Platform: PlayStation. Also currently available on PSN.
Japanese Release Date: 2/11/98
U.S. Release Date: 10/20/98
Price: $89.95 for a new hard copy on Amazon, $9.99 on PSN
Length: Long (80-100 hours)
THIS IS A PRETTY SCATHING REVIEW. IF YOU REALLY LIKE XENOGEARS, YOU MIGHT WANT TO SKIP THIS.
DOTH THOU DESIRE POWER Y/N
I have to admit, this is really hard for me. *sigh*
- The game has a crazy awesome soundtrack that blows FFVII’s out of the water. If you play Xenogears and like it, buying this soundtrack would be worthwhile. Hell, even if you played Xenogears and DIDN’T like it, buying this soundtrack would be worthwhile.
- The Gear battles, especially further on into the game, were enjoyable, requiring you to employ strategic thinking in equipping and deciding which party members to use in upcoming battles. In battle itself, functions such as the booster and fuel management keep you on your toes and force you to make hard decisions.
- The anime art style of the game is endearing and looks great in comparison to some of its peers, such as Final Fantasy VII and Wild Arms. The graphics make the game functional and don’t leave you guessing as to where the hell an exit is – this is especially important in the era of early 3D, where such problems were rampant.
- All talk and no play makes gamers bored as FUCK. Would you like to have a nice text adventure with pointless dialogue that lasts for two hours, perhaps punctuated by one or two battles? This game does this to you…multiple times.
- I don’t find the religious and psychological themes of the game objectionable, I just find them…bizarre. Citan diagnoses Fei with schizophrenia at one point in the game, when he actually has multiple personality disorder. The Freudian and Jungian themes are seemingly there just to be pretentious and don’t really add to the story (especially the Jungian ones). The religious themes? I don’t even know what the hell is going on there.
- Except when you’re in the Gears, battle is dull and basically consists of button mashing and grabbing snacks and reading while you’re waiting for the screens to load. Ten turn battles? This is totally possible here…JUST FOR REGULAR BATTLES.
- I get very angry when I have to consult an internet source just to sort out what is going on in a game – in this case, it’s an internet translation of an artbook called Perfect Works, which didn’t even make it to the U.S. Can there be a journal or dictionary in-game please, like Final Fantasy XIII or Star Ocean 4? Gamers complain about even having “extracurricular reading” in games that have dictionaries, and I have no idea why they give Xenogears a pass when you even have to take an extra step to figure out the plot. Xenosaga (episodes 1 and 3, anyway) did it right when it provided dictionaries.
- Speaking of the plot, it’s convoluted. It’s not deep. It’s just confusing. Don’t let the Freudian and Jungian window-dressing fool you – it just makes things even MORE convoluted. And I HAVE studied Freudian and Jungian concepts.
- Disc 2. The developers ran out of some serious budget. ‘Nuff said.
- The game’s end movie. I saw a lot more of Krelian than I ever wanted to see.
Get used to seeing this.
For me, playing Xenogears once would have been enough; however, we wanted to review it and I was subjected to it once again. That being said, I would suggest playing it just because it’s considered an iconic RPG of the ‘90s and it will give you some perspective on how RPGs have evolved over time. I also would suggest folks who have played it before play it again – a lot of the critical acclaim I see for the game is from reviewers who played it 10 or more years ago and probably don’t have the freshest memories.
Either way, try downloading it on PSN for your PS3 or Sony handheld. The game is easily accessible, cheap, and will give you around 80-100 hours for your money.
RPG Roundup Theme Song: "Video Game Theme," J. Arthur Keenes Band. Creative Commons Attribution License.