Rogue Galaxy

Some monsters require a pretty heady dose of strategy to defeat, as well. For example, one of the early boss throwdowns finds you facing off against an enormous, fire-breathing, newt-type thing that's impervious to damage ... until you bash off its armor, one piece at a time, punishing each newly exposed body part into inoperability as you go.

Jester starts out fighting solo, but at least two other shipmates will be able to join in the mayhem soon after your quest begins. Even in the heat of battle, you can swap from one character to another on the fly. Plus, when a party member whom you aren't controlling must decide something important: whether to use an item or not, how to defend against a particularly testy enemy, and so on, you offer guidance with a tap of L1/L2 buttons. On the downside, in a realistic but annoying development, it's even possible to inflict accidental damage on your comrades. We're hoping this feature can be turned off in the US release.

It's worth repeating that the graphics of Rogue Galaxy are dazzling. The living cartoon look of Dragon Quest VIII was breathtaking, but Rogue Galaxy adds in even greater detail. Exotic wilds like parched deserts and lush forests seem so pristine and natural that they almost feel sullied by the beautifully drawn characters and shining cities that punctuate them.

The soundtrack is also fittingly grand, although some may think the score, as well as Galaxy 's insect collecting mini-games and the often humorous dialogue between characters, can be overly earnest and jolly. All told, this lengthy quest, lovingly crafted and blessed with an excellent battle system, has definitely hooked us. Now, how about announcing a US release date, Sony?