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Traditional RPG
  • 20 October, 1998
  • 11 February, 1998
A 75 total ratings
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Shake the Console

A Xenogears review Author: Andrew Published: June 11, 2003
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After Square?s success with Final Fantasy VII, they were ready the release what has become a rare gem, Xenogears. Under the guidance of Hiromichi Tanaka (Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy IV), Producer, and Tetsuya Takahashi (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI), Director, one the most followed games would hit the shelves in ?98.
Taking place on (an alternate version of) Earth, the story begins in the small village of Lahan. In this quaint little town, one man, Fei Fong Wong, lives out his life without care or worry, but also without memory of his past. As he helps plan the final wedding arrangements for his two friends with the help of the good doctor, Citan Uzuki (Those of you who have played Xenosaga will recognize his last name), the day before goes by without a hitch. However, things quickly turn dark as a group of large mobile fighting units known as Gears land in the village and begin fighting. Fei and Citan do their best to get everyone out as safely as possible, but things don?t look good. Then, as by fate, Fei climbs into an empty Gear that happens to be sitting there, and engages the others, successfully defeating most of them. Unfortunately, this comes with a price, and Fei ends up destroying the very village he was trying so desperately to protect. Shunned by the villagers for his actions, Citan and he take their leave and venture into the world, and so begins one of the greatest epics in the history of gaming.
Xenogears, while not overly revolutionary in their game-play or graphics, does feature a wonderful ?Deathblow? fighting system. The basics of this style is the incorporation of almost real-time fighting maneuvers into a turn-based system. With each turn, the player selects what action they choose to perform (The basic actions that every game has, Fight, Item, Flee, Magic, etc). Should you choose fight, as you will many of the time, you are given so many action points to use how you see fit. With these points, you can create deadly combos of physical blows using the ?X? button, the ?Square? button, and the ?Triangle? button. As you train, each character will learn their own ?Deathblows? which will trigger on a certain combination of attacks performed in one move.
Graphically, this game is both stunning and nostalgic. With its incorporation of 2D Pixel-style character sprites into a 3D Polygonal world (Also in Breath of Fire III, Star Ocean II, etc), they were able to keep more of the story and game-play on one disc without sacrificing pleasing graphics. However, when battling in your Gears (Which will be about 50% of all your battles), the sprites become Polygonal, which more than anything, help to distinguish between the different sized monsters (human or gear size) and just make the Gears that much cooler. Also incorporated into the game are short Anime-style movie clips to help move the story along. Sporadically thrown into the game, they prove as a nice pick-me-up for those of you who get bored (why you would, I don?t know).
The main plus in this game though, is its story and its characters. As a 50+ hour long game (The shortest time it took me to beat, skipping all the side quests and such), the story only gets better as you go along. The only flaw was that the main bulk and meat of the story doesn?t really start until about 30 hours into the game, near the end of the first disc; but once you hit this point, you will forget any qualms you had with the game leading up to then. The story itself is beautifully written and interpreted, with heavy religious symbolism and heart-calming love story. With nine playable characters in all, it proves to be a wonderful gaming experience to say the least.
Obviously this game is not for everyone with its extremely long game-play and its heavy religious tones, but if you enjoy long, intense games, then this is the game for you. While being rather rare now, you can still find it at gaming stores that sell used games or online. Pick it up when you get the chance, you won?t regret it.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "Definately a must-play for any RPG fan. With it's captivating storyline, in depth characters and wonderful graphics and cut-scenes, it is by far one of the best games ever created."
A dotted line Average Reader Score (Based on 75 ratings) | Rate it Now
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Vapid Buttmunch
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Member since June 11, 2003
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