Original Air Date - January 19th, 2010 (Revised Today!!)
A GameCube game of amazing aesthetic beauty, "Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean" is an excellent GC RPG exclusive and easily matched most of the RPG competition presented by the juggernaut that is the PS2, even now, which is very impressive given the time of its release. Developed by tri-Crescendo and Monolith Soft and published by Namco, the game features beautiful cutscenes, detailed character models, pre-rendered backgrounds brimming with life, a great musical score, and interesting card-based gameplay.
In the game, you play the role of an unlikely hero - a one-winged, brash young man named Kalas in a world comprised of many floating continents. Long ago, a wicked god named Malpercio invaded the world and sucked most of the water on the planet's surface dry, which resulted in five spiritual warriors banding together to defeat Malpercio and seal the evil god into five "End Magnus", cards of amazing power. At the start, Kalas, along with a winged traveller by the name of Xelha, inadvertently stumble upon one of the End Magnus, which is soon stolen by the hostile "Alfard Empire", whom Kalas has a past dislike for (involving revenge, but I won't say what for). He eventually gets wrapped up in a quest to defeat the empire but gets more than he bargained for, getting sent on a grand adventure. Kalas is nicknamed the "Angel of Darkness" due to his one wing, which people believe is a sign of his "tainted soul".
The gameplay is fairly original and centers heavily around cards, relying on facilities (churches) and special magnus (cards) for leveling and character expansion purposes, special skills and equipment which play into various card rules like Poker, and even earning money relies quite a bit on using cards (such as the camera to take card photos of enemies, which is what you'll rely on greatly in the earlier portions of the game for income). Combat also has the additional concept of attack and defense phases as well as a timer, where you have a limited amount of time to issue commands, adding several strategic elements to the game as you must customize your deck of cards (which you take into battle) beforehand to have the greatest probability of pulling off combos. Another thing about combat is that using opposing elements in the same phase negates their damage, so you have to be very mindful in order to get the most out of your phases.
The game has received some criticism for its voice acting and unconventional play mechanics, particularly combat, which relies more on luck and a little less on strategy or skill. A (notably better) prequel by the name of Baten Kaitos Origins was also released in the U.S. and Japan which featured a more talented voice cast and modified combat which required more skill and less luck (and utilized an ATB gauge of sorts in combat). Sadly, due to the limited popularity of the series, we won't be seeing a new game anytime soon. This video shows a little navigation and combat. It's revised with a few additional minutes of footage and much higher quality. Enjoy.