Review by MegaManAX
You waited 3 years for a reason. Here's the end result.
This game is a huge step for the Baten Kaitos series. Although where the step takes you is part of your personal preference. For me however, it takes me WAY forward.
The game plays almost exactly like the original Baten Kaitos, except for combat, which has changed dramtically. The main difference in gameplay is that you can actually speed up your walking pace into a glide/fly by holding B, although only for a limited time. The only worries I have in the gameplay is that:
a)the combat system has been way re-vamped
b)there's no in-game tutorial, which may leave some players scratching their heads at the first battle.
Other than the two mentioned above, there are no major flaws in the gameplay itself.
The presentation is amazing in this game. The opening cutscene also sets an amazing theme for the rest of the game. The only qualms I have regarding presentation is the title screen! It's very bland, but don't let it discourage you too much. The voice actors are at least better than the previous Baten Kaitos...
As mentioned above, the opening cutscene sets a good tone for the story, even if the cutscene is a bit... different. The characters all have their distinct personalities. From Sagi's "go with the flow" attitude, to Guillo's brash attitude, all the characters are endearing. But, if you've played the first Baten Kaitos first, ALOT of key points in the story are given away from the start.
The graphics are outstanding for a Gamecube game, although some of the effects are a bit under-developed, to say the least. Other than that, the graphics don't hold this game back one bit.
Wow. The sound, especially music, is phenomonal. Probably the best game music I've ever heard. The voice acting is also well done, and there are plenty of speaking parts in the game. The sound certainly makes the experience more enjoyable than it would've been.
What held this back from a ten? Well, firstly, no tutorial. I mean, who reads the manuals now-adays. The combat can get pretty frantic sometimes. The ability to play cards during an opponents' turn is gone. Now, you must play all cards during your own turn. That's not a problem though, since the card system has been changed alot to suit this. Here are the big changes
1) Instead of attack cards for each character, there are now a weak attack, medium attack, and strong attack that all party members can use. Also, the cards must be play in ascending order. Meaning I can play a weak atatck, medium attack and then strong attack, but can't play a strong attack, then weak attack. But you can start an attack with any attack.
2) There's only one deck! This causes confusion and chaos because of the character-specific equips, but luckily BKO throws in the option to discard cards. Helpful, to say the least.
3) You get a full heal after every battle. Sounds good, and it is. But, enemies now do way more damage, making a simple encounter possibly fatal. Of course, it also makes it funner.
4) Special Attacks can now only be used when your Magnus Gauge is at a certain level. So, say I want to use the Level 1 attack "Scension". Firstly, I have to get my gauge to at least level one. Then, I just need to draw it, and can use it anytime, instead of just at the end of a combo like last game.
Now, onto the last part of the review...
This game is great. Although it has flaws, it has some very good RPG elements that make it an essential game for the RPGer's library. If you've already picked up the original BK, Origins may wrap up some loose ends. All in all, it's a great game, and I'm extremely glad I picked it up.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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