Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster PC Review | Timeless Nostalgia

Estimated read time 5 min read

The return of Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean and Baten Kaitos Origins in the form of Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster on PC is nothing short of a nostalgic delight for fans of the classic card-based RPG games from the Nintendo GameCube era. These remastered versions not only retain the essence of the original games but also bring a host of improvements that make them a fantastic throwback to a bygone era of game design that surprisingly holds up well.

When the original Baten Kaitos games were released nearly two decades ago, they were met with a mixed reception. Critics and players praised the innovative card-based combat system and the rich, fantastical world, but some found the mechanics and pacing to be less accessible. The narrative, centered around sky-soaring adventures and intricate card-based mechanics, were enjoyable for those who appreciated its uniqueness. Today, these games hold a special place in the hearts of veteran RPG players, and the remaster aims to honor that legacy while attempting to bring in a newer generation that may have never even heard of the franchise altogether.

Preserving the magic of the originals

One of the key features of this remaster is, as expected, the visual overhaul. The graphics, including the UI and the main characters, have been significantly upgraded. The environments are more vibrant, and the character models look more refined, making the fantasy world of Baten Kaitos more appealing to today’s audiences. But what I liked the most is even with the visual lifts; the core art style remains intact. This is the type of remaster that takes what you thought you saw back then looking at the originals and executing it in its best possible look right now.

On modern systems, the game runs like butter, with a stable frame rate that enhances the overall experience. I played the game on an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X with a 4070 GPU setup, and I experienced no significant bugs or performance issues. The remaster also introduces several quality-of-life improvements, such as auto-save, skip cutscenes, and auto-battle features, making the gameplay smoother and more accessible today.

The combat system here feels better than ever. The card-based mechanics, which were revolutionary at the time, have aged surprisingly well. The inclusion of auto-battle helps streamline encounters, making it easier for players to manage their decks and focus on strategy. Battles are now more fluid, and the improved performance ensures that there are no hiccups during the more intense moments.

There are also new features designed to make the gameplay experience more convenient without compromising the challenge and charm of the original games. The introduction of encounters-off allows players to avoid random battles, making exploration more enjoyable. We all know how tedious combat can get when it constantly disrupts your gameplay. This is something that has plagued classic JRPGs for so long. The auto-battle feature is also a much welcome addition, especially for those who want to enjoy the story without having to worry too much about min-maxing their understanding of the combat.

Additionally, two new game modes, New Game+ and New Game-, add significant replay value. New Game+ allows players to restart the game with all their progress from the first playthrough. On the other hand, New Game- imposes restrictions for those seeking a more challenging experience. A simple but effective system that makes sure even veteran players have something new to look forward to.

However, despite the updates, there are moments when the age of the original games is still apparent. Certain gameplay mechanics and design choices feel outdated, reminding players that they are indeed playing a remaster of nearly 20-year-old titles. Story progression is a big factor in this. An unfair criticism given how there’s only so much a remaster can do to fix what has already been inherently in the core structure of the games. While the option to skip cutscenes and dialogue is here, you’ll still encounter moments where the game will just ask you to converse with one NPC after the another, leading not much to anything. These occasional reminders of the games’ age do little to detract from the overall experience but are worth noting for those expecting a completely modernized experience.

Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster Review Final Verdict – 8/10

Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster is a fantastic journey down memory lane for those who played the originals on the GameCube. It’s also an excellent opportunity for new players to experience a piece of RPG history. The improvements in visuals, performance, and player experience make these classic games more accessible than ever, while the essence of what made Baten Kaitos special remains intact.

This review was made using a game code for the PC provided by the publisher.

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