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System: WiiReleased: 4/8/2008
Developer: Sting EntertainmentPublisher: Atlus
Genre: Dungeon Crawler/RPGPlayers: 1
ESRB Rating: T for TeenController: Remote & Nunchuck
Game Save: 2 BlocksReviewer: Laserkid (Staff)

Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to learn a lesson about sin and punishment. Oh no, silly, not the GAME Sin and Punishment; that would be all too nice a lesson. Instead, we're going to play Baroque; God Dammit. If you thought me putting that at the end of my sentence was annoying, just you wait until you play the game where a specific character says that at the end of all of his sentences.

Okay, silly introductions aside, Baroque is an action/RPG dungeon crawler which has one dungeon that you will be visiting over and over and over again. Each time the harrowing storyline continued to degenerate into some serious mind fucking confusion, but I'm getting slightly ahead of myself here. When the game begins you get the idea someone is being mentally worked on in some kind of tank. You then get to go into a nightmarish obviously post apocalyptic town; but, based off of the intro, it is easy to believe (as I did at first) that this town is a VR simulator.

yeah fuck you too...

So you walk around and talk to people. Amongst the many strange villagers there is the odd, but useful, "Coffin Man". He is, of course, the townsman who runs the tutorial area who so loves to throw a "God Dammit" after every last sentence he speaks. A tutorial level would have been VERY nice to start with, but get this, you don't get to use it until after you die. Yes, that's right, they throw you headlong into the one dungeon from hell "Neuro Tower" without an explanation of how the game works! Instead, you get some angel character telling you the only way for you to repent for your egregious sins is to take the Super Scope (okay, just a big gun, but it looks like the Super Scope) from him, which has meaning if YOU use it apparently, and then reach the bottom of Neuro Tower. It is here you get to find not one, but two, life gauges. Your normal HP gauge which depletes by being hurt, and a vitality gauge.

I am convinced whoever invented the vitality gauge has some serious sadism issues. It goes down when you move, it goes down when you attack, and it even goes down when you stand still for too long. What's the problem with that you ask? When your vitality hits zero you begin hemorrhaging hit points as if you were poisoned. The supposed upside to this is if you have vitality, and you stand still, your HP goes up; it does, but vitality goes down with it. Yes, there are ways to bring up your vitality, but the little item drops usually recovers just five Vitality Points maximum.

Hey I can play Yoshi Safari with this!

Considering that Vitality goes down at a rate of about two per movement (or a few seconds of non movement), this isn't even valuable. Sometimes you'll get seeds which recover 30 vitality; but these are rare finds, and ultimatly recovers an amount that is still insignificant as max vitality at start is 99, and it can drop to zero in a few minuets if you don't know what you're doing. This was actually the cause of my first death, I was doing fine on HP and had no issues with the enemies; then, my Vitality dropped to zero after being put in a room with no apparent exits spending almost all of my vitality attacking walls for hopes of uncovering a switch. Yes, they expect you to solve ridiculous puzzles while keeping a constantly ticking down vitality gauge. It's just ridiculous, I mean this character has less heartiness then your average overweight sedentary person would. If you walk around your house for 5 minuets this does not exhaust you to the point of losing your life slowly, so why does this happen to the voiceless protagonist of Baroque?

Whatever the answer to that is, thankfully, the game does not end when you die. You get one last cutscene of what appears to be your apparent abductors who have you in a VR machine stabilizing you, then they say your atonement will be to do whatever you want in crazy fuck hell VR Town. So back to hell town we go with some new residents who mostly have the same conversations, and now you can actually use the tutorial... Godammit! At this point the game does get a little better, with exposition like "Don't be stingy with your items, God Dammit". Coffin Man now teaches you the ins and outs of surviving Neuro tower with the newly acessable training mode. This primarily involves using and equipping your items for the best effect, since the combat engine consists of only one option. Attack with fist/equipped-item or attack with kicks/equipped-item; no really, that's the entire gameplay options: attack, run, and micromanage the hell out of your 20 max held items. The latter part is important because nothing will ruin a good play session like being paralyzed, poisoned, and put into lust mode (everyone and everything turns into a kimono wearing blonde who can apparently float, but not notice when being attacked) all at the same time.

There are equipable items that can block these ill effects; but, if you die, then Coffin Man gets to take them all. So you work your way through the tutorial, which has the added bonus of letting you keep the items you find there; which is good, because all the items you had before dying in Neuro Tower are gone since you died (unless you tossed them into A consciousness orb, not to be confused with THE consciousness orb). So you haul your ass back towards Neuro Tower to continue the crap... er I mean the quest. Angel guy is now semi transparent and asks if your memory is any better, gives you your gun back, and goes away again. You now get to go back to the tower for more action.

Rinse and repeat ad infinitum, with some VAGUE plot points occasionally thrown at you. Congratulations, you now know how the entire game goes (yon angel gets more and more transparent, cryptic, and annoying per each death). I know, I just spoiled how the game is played, ain't I a stinker? This at least covers the gameplay of Baroque. I must note that while it's extremely tempting to just use the classic controller, doing so will be ridiculously unresponsive. In an ironic twist of fate, the waggle motions with the nunchuck actually work BETTER then classic control scheme, and make the game MUCH more bearable... for what it's worth.

Uhm...no, would you care to explain? No? You suck!

Even so, the gameplay is so basic and barebones that I can't even recommend it to all fans of dungeon crawlers. Yes, I can hear your minds ready to ignore this review because "oh well, ALL REVIEWERS hate dungeon crawlers!" For you people, I must admit that on a personal level there was some fun to be had; but this is not for all dungeon crawling fans, and is CERTAINLY not for anyone who isn't. Due to the overly simplistic battle controls - and the barebones story about a Goddess who went insane, and it's your fault (but it might not be, but the Archangel's a jackass, but you reset the world, except you didn't... ect... ) - this just isn't for even most people in the dungeon crawling subsection either. For those that enjoy the plot you won't even get all of it on a single play through to the ending, because different actions when you reach the Goddess at the end reveal different (yet equally cryptic) things. This is made even more frustrating when one realizes the endings also change based on which iteration of the dungeon you're in, which is based on how many times you've died or solved it. Good luck piecing it all together because the original Sega Saturn game's introduction which explains some things was cut from this remake; even worse, to get the full explanation one needs to play out of print spin offs from the Sega Saturn era that were only released in Japan. Even if you tried to look it up on Wikipedia, there's not enough info to peice it all together.

You'll notice I've only really covered the gameplay and the plot up until this point, that's because neither the graphics nor sounds are anything special. The graphics looks straight out of a late era dreamcast title, or an early era PS2 title (It was originally a Sega Saturn game remade for the PS2, so I guess that's forgivable). Nothing too awkward usually, but occasionally you'll see strange graphic tricks that are straight out of 1999. The sound is a constant pounding of forgettable techno; nothing you're going to turn to the mute button for, but neither is it something you're going to want to go run and buy a soundtrack for either.

This anime screen isn't compensating for anything... nooo...

If you're looking for a dungeon crawler that will break your balls, drive you insane with an unintelligible story, and make you wish it had more attack options; this game may be up your alley. Otherwise, run for the hills. Sure, there isn't anything wrong with this game on a technical level, but it's severely dated in gameplay as well as just plain evil. Being someone who normally likes his action RPGs in the "Tales of" and "Kingdom Hearts" style, this game just had too much ball breaking for so little back in story rewards to be worth it. When they called this game Broke (er, uh, I mean Baroque), they really meant it!

This game gets two insane goddesses, out of five.

Learn how to talk normal, Goddammit!



Score: 2/5

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Images taken by Laserkid(Staff)
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