Baroque Review
Wii | PS2
Baroque box art
System: Wii, PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Sting 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Atlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 8, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

For whatever reason, Nintendo's recent consoles (that is, the GameCube and Wii) have never exactly been havens for RPGs. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, as the earlier consoles (particularly the SNES) as well as Nintendo's handhelds have featured several fantastic games of that genre. Baroque is one of the first titles to explore the role-playing possibilities on Nintendo's latest console and although it shows promise in several areas, it ultimately ends up being a shallow, disappointing game.

Baroque screenshot

Baroque's protagonist is a rather cryptic character who's lost all memory of who he is. You've awakened in a mysterious town and given a mysterious message by a mysterious angel. There's a lot of mystery around here, as you've probably noticed, but the game didn't really go anywhere with this. Of course there's a plot, and it resolves around the protagonist and his "quest for the truth," but it's rather shallow, and the promising storytelling elements revealed in the game's opening never really come back. Your character has next-to-no personality, which is partly a problem with the game's writing. In a word it's disappointing, though I won't say terrible because there are a few neat parts of the plot. Still, most of the characters you interact with are poorly done, and the dev team took a Zelda approach to the game in that the main character can't speak. I hate to break it to them, but unless your main character is a timeless hero who's instantly recognizable by 90 percent of the mass public, it's not a good idea to make your character mute.

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Baroque's protagonist is a rather cryptic character who's lost all memory of who he is. You've awakened in a mysterious town and given a mysterious message by a mysterious angel. There's a lot of mystery around here, as you've probably noticed, but the game didn't really go anywhere with this. Of course there's a plot, and it resolves around the protagonist and his "quest for the truth," but it's rather shallow, and the promising storytelling elements revealed in the game's opening never really come back. Your character has next-to-no personality, which is partly a problem with the game's writing. In a word it's disappointing, though I won't say terrible because there are a few neat parts of the plot. Still, most of the characters you interact with are poorly done, and the dev team took a Zelda approach to the game in that the main character can't speak. I hate to break it to them, but unless your main character is a timeless hero who's instantly recognizable by 90 percent of the mass public, it's not a good idea to make your character mute.

Baroque screenshot

The bulk of this game is in its gameplay, as you'd likely expect from any standard RPG. Actually, Baroque isn't really "standard" -- it's a dungeon crawler. I'll go ahead and say it right now: if you're into dungeon crawlers, then there's still hope for a happy relationship between you and Baroque. But if you find them boring or generally don't like them, then I'd strongly suggest that you stay away from this game.

The aforementioned angel directs you to Neuro Tower, and it's here that you'll be spending the vast majority of your time in this game. Neuro Tower holds all the secrets of your character, and it's by progressing through this massive dungeon that you'll ultimately unravel the mysteries of Baroque. The developers have pulled another really old trick out of their hat and created the game so that every time you enter Neuro Tower, you get a randomly generated dungeon -- think back to Pokemon Mystery Dungeon on the DS and GBA. This would be a neat addition and extend the game's play value if it weren't for the fact that Baroque simply isn't that fun of a game.

Baroque screenshot

The biggest problem with Baroque stems from the game's poor controls. There is no real Wii-specific control integration, which is to say we don't get any quality motion sensitive controls. It's fairly clear that Baroque was intended for the PS2 and then ported to the Wii because you'll most likely play the entire game solely with the Wii's sparse selection of buttons. Yes, there is some Wii remote control in the form of shaking the remote around nonsensically to perform attacks, but this gets very old and very boring in a matter of minutes. Think back to the combat in Twilight Princess, which had you shaking the remote in a few different ways to execute attacks. Well, Baroque's control is even simpler: there's only one attack, and as a result the game's combat is going to get very stale. This is a problem I could have overlooked if it there'd been some depth to the system, but the fact is it's generally hard to manage and as a result takes a lot of the fun out of the game. On the other hand, you can just use the more traditional control, but this doesn't really prove to be a more satisfying control experience. Button mashers are not going to work on the Wii, but that's something that Baroque's dev team hasn't figured out yet.

Screenshots / Images
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