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In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Rogue Galaxy (Sony for PlayStation 2)

Developers Factor 5 and Sony have delivered one of the more interesting PS2 role-playing titles yet with the release of Rogue Galaxy. Featuring an excellent real-time battle system, an engaging main quest, tons of cool mini-games and a cool item mixing feature, the game really stands apart from the crowd. Rogue Galaxy's unique synthesis of cel-shaded anime style graphics and science fiction creates a memorable and immersive title that draws you into its rich storyline. The gameplay flows nicely with intense battles, short load times and a fast-moving plot. Look inside and find out what makes the trip to the Rogue Galaxy one that's definitely worth taking.

Rogue Galaxy for the PS2 is an epic action/RPG set in the furthest reaches of space and allows you to explore and travel to dozens of different planets and galaxies in search of treasure and magic items. The main character in Rogue Galaxy is Jaster. He's a young man who dreams of being a space pirate and exploring the universe and finally gets his chance to join a band of outlaw adventurers through a twist of fate after waiting for many years. Once he begins his adventures, he'll meet up with the other Space Pirates and finds himself involved in an epic quest to find hidden and valuable treasures throughout the galaxies. Each planet that the pirates land on presents a unique challenge and intrinsically different environment that range from deserts to massive technological cities that keep Rogue Galaxy consistently interesting throughout. The characters are pretty cool with an engaging supporting cast of pirates and robots that makes things even more enjoyable. Along the way, he'll have to battle tons of monsters and other foes and explore many different worlds as well. The game's storyline is fairly standard for an RPG, but this makes things a bit more accessible and lets you focus on the action. The game doesn't follow the standard formulas in many areas and one of the key areas is its battle system. Rogue Galaxy's implementation of battles takes a unique approach that makes it feel very different than most of the other titles on the market.

Unlike many other turn based RPGs, the battles in Rogue Galaxy occur in real time, adding to the game's style and flair. You control one character at a time and can use a variety of techniques during battles such as blocking and jumping that wouldn't be possible in a turn based system. As you battle your foes, your life bars decreases and you need to recharge your weapon, which can either happen by waiting awhile or by using the blocking move. In addition, you can target specific enemies, which makes them much easier to hit. What's interesting about this is that you can change the camera angles during battles, adding to this excitement. While this approach makes the battles much more interesting and exciting, it also shakes up the traditional party system, but you can still give your friendly characters life potions and other items during the battles. In addition, the developers at Factor 5 have come up with an interesting way to talk to the other characters. During each battle, the other characters will give you advice, such as suggesting which weapon to use, or ask you if they can use a special move. It's up to you to follow or reject their advice. This is a clever workaround that helps to immerse you to an even deeper level, into the action and makes Rogue Galaxy an even more enjoyable experience without losing the strategic elements that make RPG's so engaging.

In addition to the main quest, players can also participate in a number of side-missions and mini-games. These add depth and challenge to the missions while also giving players the opportunity to earn additional items and spells. One of the coolest of these mini-games are the Insectron Battles where you can use bugs that you collected and trained throughout your missions in a chess like battle against other players. This is surprisingly well done and there's enough depth and challenge in these Insectron games to almost stand alone. There are hundreds of different bugs and items to collect along the way, giving you endless variety in this cool hunting and gathering game. It's surprisingly addictive and can take a lot of time from your missions in the main quest. There's also a challenge mode where you can search for secret special items in order to unlock new abilities for your characters and compete in special condition battles where time and limits are placed for each fight. These extra modes allow you to immerse yourself even more into the world of Rogue Galaxy and make the game that much more enjoyable.

From a design standpoint, Rogue Galaxy is a brilliant looking title, with an epic scale, brilliant design and excellent rendering throughout making for a smooth look throughout. The game's cel-shaded graphics give it a cool anime-flavored feel that makes the experience feel less like a movie and more like a cartoon. Elaborate cut-scenes and cinemas help to further develop the game's visual and style making the game's futuristic visions come to life. Rogue Galaxy's aesthetic mixes traditional pirate-adventures and science fiction elements to create a truly unique feel and approach. The game's characters and enemies feature some really cool designs that help to bring its world to life vividly. Rogue Galaxy's soundtrack is likewise excellent and fills your speakers with epic music that fits the feel of the game perfectly. Overall, the game's presentation is excellent with superb production values throughout that create one of the more engaging RPG's on the PS2 console to date.

Rogue Galaxy stands apart from the many other RPG's on the market thanks to its unique cel-shaded graphics, real-time battles and engaging epic storyline. Rogue Galaxy's epic scale is evident in the unique design of each planet, its populace and sheer scope of its design. US players get a ton of new weapons and even an entire extra planet to explore, which adds to the length and entertainment value. The characters are fairly interesting and develop personalities as you go along, with the game's plot divided into different planets to create an appropriately epic feel. The game's battle system is surprisingly intuitive and fluid with a great interplay between the characters. The ability to switch characters during the game adds even more freedom to the adventure. The ability to use and combining different elements in RG's factory mode is another innovative feature that adds more depth to its play mechanics, allowing you more freedom than most linear RPG titles provide. With tons of mini-games, side-quests and a great deal of challenge, the end result is an engrossing, engaging title that should please fans of the genre. The game is quite long at around 100 hours, which means you won't have to worry about things ending prematurely, which makes for a satisfyingly deep experience. Rogue Galaxy is a superb title that delivers one of the most interesting role playing games on the console to date.


- Michael Palisano

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