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Traditional RPG
  • 20 October, 1998
  • 11 February, 1998
A 75 total ratings
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Poetry in Motion

A Xenogears review Author: Wiegraf Published: March 18, 2004
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The game of Xenogears is not for the faint of heart. But for those willing to plumb its depths, it is an experience that is unequaled in gaming because of its incredible storytelling and connections to "real-world problems."
Xenogears revolves around Fei, a youth with an unknown past who lives in the town of Lahan. Early on in the game, an attack by a foreign nation using powerful weapons known as "Gears" (which resemble Mechs from some games and Japanese anime) causes Fei to have a bit of a flashback and begin to pilot one of them. A freak accident causes Fei to leave the village and begin a quest to find out what happened to his town and what it is in his past that is haunting him now. The game starts off very slow but begins to roll out the plot as you continue down through the game. It is very text-heavy and has no option to speed up the text or skip it, which can be a big problem for the most impatient among us. However, impatience is not good for this game--it needs to be treated somewhat like a good novel. It's not about beating it as fast as you can, it's about the experience of the game.
As far as the gameplay goes, Square implemented a new battle system that revolves around repitition of commands called "deathblows", of which your characters can learn many by repeated use of button commands, i.e. Square-Square-Cross. This system also extends to the battles that take place in Gear, which includes most of the Second disc. In this however, you must attack to gain "attack levels" which allows you on second and subsequent turns to either use a deathblow or charge for a stronger one. Gears themselves have a whole new set of rules, using not only HP but also Fuel to decide their condition.
My only real qualms with the game are the aforementioned lack of a message speed option and the one that I usually can get by on other games: Absurd Encounter Rate. Now this is a problem on many games with random battles but on Xenogears it's enough to make you shout obscenities, especially when you're in a gear, trying to conserve fuel for a boss fight.
However, these concerns are nothing compared to the experience of playing this game. The scenes are so moving and the story so powerful that I was drawn to tears during some of them (and not just once). If you want a beat-em-up, kill all the bad guys RPG, this isn't it. If you're looking for more than a game, though--if you're looking for an emotional journey and an experience not to be forgotten--give Xenogears a whirl. I assure you, you won't be disappointed.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "Xenogears isn't a game. It is an experience that simply must be played to be believed. It's story, in my opinion, rivals that of the best sci-fi movies (or any movie, period) in the last few decades."
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