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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Role-Playing Game

 

Publisher

Namco

 

Developer

Monolith Soft

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 2004

 

 

- Intriguing gameplay

- Magnus cards are pretty cool

- Beautiful environments

- Good story

- Best damn soundtrack ever!

 

 

- Not everyone will like the battle system

- Worst voice acting ever!

- Tutorial could be more descriptive

- Can be kind of complicated at times

 

 

Review: Final Fantasy - Crystal Chronicles (GC)

Review: Paper Mario - The Thousand-Year Door (GC)

Review: Lost Kingdoms II (GC)

 

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Baten Kaitos

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Namcoís Baten Kaitos (BK) is a very fine addition to your GameCube collection, but is this game for everyone? There are a lot of features in BK that differ from your typical RPGs, some gamers might find this an inviting welcome, while others might find it frustrating.

 

baten kaitos review          baten kaitos review

 

It is a time when the existence of Ocean and Earth has been regarded as a mere fairytale passed down for generations. The world now consists of floating islands high up in the sky and people have sprouted wings.  Our hero, Kalas, is a rebellious youth seeking revenge for the murder of his grandfather and brother. Xelha is a young woman out to save the world from a brewing crisis. When Kalasí and Xelhaís paths cross, the story begins to unfold.

 

Gameplay in Baten Kaitos is unique for the most part.  To get into a battle you have to run into an enemy on the map or vice versa. There are no random battles, thank God. As in most RPGs, players can use attacks, spells and special abilities unique to each character. What makes all this unique in Baten Kaitos is the use of Magnus cards. You will not need to buy a sword and find upgraded versions of it. All weapons and armor are contained in Magnus cards. This is pretty cool because you can have several different kinds of weapons in your card deck at once giving you, the player, the ability to experiment with what works best for a particular area against your enemies. Each card has a number on it and players can try to place the cards in order to do more damage. For example: sword(1)+sword(2) +sword(3). Another thing is, say, you use a fire sword Magnus card and then a water sword 

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card. The effects of water and fire will cancel each other out causing less damage to the opponent. Strategy and planning is very critical in this game. Pairing up certain Magnus cards together can increase the chance of creating a special combo. I was completely lost with this at first. I had no idea why this move called Lingering Time would just pop out of nowhere. Experimenting with combos is a good idea, but I found it better just to leave it up to luck for the most part.

 

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Sometimes certain techniques made from a combo can screw you over but I believe this is due to bad relationship between you and the main character ďKalasĒ. To prevent such misfortunes, it is vital to think about your choices during some parts of conversations. Making the right choice will strengthen your bond with Kalas.

 

While controlling Kalas feels a bit awkward at first, you will eventually get used to it. Investigating pots and barrels and other various things is very important in Baten Kaitos because you never know what you will find. Some very rare Magnus cards are found by chance, by exploring jar-to-jar or barrel-to-barrel. Also, you can carry special Magnus cards, which arenít used in battle. For example, this lady was complaining that her flowers needed fresh water so I put some fresh water in one of my special Magnus cards and then used it on the flowers. Doing such tasks for people will benefit Kalas on his quest. You never know what you will find and the possibilities seem endless.

 

baten kaitos review          baten kaitos review

 

For sound, well, first things first. The voice acting, itís horrible. For example, you know when you watch a dubbed anime with really bad voice work like Rurouni Kenshin? The voice acting in Baten Kaitos honestly makes Rurouni Kenshinís voice acting look superb. Itís literally that bad! I donít think Iíve ever heard worst voice acting in my life. Thank God I discovered that you can turn it off. I would more than highly recommend doing just that. Sound effects arenít too shabby which is fortunate. The gameís soundtrack is honestly the best Iíve ever heard in any game that uses orchestrated music. The composition is sheer brilliance! It kicks so much ass that I would even suggest going out of your way and buying the soundtrack.

 

Graphics are very good but not jaw dropping. The character designs are pretty good. Thereís some good use of colors and textures to make the experience feel livelier. An example would have to be Kalasí cloak and bright blue hair. While some enemies might look pretty cool, the majority do suffer in visuals and arenít very appealing. I would say itís on par with Skies of Arcadia Legends. I donít know why, but sometimes when I look at the environments I canít help but think of Chrono Trigger or Chrono Cross when playing this game. The atmosphere feels more than just a still picture and the overall visuals for the backgrounds do make up for plain enemy designs.

 

Now itís time for the big question: Is Baten Kaitos a pass or a buy? It really depends on the player. It feels different from your typical RPG and not every role-playing game fan will find this game as appealing so try a rental first.

 

- JíTonello

(December 30, 2004)

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