Review by Dantesamanoske
"Could have been way better"
First, if you already didn’t know, Xenosaga is the long awaited unofficial prequel to Xenogears. Although Xenosaga doesn’t match up to Xenogears, it still is one of Play Station 2’s big contenders. As might not know, Xenogears was one of the first Role Playing Games on Play Station, and still one of the best. One reason was because of its innovative battle system. You could string up attacks to make combos, which would cause major damage, as Xenosaga tries to duplicate the battle system, and mix it a little with its own style, it really isn’t as fun as Xenogear’s. But enough with Xenogears, and lets get talking about Xenosaga!
Now there is a lot of debate over Xenosaga’s game play, some same there isn’t enough, or it is lacking, but I am going to try to review it fairly. If you didn’t know, Xenosaga is all about turn based battles. Well of course, since its a Role Playing Game. The battles can be very complicated at first, but after the first boss battle you should understand it fluently. In battles, you have a number of options to do, you can select attacks, and string them up as combos, then which you can end them with a tech attack, which are strong attacks, which adds more to the strategy portion of battles. Although this may sound cool, it is also very lacking. There are not many tech attacks, and it takes awhile to pull off big tech attacks since you have to charge up to use tech attacks, which takes up a whole turn. Also you can jump into your A.G.W.S, which are like robots, or gears if you played Xenogears. But what is a disappointment is that A.G.W.S. have really no importance in the game, you could go through the whole game without using them, since later on in the game you can cause more damage than your A.G.W.S., which is really sad. You can also use Ether attacks, which are basically magic attacks, you can guard, and you can use items, and that’s all about you can do in battles. Which may sound fresh and cool at first, but it gets very repetitive later in the game, since you will be using the same Tech attacks over and over and over again. Now what really turns off gamers is that there is a lack of game play and dungeons, and a overdose of cut scenes, 30 hours to be exact. But, if you are a movie watcher, then you wouldn’t mind as much, but if you hate cut scenes, you can always skip them, but then you would miss the story... . There are also many mini games to play in Xenosaga. You have Poker, Slots, Battle, which is basically picking a A.G.W.S. and equipping them with weapons then fighting other A.G.W.S., which is fun, but very hard and frustrating. There is also the Drill game, which is a sort of fun mini game where you...well drill holes and other things...and you also have Xenocard, which is Xenosaga’s own card game. It is very addictive and fun, you can even play 2 players with it. That's really everything about Xenosaga’s game play, you pretty much do nothing but go to a dungeon, watch a long cut scene, go to a town, cut scene, dungeon and you get the point....it can get repetitive at times, but if your a true Role Playing Game fan then it wouldn’t be as repetitive.
Superb, I was surprised, the graphics look better than Final Fantasy 10’s graphics, and that's saying a lot. Everything is beautiful, from the dungeons, to the towns to even space, everything looks like a cinematic. And I really mean that, you can barely tell a F.M.V. from a cut scene. There just that good. This game really shows off PS2’s graphical capabilities. There are some jaggies here and there, but overall they did really well. It has the realist hair I ever seen in a game, it practically looks real. 10/10 for graphics, they can’t be beat.
Once again, Monolith Soft blew me away with the sound. Everything from the music to the voice acting is superb. And yes I said the voice acting. Xenosaga probably has the best voice acting in any game to date. The voices aren’t annoying or high pitch, well for most of them, and the characters just don’t sound annoying. And that's a good thing since you will be hearing them talk a lot, and I mean a lot. Most of the voice actors had experience from acting in other anime that have good voice acting and games, which means AAA quality acting. The music is also mind blowing. They really choice right when they picked the London Symphony. It gives the Xenogears feeling to it when it comes the game’s soundtrack. The only gripe I have is with the battle music. It never changes! Not even in boss fights. There is only one exception and that is the last boss fight, and let me tell you its worth the wait, I stalled before delivering the final blow to the last boss just to listen to the song a little bit more. If I had to rate the sound on a scale to 1 though 10 it would get a solid 10 from my book.
Is it good as Xenogears?
Well, to tell you the truth, no, it doesn’t come close. But, it still is a great game. Its just the repetitive battles and overdose of cut scenes that make it worse. Although the battle system is cool, it is just stale compared to Xenogears. There were tons of combos to mix up, and it never got stale. Also is that the A.G.W.S. have no importance in battles, in where Xenogears gears were of the most importance, even in the story. But you have to give it to Monolith Soft for trying, its a great game, but calling it in its league of its own is just way too much.
Well, the story is kind of complicated, and telling it without spoiling will be kind of hard. But I will try my best. The whole game takes place in space, and you never really get to go onto a planet, just colonies, which kind of blows. Basically its your old stop the villain from taking over the world stuff, with a little bit of this and that. But to spice it up, they add in Gnosis, which are basically monsters or aliens. Everyone are scared to Gnosis, but they travel around only to find the Zohar, well, which I can’t really tell you since I would ruin the story. And then comes the villain, and he wants to destroy everything, and he decides to use the Gnosis to help him, but it won’t come into sense until the end of the game. So the main character somehow gets involved in it, along with 5 other people, and eventually, they have to save the world. Pretty original huh? But once you get the game it really gets deep, but I couldn’t tell you all what happens or I would spoil it for you. : )
So should I buy it?
I say definitely, that's if your a Role Playing Game fan, if not then this wouldn’t be the game for you. Its great, but except for the repetitive battles, long cut scenes, and lack of game play, but other than that its a pretty much solid game. I wouldn’t recommend this if this is your first Role Playing Game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/03, Updated 04/06/03
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