The Anti-Existence
03-20-2012, 10:35 AM
So let me start by saying I had no idea that Masato Kato was the writer for Eternal Wings. That's pretty awesome.

So a little history first. I had a GameCube for a few months back in my high school days. Being a high school student meant being mostly broke. I thus had to often trade in my games and stuff if I wanted new ones. I traded in my GC to get a PS2 so I could play Metal Gear Solid 3.

I've missed my little purple lunchbox ever since. Finally I had a few extra bucks this month so I bought a used one as well as a game I had heard a lot about back in the day. A friend of mine reviewed it and gave it very high marks so I decided I'd give it a go.

I was not disappointed in the least.

For anyone who might be interested in this game, it was written by Masato Kato, the man behind the Chrono series It also features a fantastic score composed by the man who did most of the Tales' games soundtracks.

And now, to start off on the gameplay, I never once bothered to try and get a Straight combo or to get a special combo by combining magnus. All I ever cared about was elements and power. I loaded up my decks with the stuff that had the highest attack or healing and that was that.

Fudroh was certainly the hardest boss for me. I lost a few other times to bosses but it was early on and Ihadn't quite gotten used to everything yet.

The battle system itself was very interesting and I've never played anything quite like it. I had a lot of fun figuring it all out. Even still, having my precious healing items rot away was irritating. Luckily the game does give you a decent amount of non-aging healing magus later on but at the start it was pretty lame.

I also have to comment on the combat-side of one of my favorite characters in the game - Savyna. Her main weapons are all opposing elements. She'll get a Freezing Knuckle and then an Inferno Knuckle.That means you'll be canceling out the damage if you use them both in a row. Plus most of her Finishers are fire-based so you can't even use them really if you're getting mostly water-based magnus for her like I was. Luckily I got a ton of Fire Impulses later on so I could just drop all the water magnus.

The gameplay is also pretty varied. in addition to the card battle system there are some very weird little mini-areas where you'll feel like you're playing a different game. In one area you control your character in what is basically an old-styled arcade game like Pac-Man or whatever. In another you will be doing some railshooting.

Now onto the plot. The beginning bits were all typical of an RPG or many fantasy-based fictions. Even still I really liked Kalas and Xelha from the start with Kalas being a very amusing Jerkass while Xelha was very sweet. Kalas also had some very interesting emotional moments where he was nice and introspective.

I wasn't too wild about Gibari or Lyude but I didn't mind them that much after a while. Also the bit with defending Diadem's castle from the Empire was very nice. I am a sucker for heroic last stand kind of things ya know?

Savyna joins us next and she's probably my favorite party member. I liked her personality and her backstory. She's also pretty hot and punching and kicking crap to death is my preferred mode of attack.

The Great Mizuti is of course quite great and I just wish I used her more. However I had become used to Xelha and having two casters in the party was just spreading my precious magnus resources too thin. She ended up probably having my favorite country in the game

Speaking of which, this game is gorgeous. It features pre-rendeed backgrounds which allows for a lot of detail. The variety in the locations is wonderful and it's probably one of the most gorgeous RPGs I've ever played.

And now for spoilers.

The story started pretty simple. Of course, like many people told me, there would be a huge-ass twist that would kick things into high gear. I spent a lot of time wondering what it could be and I confess that when it happened I had no idea. I was still genuinely surprised. Melodia being the main villain was just too cool, as was Kalas betrayal.

Of course I must admit that even before this the story had definitely gotten better. I think it was around Anuenue when I became very invested in the plot and characters. The game sets up a lot of little mysteries around this time that kept me hooked.

I also think several of the other reveals were just as good. I had a feeling there was something off about Kalas and Xelha but I wasn't sure what. Learning that Kalas was created and that Xelha was the Ice Queen were both very satisfying explanations for why they were involved in all this. And then the game goes a step further without showing that Kalas had the whole thing planned from the start which was a bit odd but why not.

My absolute favorite part of the story was everything that happens once Kalas rejoins you. Having Doc Larikush answering the final questions about Georg and Kalas and Fee, and then going to the Alps where (I was genuinely surprised by this) you see Giacomo, Folon and Ayme are still alive. All this gave the trio a great deal more worth in my eyes as characters and as antagonists. And then Kalas getting his wings before finishing Giacomo off... It was all really well done.

On the sidequests before the ending, I think Lyude's and Savyna's were the best in terms of building their characters. They're both faced with ghosts (literal and imaginary) from their past and have to overcome their past regrets to move on.

The final bit with attacking Cor Hydra was predictable in that yes I knew the four other continents wouldn't be enough and then Folon and Ayme would show up. It doesn't mean it wasn't awesome.

As for the ending, the final fight with Malpercio was indeed pretty tough. I lost twice before I had the bright idea of just ditching all of Kalas' defense and instead stocking him up with my dozens upon dozens of powerful sword magnus. I also took away all of Savyna's attack Magnus and gave her every healing magnus I had. This strategy worked out pretty well with Kalas and Xelha causing a couple thousand worth of damage per turn while Savyna was able to heal pretty much all the damage Mal did as soon as he did it.

Predictably Melodia was saved. Not predictably was the reveal she ha died and been resurrected by the End Magnus. It's an interesting explanation for why she is what she is.

Then everything got really frickin' weird. I was annoyed at first since it seemed like they were wrapping everything up without even giving the other party members speaking lines. (you just read what they said and stuff) Then we got Xelha and Kalas alone and talking and we learn that the Ocean was inside of her... Okay, I'll roll with that since it's magic and all.

THEN GIANT GELDOBLAME HEAD AND HAMMING IT UP TO THE MAX OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE. I mean, -what-? I guess the guys working on this game heard how everyone complained their budies down the hall working on Xenosaga had too many cutscenes and not enough gameplay. So they thought the ending was running on too long and decided "hey, let's throw in a completely random and insane fight just to give them something to do."

I was still recovering from that when Xelha dies. I am not a very manly man and I teared up at this scene. I really liked Xelha and her dying was just so sad and unexpected. It was a truly beautiful and tragic moment when the kid comes up with the pendant and says you can hear Xelha in it - just like you hear the sea in a seashell.

Only she's not really dead. Memai was a whale all along and he saved her. Uh...sure, why not! All I know is that I am very happy that she is alive. Cue the cast giving the guardian spirit/me a nice send-off and that's that.

That was one, memorable ending. I did like it though.

Oh and did I mentioned that this game's soundtrack was fucking amazing? It's hard but I think I'll make a favorites list....

1. To the end of the Journey of Glittering Stars (

2. Chaotic Dance (

3. Brave Way (

4. Condemnation of Darkness (

And so many more aesome songs too. But these ones are the standouts for me.

So those are my thoughts on Baten Kaitos. I loved the game. It looked great, played great, sounded great and the story was really good. Well it didn't all sound great. The voice-acting was...pretty bad. Not Resident Evil 1-bad but still far from good. I could tolerate ita nd I felt a few characters like Savyna and Giacomo even had decent VAs But other than that, blegh.

I will definitely play Origins next chance I get.

So anyone here played this?