Genre: Role Playing Game
Credits: Squaresoft. Screenshots and images courtesy of Amazon.Com.
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|Items List by Thundersenshi |
Characters/Gears by Thunder
Deathblows by Skysenshi
Enemies Guide by Voidsenshi
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A mysterious organization is turning the tides of a century-long war with ancient technology and giant combat robots. A failed attempted to steal one of these powerful mechanized weapons places it in the unwilling hands of young Fei and his dubious allies. Now he is pursued by military governments, royal pirates, spies, the emperor, and his own forgotten past.
A million shades of light >>> by skysenshi (??.??.1998)
Xenogears is one of the most memorable Squaresoft games ever to hit the world of Sony Play Station users. While it may not be quite up there with Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy VII in terms of graphics solidity, it banks on its originality and interesting plot twists. Furthermore, the anime sequences are superb and the story-telling music is reminiscent of touchingly beautiful Loreena McKennit and Enya melodies.
The idea of combining humans and mechas in RPG battle is by far one of the most original concept ever. Human players learning deathblows is quite similar to learning limit breaks in FF7, except this time one has to really learn which button combinations one has to make use of before finally mastering the techniques. A challenging task, but fairly easy to accomplish. The gears, on the other hand, make most of the interesting battles. Most of a player's mental resources are spent on the best strategies that can be executed in gear bosses like Ramsus and Miang.
There is also a sense of satisfaction that can be felt among female players like myself upon discovering one of the greatest skills, in terms of flexibilty, strength and agility, in a character like Emeralda and her gear Crescens. It was such a relief to find a game that places such strength in a female team member, when female characters are usually the weakest members of any team in a lot of male-dominated RPGs.
The mind bogglers like card games and connect-the-bridge puzzles are quite easy and are even entertaining, like the ones that can be encountered in the Thames, Solaris, Shevat, and Deus' Lair. The story in itself is also very well done, if one could get past the dialogues that seem to drone on forever instead of getting straight to the point. One could easily get lost in the twists and turns of the story, but the outcome is always spectacular, especially in the 2nd CD where everything that seemed so confusing and complicated in the first CD begins to unfold. Mythological and Biblical references are intricately wrapped into the story, giving it a philosophical characteristic.
There are, however, a few instances that one can complain about in the course of the game. One major complaint are the ledges and elevators in the Tower of Babel where gears would try to jump into to get to another area. One wrong move, you fall, and you end up starting all over again. A less patient player could take quite while to get out of this stage and might end up tearing his/her hair out in frustration. It is also one of the reasons why some players might not want to repeat the first CD.
Another complaint would be the abundance of long dialogues and the scarcity of saving points in the second CD. While the story in itself is quite staggering, the dialogues following difficult battles are too long, when they could just be simplified like in FF7, so you don't have to constantly worry about when you'll be reaching the next saving point in case your brother trips on the PS cord. If he does trip on it, you'd have to worry about repeating the battle and going through all the heavy talking all over again. There are also parts where player participation is sacrificed because of this overusage of long dialogues. The whole package--game and story--itself is not too long, it would only take around 50-57 hours to complete, 80-87 hours if you're one of those people who are obsessed with letting ALL their characters reach level 99, and letting Chu-Chu have a healing skill of 8000HP first before going into the final battle.
The graphics are okay, not spectacular, but the exotic air of the places being visited and the anime scenes more than make up for it. One suggestion I could offer here is to not play Xenogears just a few hours after finishing FF7. The CG comparison may ruin the chances of enjoying the game.
Overall, I give this game a rating of 9, not only because of its unique multi-faceted aspects, but also because it has the ability to make a person spend four days straight inside his/her room just playing it. Also, if you find yourself getting exhausted in some areas of the game and almost thinking of giving up, just remember that there is an ending that is truly worth looking forward to because it is one of the most rewarding anime masterpieces that RPG players could ever experience.
COMPLETION TIME: 57-87 hours
HIGHEST LEVEL ACHIEVED: 99 for all characters
RATINGS: Gameplay 8; Battle 10; Story 9; Visuals 8; Characters 5; Sounds 9; Replay Value 7