Rogue Galaxy Review

A young orphan on a desert planet at the fringes of a galactic empire joins a motley crew of rebels and outlaws and soon finds himself traveling the galaxy and taking on the empire itself. Sound familiar? Well itís not Star Wars, itís Rogue Galaxy, a massive RPG that shows that thereís still plenty of life left in the venerable PlayStation 2 console.

The desert world in this case is Rosa, and the orphan in question is one Jaster Rogue who hails from a town with more than a passing resemblance to Mos Eisley. From there the story departs from its source of inspiration, but you may find yourself wishing it stayed to script. The story is pretty derivative and not all that exciting, so if you play RPGs mainly for the story youíll probably come away from it a bit disappointed. However if itís all about the gameplay for you, then youíre going to find plenty of it in Rogue Galaxy.

When playing console RPGs Iím often put off by the fact that the combat can be so passive and tedious. Select from a limited number of attacks, sit back and watch the same attack animations that youíve seen hundreds of times, watch the health bars go down, and then repeat the cycle all over again. Bor-ing. Rogue Galaxy breaks away from this overused combat model and the game is so much better for the change. The battles in Rogue Galaxy are a much more hands-on affair that take more of an action game style approach to combat. The battles take place in real-time and youíll need to actively move your character around to engage enemies and defend yourself. Some enemies such as large or flying monsters will even require you to jump before you can hit them. So far it sounds like an action game, but there is an RPG engine running under the hood. Each character has primary and secondary weapons, in Jasterís case they are a sword and pistol, and their use is limited in a way that effectively adds an equivalent to rounds to the fights. Using the primary weapon requires ďbreathĒ which is essentially an action meter that drains each time you perform an action with your main weapon. Once youíre out of breath youíll need to rest for a few moments or successfully block an enemy attack to recharge your meter. The secondary weapon isnít tied to the breath meter but there are also limits on it use. In this case itís limited ammunition that will require a brief reload time when the weapon is emptied. The game will also let you charge your attacks by holding the attack button down for a bit before releasing the attack. This not only leads to more damage delivered, it is often required in order to break through an opponentís block. This new combat system certainly requires more reflexes and fast thinking than is needed in a more traditional RPG, but for those of you who canít help but be bored by the old way will love the way the combat is implemented in this game. On the downside I do need to point out that Rogue Galaxy does suffer the same random encounter overload issue found in many console RPGs. Sometimes it will feel like you canít take two steps without launching into another battle. At least the battles themselves arenít as tediousÖ