Thoughts on Galaxy Angel

So, as you may have noticed, I’ve been making reviews of the Galaxy Angel II games. The reviews are mostly positive, especially the EKnT one; and while it’s true that I liked the games, they’re not without their flaws. However, those flaws for the most part are not game-specific, but somewhat more fundamental, that permeate the whole series.

I had thought also of making a reflection on the series as a whole. It was to be mainly a list of random points in respect to the games and universe, but is also an opportunity to comment on the negative points the games have.

Spoilers for all the games follow. Translate them with rot13.

I had said in the first review that I like space opera. And thought these games do deliver on the space angle, “science” fiction they’re not. Well, the first series arguably is, though the Emblem Frames stretch things a little. The second series, however, is basically fantasy IN SPACE: you have a magic planet, a knights planet, a FAERIES planet of all things.

A genre these games are similar to is actually the Super Robot one. You have piloted machines that move and become stronger with the power of feelings, and strong enough ones can create miracles. Replace the Emblem Frames with humanoid robots (and optionally replace the pilots with boys) and the resemblance would be clearer.

These games are also far in the idealist end of the scale. Its showed by the named heroes body count: bar, naq ur trgf orggre. The first game has quite the civilian casualties, what with one capital destroyed and one planet bombed into oblivion. The following two, on the other hand, don’t seem to have had many civilian deaths, and the ps2 games don’t seem to have had any civilian deaths at all.

In a wider sense, they’re clearly shounen. And it shares with the genre an impressive power creep in the villains, especially in their motives:

GAI: Jryy vagragvbarq rkgerzvfg, jnagrq gb znxr gur rzcver zber cebfcrebhf

GAI EL: Jnagrq gb znxr fcnpr geniry vzcbffvoyr naq guhf znxr pvivyvmngvba pbyyncfr

GAII-1: Jnagrq gb qbzvangr nyy gur zhygvirefr

GAII-2: Zranprq jvgu znxvat n cynarg qvfnccrne cre qnl

GAII-3: Jnagrq gb pnhfr gur Ovt Pehapu, fb haznxvat nyy perngvba

Which leads to one of the weak points of the series: the villains themselves. Eonia was interesting: you could make points for his ideals, and argue that the result of him having won wouldn’t have been so bad, or even good. I also find interesting Genievres, though maybe that’s because not that much was told of him, which gives him a surprising depth.

But the other villains don’t quite reach even that level, most of them just being evil for the lulz, and with almost (or literally) zero background, and a single trait as personality. Particularly bad was EL; Ebjvy jnf pbzcyrgryl havqvzrafvbany, naq Trea qbrfa’g rira ernpu gung yriry. Jrva jnf orggre, ohg funevat gur tnzr uhegf uvz fbzrjung. Naq gur jubyr pbaprcg bs gur Iny Snfd jnfa’g irel tbbq. Gurl pna znavchyngr znpuvarf; na vagrerfgvat pbaprcg, ohg njshyyl haqrehfrq (vg’f orggre hfrq va ZTaX naq RXaG, ohg abg nalzber sbe n ivyynva). Vg qbrf rkcynva n srj guvatf va RY; hagvy ZXaX, jurer vg’f erirnyrq gurl bayl pna znavchyngr znpuvarf jvgu na rfcrpvny puvc. Gurl yvir ybat; ntnva, vg qbrfa’g ernyyl nqqf zhpu. Gurl qba’g unir n urneg; fghcvq, rira vs yngre fhoiregrq.

The second great weakness of GA is the romance. I used to think that it varied wildly, from some routes with believable romance to others with one not so much; but I think that it doesn’t even reach that, not making any effort to make it seem natural (an aspect in which the GAII series is even worse than the first one). If you already like the girl you can fill the blank, but if you don’t then the MC/heroine couple doesn’t make much sense, and then the drama doesn’t really hit home.

Which compounds the third weakness: the route system. GA is almost the textbook example of how NOT to make a multiple route game. Is not that bad in the first game of each series, but in the later you have to play everything again just to see ONE (or at most two) different chapter. Every story has a greater or lesser impact; but most of it is lost by the fifth time you go trough it. And since the romance is not a strong point, maybe not even that different chapter would be that great; even with girls you like chances are it won’t be very impressive. I guess you could just skip the routes you are not interested in; only in the PS2 series you can’t, since there’s unlockable content by finishing them all.

Well, now it could seem like I hate the series. It’s not true; but while I found the games for the most part enjoyable, somebody who would give a greater weight to the cons could seriously consider them pretty bad. In the end, I think I could sum up the whole series saying that they had some interesting ideas but a flawed execution.

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