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Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean review

Excellent
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Despite having a name like an awful cake - or maybe a dangerous aftershave for old men - Baten Kaitos is, in reality, a very good role playing game.

Namco may have to be banned from fox hunting after its mediocre efforts with Star Fox Assault, but they've made amends. And a cake for us all to share, however awful its name may be.

We won't bother you with the plot; imagine the plot of every RPG ever, added up and divided by a million. It's likely that it's nothing you won't have seen before, in some form or other. But it's also likely that you've never seen it rendered so prettily.

The game's towns in particular are stunning, shrouded by gorgeous guffs of cloud and gently swaying foliage; it's a game that fondles your eyes.

Baten Kaitos' combat system, however, is its greatest strength. Played out using decks of cards, it's like some immensely satisfying game of poker. With over 1000 cards in the game, there's significant scope for strategy, too.

Downsides? There are a few niggles. The dialogue is of a poor sound quality, as if it was recorded inside a telephone box. And most major conversations begin with rather annoying load time of a second or two. But that's it, really.

It's slick and absorbing stuff that's a welcome ace up the sleeve of any RPG fan out there.

Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is out for Gamecube now

A beautiful and intense RPG, mixing turn-based strategy with graphics that, although pre-rendered, are mind blowing in terms of crispness, colour and detail

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Available Platforms: GameCube

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