Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
The world has been destroyed, a tower resides in the background, and a silent hero feels guilt. Welcome to Baroque a Dungeon crawler developed and published by Sting back in 1998 for Japan only. Now AtlusUsa was nice enough to bring this one over to America back in April of 2008.
The world has been ruined by a tragedy and from the sounds of it the protagonist was at fault, but he can't remember or speak about it. So it's his job to heal the world and heal his own torment.
The story will start out with the gamer wanting know what happened in the past and why the protagonist needs to heal the land. To understand these questions the player must travel to a tower called Neuro Tower and heal something at the bottom of that tower. As the protagonist heads over to the tower he will meet deformed beings that will give minor advise or story items, and other beings known as Meta-Beings. Meta-Beings are the enemies that our hero must purify along with the planet. Before our hero gets to the tower he meets an archangel who tells him the way to heal is using an Angelic Rifle that he kindly give him. So off to the tower!
The story overall can seem confusing since the gamer isn't really given any information at the beginning of the game. They are just thrown into the flow of things until they meet people that start filling in the gaps of the story. Baroque has different ends because of this, depending on how the gamer plays the game they will receive a different ending from good or evil depend on how many times they speak to different beings, or kill for that matter. Heavy story loves might be turned off by this because it feels like the story takes a back seat to the game. The gamer could go the entire game not knowing what is happening because they missed people or areas to trigger the story. If the gamer is a true role player they will enjoy this challenge the game gives them.
Baroque is a dark dungeon crawler that looks like a basic PS2 game with a grain filter over the games graphics. This style gives the game a very dark atmosphere and once inside the tower in the closed in quarters it places the gamer in a feeling of being trapped and alone. The music is an industrial style theme that changes the deeper into the tower our hero goes. The music is recorded nicely but is nothing memorable but fits the game nicely. (Similar styles of bands that sound like this music are KMFDM, Numb, and Frontline Assembly.)
One large theme to this game is the player should and is encourage to die in this game. From the start the players VT vitality slowly drains away and our hero must eat items to keep his VT up. Once VT is gone his hit points HP start to drain away as well. Once his HP is gone he dies, and the player restarts. What stinks about this is once in the tower and are battling enemies our hero gains levels once he is defeated everything from items gained to levels gained are gone. He goes back to level one and has to start the tower over on level one. This could get annoying for some gamers especially since there is no way to leave the tower or return to that area even once our hero has died. Although just because of death this should not turn the gamer off. They will find large spheres that they can throw items into too. A boy in the ruins will pick them up, just beat him up and he gives them back so our hero can head back to the tower with items making the start over a little quicker than to go back in as if the gamer restarted the game entirely. Also restarting the tower will change dialogue between our hero and NPC's which influences different endings of the game.
The original Baroque was a first person dungeon crawler now STING has added a 3rd person view. The gamer can use the original view, the gamer can change any setting if they don't like it from camera controls to which view they like the most. Baroques gameplay is a hack'n slash RPG and will not make the gamer angry or frustrated with the controls because the game is very simplistic. The gamer gets two attack buttons a normal attack and a strong attack. While attacking an enemy the gamer can use a locking button which works for the most part but when the gamer is overwhelmed by enemies locking onto enemies because useless. I found using it only when an enemy was alone or when I felt like using it. Next command the gamer will use is the camera it moves at a pace that will not interrupt gameplay or distract the gamer. The next big command or function is the item menu. Our hero can only carry so many things and makes the gamer micro-manage the inventor because of what is and what is not important to keep while he travels through the dungeon. When the inventory is full our hero can either place the item on the ground, use it, or what I find fun to do with non-useful items is to throw them at enemies. Some items are for throwing attacks while other are not, but both take HP away from enemies. Our final command the gamer
Game Traits applied to Baroque (PS2) by DarthOdium