10

Baten Kaitos review
The Best GCN RPG Yet

The good:

Absolutely incredible graphics and sounds. Unique card-based battling system. Lots of items & cards to collect. Over 60 hours of gameplay.

The bad:

Nothing, although the menus & card-based battle system are hard to figure out at first.

Summary:

The most anticipated GCN RPG of 2004, Namco clearly pushed the GCN to almost beyond it's limits with Baten Kaitos in almost every regard. In the story, you're a guardian spirit of sorts who must guide Kalas, Xelha, and other odd characters they meet along the way, on a quest to save their world from destruction. Your decisions help shape the game's outcome along the way, and you also battle using Magnus, unique cards that allow you to attack, defend, use magic, and other powers.
You definitely want a high-quality TV to play this, because the graphics look like they came straight from Hollywood. They're among the most beautiful GCN has ever seen-Namco even outdid it's awesome Soul Calibur 2 opener here. They carry over into gameplay-very clean with lots of detail on almost everything. Another great touch is when dialogue boxes appear when some characters are talking, you'll also see their facial expression sometimes change depending on the situation-something you never see in RPGs. Sounds & music are also top-quality, and the characters always speak in appropriate tones of voice for the situation, rather than a dull boring tone throughout. There's lots of spoken dialogue as well, not in every conversation but more often than not there is.
The controls and gameplay in battle primarily revolve around a card-based battle system. It's understandably complex and hard to figure out at first but once you get some experience, you'll be rifling off those Magnus cards like a regular card shark. And don't think this is Yu-Gi-Oh because it doesn't play like that-if you played the "Lost Kingdoms" games, it's more like that. You choose the cards in a limited timeframe and see your character perform the corresponding attack or magic spell, and you can play combos for more attacks and greater payoff. On defense, you've got to be quick in choosing cards to defend yourself as well-enemies won't sit around and wait for you. Additionally, there are lots of mini-quests you can do in addition to the main storyline, adding up to over 60 hours of gameplay.
This game is so entertaining and breathtaking in the visuals that the big question is, is the game more fun to play or watch? Even if you're not an RPG person, the graphics & opening cutscene alone are more than enough to justify the price tag, because it's the best that GCN has ever seen to this date. If you are, the gameplay will keep you busy for months to come. Either way, get this game and lock yourself away for a couple months because this one has "epic" written all over it.

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