Reviewed: 03/03/2003


A good tactical RPG is hard to come by. Why is this? For one, they’re just not released as often as other RPG-related genres. And this is because it’s very difficult to produce a good one. For the most part, Hoshigami is an example of a failed attempt.

On paper, Hoshigami sounds like a fantastic game. (The simple fact that it’s a tactical RPG was enough to get me excited). The story is top-notch, placing you in the role of a young soldier-to-be whose defenseless village was pummeled in a surprise attack by a tyrant army under direction of a royal asshole. It gets you jacked—a good emotion to feel when going through a serious plot. The real problem is moving the story along.

Screen Shot
An easy cleanup for an RPG hero…

You’ll be “dying” to know what’s going to happen, but be constantly getting pounded in battle. Without winning battles, one can’t progress in the game…which brings me to discuss the battle system. If you’ve never seen or played a strategy/tactic RPG before, quit reading this because you may get very confused. The concept of it all is quite innovative: each character has an action gauge (called RAP; Ready for Action Points), with which your turn will be measured. Moving will fill the meter so much per space. Spells consume different amounts, depending on power. Attacks, items, everything is doable only with a proper amount of RAP gauge. For example, if you don’t move your character, you can attack multiple times, or use an item, then cast magic; the choices are almost endless, and entirely up to you. This is a great concept, and is, for the most part, used well. The downfall is the raging inconsistency in how much your attack damage will fluctuate, even when all outside factors (weapon, level, location, etc.) stay the same–a total drag.

Another reason you’ll have trouble avoiding the Reaper is the fact that you’ll often find yourself greatly outnumbered. (Since I hold Final Fantasy Tactics as the best overall tactical RPG, I’ll use it as the example comparison). In FF Tactics, 6 or 7 enemies on your 5-member party will likely be a rough battle, and those fights are pretty rare. In Hoshigami, it’s common to find yourself outnumbered by a 2/1 ratio or worse—14 or 16 enemies against your 7 allies!! Yikes!

Sceen Shot

This abundance of baddies also makes winning battles a long and tedious task. Even battles against easy enemies will take you a boring 15-20 minutes to complete. Things like this should’ve REALLY been looked at more closely in the editing process, as they tend to piss all over a potentially great game.

Games like this frustrate me to no end because of the potential that was there. Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth could’ve been a true gem in the RPG world. To Atlus’s credit, they didn’t load up flashy graphics and plan to sell it on looks for a quick buck…they just couldn’t put their good, innovative idea to use. Okay, but overall a disappointment.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Bad
Story Very Good
Graphics Good
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Offensive
The Verdict: 3