Review by DSpok
Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 04/26/01
A spectacular adventure with many twists and turns
The world of Xenogears is quite interesting. Lucious in-game graphics and a great soundtrack compels players to play this game. One of the most distinct characteristics in Xenogears has to be the battle system. I have never before seen such an intuitive and unique style of turned based battles in any RPG game. From the Gears to the characters themselves, this game is awesome. Xenogears is fully explorable, meaning you'll have to jump, climb, examine, and talk to countless characters to get the story going. Xenogears isn't just another RPG title, it truly sets a new standard for RPGs'.
The in-game graphics are overwhelmingly marvelous. The hand drawn sprites blend well with the polygonal backgrounds. Characters are very well detailed. From their clothes to their hair, it's all distinguishable. What really gets your mouth watering is the Gear battles. These Gears are beautifully composed of polygons. They are highly detailed with an abundace of features. The lighting effects when a magic spell is activated is a site to be seen. Although their is pixelation (usually when the hand drawn sprites receive a close up), it won't bother you at all since is doesn't happen as often as one might think. This is just a minor flaw that you'll barely even notice. The animations of the characters are decent, however, at times the characters will attack so fast, the player can hardly tell what is going on.
The soundtrack should have came out in a music store. The music soundtrack is one of the best SquareSoft has ever created. The sound effects are remarkable. Every chirp, water drop hitting a pond, echoing footsteps, and the Gears moving parts are well done. The music definitely fits the situations currently going on in the game. For example, if the mood is a battle mood then music during battle will feel energetic and fast. When a sad or love scene is going on then obviously the mood will change to a subtle and slow feeling.
Xenogear's gameplay is extraordinary. The story line is very interesting. In fact it was the story line that almost prevented the game from shipping to U.S. shores. The battle system is easily understandable and quite fun. Learning is short compared to the average RPG game. Their are actually few menus in the game. Actions correspond to button presses, therefore making this game easy and enjoyable. Cities and dungeons are a joy to explore. You'll have to jump and climb at times to pass through particular stages. As your characters gain strength you'll have to strengthen your Gears' as well. Gear power does not mature through experience in battles, but through upgrading parts. Basically your character fights will end up giving you items as well as money. And with the right amount of cash you'll be able to upgrade your desired Gears. There are over nine characters each with their own Gear. So you'll be fighting quite alot to upgrade those Gears. This process is fun and unique.
Overall, I think this game is the best PlayStation RPG game by far. Until FFVIII swings around, this is sure to keep you company. With over 60 hrs. of playing time, this game will definitely keep you busy. Even after you beat the game you'll be tempted to play the whole game over again. RPG fans should have this game in their game library.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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