Final verdict: F–
Final playtime: I don’t give a quarter of a fuck.
Now this is one fucked up game. I’d rather drink poison than play this shit again. It’s pretty obscure too. Most people go “…what.” when I mention it to them. The main reasons I got it were that it was an RPG, the art style looked nice, the plot sounded pretty interesting, and it was published by Atlus. It looked like it could be good.
But nope. It’s just a lazy piece of shit. It’s a perfect example of a game where the designers just didn’t give two shits about actually making it good. The back of the box calls it a dungeon-crawling RPG experience. Most of the stuff on the back of game boxes is bullshit, but you have no idea how seriously they mean this. This game is a dungeon crawler and not a whole hell of a lot else. But even then it’s one hell of a lazy ass dungeon crawler. You could also call it a rogue-like. If you’re a nerd.
The big problem with Baroque is how it makes you do the same boring shit over and over and over again, with little variation or reward. I’m going to describe to you what is literally almost the entire game: go into generic tower, fight through monster infested randomly generated floors, get to the deepest part, get a cutscene. Then, retarded game design decisions ahoy, it resets all the exp you got and sets you back to level 1, takes away all your items, and makes you go through the tower all over again just to get a slightly different cutscene. Then it happens again. And again. And again. Sure, after a bit you get the option of being able to send a few items for your future level 1 self to use when he goes into the tower, but what I just described is basically the entire game.
While we’re on the subject, I’d like to go on a tangent and say that randomly generated dungeons are some of the laziest, boring, retarded shit ever. They will never be as good as one carefully designed by a human being. Some people might say randomly generated dungeons increase replayability because it’s different every time. I say these people are idiots. A random generator doesn’t make the dungeons different every time, it makes them all the same. Not to mention hell of all kinds of boring. They feel empty. Stale. Lifeless. Sure, a handcrafted dungeon might not be as cool the second time through, but a randomly generated one isn’t even cool the first time!
Anyway, back to the review. Think about Diablo, and that’s pretty much what this game is like. Except Diablo had redeeming qualities. Mainly the fact that it was multiplayer, but also the fact that you did not have to go through the same levels countless times, that your level didn’t reset, that they didn’t take your items, that the look of the floors changed in meaningful ways, that it had a decent town which you could visit without having to die… oh yeah, did I mention you can’t leave the dungeon in Baroque unless you die or finish it?
Actually Diablo wasn’t too bad of a game. Let’s make a better comparison. Think about Azure Dreams. That one’s a single player game too, and even had the retarded level reset design. Difference is Azure Dreams is ten years old. This is 2008, people. You’re expected to put some effort into your games. I didn’t really like Azure Dreams, but I think even that was better than Baroque. At least it had a nice town. Baroque’s idea of a town is some ugly ass shit stain with like 4 useless deformed abominations and only 2 people worth anything: the guy who stores items, and the guy in charge of the tutorial dungeon. All the while your vitality and then HP are constantly being depleted because that’s just how the game is. Yep, that’s right. Your vit and HP are constantly being drained no matter where you are, dungeon or not. It’s like the developers thought “Oh yeah, we are so hardcore, we’re not gonna let the player take it easy even in town.”
And speaking of which, the tutorial dungeon is actually more fun than the main game, mainly because the guy in charge is constantly talking and making amusing comments as you go through it, courtesy of Dave Wittenberg, who is a fun voice actor. If they had had that guy talking to you while you went through the main dungeon, the game would’ve been so much more bearable. As it is, no. It’s simply excruciatingly boring and repetitive. I mean, I think I have a high tolerance for this kind of thing, but I have a fucking limit! The first time I went through the tower? Hmm. The second time? Hey, this isn’t so bad. I’m kind of getting into this. The third time? You know what, this is getting a little boring. The fourth time? I can’t believe I’m doing this all over again. I must be a masochist. The fifth time? Oh GOD FUCK IT PLEASE NO MORE. All subsequent run throughs I had to resort to Zen Buddhism to keep my sanity. In fact, I am now an enlightened being and have let go of my judgmental thoughts and thus will no longer review games from this point forward.
Just kidding. Let’s keep ripping this fucker apart.
It’s amazing to think how little effort went into making this game. The tower is the entire game and even that is randomly generated! Sometimes we have designers who looked like they tried but regretfully missed the mark. But THIS. This is inexcusably lazy. How many people worked on this game anyway? Five? Actually I’m being unfair by saying that. Even a single person can make a fun, albeit simple, game. The Baroque designers seem like they were trying to break the record for shittiest game in existence. Still, it’s a bit of shame because the plot genuinely seemed cool and intriguing. Too bad it’s hampered by such a terrible game.
Baroque is like an interesting book. Except every time, you have to complete a work shift at your shitty job at McDonald’s for the right to read a page. I don’t understand how anyone could possibly like this game. There’s just nothing that could possibly be construed as good about it other than the story. Battles are clunky and boring, the places you go through are always the same stale randomly generated crap, fighting feels pointless because your level gets reset even if it does help you on your current run through the tower, and the dungeon crawler staple of finding increasingly better equipment never really happens. I found a good sword and coat on my first run, upgraded them a little, and then I never found anything better.
And god, the enemies seem to have been made purely to annoy you. Status ailments abound, we’ve got enemies confusing you, causing lethargy, turning everything into women (which is probably one of the most pointlessly annoying ailments ever), probably paralyzing and poisoning you… thank god I found a coat that protects from all ailments except stomach ache and confuse. That was a blessing. Curiously enough, I never found a repeat of it ever again. However, it doesn’t stop there. We’ve got enemies who steal your items and maybe sometimes even the equipment you’re using. And what for, you may ask? Oh, just simply to annoy you. They run around at top speed all around the place for a while, in which it’s almost impossible to catch them, and then after a bit they get bored and just come back and throw the item back at you. And who could forget the enemies that degrade your equipment. But I’ve said enough of that.
But seriously people, I think this game was made with the sole intention of bringing the most pain and suffering into the world. It’s like every copy is a little black hole of happiness siphoning a little bit of cheer off the universe. These designers are pure evil, man.
Actually, Baroque may have a redeeming quality. It’s a good exercise in lowering expectations. After all, life isn’t always going to be flowers, rainbows and unicorns, and learning to be happy with what you’ve got is important- wait a minute. If that’s how I describe a good world people are gonna think I’m some kind of a faggot. Let me try that again. The world isn’t always…uh… gun, sports cars…explosions… and…um… football? Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Either way, I’m not completely joking here. This game was so successful in teaching me the lost art of lowering your expectations that I was grateful every time I got a new cutscene, as if I somehow wasn’t worthy of the table scraps the master deigns to offer the starving dog. And after 4 excruciatingly boring run throughs of the tower when I got to a floor that was actually graphically different, and even had different music? I was veritably amazed. Here’s a transcript of when it happened (with screen names changed to protect the innocent. That’s me. I’m as harmless and innocent as a bunny rabbit. Actually never mind. Those rabbit bitches are hella sneaky. I’m way better than them.):
[16:47] Me: Guat de hell.
[16:48] Me: New place.
[16:48] Me: And new music.
[16:48] Shepton: THIS IS OFF DE CHARTS D:
[16:48] Me: I KNOW D:
[16:48] Shepton: These are readings like we’ve never seen before D:
[16:48] Shepton: We got a breakthrough!
[16:48] Me: XD
Yes, holy shit, a place that looks different and even has different music to boot! This is unprecedented and beyond amazing!
And then reality sets back in and you realize this is 2008 and all games give you new places and new music. And without making you go through bullshit boring gameplay. Without making it so you’re playing on autopilot and dead inside from the monotony of it all. Sorry Sting, maybe back in the 80’s gamers were willing to take it in the ass and smile. But now? Fuck you. If I had to use two words to describe this game, it’d be: REPEATING THE THIRD GRADE (over and over and over). I guess that was more than two words.
Final Verdict: F–
Final Playtime: I don’t give a quarter of a fuck. And neither does the game. I never even finished it. I only did six runs through the tower and then gave up. I’m only human. I have a god damn limit. My tolerance for such sheer boredom isn’t that high.
Disclaimer: Some gamers are still willing to take it in the ass and smile. These are the people who say Baroque is a good game.