Re: Post here when you beat a game. I mean it!
Just finished Rogue Galaxy. Man, I'd forgotten how tedious games could be! The game does have some very beautiful environments but that's about all it has to offer.
The real-time battle system is broken: all-enemy nuke spells are hugely overpowered, killing most mobs in one hit. There's little incentive to avoid using them since melee fighting involves nothing more than mashing the X button and hoping the insanely spastic camera won't make you have a seizure. As the nuke spells don't even require you to aim or be a certain distance from your enemies, you end up going through most of the game simply frying your enemies before the game engine has even had time to draw them (the box may say "no loading times," but that's, how do you say, oh yes, a flat-out lie). Even the boss battles are similarly monotonous: pretty much every single boss in the game (with a couple easy but highly irritating exceptions) goes down quickly to regular distance attacks from the player and autopilot support from the two AI-controller support characters. The weapons have elemental attributes, but I can't say I ever noticed them make any difference, even in boss battles. And the implementation of status ailments is a joke -- your main character can be Confused, yet open his item menu and use the cure on himself.
The story, too, fails in almost every respect. You spend the first half of the game assembling your team of eight misfits, with no inkling of your overriding goal or even a clear sense of what's going on in the galaxy around you (there's supposed to be a huge war going on between two mighty federations, but you never so much as see a fleet of battleships, never mind a space battle). The eight characters all have their own stories, but these are nothing more than crude, unconnected sketches of stock scenarios. This wouldn't be so bad if we at least got to see the characters bonding with each other, but we get hardly any scenes of everyday life on the ship and we learn almost nothing about the dynamics of their relationships. As a result the connections that they've apparently formed by the end of the story feel completely hollow and unearned. Meanwhile the cutscenes which tell what little story there is are agonizingly slow and directed so poorly that the cinematography would get laughed off the Hallmark channel. FFXII may not have had much of a story either, but at least the cutscene artists had some idea of how to create drama with editing, framing, and camera movement.
Despite all the abuse I am heaping on the game it does do some things well. As I mentioned earlier, some of the environments (maybe a quarter or a third) are strikingly beautiful, and the rest are inoffensive. Some of the characters can be amusing; the decision to make the honorable tribal warrior cheerfully spiteful and unscrupulous was an inspired character twist. And the special ability animations are well above average, covering the gamut from awe-inspiring badassery to BDSM humor.
On the whole, though, you'll mostly be hoping for the next cutscene while wading through the tedious dungeons -- and then, when the cutscene does come, you'll be praying for it to end already.
If you want to play a Level 5 game, try Dark Cloud 2 or Dragon Quest VIII. If you really really love them, maybe you'd kinda like Rogue Galaxy.