Read Me Before Posting Guide (please.) Keep BUMPED! v1.1

#1zoharemulatorPosted 7/14/2006 2:54:04 PMmessage detail
v1.1: fixed some grammar errors and some discrepancies.

I've been seeing way too many of the same topics, so in an attempt to keep the board clean, I wrote this up. Please keep bumped!

Also, if anyone has anything to add, feel free to mention it. I'm sure I missed some topics that are commonly asked here.

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XENOSAGA EPISODE III
ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA

Read Me Before Posting Guide (please.) Keep BUMPED! v1.1
-SPOILER FREE!-
.. well, very minimal spoilers.

***TABLE OF CONTENTS***

-BACKGROUND INFORMATION-
[0.0] Official NA site: www.xenosaga.com
[0.1] When is the release date? Is the release date official?
[0.2] How long is this game?
[0.3] How many discs is it?
[0.4] Should I play this game if I haven't played XS1 and/or XS2?
[0.5] Is this really the last one? I heard it was supposed to be 6 games!
[0.6] Is Xenosaga related to Xenogears?
[0.7] Is it true that the original creators are not involved anymore?
[0.8] Who composed the music in this one?
[0.9] Who all is doing the voice acting (US)?

-GAMEPLAY-
[1.1] How is it compared to XS1/XS2?
[1.2] What characters/E.S. units are playable? I heard Miyuki, Canaan, and Allen join the party!
[1.3] How is the battle system?
[1.4] What is the skill system in this one? Is it like XS1 or XS2?
[1.5] What characters are good in this game? MOMO still a powerhouse?
[1.6] Are there shops?
[1.7] How is GeMix (the minigame) played?
[1.8] Are certain things miss-able forever?
[1.9] Oooh, swimsuits! And costumes!
[1.10] How is the previous game data used?

-MOVIE SCENES-
[2.1] How long are the movies? Still ridiculously long right?
[2.2] What are these "dialogue box" scenes everyone is talking about?
[2.3] Is there a movie gallery?
[2.4] What is swimsuit mode?

-STORY-
[3.1] When does XS3 take place? / What is "A Missing Year"?
[3.2] Who is the central focus?
[3.3] I don't remember exactly what happened in the last two episodes..
[3.4] I remember the main points of XS1 and XS2, but I'm confused on what the Zohar is, what U-DO is, who Wilhelm is, who Abel is, etc. etc.
[3.5] Do Allen and Shion end up together? What about Kevin!?

-OTHER XENO STUFF-
[4.1] What is Xenosaga I+II (DS)?
[4.2] What is Xenosaga: Pied Piper?
[4.3] What is Official Design Materials (ODM)?
[4.4] What is Perfect Works (PW)?


(to be continued)
#2zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 2:54:28 PMmessage detail
-BACKGROUND INFORMATION-

[0.0] Official NA site: www.xenosaga.com

[0.1] When is the release date? Is the release date official?

XS3 was released in Japan on 07.06.06, and it has been announced for a Fall 2006 release in the US. While there has been no official release announcement, on the official Namco forums, an admin (NamcoTara) has explicitly stated that 08.29.06 is indeed the real release date (with +/- 2 weeks margin of error). No European release date has been announced.

[0.2] How long is this game? Is it hard?

While it will always vary from player to player, most people have been finishing it at about 30 hours and have had minimal difficulty. The game has gotten some criticism that it's almost too easy, but I thought it was just right. Last few boss battles can be a bit difficult, however.

[0.3] How many discs is it?

Like XS2, this game is two DVD5s. It is NOT on a dual layer disc (DVD9) like XS1.

[0.4] Should I play this game if I haven't played XS1 and/or XS2?

I strongly suggest playing all the games if possible. There ARE in-game summaries of the previous episodes, but they are very bare bones. In order to fully appreciate the game (as well as all the gameplay improvements in XS3), experiencing the first two is very necessary. If you are unable to get a copy of the games (although they're pretty easily tracked down), playing XS3 by itself wouldn't be so bad. It'd be like seeing Star Wars: Episode III without having seen the original Episodes IV-VI. Still good, but... don't you feel like you're missing out on something important?

HOWEVER, for the casual gamer who has never heard of Xenosaga, I would simply advise getting XS3. (This means, you haven't played Xenogears either.) XS3, in my opinion, the best installment in the series in terms of balance between story and gameplay. And it's probably the only Xeno game that resembles Final Fantasy gameplay, for "mainstream" RPGamers.

[0.5] Is this really the last one? I heard it was supposed to be 6 games!

YES, this is the last episode. Namco expected a million-seller game series, but fell short by a lot. Due to the poor sales of the Xenosaga series as a whole, Namco decided to cut the series short at 3 episodes. While no one can say for certain what/who is to blame, the reality is what matters--YES THIS IS THE LAST ONE!

Of course, there is always the possibility of Namco, or another company, picking up Takahashi's work later on in time, but the chances are looking bad. Pretty bad.


(to be continued)
#3zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 2:56:01 PMmessage detail
[0.6] Is Xenosaga related to Xenogears?

Officially, the answer is NO. Takahashi, the creator of both series, has publically stated that Xenosaga is NOT the prequel to Xenogears. However, many fans speculate that this is simply because Xenogears is still legally owned by Square, and so Namco doesn't really have the rights to make a true, official prequel/sequel. Other fans argue that the two storylines are completely separate, and long-time XG fans are simply clinging to the possibility of a connection due to desperation.

Xenosaga can be thought of as the "soul successor" of Xenogears, due to several similarities between the two series. The names of the Anima Relics (XG) are the same as the E.S. units (XS) and their corresponding Vessels of Anima. Citan Uzuki (XG) looks peculiarly similar to Jin Uzuki (XS); the same can be said regarding Maria Balthazar (XG) and May Magus (XS). And of course, there's the appearance of Abel, a child carrying a strange link to the mysterious events surrounding the Zohar (XS). In XG, Abel
was the one who made contact with the Zohar Modifier; furthermore, Fei Fong Wong is the reincarnation of Abel. Despite all these similarities though, it really can't be said that these people or things are the same in XS as they are in XG. Some facts are clear--it's obvious that Abel is not the same Abel, and Jin can't be related to Citan because Citan took his name from his wife, Yui. Yet it is unclear about whether the Vessels of Anima are indeed, the Anima Relics, or whether or not the Zohar (XS) is the same Zohar Modifier in XG.

Regardless, this topic is STILL a popular source of debate, but it NEEDS to stop. Let the madness end, please. Believe what you want, and do not feel the need to argue with others who think differently. There have been enough threads about this. I have a feeling it's still going to happen though... -_-;

[0.7] Is it true that the original creators are not involved anymore?

The involvement of the original creators, Tetsuya Takahashi and his wife Soraya Saga (penname), has been on the decline since XS2. Due to some kind of dispute (I don't claim to know the full, exact details), Saga left MonolithSoft, and Takahashi has had less and less involvement with the development of XS2 and XS3. Yasunori Mitsuda, a close friend of both Saga and Takahashi, also left the project. Mitsuda composed the soundtrack of XS1.

Because of this, the XS2 script departs from what the creators originally intended. Much of the story was altered and cut. Naturally, the XS3 script was also changed from what was originally conceived.

[0.8] Who composed the music in this one?

Yuki Kajiura composes, just as she did for the movie scenes of XS2. There are no additional composers, unlike XS2.

[0.9] Who all is doing the voice acting (US)?

No official list has been released as of yet. In the English trailer though, it can clearly be heard that most of the original voice actors/actresses are reprising their roles. Furthermore, Lia Sergent (XS1) seems to be playing Shion again.


(to be continued)
#4zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 2:56:27 PMmessage detail
-GAMEPLAY-

[1.1] How is it compared to XS1/XS2?

Gameplay is much, much smoother. You walk/run faster, there are SHOPS again, and battles go by quickly. For all those who shunned XS2, let XS3 redeem the series.. ^^;;

[1.2] What characters/E.S. units are playable? I heard Miyuki, Canaan, and Allen join the party!

The entire cast from XS1-XS2 is playable: Shion, Jin, KOS-MOS, chaos, MOMO, Ziggy, and Jr. In addition, Miyuki, Canaan, and Allen TEMPORARILY join your party for a set period of time. Canaan is playable in the first tutorial dungeon. Miyuki is playable for the first couple of dungeons. Allen is playable near the end of Disc 1.

As for E.S. Units, you only get four: Asher, Dinah, Zebulun, and Reuben. E.S. Reuben is the new one, and it is Jin's E.S. How he got it is explained in "A Missing Year" (see [3.1]).

[1.3] How is the battle system?

The battle system has become much more traditional, meaning full-on menus rather than the button-style input of XG, XS1, and XS2. The battles are much more fast-paced (no lengthy special attack scenes), and for the most part, easier and straight-forward. Some argue that the battles, especially E.S. ones, have been almost too easy, but I felt the challenge was just right for the game (the first couple of dungeons are pretty damn easy though). The last few boss fights are particularly challenging, although they do not arouse the "throw-your-controller-at-the-TV" brand of frustration.

Here are some of the key points of the battle system:

* Menu-driven, traditional RPG feel. Fast-paced.
* No event slot.
* No STOCK system.
* Shared BOOST gauge.
* Inherent ability to DOUBLE BOOST.
* No BOOST in E.S. battles.
* Unique abilities for characters and E.S. units.
* ANIMA AWAKENING system in E.S. battles (similar to a "limit break" if you will).
* FINISHING STRIKE system in both character and E.S. battles. Using a special attack as the final blow to an enemy will cause a FINISHING STRIKE, netting you more experience, skill points, and money.
* Revamped BREAK system (no break zones). Both party members and enemies be "broken," in which they will lose a couple of turns and take more damage than usual. The BREAK gauge is separate from the HP gauge, and must be "healed" separately from HP.
* Revamped skill system (see [1.4]).
* CHANGE characters in middle of battle, like the FFX swapping system.

[1.4] What is the skill system in this one? Is it like XS1 or XS2?

It's sort of a mixture of both, but it's a bit closer to XS1 in that all your characters will have their own set of skills, as opposed to sharing all the same ones. Many skills still crossover between characters, but for the most part, all your party members will have their own, unique set of skills. Itís called STYLELINE.

[1.5] What characters are good in this game? MOMO still a powerhouse?

The characters are pretty balanced, I think. Balanced as in.. more appropriate for their respective roles. MOMO goes back to being a weak attacker, but powerful healer. Shion is so-so in attack and more proficient in spells. Ziggy has loads of HP. KOS-MOS still kicks ass. So on and so forth. I thought the game was pretty balanced, especially since you can swap out characters on the fly.


(to be continued)
#5zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 2:57:22 PMmessage detail
[1.6] Are there shops?

Yes, there are shops again. Just like in XS1, there a couple "real" stores on the field that you can visit, as well as save-point-style shops that you can buy stuff from.

[1.7] How is GeMix (the minigame) played?

Contrary to what IGN says, GeMix is NOT AT ALL played like Mario. The game is sort of like a cross between Lemmings and Chu-Chu Rockets. You do not have direct control over the characters on the field; they will move on their own. You can however control two things: how fast they run, and the various objects on the field. Your goal is to coordinate the character's walking/running speed and the various blocks, in order to lead the character to the goal.

You get special items from playing GeMix, such as the best weapon for Jr., a swimsuit for Ziggy, a Boost+3 accessory, etc. Playing GeMix is NOT required, although you will be forced to simply access the game at least once in the story.

[1.8] Are certain things miss-able forever?

Yes. According to Kouli, certain items AND events can be missed. Refer to his guide for more details.

[1.9] Oooh, swimsuits! And costumes!

Swimsuits! Everyone loves swimsuits. Each character has their own swimsuit that will alter their appearance on the field and in battle. There is also an unlockable "Swimsuit Mode" (see [2.4]).

In addition, some characters also have alternate costumes, such as Shion's Vector uniform, KOS-MOS V1, chaos's robe thing, etc.

[1.10] How is the previous game data used?

You get Shion's Vector uniform. Yes, that's it. It's fairly weak armor, but gives you a fairly decent BP (BREAK POINT) bonus.

NO SKILL POINT BONUSES LIKE XS1->XS2!


(to be continued)
#6zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 2:58:02 PMmessage detail
-MOVIE SCENES-

[2.1] How long are the movies in total? Still ridiculously long right?

Namco advertises it as 8 hours of movies, but not really. XS3 sort of leaps back into the past and decides to tell the story mostly in dialogue boxes, like ye olde RPGs of yore (think SNES generation RPGs). Some might find this to be upsetting, but remember that ALL these scenes are still fully voiced. An autoscroll feature is also in the game, so you don't have to press O/X to advance the text; simply press "SELECT" during a dialogue box scene to activate it.

In reality, there's maybe 2-3 of full motion videos in the game. The rest are dialogue box scenes. But rest assured that the few scenes that are FMVs are damn cool.

But yes, ultimately there are still a lot of story scenes. It wouldn't be Xenosaga with them. Grab a bowl of popcorn!

[2.2] What are these "dialogue box" scenes everyone is talking about?

See [2.1].

[2.3] Is there a movie gallery?

Yes, you can replay ALL movies and dialogue box scenes once you have seen them. On the title screen, simply select the "DATA" option and load your save. All movies, as well as the XS1 and XS2 summaries are available.

[2.4] What is swimsuit mode?

After beating the game, you get Swimsuit Mode. This feature lets you watch the cut-scenes from the game... with your characters in swimsuits (or just different costumes). Pretty amusing, check out digitalgamer's thread on it (if it's not dead yet):

http://boards.gamefaqs.com/gfaqs/genmessage.php?board=929933&topic=29207454


(to be continued)
#7zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 2:58:55 PMmessage detail
-STORY-

[3.1] When does XS3 take place? / What is "A Missing Year"?

XS3 takes place one year after XS2, and ďA Missing YearĒ bridges the two games filling in the year in between. This 6-episode series of flash movies can be found on the official Japanese site [http://www.xenosaga.jp], and a translation can be found at Jinx's site [http://www.labyrinthos.org/jinx].

[3.2] Who is the central focus?

Like XS1 and unlike XS2, the focus is once again on Shion. There is actually very little involvement with any of the other characters, such as Jr., MOMO, and Ziggy. Most of the story deals with Shion and KOS-MOS.

[3.3] I don't remember exactly what happened in the last two episodes..

That's natural. Like I said before, there are in-game summaries of the previous episodes that can refresh your memory. If you're still lost, you should replay the last two games! (A lot of us did it before playing XS3.) If you don't want to, you can gloss over the game scripts available here at GameFAQs.

[3.4] I remember the main points of XS1 and XS2, but I'm confused on what the Zohar is, what U-DO is, who Wilhelm is, who Abel is, etc. etc.

Trust me, XS1 and XS2 do NOT explain these subjects in full detail. If you are confused about something story-related, chances are that you're supposed to be. XS3 answers MANY of these questions, but unfortunately, not to the extent some players would like. SAID QUESTIONS INCLUDE:

* What is the Zohar, really?
* What is U-DO?
* Who or what is Wilhelm?
* Who or what is chaos? Why is he able to make Gnosis disappear?
* Who is Abel?
* What is Abel's Ark?
* What roles do the Testaments play?
* Who is Maria?
* Who is Yeshua?
* Why is Shion so important?
* Why do KOS-MOS's eyes turn blue?
* Who is Citrine?
* What is the relationship between Virgil and Febronia?
* What is the program inside of Canaan?
* What is Yuriev's plan for Nigredo?
* and many, many more...

In any case, you don't have to fully understand these things prior to playing XS3. As much knowledge as possible is good, but not 100% necessary. Besides, most of these topics aren't really delved into in XS1 and XS2, anyway. The previous episodes basically "set up" all these questions, and they're (supposed) to be answered in XS3. Whether or not you feel it was explained well is up to you. ^^;;;

[3.5] Do Allen and Shion end up together? What about Kevin!?

Guess you'll just have to play it and see. ;) SPOILERS ARE BAD. Play the game!


(to be continued)
#8zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 2:59:05 PMmessage detail
-OTHER XENO STUFF-

[4.1] What is Xenosaga I+II (DS)?

Xenosaga I+II is for the Nintendo DS and was released in Japan only. The game follows the original script written by Takahashi more closely. XS3 is said to follow the events set forth in the DS game, although most of the story is the same. XSI+II(DS) simply adds a few more scenes and details.

[4.2] What is Xenosaga: Pied Piper?

Pied Piper is a cell-phone game available in Japan only (yes.. as usual). The game stars Jan Sauer, meaning this game is set PRIOR to the events of XS1-3, before Jan becomes Ziggy. It is highly suggested that any Xeno fan read the translated script after playing XS2. The translation can be found at zarathustra [http://zarathustra.kaisho.org].

Aside from Ziggy, many characters from the Xenosaga series make appearances. Most notably, chaos, Wilhelm, Voyager (Black Testament) and "Canaan." (You'll understand why it's in quotes after you read the script.)

[4.3] What is Official Design Materials (ODM)?

ODM, or Official Design Materials, was a sort of encyclopedia written for XS1. There was just so much left to be explained that the creators had to publish a reference book! of course, it is only available in Japan, but there is a translation project over at Labyrinthos [http://www.labyrinthos.org/odm].

For XS2, there was an Official Complete Guide published, but it was more of a strategy guide than anything else. There was terminology in the book; a translation is available [http://nihon.kaisho.org/Abel/Terminology.html].

[4.4] What is Perfect Works (PW)?

PW, or Perfect Works, was a reference material written for Xenogears. It is very similar to ODM, but is also more of an artbook than just a reference material. Still, it is one of the most treasured texts of the Xeno community and has been translated (more or less). You can find the translation here at GameFAQs.

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Ok, that's it. Now hopefully I didnít make any more errors. T_T
#9Moonstone 04Posted 7/14/2006 3:00:59 PMmessage detail
*giggle*

Maybe I should have pointed out that Joshua Seth and Richard Epcar have also been confirmed as returning as chaos and Ziggy respectively. Joshua Seth apparently confirmed it both at a convention and on a fanlist, and Richard Epcar has confirmed it on his website.

And most of the scenes removed from EpII were restored in EpIII.

---
I want to believe in the radiance of a person's heart.
I still believe.
#10zoharemulator(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2006 3:01:47 PMmessage detail
@_@

well, anyone who reads this should read your reply just now. :D
---
heaven's wish to destroy all minds..