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Xenogears (PlayStation) artwork

Xenogears (PlayStation) review

"SQUARE is most noted for it's excellent Final Fantasy franchise, one of the most popular franchises to ever hit the videogame circuit. However, they have expanded from just Final Fantasy in the past with excellent and popular games such as Chrono Trigger and Parasite Eve, and Xenogears is no exception. "

SQUARE is most noted for it's excellent Final Fantasy franchise, one of the most popular franchises to ever hit the videogame circuit. However, they have expanded from just Final Fantasy in the past with excellent and popular games such as Chrono Trigger and Parasite Eve, and Xenogears is no exception.

Xenogears tells the story of a man who cannot remember his past, or who he truly is. I know most of your original thoughts are going to be, haven't we seen this all before? SQUARE has used that same idea numerous times before, but while at first the story seems cliche, it soon becomes so much more. The story becomes very vast and involving, and while it does have all the cliches (the hero has to save the world, the love story, the ally with a mysterious past, etc) it uses them all to practically perfection telling a story suitable of most movies. Now, I won't delve into the story more than that, because it is something you really need to experience, and many of the plot twists you will never see coming, but won't be that farfetched either.

Xenogears possesses a typical RPG battle system in many aspects, as it uses the same turn based battle system which lets you pick attack, item, magic once the time-gauge fills up on your character. However, when you attack your character is able to execute a slew of combos depending on the moves you select. This works because each character has three different levels of attacks. ''Triangle'' marks your weakest attack, but you will be able to use it more often in that turn, while ''circle'' uses your most powerful attack. This works because each turn you have a certain amount of AP will say, and you can do as many moves as will fill up the number of AP. It isn't much more complicated than that, and the regular battle system is fairly confusing at first, but after an hour of battles you will get used to that.

However, you will not be fighting all your battles on land with weapons or your fists. Because each of your allies in battle, and yourself have the possession of a large magnetic robot known as ''Gears''. ''Gears'' are used to combat foes that are much larger than yourself. Now, battling with ''Gears'' is little different than battling on foot, seeing the same attack system applies, except instead of having a set amount to use per turn, ''Gears'' run off fuel, and you have only a set amount to use until your next time refueling. Using your strongest attack constantly may lead you to running out of fuel, so fighting requires you to think what tactic is best at defeating your foe with as little fuel as possible. The ''Gears'' are a nice addition to the RPG saga, because you can upgrade them with your money and will evolve at certain points in the game. Later on this will become your prominant method of battle, and foot battles will only become secondary.

The Xenogears world is fairly vast, and while at times it may be confusing where you are supposed to go next, the game is fairly linear and will lead you into the right direction after awhile of exploration. There are towns and large cities as typical in the genres, and at points you will find yourself beseiging a castle, and huge things like that. There are a few sidequests, specially on the second disc, but only one that really enhances the story, and even that isn't too important.

At times the game is going to be excruciatingly hard. The difficulty is much more intense than most of SQUARESOFT's games, and at times you will need to level up for the foot battles, and you will typically always need to have your Gears at the highest upgrade possible. At times you will be near to the point of breaking your controller, but you will keep on going because you want to know how everything ends, and it will be definitely worth it.

The game is about 60 hours long for the first time players, and it spans two discs. The biggest fault with Xenogears is that the second disc seemed to be extremely rushed for the games release, and the companies monetary problems. You won't have as much control as you did early on in the game, but luckily the first disc spans three quarters of the game.

Despite that one minor fault, the game has few other flaws. The combat system is superb and the story is intriguing. The game is vast, but not to the point that the world is almost too confusing. While at times, some will think it too linear, others will bask in the fact that you won't spend hours exploring for some small artifact or something. The characters will really test your emotions and the game will truly be entertaining when you are not preparing to break your controller of course, after a tough boss fight. As long as you don't get to aggravated easily, this is the ideal game for any RPG fan, for it delivers an excellent experience!

ratking's avatar
Community review by ratking (August 09, 2004)

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