Developer: Platinum Games/Nude Maker
Console: Nintendo DS
Release Date: 3/16/2010
Rating: T (Teen)
Infinite Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big Infinite Space is. This DS RPG had lofty ambitions from the start, as it was oddball developer Platinum Games’ first foray into the world of handheld gaming, albeit with a collaboration from Steel Battalion co-developer Nude Maker. However, this game sat uneasily alongside Platinum’s three other titles in its initial four-game publishing deal with SEGA, which were all Mature-rated action titles (MadWorld, Bayonetta and Vanquish). Add a couple of glaring review scores and a low print run (nowadays, the game goes for at least $50 for a cartridge only), and it’s easy to see why Infinite Space was such an underrated game.
Such a reputation is, quite frankly, undeserved, as even on the Nintendo DS, a system chock full of excellent RPGs, Infinite Space is the cream of the crop. Its fresh approach to RPG conventions takes turn-based combat and real-time strategy elements, seamlessly combines them with a coming-of-age story and puts the whole thing in the broad realms of outer space. Those who like their games simple need not apply. The customization goes far beyond that of a traditional RPG, and the decisions you make have major effects on the game’s progression, giving this 70-hour adventure a lot of replayability.
Infinite Space starts out with our lead character, a young man named Yuri, leaving his oppressive home planet of Ropesk to travel in space with his new employer Nia Lochlain, who assists her new client in his aspiration to become a Zero-G Dog. (You know, like a Sea Dog. IN SPACE.) The story only goes further from here as the game progresses, with Yuri’s fame growing in the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy, and events take place that push the game ten years forward, showing Yuri’s transformation from mild-mannered novice to extraordinary space pirate. While sometimes lacking in originality, Infinite Space tells a compelling tale that leaves you on the edge of your seat, and is oddly realistic at times in its treatment of political and social issues.
A good story like Infinite Space can’t be told without a decent presentation, but there’s plenty of talent involved here. The game’s design was supervised by Studio Nue, a firm mainly known for their epic space opera anime such as Super Dimension Fortress Macross (the first part of Robotech) and Space Cruiser Yamato (known in the West as Star Blazers). As such, the visuals in this game are one giant nod to these two anime series, among countless others.
The FMV cutscenes are wonderful, but speech is mostly conveyed in a way similar to Fire Emblem or most visual novels: static characters on a static background, with no voice acting to speak of. Despite this, the characters are all designed in unique and different ways, which is no small feat considering that the game’s cast of characters goes into the hundreds. The 3D visuals are even more impressive, especially for the Nintendo DS. Whether it’s the sectors accessible through the game, the dozens of ships you can customize, or the heated lines of battle, everything looks generally polished and well-done.
Infinite Space‘s soundtrack is also worth praise. Composer Masafumi Takada has worked on games as diverse as Suda51′s killer7 and No More Heroes, Platinum predecessor Clover Studio’s God Hand and, most recently, Nintendo’s Kid Icarus: Uprising. His knack for writing epic themes fits the “space opera throwback” nature of the game well, and the orchestra-driven arrangements make for an engaging listen throughout. As far as other aspects of sound are concerned, the voice acting is pretty good but underused, mainly during battles and in some cutscenes. Aside from that, everything in the game’s presentation, even the sound effects, fits the spacey focus to a T.
Check out Infinite Space‘s main theme below.
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