Review by malfion
"Baten Kaitos is back!"
The original Baten Kaitos was one of the few RPGs made for the Gamecube. Since it was released to close to the systems death, it had very few sales...but you are missing out, if you haven't played either game in the series.
The first game was amazing with its plot twists, exploding gameplay, and guitar solos. Does Origins stack up?
The gameplay in Baten Kaitos takes place using magnus( attacks and items stored in cards) and follows a turn based routine. The player is free to walk, and explore the areas, and progress the story.
To execute a battle, the player must walk into an enemy. These enemies are visible on the screen, so if you don't want to fight, avoid the enemies. After touching an enemy, you enter the battle mode, where your current hand is displayed, in a typical RPG fashion. You then choose your weapon/defense(if you have one in your hand)attacks( going from lowest to highest), and last, a special attack(s)(IF you have the required MP) and it'll do the rest. You have alloted time limit to use the cards each turn, and the cards in your deck don't run out, so you'll get them back as your deck is shuffled.
In Origins, you don't choose weapons to attack with(ie, Death Pendulum 1-Death Pendulum 2-Ice Shard 3- Special attack), you can equip 1 elemental weapon/shield at once, and it has a turn limit, so it will go away after being hit a certain number of times, but return to your hand later on, but physical attacks are your main attack.
A new addition to Origins in an MP bar which charges with every magnus used, and drains with every special/idol mangus used. When it hits level 5, press 'y' to use an MP burst, which lets you use special attacks, if you have them, without consuming MP. You don't have to buy HP healing items for the field, because your HP is full after each battle.
Also, you level up after gaining experience in a battle so you only need to go to the Church area for class ups.
You also have quest magnus, which you can use in the field,or give to people who need them.
The story is linear at first, but later on, you can explore and finish the many side quests that you get.
The gameplay is fun, but near the end, it gets kind of slow/repetitive, but struggle through, because the story is amazing.
The background graphics are hand painted, with CGI layed on top. The world looks as beautiful as the first game, but very similar to it. Although, in Origins, you have some scenes in almost third person, so fans of the original will be glad to hear that it isn't all angled.
The attacks are flashy, and the world is vibrant. Except for a bit of "choppy" looking CGI objects, the graphics are great.
Story: The story is engrossing and very descriptive, and the player can literally experience the world of Baten Kaitos. I can't tell you much more because that would be a spoiler..but the story starts with the main character, Sagi, and his robot, Guillo try to assassinate the emperor, but see that hes killed already, and are sent on the run,where they discover a horrible secret, about the past, the present, and themselves.
Sound is pretty important in any game, but in RPGs, its extremely valuable. The music must set the tone, and emotion of the area or battle the player encounters. I
n Origins, the music is composed by famed composer, Motoi Sakuraba( Composer of games like Golden Sun, and Super Smash Bros Brawl).The music in this game is amazing, with its opera/baroque styles in the towns and during events, and the rock'n roll covered in battles, and the events.
If you've played Baten Kaitos 1, you'll recognize a few tracks...the music in this game has been toned "backwards" a bit, to get an older sound, as you explore the past of the world of Baten Kaitos.
The battle music does get stale after a while, but its the same with any music, you will get bored of it...but the environment/event music is always great.
This is a great game, but you'd have to ask yourself, after beating it once if you'd like to replay it, because its a very long game( over 30 hours for the story, and over 40+ hours for 100%). Personally, playing it once is enough, but it has value for that one playthrough.
My Scores for it are:
Its a great game, you should buy it, because its too long for a rental, and its very cheap( its about $18 or less at most locations).
If Monolith/Namco-Bandai see sales increase there could be hope for this hidden gem of a game, and we could see another, better iteration in this series.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/20/08
Game Release: Baten Kaitos Origins (US, 09/25/06)
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