Review by Shivan Reincarnated

Reviewed: 01/03/05

A great game with a deep storyline and unique game play

Xenogears.. This may be my hardest review yet. This is one of those “Love it or hate it,” type games. Xenogears was made by Square and it was made after Final Fantasy VII but before Final Fantasy VIII. It is a good game, it does have some flaws but it is a good game. Xenogears is and RPG like most games made by Square. Xenogears uses “Gears” which if you have ever seen Gundam Wing, the gears are similar to those (Big robots basically). Xenogears can be a slow game at times and it really is mature game.

Game Play: The game play is unique and it is innovative. The game goes on a “Turn based style” like most RPGs but a difference is that when you do a regular attack, you can do a combination of 3 different type of buttons (Triangle, Square and X). Triangle is the weakest but has the best accuracy, Square does decent damage and has decent accuracy and X does great damage but does not have that great of accuracy.

When one of your characters uses a combination of buttons several times, that character will learn a deathblow. After you learn a deathblow, you can use that deathblow at any time during battle by pressing a certain sequence of buttons. Deathblows are powerful and they are what you will use towards the end of the game. You will also be able to use some spells that act just like magic that can do some damage or heal you as well doing some other spiffy effects.

In addition to having human battles, you’ll also have gear battles too (I mentioned what gears were in my previous posts, they’re basically big robotic fighting machines). Gear battles are pretty similar but they’ll do more damage (Obviously) and they’ll have different attacks and different abilities. Gears run on fuel and stronger attacks require more fuel. If you run out of fuel you can’t do anything but you can use the option charge to get more fuel. Throughout the game, you’ll be able to buy parts to upgrade your gear, which can increase its fuel output, HP, defense and other stats.

Overall, the game play is really great, both the human battles and the gear battles are really fun. Yes, this game does have those annoying random encounters but it is alright. A lot of people complain about the game play and I’m not sure why. The game play is really great, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll understand why. 9/10

Storyline: I’m not allowed to spoil anything for you so it may be hard to give you some of the details about the storyline. The storyline is deep, really deep. In fact, the storyline to this game is probably the deepest out of any Square game. It gets really complicated towards the end, well; actually, it is pretty complicated through the whole story.

The main character’s name is Fei Fong Wong. He wakes up in a town but does not remember anything. I won’t spoil anything for you but there are many plot twists and the story is very intriguing and will leave you hooked. There are some themes in the story that could potentially offend you (Religion) but the storyline is really super. 10/10

Graphics: The graphics have some weirdness to them in this game. The regular graphics are pretty good, they are very similar to Final Fantasy VII’s (Which are rejected by a lot of people nowadays) but you have to remember that this was an early Play station game. You can still see the characters and the landscape and backgrounds are really well done. The towns and cities are really done well too and it can sometimes make you feel that you’re right there in the game.

Cut scenes are good too. Some of the cut scenes are anime while some of the other are the 3-D cut scenes that we see in other Square games. I think it’s pretty weird how they switch off but it’s fine. The graphics in this game are good and they are still acceptable by today’s standards. 9/10

Sound: The sound is really good! When you hit someone, it sounds like you hit someone, and the sounds that the characters you play as have realistic sounds too. Take Fei Fong Wong for example, when you attack with him, he’ll make a sound that sounds just like you would if you hit someone. I thought that was really neat of Square to do that and I for one was impressed. 5/5

Music: The music is absolutely fantastic. The person who composed the music for this game also composed music for the Super Nintendo hit, Chrono Trigger. The soundtrack to this game is excellent and there is a high probability that you’ll want to buy the soundtrack. There is a wide selection of songs, most of them just awesome. Some of them are slow but you’ll still fins a way to appreciate them. 5/5

Difficulty: This is a pretty difficult RPG to be honest. You won’t breeze through this game like you would with Final Fantasy VII. This is a fairly long game, which is always a plus. You’ll have to level up your characters and you’ll have to have a formulated strategy if you want to beat certain bosses because some of the bosses are hard. It’s not insanely difficult either though and I felt the difficulty to this game was just right. 5/5

Replay Value: This is the worst aspect of Xenogears and replay value is what brought the score down from a 9 to an 8. I love this game but I’ve only played through it once. I can’t bring myself to play it again and her is why. In Xenogears, there is a lot of dialogue. This makes for a very interesting first play through. There is a lot of dialogue so when you want to start a new file, you won’t be able to skip it, and you will have to listen to it all over again. Like I said, the dialogue is very important and interesting in your first time playing through this game but when you want to play it again, there isn’t a need to listen to it all over again when you understand what is happening. If there was an option that could allow you to skip all the dialogue, the score would have been higher. Unfortunately, there isn’t. 4/10

Recap:

Game Play: 9/10
Storyline: 10/10
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 5/5
Music: 5/5
Difficulty: 5/5
Replay Value: 4/10

Overall: 42/50 = 84% = 8.4 = B

Pros:

Good Game Play
Great Story
Good Sound
Good Music
Interesting approach on a game
Good difficulty level
Long
Deep
Innovative

Cons:

Bad replay value
Possibly offensive themes

As you can see, the replay value brought the score down and frankly put, I feel the replay value is important. You can get this game fairly cheaply now so buying it for 15 dollars for just one play through it is actually worth it because the first time you play through it is an awesome experience. This game took a while to become a greatest hits but it’s a good thing it did or else this may very well have been a cult game. Some of the greatest characters of all time are in this game. Like I said, this is one of those “love it or hate it” type games but if you like RPGs that contain a great story, great game play, great music and is deep, you’ll love this. You can pick iy up cheaply so don't hesitate, get this game now, you will not be sorry you did!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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