Anyone who enjoyed the swashbuckling space piracy of Sega's renowned Skies of Arcadia (GC/DC) should nuzzle up to Galaxy, a spacefaring role-playing game developed by Level 5, the guys behind Dragon Quest Ifill (PS2). Expect stylized visuals, action-laden battles, and several colossal alien worlds to traverse.
Download Rogue Galaxy
It's refreshing to play a Japanese RPG where the men have facial hair, the women are the ones with the bare midriffs, and the robots are decidedly nonsexy. Rogue Galaxy's space-pirate setting a little Star Wars, a bit Skies of Arcadia is bound to attract role-playing fans who are sick of the standard primp-and-preen metrosexual RPG heroes. Unfortunately, the execution's more Return of the Jedi than Empire Strikes Back. You feel like you're in for a grand adventure as you set out to explore the galaxy...only to find a ho-hum story and underdeveloped characters. Also, combat-balance problems and excruciatingly long dungeons both supposedly improved from the Japanese release are still noticeable issues. Thankfully, the game's streamlined ability system and menus help out greatly they always let you know when you've found the right item to unlock new powers. And damn, the game looks gorgeous...but so did The Phantom Menace.
Since Sega never got around to sequel-izing Dreamcast RPG Skies of Arcadia, I guess Level-5 decided to do it for them. Ah, if only Rogue Galaxy really were a true Skies follow-up...unfortunately, it doesn't reach those heights. They ripped the combat system straight from Kingdom Hearts, warts and all. The same too-close camera! The same brain-dead A.I. companions, more a liability than a help! Incessant button-mashing random combat! Too bad, because the game looks lovely and can be fun. But it feels cobbled together from leftovers of other (better) games, which makes it merely pretty good rather than the classic it could have been.
These guys are right Rogue Galaxy attempts to plunder content from other RPGs. But even so, it manages to cook up some cool content of its own the useful item synthesis, coupled with the two-weapon combat, kept battles from getting too boring. Plus, I gotta give the visuals some props: The sexy cartoony look made my eyes blush. Sure, the game isn't a masterpiece, but until the PS3 raises its role-playing anchor, it'll at least help keep the PS2 afloat.
Cool spacefaring setting, user-friendly menus
Mediocre story, never-ending dungeons
Make them stop!