Infinite Undiscovery - Staff Review  

Infinite Fundiscovery
by Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham

Infinite Undiscovery
Xbox 360
20-40 Hours
+ Colorful world and unique characters
+ Interesting game concept
+ Lots of Party Members...
- ...many of which are not playable
- Poor conceptual execution
- Disconnected battle mechanics
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   Infinite Undiscovery is a highly ambitious RPG developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix. It features highly touted situational battles, a large cast of characters, and multi-party combat. As a completely original title for the Xbox 360, Infinite Undiscovery has a lot to offer, but sadly, fails in the execution of most of it.

   The story of Infinite Undiscovery begins with Capell, an innocent flute-playing youth, being imprisoned by the Order of Chains. He is rescued by Aya, a member of the Liberation Force, who believes that he is the Force's leader Sigmund, as the two look almost identical. The escapees eventually meet up with the rest of the Liberation Force, and Capell quickly gets swept up in the events unfolding all around him as the group attempts to stop the Dreadknight from chaining down the moon and stealing its power. The plot is fairly serious, but contains some sexual innuendo and humor. And while there is some mystery involved, most of it is fairly predictable. The game's large cast might seem a bit overwhelming in terms of development, but a fairly high number of characters actually receive a decent amount of development.

   One major problem with Infinite Undiscovery is that the game world is just too large for its own good. While it is nice to have a huge map to explore, the oversized areas don't allow for complete exploration, blocking off areas that cannot be explored until a certain linear path has been followed. The size of the world is merely an illusion, as free-roaming is not possible. Not only are certain areas blocked off, but other areas are just graphical filler. Another problem with the huge overworld is that often times it is easy to lose track of where to go next. This isn't always because areas are difficult to navigate, but often players must talk to specific NPCs in an unintuitive order in order to progress. This is particularly problematic at the start, where more time will be spent trying to figure out what trick needs to be done next instead of exploring the world.

Kinda your party You can't control half of them

   Infinite Undiscovery is fast-paced, even by action RPG standards. While the game can be paused normally, action does not stop when going into menus, even to use items, so players need to take caution when exploring dangerous areas. The game's multi-party combat is another aspect that is misleading. While it is possible to play through segments of the game that require three parties, only the lead party with Capell at the helm is playable. The fact that the other two parties are completely out of the player's control just continues the feeling that the combat system is just a fraction of what the developers had hoped to have created. The large cast of characters is also a farce as quite a few party members cannot be placed into Capell's party, only in secondary groups, and are hence not actually playable. Save points are fairly well spaced throughout the game, and with enough patience and a strategy of continuous requests for healing, most people should be able to play through the game with ease. Only boss battles offer any challenge and most of those are actually fairly entertaining.

   Managing the playable party is not seamless either. While Capell is playable, the other three party members in the group are managed by using skills that are hot-keyed to specific buttons on the controller. This can often lead to a huge disconnect in combat, as Capell is left wide open while controlling other characters. It's often best to just select two powerful characters and one healer to assist Capell, so that the powerhouses can just plow through enemies and the healer can keep everyone alive through repeated pressings of the healing request button.

   Situational battles are another aspect of the game that are not as appealing as they sound. These often feel more obtrusive than they should, breaking the flow of gameplay more than enhancing it. Having to stop and hide periodically during battle doesn't add challenge as much as frustration. Infinite Undiscovery plays like a basic action RPG with features tacked on to try to make it unique, but these ideas hinder the game instead.

I was lost I couldn't figure out where to go next.

   Visually, Infinite Undiscovery is very colorful and the character and enemy designs are very creative. However, character animations are stiff and unrealistic, but only those that are looking to nitpick should have a major problem with that. The voice acting is a mix of good and really bad. Most characters have a solid voice actor behind them, but the two children Rico and Rucha have some of the worst dialogue and delivery in recent RPGaming. Motoi Sakuraba provides the game's soundtrack and does a decent job with it. However, not much of the soundtrack really stands out as amazing. It merely blends in with the background of the game in a way that will at least not become irritating.

   Overall, Infinite Undiscovery lives up to its name. Players will spend an infinite amount of time trying to discover where go next and what to do, as well as hunting for the exciting features that were promised by the developers. Had the large party and the multi-party battles been handled in a decent manner, as well as having the situational battles play an important role in the game, this could have been one of the most unique and entertaining games of 2008. However, most of these features just break the flow of the game, such as limiting which party members are actually playable and having obscure combat controls. For those that are willing to spending the twenty or so hours it takes to complete Infinite Undiscovery, most will find themselves wishing the game could have done more to reach its lofty goals.

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