Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King was one of the most popular role playing games of 2006. When it was released in Japan it sold an astonishing three million copies in less than a week, not so much breaking sales records as demolishing them with a wrecking ball.
Now Level-5, the team behind Dragon Quest, turns their hand to an original RPG with Rogue Galaxy, the story of a young man by the name of Jaster Rogue who dreams of adventure and exploration in a galaxy far far away.
Taken onboard a galactic pirate ship by two buccaneers who mistake him for the legendary bounty hunter Desert Claw, Jaster embarks on a wild journey throughout the galaxy searching for treasure and adventure along the way.
We come in peace?
Gameplay is similar to Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts or the Final Fantasy series, and sees you fighting enemies, levelling up, gaining new abilities and magic spells and generally swashbuckling your way across the galaxy. The galaxy in question is spread over six different worlds, each with its own climate, enemies and tricky problems that you have to solve.
Battles take place in real time, although you have a set number of action points that are used up every time you swing your sword, use a potion or cast a spell. Once these are used up you must rest to recharge, or you can recharge instantly by blocking an enemy attack.
You can also switch on-the-fly between the different members of your party, use primary melee weapons and secondary projectile weapons, as well as special abilities that can affect the whole party. Best of all are your Burning Strikes, a sleek, icon-based combo system that allows you to unleash massive damage on your enemies. It's an embarrassment of combat-based riches, giving you almost limitless ways to take out your intergalactic foes.
It's a revelation
There's also a great item and ability creation system to keep things interesting. Every time you buy something in a shop, defeat enemies or open chests you acquire items, ranging from fruit to jewellery to old socks. These items can be combined within a character's Revelation Flow to create new abilities.
So, for example, a bottle of Pirate Grog mixed with the Hellpot Flame reveals Drunken Burst - a grog-fuelled pirate attack that boosts all of your party's attack power. It's a great system that makes collecting items worthwhile while boosting your options in battle further still.
The visual style of the game is incredible, making it one of the best looking role-playing games ever released - the cel shaded characters are large, and full of personality, as well as looking gorgeous. Add to this great fire and particle effects and a brilliant, epic soundtrack, along with top notch voice acting and Rogue Galaxy's production values really make the game shine as a quality package through and through.
The characters too, are all brilliantly designed and a lot of them are fantastically weird, including a short Scottish guy with a rocket launcher, a camp robot called Steve and a sarcastic talking cat.
There's a lot of humour and an engaging storyline that you're going to want to see through right to the very end. There's a lot to recommend in Rogue Galaxy, but you really need to play it yourself to see exactly why it's so much fun to play. So what are you waiting for?