Baten Kaitos
Platform: GameCube
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Monolith/tri-Crescendo
Genre: Turn-Based RPG
Format: Mini DVD-ROM
Released: US 11/16/04
Japan 12/05/03
Official Site: English Site

Graphics: 94%
Sound: 87%
Gameplay: 92%
Control: N/A%
Story: 76%
Overall: 88%
Reviews Grading Scale
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A glimpse of an Island Map.
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The Church whose presence is never quite explained.
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The Great Mizuti shows his face. This is an FMV screenshot.
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Dragon Press!.
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Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

Developer Monolith Soft has recently been carving its way into the world of console role-playing games with its Xenosaga series for PlayStation 2. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is another RPG in the company’s lineup -- a beautiful game with a beautiful world, nice looking art style, and a card-based battle system with over a hundred cards to collect and use.

Gameplay: 92%

The best part of Baten Kaitos is its “card turn-based” battle system. In this system, you use cards called “Magnus” ("magna essence" of an item), which can be used to perform combos that allow you to attack, heal, etc. Plus, there is a twist to some “Magnus” cards. Sometimes when you hold onto a certain card long enough it changes, for example, hold onto Milk long enough and it will turn into cheese; bamboo shoots will change into bamboo spears that can be used as weapons; grapes that you use as a healing item will change into rotten grapes that can poison enemies; and so on.

As in some RPGs, you can see the enemies walking around the map, so you can avoid them if you don’t want to fight or have to go heal yourself. Each character has his or her own type of deck (Kalas uses swords, Xelha use magic attacks.) But there is a flaw or two in the combat. First off, when it’s one of your characters’ turns and the decks are randomized, you sometimes have no attack cards, only armor cards. Plus, sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s your turn to attack or defend, and some enemies attack really fast (or just too slow to tell if they’re even going to do something), so sometimes you won’t be able to block the first attack.

Another interesting aspect of the game is its level system. Like in pretty much any RPG, you get level-ups via experience gained after battles. However, in Baten Kaitos you have to hold on to the experience until you get to a save point or church where you can level-up. This sounds really neat and all, but it starts to get kind of annoying when you have to backtrack to the beginning of the dungeon and run to a town in order to level-up when you need it the most.

Graphics: 94%

Baten Kaitos’ graphics are just bursting with detail. In particular, the pre-rendered environments, backgrounds in combat, and dungeons are excellent. They simply have the most detail I have ever seen in a game -- clouds floating in a town that you can walk through, flowers in the forest or jungle, even the towns with flags that flap beautifully with the wind. Each character in the game also has a unique look and style, such as a fisherman who kind of fights like a knight. Overall, these graphics are surely a pleasure to look at no matter where you are in this game.

Story: 76%

The story in this game is good but could’ve been somewhat better. You play a so-called “Guardian spirit”-- a soul from a different world who has bonded with the main character, Kalas. You experience the world of Baten Kaitos from his point of view. It’s actually kind of interesting because usually, in other games, you control the main character or just sit back and watch them do stuff. While it’s an interesting premise, the game still manages to retain the feel of a “traditional RPG.”

After a while, you meet up with a young blonde girl named Xelha, and she and Kalas get caught up in stopping an evil empire from resurrecting an evil god (known as the “End Magnus”). So you start to search for the pieces of the End Magnus to prevent the empire from summoning it (and we know what happens after you get all of them.) In the end, it’s just the same story as in other RPGs with new situations substituted in.

Sound/Music: 87%

The music in the game is really good. I personally enjoyed it, but some tracks could’ve been dropped or done better. The music at least sets the tone for the scene. The voice acting is good and all but can be slow sometimes. When the characters talk, they sound as if they were speaking though a pipe or something, probably because you’re a guardian spirit and you hear everything through Kalas (at least that’s my best guess.) In combat, though, the voices for some reason sound perfectly fine, plus some of the lines in combat sound dumb or just plain cheesy.

Overall: 88%

This is a game for any RPG fan who likes turn-based or card battle systems, or simply hardcore RPG fans like me. If you’re willing to play the fun battle system and get over the some old story. You’ll be in for a fun, fast, unique adventure.


© 2004 Namco Hometek, All Rights Reserved.

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