Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht Review
by, August 3, 2012 at 10:08 PM (1134 Views)
disgame. So good. READ:
Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille Zur Macht (The Will to Power) is a story-heavy JRPG by Monolith Software Inc, the same team that gave us Xenogears, a classic in many true gamers' books. Featuring a turn-based battle system with its own unique style, unbelievably beautiful and lengthy cutscenes, and a brilliant story behind the big show. The game is about a group of unlikely heroes who group together to solve the ancient mystery behind the relentless and vicious alien race; the Gnosis. They must uncover truths that may test their emotions, and overcome obstacles as they fight to know the secrets behind the universe. It sounds brief and a little vague, but you also get a sexy android named KOS-MOS to fight alongside the equally sexy Shion, and her interesting and diverse companions. We learn a lot about them and their past, presenting us with an epic and character development-filled adventure story.
Xenosaga isn't for every gamer. You need to love storytelling, keep an open mind with older videogames, and study the game's instruction manual in order to play efficiently. A brief and bare bones of a tutorial will give you the instincts on how to play, but many sections of gameplay aren't covered by the tutorial, and may be difficult to grasp without preparing before actually playing the game. You will also have to enjoy cinematics, and have a near-limitless amount of patience for this game. Sometimes things can get a little dull, but are shortly after picked up by a 20 minute+ cutscene that will knock you off your feet, due to its production values and impressive moments.
Its complex gameplay (mainly the character customization) is very detailed and you can really give your characters really unique abilities and weapons. This game follows the typical turn-based formula, in the style of Final Fantasy. However, the enemies appear in the explorable areas, and once you collide with them, you will trigger a battle sequence. No random encounters here, which adds some extra gameplay attributes like setting off traps, or evading the enemy entirely. You'll spend lots of time in the menu screen as well, which gives you detailed stat upgrade options, abilities, tech attacks, equipment customization and the whole deal. You even have mechs called A.G.W.S. you can pilot in battle, but unfortunately the game doesn't utilize them well and they're near useless. You can still have fun with them, if you wish.
The complicated gameplay (stat upgrading and such) is probably the biggest turn-off anyone should have from this game. It's really the only 'big deal' that may click with some and throw off others. Let's talk about the aesthetics. We've got some pretty lovely anime-styled graphics for 2003's standards. The music (some of which is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra) is really breathtaking and mood-setting, when you actually hear it. Most of the time while walking around in basic areas, you're only accompanied by silence, and the sound of your footsteps, and maybe the humming of the spaceship you're stationed on. Later in the game, the music kicks in and we get to visit some very atmospheric areas that feature a great soundtrack as we explore these location's depths.
Some minor complains I had that relate to multiple aspects of the game is, how many hidden items the game relies on you to find. If you don't find some of these items, you'll truly be having a brutal time with the enemy encounters, and may end up totally leveling up your characters out of whack. Following a guide is best to avoid this, as it provides incredibly helpful battle strategies and tells you how to get the best abilities, which keep the game balanced and always a great time. Also, more than half the cutscenes in this game are pre-rendered, seamlessly integrated into the game, almost un-noticeably. If you're not sure what that means, it means that the game uses actual video files to play cutscenes, rather than use the graphics we see in-game. These pre-rendered cutscenes look almost identical to the in-game graphic capabilities, but with some extra effects placed here and there. I find this lazy on the developers' part due to not utilizing the PlayStation 2 to its full potential, and relying on pre-rendered video clips that look barely better than the actual game to show us the story. It'd be fine with me if they looked far superior to the in-game graphics, but these are almost pointless.
-Among the best of JRPG stories to hit the PlayStation 2.
-Intense soundtrack performed, with some tracks performed by the wonderful London Philharmonic Orchestra, giving us a truly unimaginable score.
-Pretty smooth-looking visuals for the game's time. Some awkward animations and lip-sync aside, it truly shines with style.
-Some of the best cutscenes you'll find on the PlayStation 2. Hours of cinematic enjoyment are in store for you.
-Is truly a real RPG. Features all that you'd ask from one, mini-games, sub-plots and sidequests, detailed character customization, and memorable locations that will test your wit on occasion.
-Wonderful characters with mostly good voice-over performances.
-Battles are flashy and fun when you are successful.
-Pre-rendered video clips that serve as many cutscenes give off some nasty visual artifacts, and barely look any better than the actual game, which is disappointing. It's hard to not notice the pixelation these cause. Thankfully, they are near-seamlessly integrated into the game.
-Translation causes a portion of the dialogue's writing to be near-nonsense and oddly-worded, due to the obvious desperation to match the bad lip-sync.
-Some awkward and truly dumb moments on the characters' end. This may be because of poor localization and the result we have been given in English.
-Not very friendly for newcomers, and a guide/walkthrough is strongly recommended to follow while playing.
This game is absolutely brilliant, despite its small but noticeable flaws. Some of you may not care about the shortcomings, hopefully, and you'll be able to appreciate this game to a whole new degree. I grant this game a lovely 8.9/10.
Pasted from my GameSpot review, here.
Please leave some comments telling me how I did with my review, and your opinion on the game as well if you've played it.0 Thanks, 0 Likes