Rogue Galaxy (PS2) – Mid-Game Thoughts (~20hr)

I’ve hit the point in Rogue Galaxy where I’ve gotten all the features of the game explained and/or unlocked, most which are pretty cool… however, the general structure of the game of the common gameplay and combat is starting to wear rather thin.

As mentioned, combat occurs in real time as you explore the level; when the undetectable random monster encounters occur, and you immediately switch to fighting mode, this is normally a plus since there’s no pause between exploring and combat.  However, the levels are very rectalinear, generally a number of long corridors with right turns even in natural settings (there are some levels that are much wider and open, but are still mostly linearly).  Add that there’s a lot of repeated textures and structural elements that make it hard, without the minimap, to determine where you are.

The combat also tends to get very repetitive.  Of all the foes, excluding bosses, there’s only maybe 6 different types of enemies, including those that require you to break their sheild in one of three possible ways.  Obviously, the monsters have different appearances, elemental resistances and weaknesses, and overall hit points, but…It’s basically not a huge amount of difference when you get in battle.

Maintaining your character is taking a lot of work; trying to keep track of your weapons and the “synthesis” feature to keep them up just takes time and while the game tries to show you the pertinent information  after each battle, but just the general organization of some of the inventory screens doesn’t make it easy.  The Revelations chart, which is also a great idea, takes just a notch too much work to keep up to date.  The concepts are nice, I think the UI handles badly for this.

It also feels like the overall story is going to be short, judging by where I am and how powerful my characters are.  I mean, I could get 40hrs out of the game, but compared to a 40hr Final Fantasy game or Tales of the Abyss which I just finished, I feel cheated on story.  There’s a balance that seems to be lacking here.

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2 Responses

  1. Totally agree regarding pretty much everything. While I can understand why they went with the level design they did (minimize loading to near nothing!), I still would have preferred some more complex designs. Chapter …8…i think… had a couple of fairly well designed levels but afterwards the design dipped back into mediocrity. The combat system also would have been better off with some additional depth. I loved it all the same and the had a hell of a fun time reaching (and holding!) first place on the hunting board, leveling my weapons, and generally just fucking off and zoning out, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was just a bit too darn simplified.

    My biggest gripe is the inability to hit tall targets with ranged attacks (except for illusion sword, which got used and abused to high hell in the last dungeon). It really made some of those fights incredibly tedious 😦 I still loved the way the encounters worked out, with the rapid entry and exit from combat, party management, and basic hack n slash, though!

    I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with the weapon synthesis or the factory after a while. The factory was a neat diversion but finding ingredients was a bitch and weapon synthesis was just too random and directionless for me. I used a FAQ to get Ragnarok and that was pretty much it (and even that was totally unnecessary since by the time I did that, I was at a point where I didn’t even need it).

  2. I think I know what section you mean, the two towers which intertwined with each other; overall as a level design, it was nice and interesting, but when you look at the insides, it was the same thing over and over again. Add to that that that chapter had two other long, repeating dungeons of a less complex but difficult nature, and that’s where the game shows its highly repetitive nature.

    In Chapter 10 now, so hopefully done in a day and a half based on my current timing (as .hack gu v2 is out by then…)

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