I did a fair amount of research before committing my money to this game. Rogue Galaxy was a critical and commercial success, with particuar praise given to the sheer expansiveness of its setting. As someone who enjoys long games, this and the volume of story it offers were major points of appeal to me. The main flaws noted by reviewers were the cliche story writing and the low difficulty level. I do not consider myself to have been sufficiently warned. Cliched storytelling is one of the most common complaints launched at JRP Gs, but it's far from the greatest fault that a game can suffer, even purely as a matter of writing. Some games manage to be excellent in spite of their unoriginal storylines through the use of charismatic characters and settings and good dialogue. Indeed, some of my favorite games of all time forgo originality almost completely in favor of focusing on these elements. The writers of Rogue Galaxy, by contrast, appear not to have tried at all. The settings are not merely unoriginal, they're completely lacking in charm. There's plenty of space to explore, and the save points, which double as teleporters, facilitate travel between locations. But the uninspired scenery provides little incentive for exploration aside from searching for items, turning the large maps which could have been a delight to uncover into a chore. Feel free also to ignore the RPG maxim "talk to everyone." Having reached the end of my patience several chapters in, I have not found a single NPC with dialogue worth hearing. In fact, the game contains precious few lines worth hearing at all. As someone who derives a great deal of enjoyment from well written game dialogue, I found myself almost constantly wishing that if the characters really have so little that's worthwhile to say, they would simply shut up entirely. The game provides a recent plot recap every time you load the game, and combined with this, it would probably have benefited from having all the dialogue replaced with series of nods and meaningful glances. The writing goes beyond the realms of mere cliche, and treads heavily into the inane, and idiot balls are passed around with such vigor that I found myself wondering if all the smart people in the galaxy had simply abandoned the cast to their desolate planets, and found somewhere more interesting to live.
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