Xenogears - Reader Review

Not perfect, but pretty close

By Paul Terrinova

Review Breakdown
   Battle System9.0
   Replay Value8.0
   Time to Complete50-55 hours 

   Xenogears is one of Square's greatest masterpieces ever! Everyone says that it deserved the hype of Parasite Eve, and it did. But it didn't need it. After the petitition started by Andrew Vestal last year, all of you knew you were going to buy this game no matter what! But, I'm straying from the subject.....

   Xenogears does have its minor drawbacks, but they don't ruin the game in any way at all. The graphics and battle system are definately this game's strong points. They aren't the sole reason for buying this game, however. The plot, while rather vague (more on that later,) is done nicely. The gameplay reminds me very much of the SquareSoft gem Chrono Trigger (probably because most of CT's development team was on Xenogears,) and the Irish inspired music rivals Chrono Trigger for Yasunori Mitsuda's greatest work for Square.

   The battle system is awesome! I loved the idea of combos from the beginning, and it reminded me of a fighting game. The voices are very well done, and don't get repetitive and annoying like other games (remember Breath of Fire III?). The way to build up and learn your deathblows was also unique, although it would have been nicer if all of them weren't the same for all of the characters, but then again, its hard to find so many combinations with just 3 buttons. Gear battles are a completly different story, however. In a gear battle, you must find a way to both win your battle and conserve fuel at the same time. My only problems with that is some gear caves can get really frustrating, considering fill ups are few and far between, not to mention the fact that you miss more than you hit with some enemies.

   The graphics are awesome. I really can't see why anyone is complaning about 2-D sprites on a 3-D backdrop. They blend in very nicely IMHO. The FMV is awesome, and has some of the best anime in a PSX game since Wild ARMs. The hand drawn anime goes very nicely with the CG graphics, and to those of you who are still playing Xenogears, and want more FMV scenes, wait until you get to the 2nd disk.

   The gameplay was very well done, but does have its minor drawbacks. Mostly with the fully rotatable camera. In some parts, it is extremly difficult to see where you are going (the first gear cave with Bart, anyone?) not to mention it is very easy to forget which direction you are going without a fixed view. Otherwise, not to many problems.

   The plot was very complex, but I had one major problem with it; You never have a main goal! Ever! Which justs adds more to the complexity of the plot. I could go on about the religious overtones, which are there in abundance, but I won't. Thats for you to find out.

   Besides the minor drawbacks, Xenogears is a fun, addictive, and lengthy RPG that almost everyone will enjoy.

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