I've become rather burned out on gaming lately. I think it started with the perfection that was Xenosaga III: a game that, in my opinion, was the perfectly balanced zenith of its series. It melded an evolution of gameplay with a story that wrapped up all the outstanding questions from the prior two games. It even gave me a teary-eyed moment, and how many games can do that?
Thus from Xenosaga III I set out on a quest to play Final Fantasy XII. And I really don't like it. I'm sorry to say that. I've completed every new Final Fantasy put out since VII. FFXII wasn't a game to me, it was work. Tedious, slowly progressing work, which really dampened my enthusiasm for games in general. Not even watching another so-called console war could bring me back. I don't know if I'm going to ever finish playing XII, but my dislikes are for another post, because this is about Rogue Galaxy.
I popped in the game Sunday night. I'd bought it with a gift card my other half gave me for Christmas. I had loosely followed the Japanese release of Rogue Galaxy, and knew it was supposed to be a good game, coming from the generally acclaimed Level 5. But I had avoided the bulk of details about story specifics and gameplay; all I knew was to expect a large and visually pretty RPG that involved space pirates and a main character who may have been a stowaway.
Right away I was impressed. The 3D, sort-of-cel shaded look was very impressive to me, as was the initial voice acting. The game picks up quickly; there isn't a several hour wait to get into some action. No, the game right away establishes the setting and throws the player into the protagonist's boots with some tense action. The game is good about doling out how to play as it goes, I felt. I actually liked this a lot; I learned all the details about the battle system and general gameplay without having to crack the manual. And all of these tidbits are then available for review at any time. I want to stress that I think this learning experience was very well done.
The characters I've met so far are quirky, all with unique personality and again, with top-notch voice acting. I like the way the party members talk to themselves; such as random voiceovers from the hero-to-be, saying where he is headed, pondering a dangerous beast or wondering about his future. It really adds ambience to the game.
I made it through the first boss battle, which added to my arsenal a strategic weapon of sorts as I learned about finding this gigantically screen-filling creature's weak spots. I also learned that fire burns, unless you have a spare supply of CO2 tanks.
And by the way: the Revelation Flow seems more fun, and easier to manage, than Final Fintasy XII's obtuse license board.
I'm very intrigued so far, and perhaps this is the game to truly rekindle my interest in video games, especially RPGs.