• Publisher: Namco
  • Release Date: Nov 16, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 48 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 48
  2. Negative: 1 out of 48
Buy On
  1. I've played through dozens upon dozens of games and I have never seen a game with graphics like this.
  2. Nintendo Power
    Making a strong case for my game of the year, BK's biggest strength is an amazing battle engine. [Jan 2004, p.135]
  3. What makes it special are the breathtaking graphics, flawless character animation, great musical score, cool cut scenes, great story full of startling twists, and a unique card battle system that's surprisingly fun.
  4. This is first-class work with a compelling storyline and an active card-battle system that stays fresh throughout the life of the game.
  5. A beautifully crafted RPG that provides the boost that the GameCube so desperately needed.
  6. Pelit (Finland)
    A beautiful role-playing adventure with an above-average plot and some novel ideas. The otherwise interesting combat system relies a bit too much on luck, but overall Baten Kaitos is definitely one of GameCube's top adventures. [May. 05]
  7. A beautiful and intense RPG, mixing turn-based strategy with graphics that, although pre-rendered, are mind blowing in terms of crispness, colour and detail. [GamesMaster]
  8. 89
    There is no reason why RPG lovers wouldn't like Baten Kaitos, but non-RPG lovers may have trouble adjusting to the slow speed of battles. Strategy lovers especially will appreciate the Magnus system's strategy.
  9. 88
    The journey should last around 45 hours for the average gamer, but expect to spend some extra time if you want to unlock everything this game has to offer. Highly recommended.
  10. Game Informer
    Baten Kaitos is awesome. I was most surprised by how quickly this game drew me in, and it wasn't even the story that captured my interest - it was the setting. [Dec 2004, p.178]
  11. Every single scene, be it a village, a forest clearing or an enormous city, is brimming with character and attention to detail.
  12. Baten Kaitos has a couple main goals: to be beautiful technologically and to be a long adventure. Those goals are achieved with flying colors (literally).
  13. The battle system has a flaw or two, but the lavishly detailed world of Baten Kaitos is a great place to go for a nice fairy tale.
  14. The card system is excellent. It has the random intensity and unpredictability of a real card game mixed with elements of real- and turn-based RPGs.
  15. The game's soundtrack is honestly the best I've ever heard in any game that uses orchestrated music. The composition is sheer brilliance!
  16. A very, very solid RPG for the Cube. Don't let the card based battle system scare you off if you're not into that sort of thing. It's done very well and adds a nice change of pace from the normal RPGs.
  17. 85
    The game fits on two discs, meaning it will take you at least 30 hours to beat, however they say it takes 60 hours, but we're pretty sure that includes all the side quests.
  18. Part throwback to the good old days of Nintendo RPGs, part innovative gameplay, and all stylishly presented throughout the 50 or so hours you'll get out of it.
  19. The unique combat is very addictive and a welcome aspect to the RPG genre. Some more innovative RPG elements and a few tweaks to the timing issue would turn this quirky gem into a very serious contender.
  20. 80
    An enchanting tapestry of stylistic design, a deep and unconventional battle system, and fifty hours-plus of rewarding game play.
  21. While the story and characters are unfortunately very weak, Baten Kaitos is easy to recommend to anyone looking for an RPG that focuses strongly on gameplay rather than storytelling.
  22. When all is said and done, Baten Kaitos does have the substance to back up its style.
  23. games(TM)
    Having heard the energetic and emotional Japanese voice-over, the US equivalent is a huge letdown, being cheesy and devoid of any real emotion. This criticism aside, though, Baten Kaitos is a refreshing and sumptuous RPG. [Jan 2005, p.106]
  24. What I like about the game is that it's simple but it's not overly simple, in that the game has a lot of different things going on in the background that you may not even notice.
  25. Cheat Code Central
    It's the balance of gameplay elements that make Baten Kaitos an interesting game to play. It's not particularly memorable but it does capture you in the moment. For a game of such length not to feel repetitive is truly an accomplishment.
  26. High production values, a unique card system and beautiful artistry give the game just enough to make it stand out on it's own.
  27. 80
    It's a winning gamble with a new style of RPG combat, and it's pretty enough to frame and put on your wall in the bargain. With a stronger cast and narrative, though, it could have been an absolute world-beater.
  28. And this game somehow manages to have the least interesting story of the three aforementioned RPGs, which is a massive negative considering how vapid "Tales of Symphonia" and "Skies of Arcadia" were in that regard.
  29. The wonderful mechanics and aural and visual treats are simply not enough to lift this game above its own lackluster narrative.
  30. 50+ hours to complete, need I say more?
  31. Without giving too much away, I can say this: There is a plot-twist in this game that is so great that even the most hard-core RPG veterans won't see it coming.
  32. 80
    The greatest feature in Baten Kaitos may be the fact that you can fight and travel as freely as you like.
  33. 80
    Offers a lengthy adventure, a compelling, gorgeous world, and more than a dash of chaos to the order of conventional fantasy role-playing games.
  34. Pelaaja (Finland)
    Baten Kaitos is again a proof that on the GameCube rpg-front, it's quality over quantity. Even the horrible voice acting cannot hold back down this grand epic. [May 2005, p.91]
  35. Baten Kaitos has more than just a story. It features a strangely intuitive battle system built around decks of cards called Magnus.
  36. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 8 / 8 / 7 - 31 silver [Vol 782]
  37. 78
    It's very unfortunate that everything in Baten Kaitos did not come together to create a truly great gaming experience. The shallow battle system becomes boring quickly, and the voice acting's poor quality drops the game to a simply average level.
  38. 75
    Though it might not be real-time combat, the card battle system works well and does give combat a fast pace. The only real problem is the lack of good cut scenes.
  39. The storyline is lame. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the unusual blend of gaming challenges pulled together in this other-worldly adventure.
  40. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    If graphics and gameplay are more important to you than story, by all means dive in. [Holiday 2004, p.134]
  41. Edge Magazine
    So well integrated is the card collection/reward mechanic that the traditional RPG exploration elements slip easily between the staccato rhythm of the battles. For this reason, the game takes on an invigorating freshness that overrides most of its generic frustrations. [Jan 2005, p.93]
  42. While the game doesn't have a compelling story or interesting characters, it does have an easygoing charm and a few goofy locales like a village built from candy and an ingenious hall of mirrors.
  43. 70
    The brisk card battles provide a frantic element few RPGs can claim, and the visuals hold up their end of the bargain. But a huge reliance on luck, some quirky gameplay issues, and a ho-hum plot saddled with atrocious voice acting holds this one down like a pair of concrete shoes.
  44. Floating island environments are intricate and beautiful but paper-thin characters and an evil empire revenge yarn are disappointingly dull.
  45. Play Magazine
    Baten Kaitos isn't bad, but it doesn't stack up to the games it seemingly wants to emulate. [Dec 2004, p.58]
  46. GMR Magazine
    Unfortunately, unique visuals and a well-made battle system can't always rescue this easy linear game from the swell of mediocrity that often threatens to overrun it. [Jan 2005, p.82]
  47. 60
    An engaging card battle game wrapped up in a solidly mediocre story.
  48. The fact that it was a card battle game, it could only hold attention for so long to where the system got repetitive, and fighting was a drag after the halfway point.

Awards & Rankings

#12 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2004
#18 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 79
  2. Negative: 7 out of 79
  1. Oct 21, 2012
    Baten Kaitos is conflicted and flawed but still manages to be an enjoyable game. The story is familiar, cliche, and predictable but wellBaten Kaitos is conflicted and flawed but still manages to be an enjoyable game. The story is familiar, cliche, and predictable but well written and charming at the same time. The voice acting is horrid but you can turn it off. The environments are often gorgeous but character animations are stiff and awkward. The card battle system is as refreshingly different as it is deep but also flawed and frequently frustrating. The only thing that doesn't have anything detracting from it would be the score, which is solid across the board. Perhaps the best card in it's hand is that it's an actual RPG on the Gamecube. That alone is reason enough for owners of the system (or the Wii) to check it out if they have the opportunity. Full Review »
  2. TheElusivePossom
    Sep 2, 2005
    Baten Kaitos gets a lot of things right: the soundtrack is brilliant, for starters, being a delicious mix of orchestral splendour and power Baten Kaitos gets a lot of things right: the soundtrack is brilliant, for starters, being a delicious mix of orchestral splendour and power metal. The pre-rendered backgrounds look great, and the character models suit them well. The battle system is certainly inventive and easy to get into, although perhaps unnecessarily involved (I've almost finished the game, and I haven't paid any attention to the run/pairs combo system). The storyline is pretty well thought out and movement not as linear as some other RPGs. However, the voice-acting is unfortunately dire, but this can be turned off. Also, if you're the kind of person who wants to find everything in a game, then be prepared to take a LOT of pictures early on with the camera Magnus, because you'll kick yourself when you lack the essence of the first boss you faced. Full Review »
  3. GouletteD.
    Jan 23, 2005
    This is gamecube masterpiece that every gamecuber must have. Unique and very addictive. Stunning visuals and near-perfect gameplay.