I remember the days when I played my first PS2 games in a game shop, and, after a while, I fell in love with the android with a girl face. I guess the mechanics behind the game weren’t too bad, but definitely felt that they could have been improved further. Before I go on to explain what game this is, the game was released on PS1 under a different name, and was a critical success, but some criticized it for having heavy religious influences within the game. These influences extended to the story, and even to the names of its characters. Despite this, the game was successful in having a fantastic combat system and having a good (if not great) storyline. But the contents on the second disc were quite a disappointment, as they are only filled with character narrations of their adventures (the exception was the final dungeon exploration). To those who have guessed this game’s identity correctly, kudos to you for remembering one of SquareSoft’s greatest RPGs in the PS1 library. I present to you its spiritual successor, Xenosaga.
The game starts off when a few archaeologists found what was to be the Original Zohar on Earth. Forward several thousand (perhaps) years later, Woglinde is tasked to transport the Zohar Emulator at the same time that Vector Industries R&D division tries out its new weapon to combat the invasion of a monster called Gnosis. The weapon is made to resemble a girl, and is named KOS-MOS (Kosmos Obey Strategical Multiple Operation System). On the way to its base, Gnosis attacks the spaceship and this leads to KOS-MOS being activated when she sense that her co-creator, Shion Uzuki, is in danger. After a while, they are rescued by the Kukai Foundation and it is here that their adventures begin. Episode one, titled Der Wille Zur Macht (German for The Will To Power) is basically an introductory episode because along with the adventures, new characters are introduced. Unlike Xenogears where they suddenly jumped to episode five, Xenosaga starts off chronologically, possibly to avoid the pitfalls that plagued its predecessor, even though the developers released previous episodes of Xenogears in Japanese.
As I said earlier when I played the game first-hand, I was impressed with the direction the game had taken. Take the boost system, for instance. Whenever any of the characters take an offensive action, the gauge that controls the boost will increase. Once the gauge reaches Lvl 1, the characters can immediately receive his or her turn without waiting for their actual turn. The battle system was one of the best found in a RPG at that time, in my opinion. The game was turn based and at times the battles seem to unnecessarily drag on, but, by the end, there is a lot of satisfaction in beating your foes. One thing that annoyed me was the length of its movie- like cut-scenes (think of the Metal Gear Solid series). To me, Metal Gear justified the long duration of its cut-scenes, as they served the story, but in Xenosaga the story seemed to go on forever. I hoped that there was a point to all of the dungeons but sadly that wasn’t always the case. The one in which Shion is scared of lightning, for example, seemed unnecessary to the plot. The game isn’t bad, as it has some nice points, but it fails in fully explaining some of the points in the battle system. I think there were some plot-holes in the story as well, even though I am not that good in spotting such things.
Wait for my following reviews for the two additional games in the Xenosaga series, as I share my thoughts on those games.
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