Baten Kaitos Origins differentiates itself enough from the original to be one of the best RPGs ever made; don't miss it.

User Rating: 9.5 | Baten Kaitos II: Hajimari no Tsubasa to Kamigami no Shishi GC
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Monolith Software (JP)
System: Nintendo GameCube
Genre: I consider Baten Kaitos to be an RPG with some heavy strategy attributes.
Release Date: September 25, 2006

~Gameplay 8.5/10~
I was always excited about Origins when I first heard it was coming out. However, after playing Baten Kaitos, I wasn't sure if I was ready for a sequel, if it had some of the same stuff as the original. Luckily for me, Origins makes plenty of changes for it to stand out, and hold its own. While fans may be disappointed with the changes, they will find out that Origins will grow on them, and give them an unforgettable experience that probably is highly unexpected. I'll speak the truth and say that I didn't expect Origins to be the masterpiece that it has become. And it all starts with a character named Sagi.

Sagi is an interesting character in my opinion. In the first Baten Kaitos, the main character is a young man named Kalas who doesn't really care about anything. Eventually, he starts to see the importance of his journey, but Sagi is different. At the beginning of the story Sagi is a nice young man who joins the Dark Service, which is like an underground mercenary kind of organization. He feels this is the only way for him to support his mother and the orphanage that they own. So, basically he's someone who cares for others, and you see that throughout the game. In both Baten Katios games, you play as a Guardian Spirit who guides the main character throughout their quest. Are you the same one in Origins as in the first? Well, you'll have to find that out for yourself.

Origins' story starts off strong and brings you to the action right away. Your first assignment is to assassinate the emperor! It's strange to have a newcomer go on an assignment like this, right? Upon getting to the emperor's room, you start thinking about this. Then, when going into the room, you see a mysterious man talking to the emperor. After he leaves casually, you go up to the emperor, but wait, he's already dead! Of course the logical thing to think is that the man here before killed him. Right when you make the observation, some members of the Dark Service (the organization you belong to) come in along with one of their leaders. They charge you with the murder of the Emperor and demand to have you arrested immediately! So, what's there to do? You have just been betrayed by the very people who put you on this job. Escape is the only answer, as there are too many of them, but how can you do that? Not to mention that even if you do escape, you'll be wanted criminals and are out of job, so you won't be able to help everyone back home. As you can see a huge mess comes within the first hour or two of the game. So, that's where the story starts off and if that didn't get you hyped up, nothing will. If you would like to know more about Baten Kaitos Origins' story, just send me a message.

What's also interesting about Origins' story is that it's 20 years before the original, hence the word origins in the title. So, fans should recognize some characters and maybe see some big surprises. This fills in some of the foggy spaces left from the first one. However, the whole Baten Kaitos story is very confusing. I can guarantee to you, that if it's your first time playing the game, you will not understand the story 100%. Even after playing the game 5 times, there will be missing spaces that you just won't get. That's what I love about Baten Kaitos. It always keeps you guessing, even at the very end. The ending of both games, has you wondering what is going on most of the time. It's just one of those storylines that doesn't need to have an explanation and just doesn't need to make sense. Origins also has everything a good story needs, and has two more characters that join you, named Guillo and Milly. Another interesting thing about this amazing story is that it's split into two different parts. Every now and then, you go to a whole different world that you know nothing about. Everything you learn here is totally unexpected and is a great addition to the story.

Something that gets criticized in pretty much every RPG is the battle system. Now, the original had a very different battle system than most RPGs. It used cards, which turned it down to a lot of people. I gave it a chance though, as I do with pretty much everything, and I was surprised with the results. Even though I love the battle system of the first one, I think they did a good job differentiating Origins' system so that it's not the same style, but still just as good as before. It's easily the most noticeable change that fans may love or hate. The battle system seems to be much simpler and less complex at first. Then, after having some more experience with it, and seeing things get added, you see the complexity start to flesh out. Although, it all probably looks like nonsense to newcomers, trust me, you'll get it eventually. My favorite change is having only one deck instead of a separate one for each character. This allowed me to spend less time on organizing my deck and made battles better in my opinion. The boss battles are fantastic and prove to be a real challenge. Origins' boss battles are definitely a highlight of the game because they are intense, engaging, and just loads of fun. You only get three characters to use in battle throughout the game which was disappointing for me. I wanted to see more characters, not only in battle, but outside of battles too. There's not a huge cast and some of them are from the original, so they don't seem "new" even if they are 20 years younger. It's hard to explain the battle system in words, but if you want to know more detailed information on Origins' battle system, just send me a message.

Now for the difficulty that many other reviews complained about. For me, this game was just right. I thought it had a perfect difficulty and never found it frustrating. Well, some sidequests were, but nothing that you need to do to progress in the story gets frustrating. That may be because I am a Baten Kaitos expert, but most gamers should be fine. However, when you start the second disc, there is a big jump in the difficulty, so be prepared for that.

Something that really bothered me about Origins was its lack of new material. Okay, there are two kinds of the new material that bothered me. The first is all the recycled things from the original Baten Kaitos. I know that this cannot be helped, but I just thought that there was way too much of it. I would have preferred to see much more new enemies and worlds. For newcomers, it doesn't matter, but for fans of the original, it's hard to get excited about a place that you already explored. The other kind is the new material that it keeps throwing at you in the beginning. During the first half of the game, I noticed a bunch of new things getting added. Every hour or so, I would be introduced to something totally new and interesting. So what's the problem with that? After that half of the game, there is practically no material left to keep you interested. All I am saying is that they should have spread it out more. However, I have to give them props for having all that new material in the first place. I was surprised with the quality of it and the amount that I saw. It definitely kept the game fresh and had me wanting to keep playing.

Sometimes Origins can get tedious, and that's because of the battles. Now don't get me wrong, the battles are very fun, but not when you do too much of them, just like any RPG. On a typical screen, there is probably an average of 5 enemies (battles). Now, that's not a lot for most RPGs, but for Baten Kaitos, you won't want to do this over and over again as you go from screen to screen. Most battles will take no less than 1 min. and that's just because of the style that they are in. Now, it would be nice to see them shortened and have some quicker actions going on, but it would also be good to have fewer battles to do. They are not random, so you can avoid them, but you'll not want to do that, or else the game will get to be hard later on, and some are hard to avoid anyway. It's not a major problem, but it's just something that I would have liked to be changed.

~Graphics 9.5/10~
Now, the graphics of the first Baten Kaitos blew me away. Even though Origins has some of the same looking visuals, they are still impressive. The visual effects are amazing, just like the first. Also, the backgrounds and scenery is very beautiful and breathtaking in every new area you go to.

Something that looked different from the original was the character pictures. Each character portrait and text box is much sharper now, and vibrant. It reminds me of Fire Emblem, which was a nice surprise since I am a big fan of FE. So, the graphics are amazing, yes, but there is one noticeable minor flaw in them. When there is a scene and you see a close up of the characters, the visuals are much weaker than how they are in the rest of the game. That being said, there are not much scenes like that in the game, so it's not a major problem at all.

~Music and Sound 9/10~
The music of the original Baten Kaitos was definitely a highlight and Origins is no exception. It has some of the same music, but also some new tunes, which live up to the others. Some people may think that it doesn't fit the mood, and I guess that's okay, but pretty much all the music is impressive and a joy to listen to. I'm not sure which one has the better music, as both soundtracks are amazingly good. The sounds are exactly the same as the first, but that's fine because they work.

So now it's time to explain the voice acting that every good RPG needs. In my opinion, the voice acting is some of the best. The villains actually sound like villains that you want to punch in the face, and the quality of all the actors is top notch. There have been complaints about Sagi's voice, but I don't see anything wrong with it. I like the way Sagi sounds because I have never heard a similar voice actor, so it makes Sagi stick out in my book. Also, when Guillo talks, you hear a man and a woman talking at the same time (you'll find out why toward the end of the game), and I like this style. It shows character and keeps the mystery up in the air. It's interesting because one voice doesn't overpower the other if you really pay attention. As for Milly, she's annoying, but that's how her personality is anyway, so it fits.

~Value 10/10~
Origins should take most gamers around the same amount of time as Tales of the Abyss, which I said was 50 hours. I wouldn't be surprised if it took more though because the gameplay is slower than most RPGs. There are tons of sidequests to do and if you want to understand the story some more, then you probably would want to play it again. Origins is just jam-packed with value and has many secrets and nice extras to experience.

~Fun Factor 9/10~
So maybe the gameplay is slow, and maybe battles get tedious, but Baten Kaitos Origins is a lot of fun. When I played it in small parts, I found the game to be more enjoyable because I got overloaded and frustrated with battles if I played too long. Also, an amazing story that doesn't slow down really picks it up and should get you addicted.

~The Good, The Bad, and Buy It?~
The Good: tells the origins of Baten Kaitos in an excellently crafted story, good music, impressive visual effects, long main quest with a large amount of sidequests, new fresh aspects to the game make it a bit more enjoyable than the first, grows on you, voice acting is different than what most games have, deep and strategic battle system that takes some getting used to, amazing boss battles, an overall great sequel

The Bad: drags a little due to the lack of new material half-way through, recycled music, enemies, visuals, concepts, etc. from the first one, graphics look a bit weak up close at times, battles are still a tad too long, too many enemies to fight slows down the gameplay, could have used more characters in battles and out

Buy It?: This is tough because Baten Kaitos isn't a basic yes or no game to recommend. Some love it and some hate it just like any other game, but it's nearly impossible to predict how a specific person will feel about it until they get some experience with it. So, the best recommendation I can give, is this. If you love to try new things out, then Origins is definitely worth a shot, but if you like traditional games, I would stay away. Baten Kaitos Origins has a lot to offer, and gives a great RPG experience, it's just that many people will not see the greatness in it, or treat it how it should be. RPG fans should definitely give it a try, just to see some freshness in the RPG genre. Also, anyone who enjoyed the first should definitely see how this one turned out. Send me a message if you have any questions or are still unsure.

~Overall 9.3/10~
Baten Kaitos Origns delivers an amazing RPG experience that proves to be a great sequel overall. It does extremely well during the first half of the game, then slows down, but finishes off strong in the end.
Music and Sound-9
Fun Factor-9
Overall-9.3 A Challenging and Lengthy Quest

If you have any questions feel free to send me a message.
Thank you for reading,