It's actually been about a year since I beat Baten Kaitos, and since then I've traded in my Gamecube for an Xbox 360. What prompted me to write this review and show my love of Baten Kaitos was actually the Eternal Sonata demo on the Xbox Marketplace, which is simply stunning. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and it really reminded me of how I felt whilst playing through the incredible environments of this game. Baten Kaitos is probably the best looking game on the Gamecube. Sure, the character models don't pack as much punch as those in RE 4, but every section of the world is colorful, unique, and teeming with life. It's simply inspiring. Now, down to the gameplay. Baten Kaitos uses cards in its battles instead of the normal RPG menu. At first you can take your time when playing your cards, but later on you are timed. This really makes the game feel more intense and urgent than most turn based role playing games. Most attacks are accompanied by some pretty flashy animations, too. Other than battles, the game plays like a pretty typical RPG. The leveling system is unique in that it makes players travel to the church through portals scattered throughout the levels in order to level up. This adds some strategy as to exactly when you want to level up your party, and if you can level them up at the time. There is one battle that you'll want to level grind before, but mostly the game doesn't require a crazy amount of grinding. The music in Baten Kaitos is amazing. I honestly couldn't imagine it being better. The voiceovers, on the other hand, are pretty mixed. I'd say that about 40% of them are good, 40% decent, and 20% downright laughable. Normally this would have lowered the Sound score, but god...I love that music. And you can skip over the voiceovers as long as you read the text bubbles. The value of the game is great. I spent about 96 hours on the game. The average player will probably take closer to 60 hours, but those who want to get everything will probably take closer to 80. All in all, Baten Kaitos is the best RPG on the Gamecube. But, given the fact that the only real competition is the fun Tales of Symphonia, I'd say best GC RPG doesn't do this excellent game justice. Baten Kaitos is not only the best RPG on the Gamecube; it is the best game, period.
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