Xenogears

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Nikkolas
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Xenogears

Post by Nikkolas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:24 am

So I played the Xenosaga Trilogy before I ever got to Xenogears. Well, I played Episode 1 and II anyway. I believe I first played Xenogears sometime in 2005 because I joined a board in that year and used the name "The Anti-Existence" which was inspired by Xenogears.

Anyway, Xenogears is a lot of things. It was a mass of ideas and ambition that was quite unlike anything before or after. Its Gnostic allegories were mixed in with all sorts of mecha references. (many of which went over my head - apparently the scene where Bart is rescued by his butler on a helicopter robot was actually an homage to some series called "Trider G7" I think). It is a story of love, destiny, and tragedy. It is no exaggeration to say it is probably my favorite JRPG of all time.

And yet...I don't blame anyone if they dislike it. For all I think it gets right, it has many missteps. It suffers from that common plague of JRPGs where the party is only useful for one subplot or mini-arc and then they lose all real relevance to the plot. Due to budget reasons, one of these character's arcs (Rico's) was completely abandoned before it could go anywhere. On top of all this, it has some fairly ugly graphics and I think they were pretty bad even for the time. Several eople I've met criticize its inability to maintain a tone and being a bit schizophrenic at times. And then of course there's the infamous Disk 2.

But despite all this, I love it anyway. I respect works that are ambitious. The writers, Tetsuya Takahashi, Soraya Saga and Masato Kato, put their hearts and souls into this game. Much like hideo kojima in Metal Gear Solid, whatever shortcomings they have as actual writers, I can forgive because I admire their passion. Plus, when Xenogears is on the ball, it has no peer. The breadth of its story and the world-building, the emotional connection between Fei and Elly, stuff like that suck me in every single time. They strike an intellectual and emotional chord that few others can.

Basically while the game can be bad, the good parts are pure gold and eclipse all of the negatives for me.

My favorite character is Grahf. Lacan is just a perfectly tragic figure and I sympathized with him very much. I also quite liked both Fei and Elly.

On a more objective note, even the game's haters will admit it has a superb soundtrack. Possibly Mitsuda's best effort ever.

So there ya go for initial topics of conversation.

1. Did you like the game?

2. Favorite characters?

3. Favorite songs?

P.S.

I recently watched Evangelion for the first time and, if you like it, that's fine. But I was not impressed. I certainly did not see how or why people consider Xenogears "bad Evangelion fanfiction" (actual quote) These comparisons have persisted ever since I became an XG fan almost a decade ago but I have no idea why now that I know about both series.

Kratos
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Re: Xenogears

Post by Kratos » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:35 pm

I think people only compared it to Eva (which I love - it's a brilliant, deeply personal deconstruction of mecha as a genre which really nails its own characters, but to each their own) because of the odd bit of religious symbolism mixed in with mecha. That's it, really. People are kinda dumb like that.

Anyways, Xenogears.

1) I've never finished it, but I enjoyed what I played well enough. The gameplay was unique and the world felt huge and the presentation of the story felt like just right mix of enthralling and obtuse. Interestingly, I don't remember having any problem with the graphics, and I never hit the infamous Disc 2. I think the most standout thing to me (on the bad side) was its AWFUL localisation - like, it seems translated competently enough, but the writing itself feels like it was done by a robot. There's rarely any sense of character in what people say, and I found that pretty jarring. I like the game quite a bit more than the 'Sagas, though, and maybe once I make it through my massive JRPG backlog I'll get around to trying it again.

2) I had to hit up the internet just for the NAMES of these people, it's been that long. I remember liking Citan and Ramsus.

3) Unfortunately, I have like zero recollection of the music in the game...which is strange, because I love Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Cross, another game that I flirted with briefly before leaving it uncompleted many years back, has my favourite game soundtrack of all time). Hmm.
"The beast of opportunity finds its master and soars through a shaken cosmos"

Quiddity
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Re: Xenogears

Post by Quiddity » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:14 am

Xenogears is my personal favorite video game of all time. Its story has never been surpassed by any other video game in my opinion, nor any anime I've seen for that matter. Its battle system definately could use improvements and the narrative structure (although not the actual story) of disc 2 is a total mess. Still, when it comes to plot, characters and music, the game can't be beat. I think you put it perfectly when you described it as ambitious; there's few if any games out there (outside of Xenosaga) which are as ambitious with the plot and characterization as this game is. I don't find the graphics ugly at all, I thought they were quite good and I enjoyed the style (2D character on 3D world) quite a lot. I ran a pretty big web site for it for quite a number of years.

Its unfortunate that things didn't work out too well on Xenosaga (although games I and III are still extremely good games), but Takahashi had a terrific game in Xenoblade from the other side of the spectrum (storyline and characterization nowhere near as good as Xenogears/Saga, but extremely fun gameplay and terrific world building). Its too bad he hasn't produced more games and I anxiously await whatever he puts out next.

2)Krelian, Citan, Fei, Elly, Grahf, heck I could go on. I like a number of the characters quite a bit. Even less significant ones like Bishop Stone

3) My Top 8 (because even 5 is too few)
The Treasure High Which Cannot Be Stolen
Small Two of Pieces
Gathering Stars in the Night Sky
Shattering Eggs of Dreams
Flight
June Mermaid
Grahf, Emperor of Darkness
The One Who is Torn Apart

Mitsuda leaving Xenosaga after the first game was quite the disappointment. Aside from Hepatica, which is an absolute masterpiece, there's very few tracks from the final 2 games in the series that are real standouts. Whereas Xenogears I could list practically the entire soundtrack and find very few mediocre tracks.

Regarding Evangelion, its funny you mention that as similar to you I saw Xenogears first and was actually dissappointed with Evangelion by the time I finally saw it (which was around a year and a half after I finished Xenogears). All I heard over and over was how Xenogears was a video game version of Eva or a huge Eva ripoff, yet I found Xenogears far superior. Evangelion's not bad (it is absurdly overrated), but it certainly is inferior to Xenogears in my eyes. While I think Xenogears does have some Eva homages, it homages a whole bunch of sci-fi (Childhood's End, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Soylent Green, Stars Wars, not to mention the entire mecha anime genre). Those comparisons exist because one of the key missions of the obsessed Evangelion fan is to proclaim that every single piece of sci-fi fiction that came after Eva was an Eva ripoff. ^_^
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In my search for justice, I created war. In my search for war, I created death. In my search for death... I have lost my soul.

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Flame-X
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Re: Xenogears

Post by Flame-X » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:48 am

I was introduced to Xenogears by my high school buddies way back in the PS2 era. Unfortunately I never got to play it because the game was rare and my friends would never let me borrow it. When the digital copy for the PS3 was announced, I immediately jumped onto the PSN store and played it which was around 2010. Now I see why my buddies say it's the best JRPG game they've played. It's been a while since I touched this game but here are my brief thoughts.

1. As a game, there were a lot of gripes I had as far as I can remember. I didn't mind the length but the gameplay was getting very repetitive. The random encounters were even worse than FF7. Like every 3-5 steps, random battle happens which is so annoying. I didn't mind the graphics for its time but playing the game on my HDTV was painful for my eyes (thank goodness for the vita). The difficulty on the boss battles were inconsistent and punishing. I think the final battle with Miang gave me the most trouble. While it's cool I can upgrade stuff on the mechs, it sucks that fuel regen or booster efficiency don't get any upgrades. My biggest frustration was the platforming parts, especially the Tower of Babel. This is the first game where I literally threw my controller across the room and almost rage quit. I don't remember how many times I fell off the platforms but it took me nearly 2 hours to finally reach the top. With all those gripes outta the way, what I really loved about the game is the story. The intro cut scene had me wondering for the longest time on how it was connected to all these events, but once I got half way through disc 2, my mind was blown. Xenogears is without a doubt the best plot I've encountered in any video game I played. The scope of the game's 10000 year timeline is insane. Sure disc 2 was like a massive info dump but I understand why it was rushed due to its lack of budget. I could go on and on how great the story is but I'll stop here.

2. This might be an obvious choice among Xenogears fans but Citan is my pick. This guy knows it all. He already a great party member but when he gets the sword, he's inseparable. Fei would be my 2nd choice due to how much of his character was fleshed out.

3. It's hard to pick since I loved that whole soundtrack. Premonition, Dark Dawn, Gem Which Cannot Be Stolen, The One Who Is Torn Apart, The One Who Bares Fangs at God, Awakening, and Where the Eggs of Dreams Hatch.

I need to replay this game.

Quiddity
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Re: Xenogears

Post by Quiddity » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:48 am

While it's cool I can upgrade stuff on the mechs, it sucks that fuel regen or booster efficiency don't get any upgrades.
Actually, both do get upgrades. The fuel regeneration has items out there that can boost the typical 30 per turn to 500. And the Speed Shoes accessory gives you automatic boost without the extra fuel usage. ^_^
MAHQ Staff - Dunbine, L-Gaim, Escaflowne, Ideon, Gasaraki, The Big O, Overman King Gainer, Zambot 3 and FLCL
In my search for justice, I created war. In my search for war, I created death. In my search for death... I have lost my soul.

Aki
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Re: Xenogears

Post by Aki » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:21 am

Ah..I remember this game...so much memories

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Bryant Molirse
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Re: Xenogears

Post by Bryant Molirse » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:45 am

In my opinion, one of the best rpgs ever made. Anyone who tries to compare it to Eva, obviously never paid attention while watching Eva, let alone, ever truly played this game.

History, when this game came out my brother bought it. After a week or so, I commandeered it when he lost some interest, and proceeded to play it through to the end enthralled. Was I disappointed in disc 2's linear path, hell yes. I know why it happened, and honestly I regret the fact they weren't allowed to keep working on the game. Considering the 3-4 disc length games of the same time period, I honestly feel like the game started to threaten the big dog FF release in quality, so they cut it off in development.

I have played the game many times since then, and still cherish my original copy.

I own all the Xenosaga games as well. Even if the graphics are not as good as they could be, these games still had some of the spark, even if somewhat diminished by the limitations of the old copyrights.
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Nikkolas
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Re: Xenogears

Post by Nikkolas » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:05 am

Xenosaga is good. Like many I don't much care for Episode 2 but overall the Saga Trilogy had some strengths that Xenogears lacked The entire playable cast remaining interesting adn relevant is the most obvious Pro for Saga of course. I just really wish Rico's subplot hadn't been forgotten about... If you've read Perfect Works, it's very detailed and interesting.

If nothing else, the Xenosaga Trilogy also provided us with great music. Not only did we get more of Mitsuda's genius, I was introduced to the brilliance of Yuki Kajiura.

And on an audio-related note, I've always considered the Xeno games to have some of the best dubbing around as well.

Overal I prefer Xenogears' plot because it just felt more...cohesive. Like when you learn the truth about Deus and humanity it makes sense because it was always supposed to lead to that point. Xenosaga underwent a lot of revision so as much as I enjoyed Episode 3, you can't help but get the feeling they just crammed everything in there. It's frankly amazing they did as well as they did in the end.

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