Rogue Galaxy continues to look awesome. Made by Level 5, the same team behind Dark Cloud 1 and 2, the game features improved versions of Dark Cloud 2‘s engine and graphics, and although the screenshots suggest a Final-Fantasy-style combat engine, it will actually play more like Kingdom Hearts. According to this preview at the Magic Box, the game will also include Shadow of the Colossus-style “boss-climbing”, on top of all the other wonderful features carried over from Dark Cloud 2.
Children all over the world wept openly and things looked bleak for Level 5 when their MMORPG True Fantasy Live Online was canned in June of last year, but they managed to survive, helped Square Enix get Dragon Quest VIII out the door, and are now releasing Rogue Galaxy next month in Japan-land, and hopefully here in U.S.-land soon after that.
For those who don’t remember Dark Cloud 2, here’s a quick rundown: You switch between two playable characters; Max fights with a wrench and a gun, Monica fights with a sword and magic armband. All four of those weapons can be upgraded, fused with other items, and turned into other, more powerful weapons. Combat is realtime in randomly generated dungeons. Once you clear a dungeon floor, you get to play golf in it. If there’s any water on that floor, you can also go fishing. The fish you catch depend on what bait you use. When you catch fish, you can either cook and eat them, or raise them in your aquarium to race them against other fish for prizes (races are held every few days). You can upgrade and change your golf clubs and fishing rods. Most dungeon floors also include “georama stones”, which give you new buildings to build in towns. Most of the NPCs in the game can be recruited to move to the towns you’re building by performing a specific, different quest for each of them. When you fulfill certain building and resident requirements in towns, you can go to the future and see the results of your additions, which will usually give you crucial items or advance the plot. Max has a giant robot named “Steve”, with tons of customizable parts, from fists to rocket launchers and from tank treads to roller skates. Monica can turn into monsters, but first you have to find out what kind of item that monster likes the most and bribe the monster with that item. Max also has a camera. You can take pictures of pretty much everything in the game, and invent new items by combining three pictures. Additionally, you can get prizes for taking rare pictures of monsters in certain poses and ghosts (which can only be seen through the camera). And that’s just the basics.
Assumedly, most of Dark Cloud 2‘s insane level of depth will carry over to Rogue Galaxy, and it looks like there will also be pirates and Spelljammer-y sailing ships floating through the aether between planets. What more could anyone possibly ask for? (You were going to say “cooking” weren’t you? Well don’t. It’s probably in there too.)
If you need any further convincing of Rogue Galaxy‘s goodness, just watch the trailer, and spend from now until it comes out states-side grinning maniacally and twitching like a junky.