[PSX] Xenogears

posted 5 Jan 2011, 00:34 by Thomas Vale   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 00:35 ]
I'm an rpg fanatic as I'm sure you know, I've played lots of great rpg's like Final Fantasy 7, Chrono Trigger and Tales of Phantasia. This one beats them all with it's hands tied behind it's back.

The Graphics in the game are nothing short of spectacular for the PSX. It uses a 2d/3d hybrid with the environments rendered in 3d and 2d sprites for the characters. The 3d architecture is breathtaking in places and well above avreage otherwise. There are some stupidly high detail textures used in the game (most notably the paintings Fei does) which would not look out of place on a next gen console or a PC. The sprites are OK, but in emulation with filtering on they have some minor glitches. As far as I am concerned, this is the best looking game on the PSX.

The Music is written by Yasunori Mitsuda of Chrono Trigger fame. The soundtrack is excellent with music never repeated too often, but with the ongoing under tone of 'Small of Two Pieces'. It's beautiful in all honesty, the actual quality is quite good too, even if it is synth. The sounds themselves aren't too shabby either, but they aren't gonna blow your mind. The one thing I would say agains the sound is the voice overs in the mdecs. The dubbing is terrible, and there seems to be no feeling at all in them. I feel they would have done better to leave the original audio and sub it..... but then again I like subs anyway.

The Plot..... What can be said? It's a masterpiece again, being complex and very deep, while not making it so that your average Joe couldn't understand it if he wanted. It basically centres around Fei Fong Wong, a martial artist and painter (yeah, work that one out) who has no idea of his past, and Elyham, a soldier, their journeys of self discovery and the people who believe they are behind everything.

The Gameplay is quite excellent, the 'field' being drawn in an isometric perspective, much like Breath of Fire 4 later did. The battles are a side on affair, utilising an innovative 'combo' system where you choose what power attack you are going to use, and depending on the combination, you can end up doing stupid amounts of damage. It also allows you to use 'Gears' in some battles (more and more as you get into the game) which are hugh metal mechas.... to be honest, I've always wondered about the Nihonjin fascination with mechs, but that's another story...
The second CD feels like it was meant to be just the ending, as it has little action in it, little you can control, but story by the metric tonne. I liked this, as it felt that the ending was hours and hours long, but others may be turned off by this.

This game will eat your life. My work and University work suffered for a time as a direct result of this game. I'm glad it's over in a way, but I want to go and play the whole thing again now... I'm a glutton for punishment, desu ne?

All in all it's a superb game. I currently have it as my number one game of all time. It's absorbing, looks good, sounds good, has a superb plot and superb battle system, and is reasonably challenging without being frustrating to the point of throwing it away. What more could you possibly ask? Are you still here? Why haven't you gone and got it yet?

Rating
Graphics - 10/10
Sounds - 9/10
Plot - 10/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Longevity - 9/10
Final Word - 98%

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