When a game tries so hard to be Final Fantasy, it’s hard not to compare it with it. And it doesn’t matter how good the game is, if it isn’t better or as good as Final Fantasy, the case is easily lost. Too bad Rogue Galaxy looks too much like a Final Fantasy game with different graphics. There’s no shame in that, because Rogue Galaxy still is one heck of a party when it comes to RPG gameplay.
Looking at the characters, story and environments, it’s hard not to see the influences, coming from 30 years of popular culture. Level 5 got inspired by classic games such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but also by well known movies such as Star Wars etc. The main character, Jasper Rogue, seems to be shaped like a Japanese Luke Skywalker. He also wants to escape the dull life on his planet, where he is doing small tasks for other people. However, when strange creatures suddenly invade the village you just visited, the time for adventure finally seems at hand.
And so you quickly find yourself in the midst of an epic legend. Complete with mysterious “friends”, flying boats and betrayal. It’s the beginning of a story that lasts for over 100 hours, if you want to research every bit of the game. That’s really big, even for an RPG. You will discover new planets and different people from all over the universe. Check out the way the first village looks like a mix between Dalmasca from Final Fantasy XII and Naboo from Star Wars. Too obvious to just overlook. Of course, during your quest there will be other playable characters to discover. There are 8 of those in total, each with other abilities. There will be enough weapons to give to them, or do you think more than 100 customisable weapons aren’t enough? You can even alter your character the same way you did in Final Fantasy X. Some sort of sphere grid, you could say.
Rogue Galaxy peaks when it comes to its fighting system. The word revolution might be on his place for this one time. Think of it as a mixture between The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy XII. This means you actually get the possibility to run freely around different enemies, and hack and slash them like in The Legend of Zelda. You can summon magic by flipping to the menus, just like in Final Fantasy. It has to be said, it works slightly quicker and easier than in Final Fantasy XII.
The graphics are one of the best ever seen on the PS2. It’s all very nice put into image and especially the full motion videos are immense. The game uses an upgraded style of graphics as seen in Dark Cloud, and it doesn’t take an RPG specialist to notice both games are from Level 5. The music is without flaws, something very relevant in RPG like these.
Some sources claim that Level 5 is the New Square-Enix. I don’t think it will take such a rush, but it’s no secret that some very talented people are working there. But still, no Square-Enix competitor yet. Rogue Galaxy misses a face of his own to be a real Final Fantasy killer.