becomes available. Each character has their own unique Revelation Flow, with a different layout, different abilities and different item requirements.[14][15]

Weapons[edit]

The game features a "Weapon Synthesis" system similar to Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle, which allows the player to combine weapons. For every victory in battle, each weapon carried by active characters gains experience points. When a weapon has gained a certain amount of experience, it becomes "Maxed." After a weapon is maxed, it continues to gain additional experience in specific elemental categories - fire, ice, lightning, wind, and holy. When the experience and the elemental damage are both at a maximum, a weapon is "Mastered" and cannot be improved any further. However, once a weapon is maxed, it becomes available for synthesis with another maxed weapon of the same type. When two weapons are synthesized, a stronger weapon is generally created, and must be maxed again to become available for synthesis.

Synthesis is handled by "Toady", a frog who can swallow two weapons and then regurgitate a new weapon. Toady can also analyze maxed weapons and make suggestions for synthesis combinations. These suggestions are recorded in the "Frog Log".[16] Toady will also warn the player if an attempted combination is going to result in a decrease in stats, or with a weapon for which the player's level is not yet high enough.

Side-quests[edit]

The game features numerous optional gameplay elements beyond the main storyline. For example, early in the game, the play can begin to compete in the "Insectron Tournament". Similar to Dark Chronicle's fishing mini-game, the player must capture and breed Insectrons (bugs), which can then be entered into a tournament where they fight other Insectrons, in a manner similar to a game of chess. Once an Insectron has been captured, the player can increase its stats by feeding it certain food or breeding it with another Insectron. The Insectron Tournament awards prizes as the player moves through the various ranks.[17][18]

Another side-quest is the "Factory". At a later point in the game, the player gains access to a reconfigurable factory. By talking to specific characters in the overworld, the player can acquire blueprints, which can be used to assemble specific equipment and raw materials so as to make new items, which then become available for purchase in the various shops throughout the game.[19]

"Challenge battles" occur randomly. In these battles, specific conditions must be met, such as finishing the battle without taking damage, finishing within a certain time limit, using only one character, or not using any items or abilities. If the player wins the battle and fulfills the condition, they receive a "Hunter Coin".[20] These coins can be used to purchase different levels of "Hunter Licenses", which are required in some shops to purchase certain items. Additionally, the higher the player's license, the lower the prices for general items.[21]

The game also includes a "Hunter Ranking" system where the player is awarded "Hunter Points" for killing a specific number of particular beasts. As the player's rank increases, prizes are awarded. Tied into the hunter system are "Quarries" - mini bosses which award a great deal of hunter points. However, unlike standard monsters, quarries must be purchased before they become available. Once the player has purchased the quarry, they must locate the beast on the map, and then use a specific item to initiate the battle.[22]

The game also features a completion chart, which records the player's progress through various aspects of gameplay; "Hunter Ranking" (the goal is to top the league of hunters), "Rare Items" (collect all nine rare items in the game), "Quarries" (successfully defeat all available quarries), "Hunting Record" (attain maximum hunter points by killing all of the specified beasts), "Insectron" (win the highest tournament rank), "Revelation Flow" (complete every character's Revelation Flow), "Frog Log" (have Toady analyze at least one-hundred weapons and make at least fifty), and "Factory" (produce all forty items available in the factory). When any single aspect is completed to 100%, an award is given, usually in the form of a new costume for one of the characters.

Story[edit]

Characters[edit]

"The war that divides the galaxy has cast its dark shadow upon the distant desert planet Rosa. Highly valued for its natural resources, Rosa has been put under direct control of the Longardian Federation in an attempt to prevent invasion by the Draxian Empire. Under Longardia's watchful eye, the enslaved Rosans now find themselves forbidden to leave the planet..."

—opening legend
  • Jaster Rogue

Voiced by: Hiroshi Tamaki (Japanese), Will Friedle (English)
The game's protagonist and the main playable character. Jaster is seventeen years old, and has a distinctive birthmark on his cheek. He lives on the planet of Rosa with his adopted father, Raul (Peter Renaday), where he works in the agricultural sector. Resentful of the presence on the planet of the Longardian army, he yearns to leave and explore the stars. He is given just such an opportunity when he encounters the crew of the pirate ship Dorgenark.

  • Kisala

Voiced by: Aya Ueto (Japanese), Natalie Lander (English)
The adopted daughter of Dorgengoa (Fred Tatasciore), captain of the Dorgenark.

  • Zegram Ghart

Voiced by: Kazuhiro Yamaji (Japanese), Steve Blum (English)
A former bounty hunter who joined the Dorgenark's crew several years prior to the beginning of the game.

  • Simon Wicard

Voiced by: Masaya Onosaka (Japanese), Greg Ellis (English)
A member of the Dorgenark's crew. Cheerful and optimistic, he wears a mask and speaks in a heavy Scottish accent.

  • Steve

Voiced by: Kazuhiro Yamaji (Japanese), Yuri Lowenthal (English)
An android created by Dr. Pocacchio (Marc Graue) and the navigator of the Dorgenark.

  • Lilika Rhyza

Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (Japanese), Kari Wahlgren (English)
A warrior from the planet Juraika, Lilika joins the Dorgenark's crew after Jaster.

  • Deego Aegis

Voiced by: Unshō Ishizuka (Japanese), David Sobolov (English)
A former operative for the Longardian army, he has a robotic arm, and yearns for peace in the galaxy.

  • Jupis Tooki McGanel

Voiced by: Yutaka Aoyama (Japanese), Ben Diskin (English)
A lizard-like alien known as a Granshee. Regarded as the greatest hacker in the galaxy, he is a former scientist who devoted his life's work to the spaceship manufacturing megacorporation Daytron.[23]

  • Desert Claw

Voiced by: Koichi Yamadera (Japanese), Andy Chanley (English)
The galaxy's most famous bounty hunter. When the game begins, the crew of the Dorgenark are looking to hire him.

Plot[edit]

The game begins with Jaster foraging in the desert outside his home town of Salgin on the planet Rosa. Meanwhile, Simon and Steve arrive in Salgin looking for Desert Claw. As Jaster returns to the town, he complains to his adopted father, Raul, about the presence of the Longardian Federation on the planet, who are ostensibly there to protect it from their enemies, the Draxian Empire.[24][25] As they talk, a beast attacks the town. Jaster rushes outside and is attacked by a group of smaller beasts. With the help of a stranger, he fights them off, and they head to face the main beast. However, upon seeing Steve and Simon, the stranger leaves Jaster, giving him his sword. Steve recognizes the sword as "Desert Seeker - one of the Seven Sacred Galactic Swords," and concludes that Jaster is Desert Claw.[26] As such, they join him in fighting the beast. They defeat it, and Steve tells Jaster that their boss wants to hire him. When Jaster learns they are space pirates working for the legendary Dogengoa,[27] he decides to join, maintaining the ruse that he is Desert Claw.

On board, he meets Kisala, Zegram and the chief mate, Monsha (Quinton Flynn), a talking cat. While passing the Rose Nebula on their way to Zerard,[28] the Dorgenark is attacked by beasts and crashes on the jungle planet Juraika,[29] where they meet Lilika, a member of the local Bukaqua tribe,[30] who joins the crew. They resume their journey to Zerard, where they renew the ship's galactic travel visa from the Galaxy Corporation,[31] after a stint in Rosencaster Prison, and the inadvertent recruitment of Jupis to the ship's crew.

Meanwhile, Dorgengoa sees Jaster for the first time, immediately recognizing he is not Desert Claw. He orders Jaster be thrown overboard, but Kisala refuses to allow it. Dorgengoa decides to allow Jaster to prove himself. First, he reveals he is seeking the lost planet of Eden, which is said to have disappeared 10,000 years ago.[32] The key to finding Eden are the "Great Tablets", which are also lost, and for which Dorgengoa is searching. A tablet is believed to have been recently excavated on the planet Vedan. The crew head to the Vedanian mining town of Myna.[33] There they meet Deego and his girlfriend Angela (Heather Halley). Deego helps the group get into the mines, but not in time to save the tablet from Daytron, who take it to Rosa. Deego decides to join the crew of the Dorgenark, and Angela promises to wait for him to return.

The party arrives on Rosa and heads to the ruins in the Sylvazard Desert. The Tablet arrives and three pedestals are revealed, on which must be set three "Key Pieces". Meanwhile Daytron president Valkog Drazer (David Lodge) and his assistant, Norma Kissleigh (Michelle Ruff), arrive with Seed (Jason Spisak), a masked servant of Valkog, who engages the crew in battle. They are unable to defeat him and are rescued by Desert Claw. On the Dorgenark, they tell Dorgengoa about the pedestals and Deego guesses that they need three Key Pieces from the three Ruins of the Ancient Kings.

The party head to the three ruins and acquire the three Key Pieces. Jaster places the Key Pieces on the pedestals, and the Tablet transforms into a massive three dimensional puzzle structure. Seed begins an incantation and sets about manipulating the structure. However, he proves unable to solve the puzzle and transforms into a massive beast. He attacks the party, but Jaster unleashes a ferocious power, defeating him. Jaster then uses his power to solve the puzzle, opening the gates to a labyrinth which leads to Eden. Deego speculates that Jaster may be a descendent of the Star King, an ancient king who ruled the entire galaxy 50,000 years ago.[34] After opening the labyrinth, a confused Jaster returns to normal, and the crew enter.

Inside, they encounter Ragnar (Chris Edgerly) a robot who explains that Kisala is actually Princess Irieth of Mariglenn, the planet known as Eden. He gives her the key to open the Gates of Eden. Meanwhile, the Daytron flagship, the Emperor attacks Salgin. Valkog demands the key from Jaster who is about to acquiesce, when Raul fires an electromagnetic pulse at the Emperor, partially disabling it. However, the ship fires on Raul's church before retreating. Raul dies in Jaster's arms after giving him an artifact which points to Kuje Desert, which is apparently deserted. In the middle of Kuje, the party find a village, Johannasburg. There, they meet the spirit of the long dead Joanna (C. C. Seymour). She explains that she is a descendent of the Star King, as is her son, Jaster. Desert Claw arrives, telling Jaster that he is his real father. He gave Jaster to Raul while he prepared for the day when Jaster would awaken the power of the Star King and open the Gates of Eden.

Jaster uses the key and a portal appears in space above Rosa. After passing through the portal, they find Mariglenn, where they are greeted by Queen Freidias (Wendee Lee), who tells Kisala that she is her mother. Freidias then tells the story of Mariglenn; tens of thousands of years ago, the planet was attacked by an evil energy known as Rune, which possesses the power to turn living beings into beasts. Mother, the essence of Rune, took control of the planet, and the people realized that once Mariglenn was destroyed, Mother would move onto another planet, eventually destroying the entire galaxy. As such, Freidias sealed Mariglenn into a "space-time cleft." Only one person can defeat Mother – the Star King.

The crew travel to Ti'atha Forest where they encounter the spirit of Kisala's father, King Albioth (Fred Tatasciore). Albioth had faced Mother, but had been defeated and turned into a beast. He tells them the only way she can be defeated is by neutralizing the power of her Rune, using Drigellum energy; which can only be found in the heart of good people. Each of the party's hearts then generates Drigellum, which is forged into a sword. The party enter Mother's lair and fight her. Jaster again releases the power of the Star King. He reveals Mother as being a sorceress named Ilzarbella (Wendee Lee) who served the Star King until she was seduced by the power of Rune. Using the Drigellum sword, the Star King/Jaster kills her. However, as soon as the battle ends, the Emperor arrives with the intention of collecting the Rune energy to create beasts to continue the war. However, Rune takes over the ship, killing Valkog and Norma, and integrating them into an organic ship which it uses to attack Jaster and his group. The group split up, with each member attacking a separate part of the ship. Eventually they defeat it.

Mariglenn returns to its former self and Kisala says goodbye to Freidias. When they return to their own galaxy, the group find Mariglenn has reappeared. They visit the planet and the Mariglenndians accept Kisala as their new queen, over the protests of Dorgengoa and Jaster. Later, Jaster and Monsha, sit aboard the Dorgenark discussing the newly established galactic peace. Meanwhile, Kisala is inaugurated as the new queen on Mariglenn; Simon returns to his family; Lilika returns to Bukaqua; Deego reunites with Angela; Steve returns to work with Pocacchio; Jupis resumes his scientific research; and Zegram remains on the Dorgenark. Later, Dorgenoa tells Jaster they are returning to Mariglenn to get back Kisala. The game ends with a narration saying they made off with their "ultimate treasure" in what was their very last heist.

Development[edit]

"As a creator, I always wanted to create a title that was as big as Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. I believe Rogue Galaxy is on the same scale. This title will be our challenge to all the RPGs in the world"

—Level-5 President Akihiro Hino[35]

The game was first hinted at on August 1, 2003, when Level-5 revamped its website, and included a single image for a "New RPG". No other information was provided, although, at the time, some thought the game might be the rumored Dark Cloud 3.[36] Nothing more was heard about the game until February 2005, when Level-5 president Akihiro Hino revealed that "New RPG" was going to be released for the PlayStation 2, quelling rumors that the game was being developed for the PlayStation Portable.[37] The name was announced on July 19,[38] when it was also revealed that the game would feature cel-shaded graphics in the style of previous Level-5 games, such as Dark Chronicle and Dragon Quest VIII; a mixture of cel-shaded 3D for the characters, with detailed, realistic backgrounds, a technique Level-5 call "tonal rendering."[39] It was also announced that Hino was directing the project.[40] The game was officially unveiled at the PlayStation Meeting 2005 in Tokyo, where Hino said it had been in development for the past two and a half years, with its development time overlapping that of Dragon Quest VIII. He also revealed that it was the biggest project Level-5 had ever worked on, both in terms of production length and the number of staff on the project.[35]

In an August interview with Famitsu, Hino explained that the gameplay would involve the player travelling the galaxy and visiting various planets, each of which has its own unique visual theme. He claimed the total volume of areas to explore in the game would surpass any RPG to date. Originally, he had planned to feature a "virtually uncountable number of planets," which would be procedurally generated as the player explored them. However, this concept was later modified to a smaller number of planets, each with multiple locations. He also revealed a major selling point of the game; zero loading times between exploration and combat, or when moving from one location to another, something which had never before been accomplished on a disc-based RPG, and something which had been a long-time personal goal of his. He also went into detail about the backgrounds of Jaster, Kisala, Zegram and Lilika, and he explained the basic combat system (a hack-and-slash system using three party members, with the player able to issue commands to the two NPCs), the Revelation Flow system and some basic information about the Factory system.[41]

"Level-5 was created for swords and magic fantasies, but we got bored with the consistently similar worlds, so we wanted to try something new."

— Producer Kentaro Motomura[42]

A trailer for the game was released on August 5, as was basic plot information. It was also confirmed that the game would feature zero-loading times during transitions.[43] Also on August 5, the game's website went live.[44] A playable demo of the game was made available at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show in September. IGN's Anoop Gantayat was impressed with the "seamless" gameplay, and the absence of load times, although he did note that the frame rate was lower than in Dragon Quest VIII. He was also impressed with the graphics; "the game doesn't hide the vastness of its world, with plenty of distant views as you explore the complicated landscapes. One may actually get the feeling of existing in the expansive world of a massively multiplayer online RPG rather than the limited world of standard RPG."[45]

The game was released on December 8 in Japan, with no date set for a North American or European release. Both IGN and GameSpot played an import copy of the game, and both were impressed. IGN's Gantayat again praised the absence of loading times, arguing "the technical feats this game pulls off with the grey and limping PS2 hardware are impressive." He praised the pre-rendered CG cutscenes, and the smooth transition from these scenes to the gameplay itself.[46] GameSpot's Bethany Massimilla wrote "The visual style of the game is strongly inspired by cel-shading techniques, but the characters here aren't the flat and cartoony sort that you might ordinarily associate with the cel-shaded style. They exist and move in full 3D with lots of attention to detail in their attire and their movement, and they look great."[47]

Localization improvements[edit]

In April 2006, Sony announced a North American release date for October. At E3 2006 in May, Level-5 revealed that the English language version of the game would be much more than a direct translation of the original Japanese version, but would instead include multiple new features. Primary amongst these would be a new planet with its own storyline, characters and items, and gameplay tweaks, such as "Burning Strikes" no longer happening randomly. Over one-hundred new items and weapons were also to be added to the game, and numerous character animations would be improved.[48][49] In August, Sony announced that the North American release date had been pushed back to January 2007.[50]

At the Tokyo Game Show 2006, the producer of the localization, Nao Higo, called the new version of the game the "perfect version." He explained that the team had taken on board criticisms regarding the difficulty of the original game, which was felt to be too easy in some places and too hard in others, and had created a more balanced difficulty level. He also explained that the new world, the water world Alistia, would be optional, but would be fully realized with its own map, characters, missions and items. Improvements were also made to the graphics of the existing planets. He also explained that the Insectron minigame would now include a multiplayer mode, whereby the player's team of insectrons would generate a code, which could be given to another player. When the second player enters the code in "Battle mode" at the Insectron tournament, they can use their team to fight the first player's team.[51]

Other improvement include:[52][53][54]

  • The game is now housed on a double-layer 8.5GB DVD instead of the original 4.7GB DVD, which allows smoother graphics and additional data.
  • Toady's weapon analysis is easier to use.
  • The "Burning Strike" system has been altered. Players now collect Burning Chips during battle, which allows them to store power and execute their Burning Strike when they wish. In the original game, the Burning Strikes happened randomly. The input section of the ability has also been changed, with full animations for each character as they perform each attack, and different animations for each characters' five-hit, seven-hit, and nine-hit attacks.
  • The layout and visual design of several dungeons and planets has been altered and improved; Salgin, Rosencaster Prison, the Daytron factory, the Ruins on Rosa and the Gladius Towers.
  • Two new species of Insectron have been added; the "Bomber Snail" and the "Spidan", each with eight types of Insectron per species.
  • Each character has four additional costumes, except for Kisala and Simon, who each have five.
  • Over 2000 lines of additional voiced dialogue has been added.
  • Each character has three new abilities on their Revelation Flow, except for Lilika, who has four. Combination abilities have also been added, which only work if specific party members are active.

Audio[edit]

Rogue Galaxy
Soundtrack album by Tomohito Nishiura
Released January 25, 2006 (2006-01-25)
Recorded 2005
Genre Video game music
Length 02:00:30
Language Japanese
Label King Records
Producer Tomohito Nishiura

Composed by Level-5's chief composer, Tomohito Nishiura, Rogue Galaxy's OST is reminiscent of games such as Skies of Arcadia and Star Ocean. The title's ending vocal track, "Dreaming My Way Home", is composed by Nishiura, and arranged and performed by Barbara Kessler. GameSpot wrote of the score "Rogue Galaxy's soundtrack is a robust and varied assortment of tunes that fit its epic scale."[49]

A 10-track arrangement album entitled Rogue Galaxy Premium Arrange was also released in early 2006, and featured contributions from numerous video game composers, including Yasunori Mitsuda, Kenji Ito, Yoko Shimomura, Motoi Sakuraba, and Noriyuki Iwadare.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.56%[55]
Metacritic 83/100[56]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 7/10[57]
Game Revolution B[58]
GameSpot 8/10[59]
GameSpy 4.5/5 stars[60]
GameTrailers 8/10[61]
IGN 8.7/10[62]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 7/10[63]
Awards
Publication Award
CESA Game Awards Future Award (2005)[64]
Digital Contents Grandprix Excellence in Digital Content (2006)[65]
Famitsu Best RPG (2006)[66]
Famitsu Special Rookie Award (2006)[66]

Rogue Galaxy was met with a positive reception. It holds an aggregate score of 81.56% on GameRankings, based on sixty-two reviews,[55] and 83 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on fifty-nine reviews.[56]

Game Spy's Patrick Joynt was very impressed, scoring the game 4.5 out of 5. His main criticism was that he found the characters to be one-dimensional; "Like a Hollywood blockbuster, Rogue Galaxy looks great and is technically stunning. It's packed utterly full of the standbys of the genre - combat, exploration, personalization, and sub-games that are too huge to be called "mini-games" - which are all executed well, but like a Hollywood blockbuster, the characters themselves seem entirely secondary to the matter at hand [...] they're as engaging as cardboard cutouts, largely because they're so predictable. Seen Metropolis? You've got a good idea where Steve's story is going. Seen any anime with an orphan in it? Well, you've got a great lead on what happens to Jaster and the cast's other orphan." However, he praised the range of mini-games and side-quests, and the size of the game. He concluded that "Rogue Galaxy's greatest triumph, the brightest gleam in its eye, is that at sixty hours of play I've got another sixty I could easily pour in."[60]

IGN's Jeremy Dunham was equally impressed, awarding the game a score of 8.7 out of 10. He praised the graphics ("It's easily one of the top 20 best looking PS2 titles ever made and joy to look at with almost no technical problems whatsoever") and the battle system, although was somewhat critical of team-mate AI. He also praised the range of side quests and mini-games. He concluded that "Rogue Galaxy definitely brings the noise to longtime RPG fans. Though its storyline isn't on the same level as other great PS2 games in the genre, its mixture of strong combat mechanics, addictive sidequests, and absolutely stunning visual style more than makes up for what it doesn't do."[62]

GameSpot's Kevin Kasavin scored the game 8 out of 10. He had mixed feelings about the combat system, arguing "The combat gets to be repetitive after a while. Since you only have direct control over one character, who'll mostly depend on the same basic attacks regardless of which weapons you've equipped, the battles don't feel particularly varied from one to the next." He concluded that "The PlayStation 2 has delivered an almost countless number of high-quality Japanese role-playing games, so all the past competition is really the main reason why Rogue Galaxy doesn't come off as a stunning accomplishment. On the other hand, though, this is a game that does enough differently or better than most of its PS2 predecessors that it's still well deserving of your consideration."[59]

Game Trailers also scored the game 8 out of 10. They too were critical of the plot; "Story has always been Level 5's weakest suit, and Rogue Galaxy is a shining example of that. What you have here is an unending parade of threadbare anime tropes predictably matched by bland characters. You've seen every one of these stereotypes before, acting out the same quests and forcing out the same emotions they do in just about every other RPG." He praised the variety of gameplay, however, and the nature of the side-quests; "the addictive side systems and pacing are solid, and can turn even the most dismal planetary slog into a worthwhile encounter. Everything's designed to make something that might otherwise be boring into something rewarding, whether you're upgrading your latest weapon or hunting for revelation items." They concluded that "While it has plenty of problems, anyone who can get beyond the banal storytelling and stale level design will find something addictive and worthwhile in Rogue Galaxy. Grinding out levels and looking for items is rarely this rewarding, and it's obvious that Level 5 knows the depths of the role-player's mind all too well."[61]

Game Revolution's Tim Tackett awarded the game a B. He was critical of the plot, writing "the characters lack backstories, and the emotional pitch never leaves the realm of Saturday morning cartoons." However, he was complementary of the range of side-quests, the battle system, the graphics and the Revelation Flow, which he found superior to the License Board of Final Fantasy XII. He concluded that "the plot is a little dry and chewy, but the surrounding game is juicy and sweet. With a fairly lengthy, if substandard, main storyline crammed with lots of action and neat extra tidbits, Rogue Galaxy is a taste of the holidays, with none of the hassle."[58]

Eurogamer's Simon Parkin was slightly less impressed, scoring it 7 out of 10. Although he praised the graphics and range of mini-games and side-quests, he was critical of the battle system; " As abilities have to be accessed through menus rather than, for example, being mapped to unused buttons, their use breaks the fast flow of skirmishes giving them an awkward staccato rhythm that will see you often ignoring those abilities you've worked so hard to reveal." He also felt the game's release after Final Fantasy XII placed an unrealizable burden of expectation upon it; "many players will be expecting that game's new lessons in design to have been absorbed and even evolved here." Ultimately, he felt that when "viewed objectively and set against the newest highpoints of the genre, aside from its gorgeous aesthetics and removal of load times, Rogue Galaxy just isn't the marvel it's been set up to be."[57]

Awards and sales[edit]

The game won a "Future Award" at the CESA Game Awards (2005)[64] and an "Excellence in Digital Content" award at the Digital Contents Grandprix (2006).[65] At the Famitsu Awards in 2006, it won both "Best RPG" and a "Special Rookie Award."[66] It was named "Game of the Month" for January 2007 and given an "Editor's Choice" award by IGN, who, in 2010, placed it at #53 in their "Top 100 Playstation 2 Games".[67] It was also given an "Editor's Choice" award by GameSpy.[2]

Prior to the release of the game, Sony Computer Entertainment Corporate Executive Masatsuka Saeki had hoped that the game would sell a million copies.[68] Although it was the top-selling video game in Japan during the week ending December 11, 2005, selling 237,631 units,[69] by the end of 2006, the game had sold only 356,192 units.[70] In 2007, Rogue Galaxy: Director's Cut sold 29,457 units.[71]

References[edit]

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  8. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Help/Suggestions. "Your allies will shout at you and give suggestions for their next move! Instruct them by choosing a suggestion." 
  9. ^ Holding, Sam (2007). "During a Battle". Rogue Galaxy Instruction Manual (UK). Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. p. 12. SCES-54552. 
  10. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Help/The Action Gauge. "This gauge is reduced whenever you attack or use an ability or item. Once the gauge is depleted, you can't attack again until it charges back up! The empty Action Gauge will recharge immediately if you successfully guard against an enemy's attack." 
  11. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Help/Gun Attacks. "If you run out of bullets, you won't be able to shoot for a while until you're completely recharged. You can only recharge a set number of times per battle." 
  12. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Help/Burning Strike. "To unleash the Burning Strike ability, charge your gauge by collecting Burning Chips dropped by enemies. Once your Burning Strike Gauge is charged, activate it by pressing R1 + square near an enemy. During a Burning Strike, button icons will fly across the screen. The instant each icon enters the reticule, press the corresponding button to register a hit. Keep it up to the end for massive damage." 
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  24. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/Longardia and Draxil. "The Longardian Federation and the Draxian Empire are the two biggest powers in the galaxy. Longardia controls the Guin System (home to Jaster and company), while Draxil controls the nearby Yggdra System." 
  25. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/Rosa. "A backwater desert planet, rich in resources and highly valued. The Longardian Federation took over two years ago to prevent the Draxian Empire from moving in. The Rosans were enslaved and are now being watched over by the Longardian military." 
  26. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/Desert Claw. "A legendary bounty hunter, known to have always held the top spot in the Hunter Rankings. Wields the Desert Seeker, one of the mighty Seven-Star Swords. Very little is known about his true identity." 
  27. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/Space Pirate Dorgengoa. "A space pirate known throughout the galaxy. In the Guin System, even children know his name. Rather than pillage other ships, this tough-as-nails explorer prefers to take on military warships in a quest for treasure. Not especially popular among Longardian soldiers and higher-ups." 
  28. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/Zerard. "The most advanced, civilized planet in the galaxy. Home to the Galaxy Corporation, which oversees the workings of the galaxy's planets." 
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  30. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/The Burkaqua. "A tribe native to Juraika that shuns contact with travellers from other planets. To encroach on their territory is to take you very life in your hands." 
  31. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/Galaxy Corporation. "An office with full command over all the galaxy's date, situated in the center of Zerard. Not even space pirates can travel far without a galactic travel visa from this place. The massive amount of information handled here is processed through the mainframe at the Daytron-owned factory." 
  32. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/Eden. "A phantom planet that suddenly disappeared ten thousand years ago. Said to be rich in natural resources and loaded with treasure - a veritable paradise for any self-respecting galactic explorer." 
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  34. ^ Level-5 (2007). Rogue Galaxy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Info/The Legend of the Star King. "Once upon a time, the galaxy is said to have been under the control of a single man who brought peace and unity to the stars and ruled with absolute power. It's a legend that has been passed down from one generation to the next. If only someone like that were around today, perhaps the war-torn galaxy we live in could experience peace once more...." 
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External links[edit]