Review by Behreandto
Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 04/26/01
The best Square has offered since FF7 by far... could this set the standard for Chrono Trigger 2?
Gameplay: The controls are relatively the same as in every Square RPG except that the X button covers the function of the circle button for confirming actions. The best parts about playing Xenogears are the fights which is essentially 2-d turn based. Instead of menus, actions are activated by using buttons each designated with a purpose, much like the battle system in Super Mario RPG. Difference is that combinations of buttons unleash special moves (once learned) that make you feel more like your in a Street Fighter (I'll mention this in the Audio/Visuals section...) game than an atypical Square RPG. What's also heiniously entertaining is stringing up normal special moves for super damaging combos. Downside to fighting are the GEARS..... sometimes you'll have to battle huge enemies and then have to jump in your gear to avoid defat which can be annoying and redundant. A bad throw on the gear concept is that once in a gear during battle, you can't get out of it until the battle's over with. Another bad thing about gears is that they aren't very original concept wise because they look like take-offs from the Power Rangers. The last gripe about gears I should make is that even though they are powerful, they have a limited choice of moves to use compared to the flexible list of moves the normal characters have. Other than my hating the gears as a general concept, they do make the game unique in comparison to most other RPGs and the battle system is fun to use as well. The difficulty I have to say is moderate depending on how many levels you gain. Some foes are dead meat once you see em and some actually put up a decent fight.
Story: After 80 hours of playing and not defeating this game... i have to ay that I'm still missing concepts on what the hell is going on in the game and it's hard to give a good generalization of the plot without throwing out spoilers, but I will say this: Xenogears' story is by far one of the best, most compelling have run into and definately will keep you going to see what's around the corner. It's sorta like reading an exceptionally compelling sci-fi thriller.
Audio/Visual: The graphics are so colorful and lively! There are a couple of things I want to praise and attack. First the attack... I have a major malfunction with Maria Balthaszar and Rico Banderas. First... Rico is a take off on Blanka from Street Fighter and his retarded useless skills similar if not reminiscent of Zangief's (also from SF). Next, Maria is just plain and simply a waste of animation and level building effort with the exception of her gear. Negatives aside, this game brings such colorful livliness to the cinemas and battles. The characters in battles seem like a combination of styles from Chrono Trigger and Street Fighter Alpha 2 and 3. The shadow animations are cool and add to the flashiness of 90% of the skills to be seen. Towns are colorful and also detailed for being made to fit 3-d exploration. The Music? Well.... let's say that it's as compelling as the story line is and is worth considering for a game soundtrack. Lastly is the sound effects and voice overs..... namely voice overs. Some are cool and some are downright annoying, but there's fewer of them than in Star Ocean 2. What is cool is that they added some to the cinemas and FMV's making your average day cinema seem more like something you'd see in a typical anime.
Replay: Secret characters and items abound keep you coming back numerous times, and adds to the excellent story line paired with the compelling soundtrack makes Xenogears irrisistable to veteran RPG players and beginners alike. Xenogears sets a standard in itself and may perhaps set a standard for the upcoming, highly anticipated Chrono Trigger 2. It's definately worth playing over again if you haven't caught the details of the plot fully or just for the hell of it.
Buy/Rent: Definately buy this one. It's worth the fifty some bucks even though it may not have gotton as much hype as FF7. This games's a gold mine if you're sick of menu based combat and dolefull storylines and want to see blood, gore, and absolute pure insanity in an RPG for a change. Check it out!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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