Review by Mr_Man80
An Unfinished, and Unpolished Game
What could have been a terrific game is all but ruined by the fact that it is unfinished in both presentation and execution. The story's premise has promise and is very intricate, but so poorly translated that it turns much of what is said into a joke, and as such, the poor translation is my biggest gripe. Virtually every other line is at best poorly written and awkward, with dialog that is strange and unnatural. This is very jarring especially in situations with certain characters that should sound intelligent or domineering, yet they just come across sounding like idiots or children. Now at worst, the grammar and punctuation is simply wrong, and this makes it apparent that the game is unfinished. Many times I actually had more fun laughing at the errors than reading the dialog. It's bad. On top of that, the story is crammed so full of various plot lines that they only serve to prolong the story unnecessarily, with many interactions being incredibly verbose, repeating things that have been said already and making the characters seem stupid. That just goes to show how poor the translation was I suppose.
So speaking of unfinished, the game is UNfinished. The entire second disk is entirely changed in presentation and told like a story rather than played, which is all well and good because if it were like the rest of the game, it would be another 40 hours and to be honest it was dragging on given the games other deficiencies. It was just very weird seeing this in a game from a large publisher like Square, if I hadn't already known about the budget problems on the project when I played, I would have just been..."what..?"
Okay, so serious deficiencies aside, what is good about Xenogears? Well, I think that the game was certainly ambitious, and had an interesting premise for a plot. It could have been very interesting if it hadn't been so painful to read through. The graphics are full of crisp sprites and hold up well today. The music has several tracks that I really liked as well. I also enjoyed the hand to hand combat and the combo system premise, though it could have been more interesting as well.
I recently replayed Xenogears in it's entirety because I didn't get to finish at a kid, however it unfortunately proved painful to get through. There are plenty of other games from that era and even earlier that are still terrific and I can definitely enjoy playing again and again, but this isn't going to be one of them.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Xenogears (US, 10/20/98)
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