hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Destructoid review: Baroque

11:04 AM on 04.10.2008 // Colette Bennett

Atlus is a name that strikes delight in the heart of many a gamer, and I count myself as one of that collective. Aside from the brilliant Persona 3, Atlus has been responsible for many well-respected titles such as the Trauma Center series, Etrian Odyssey and the Shin Megami Tensei games. Of course, not every game is a gem, but it's safe to say that when Atlus announce a title, a lot of people are awaiting the release with excitement. 

Baroque was no exception, and  the complaints of many Wii owners about the lack of RPG focus on the console surely only placed it higher on people's "do want" lists. For PS3 and 360 owners, however, the common complaint is that the game selection for the Wii can't compete graphically against Sony and Microsoft's consoles. If you're a fan of Atlus, RPGs or both, you're surely hoping Baroque is able to overcome that bias with story and gameplay, yes? I can tell you all about that.

Step into my review office, dear sirs (and ladies.) 

Baroque (Nintendo Wii version reviewed)
Developed by Atlus
Published by Atlus
Released on April 8th, 2008

I'm going to be straight with you here, compadres: The first twenty minutes of playing this game, I detested every second of it. I don't know if it's the graphical transition from recently played RPG Lost Odyssey to the clearly lesser Wii graphical capability or the fact that there's something astoundingly awkward about everything after the opening titles, but I can say that I have rarely been bewildered by any game I have played (the last one I can remember feeling that way about was Cho Aniki, and it features exponential phalli, so it's kind of understandable.)

For example, the training dungeon (which is NOT right in front of you in the starting area as one would assume, but rather off to the right; the main dungeon is in front of you, which you'll likely wander into first and die in) is hosted by a lovely young man known as Coffin Man, whose catchphrase is -- I shit you not -- the word "goddammit." He peppers everything he tells you with the word, including such gems as "Don't let those goddamn monsters get too close to you" and "Making dungeons is hard, so please look forward to trying it, goddammit." Um....is this for real?

Seriously though, the game is rated Teen and while I did end up laughing eventually, I think this provides a weird sticking point that would likely offend religious parents who bought this game for their children. It's not just that he says the word once, it's his almost determined consistency of use that makes me envision a schoolteacher mom with steam pouring out of her ears. Not to mention, it's the most awkward thing I've seen since the general reaction to Duel Love.

So, the story of Baroque begins with you not being able to remember the story. You apparently have amnesia, although no one tells you that word for word, which is something you'll want to get used to. The people that populate the Outer World where you begin the game are some of the most vague bastards you will ever have the misfortune of meeting. It's a shame, because the character design is interesting, but either poor localization or just plain poor dialogue writing is mad at work here. The Horned Girl from some of the screenshots you've seen in the past is possibly the worst. I've seen better acting in Ishtar.

Anyway, the title Baroque is actually a word derived from the Portuguese word "barroco" which refers to "distorted fantasies."  The beings you meet are clinging to their Baroques in order to survive, which helps to explain a bit of why things are so damn weird around here. There's also some business about a bunch of zealots called the Order of Malkuth, a tragedy called The Blaze, and a process called Idea Sephirah, which sounds a little like Sephiroth and daydreams reformulated. If it sounds confusing now, it's twice as much so when you're actually playing it.

A quick word on the Wiimote and Nunchuk versus the Classic Controller: Being the old-fashioned type that I am, when I play a Wii game I go straight for the Classic Controller most of the time unless it's a title like Wii Sports. I played Baroque both ways, and both are just fine -- neither outweighs the other in ease. Using the Wiimote takes more effort as sword use has been paired with waggle, but I actually felt the Wiimote and Nunchuk were a tad more intuitive and easy to use than the Classic controller, so use that info as you will.

The overall feel of the combat is decidedly Roguelike, so if your taste leans towards JRPGs, you may find yourself saying, "Is this it?" Yep, pretty much. You more or less kill stuff, find items, and talk to figments of Dave McKean's imagination in a vain effort to grasp the storyline. Once you get down there, though, the appeal of the grind kind of hits and you find yourself kind of enjoying that portion of Baroque. Or at least, I did, before I died and found myself in the Outer World again with all my items gone and back to level one. Yep, that's what happens when you die. Swell. 

The other thing that happens when you die, however, is that the story progresses. This is probably one of the most interesting things about Baroque, and while I wish the story had been a little bit less cloudy, this feature still stood out as a great idea.  The atmosphere gets decidedly darker as you make your way down through the levels, and the creature design is neat, especially if you're into horror and such. After getting far enough down there, I almost forgot the goddammit business had even happened. Almost.

I feel I should mention that there is a way to save items, so after you die and are fully stripped of everything you worked so hard to gain that you can go and grab a few of those items to start again with. Apparently you can throw items into Consciousness Orbs that you come across while in Neuro Tower and they will transfer to the kid in the Outer World who will hold things for you. The game NEVER tells you this clearly, and it was only after I read the instruction manual that I understood how this worked. Counter-intuitive doesn't really begin to describe this game.

Sounds fun, huh? I wanted so much to love this game, as I often raved about it in posts before it was released. Although the older-looking graphics would be easy to blame, Baroque's worst crime is its oddy blurry intentions -- I felt like I still didn't really know what was going on until the very end, but instead of being masterfully handled in the process, I was kind of fumbled instead. Sometimes being fumbled is good, but, you know, not always. I can't speak for the PS2 version, but I can say that unless you are a hardcore Atlus collector or dungeon crawling obsessee, you'd be best off saving your money for something a little more compelling.

Score: 4.0 – (Poor. An admirable effort with a sliver of promise, but essentially mediocre.)

 

 

Photo Gallery: (10 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Colette Bennett,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Currently learning Little Trinketry from Valiant Hearts: The Great War on piano. [youtube]http://youtu.be/40fulS_olU8[/youtube]
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
MGSV is literally the Skyrim of stealth. 15 hours 3%... #Sneaker'sdelight
ThinMatrix avatarThinMatrix
The Kickstarter campaign is now live for Socuwan – the quirky indie MMORPG created by the community, for the community! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1465468930/socuwan-the-community-driven-indie-mmorpg
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Excellent video game OST's for the week (no particular order): 1) Super Stickman Golf 2 2) Lethal League 3) Crypt of the Necrodancer
DanteKinkade avatarDanteKinkade
Final season of Continuum is on tonight, featuring time traveling solders in power armor. I can't wait! https://carl9000.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/c15.jpg?w=842
Kallo avatarKallo
That moment when you look at your backlog of games...and it looks back and you and says "What the hell man? you have over 100 games on this list!". I feel guilty...
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
Idris Elba needs to be James Bond & heck to anyone who thinks otherwise
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
We need a Dtoid RPG that stars Mr Destructoid, Gardevoir, Macho Man Randy Savage, and MATT DAMON. The hub zone will be Nekro's dungeon.
Cynic without a Cause avatarCynic without a Cause
In the middle of discovering a bunch of Hirasawa Susumu's non-film related work. Currently listening to Planet Roll Call. Fantastic album!
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
*Looks at Battle.net* League of Storm Heroes. Magic: The Hearthstone. Diablo. Starcraft. World of Warcraft. Oh, pay $10 to unlock Tychus. ...Guys, is Blizzard evil? I mean really, despicably, EA-level evil?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Do you enjoy MOBA games such as LoL, Dota 2, or HOTS? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
The Witcher 3 is 30% off on GOG.com, if you thought it was a bit expensive at launch. You get store credit too.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Realized I've turned on my PS3 in the past month or two only to watch Mario cartoon DVDs. I really need to get around to playing something - anything - on it.
Perro avatarPerro
Listening to Studio Ghibli Collection at work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_WbO_LPXDo Reminds me that my dad really liked Howl's Moving Castle. He's retired military and serious most of the time but rather enjoyed its fanciful world.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Sorry for my inactivity... I've been lacking motivation and have nothing on my mind right now so i haven't blogged in a while. Still playing Grandia 2 anniversarry, getting annoyed by mount and blade warband's phantasy calradia mod and other shit...
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Donkey Kong Land 3 Any% Speedruns, right now! [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Remember Black? That PS2 era shooter from Criterion? It has a REALLY good orchestral soundtrack. I'm gonna throw that in my MGSV iDroid. Why not.
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Can't sleep cast: Donkey Kong Land Any% [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
ooktar avatarooktar
Defeated a sniper in MGS V by dropping supplies on his head. 10/10.
Nat Monney avatarNat Monney
I'm with 3 other guys and we're about to release a mobile game we started almost 3 years ago. What should we do ? [youtube]https://youtu.be/5EGPUBZCGwo[/youtube]
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -