Review by BParnacott
Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 04/26/01
I AM NOT A ZOMBIE.
Most readers won't remember this, but back in 1984 when the film "The Terminator" was released, Joe Bob Briggs penned a review that read, in part: "...when you think the badguy's dead.. he's not. When you think he's dead, and he's not, and you think he's dead... he's not. And just when you think he's dead and he's not, and you think he's dead and he's not, and you think he's dead... he's not." That's how the ending to this game is, and boy howdy, I was looking forward to the ending of this game.
This is just another nail in Square's coffin. Final Fantasy VII left me feeling hollow and empty, Xenogears was just TOO DAMN LONG, and now FFVIII is on the way, and from the preliminary reports, it just exacerbates the existing errors. But this isn't a Squaresoft rant, it's a Xenogears review, and that's what I plan to do.
Is it me, or did the characterization in Squaresoft RPG's hit a peak in FF6? Mr. T had a starring role in FF7, for cryin' out loud-I wanted every single character to die at the end in a bloodbath... must be why I had to buy a new Playstation. Sadly, as bad as FF7 was, Xenogears is worse. Characters change their minds about fundamental beliefs and never mention it. People come and go like the wind, leaving countless loose ends. And don't get me started on the Chu-Chu... a tired idea that's been done waaaay too many times (Snarf! Snarf! I'm an idiot! Snarf!).
What some call "mystery and suspense", I call making the story up as you go along. George Lucas (Mr. "Um, Midichlorians. Yeah, that's it! That's the ticket!" ) could have written the story himself. It wasn't that the story was hard to follow, it just seemed that the writers threw in whatever sounded good at the time, and wrapped it all up at the end in a neat little package. Ever hear of White-Out?
Or English-Japanese phrasebooks, or synchronization for that matter. The dubbing rivals that of early Jackie Chan films.. they could have at least made an effort. Translation is up to the high standards set by FF7, i.e., "60% will pay the rent!" Don't worry about understanding the dialogue, though. You wouldn't care anyway. No major story development takes place until, oh, say, the last 5 hours of the game. Basically, you will spend 60-80 hours wandering from point A^1 to point A^25, occasionally you'll advance to point B, sit through a 20 minute long dialogue sequence, get bored, and go look at the sun again.
Finally, I want to touch on the play of the game and the graphics. Although you get used to it after about 5 hours, the appearance of the characters is ATROCIOUS. They looked better on the SNES, for pete's sake! The control is poor as well... this game SCREAMS for Dual Shock compatibility, but no, we get stuck with the clunky D-pad. And after all this, it's got what EVERYBODY wants.. PLATFORM JUMPING!! Yes, that's right, you've gone through scores of enemies and sat through long, droning dialogue. Now you get to jump step by step up to the top of some useless, pointless Tower (note the caps), and if you miss a twitch, you get to START ALL OVER!
Rating: 1.0 - Terrible
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