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athrun07's Xenosaga Tv Review

Xenosaga

Xenosaga tv Review

The Xenosaga series is composed of three episodes where all the titles are named after the books of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The story mainly uses the science fiction theme but has frequent allusions to mythology. The Xenosaga world is composed of "columns" and hosts more species aside from humans - they have cyborgs, androids, and more.

Credit: princessmeyrin023

Story & Characters

for Xenosaga II:

Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose isn't wholly on par with the original, but it retains a rich narrative and a lot of soul.
The Good: Intriguing and engaging storyline; improved battle system; great cast.
The Bad: Character development system stripped-down; short by rpg standards.

Xenosaga Episode II will adopt the basic game mechanics from Episode I, with some changes to improve general gameplay. The speed of the battle sequences will be faster, and the transition time from the adventure screen to the battle screen will be vastly improved. The greatest change from Episode I to Episode II is the graphics--the character models are much more realistic than before. Kos-Mos will no longer have her helmet, since its functions are now available inside of her. The reason Shion is no longer wearing glasses will be revealed in the game.

Rating: 8

Art

Your party members now unleash strikes on enemies according to a specific "zone" on that enemy, such as zone A, B, or C, as well as their ether "magic" attacks. All zones will do some damage, but each enemy has "weak" zones which, if they are struck in a certain order, will inflict break status on them. Breaking an enemy causes that attack to do greater damage, and if you use the boost command to give your party members initiative, you can chain attacks on vulnerable opponents for bonuses. Also, enemies in break can be hit into the air or onto the ground, at which point they can be flayed by party attacks for even greater injury. Each turn taken in battle tends to have a random attribute associated with it, so you can try and time your attacks for critical bars to get bonus damage or to get extra skill points. This sounds like it would make battles almost trivial, but the enemies on offer in Xenosaga Episode II are of a hardy sort. Mindless button mashing will likely get you a dead party of characters, particularly with bosses; careful usage of boosting and breaking are the keys to success. But that's not all.

A flashback sequence starts things off, with the soft-spoken, enigmatic young man named Chaos accepting a mission alongside a serious-faced Realian (android) named Canaan. They're being sent to the surface of Miltia, a world being wracked with destruction due to the near totality of the Realian population suddenly going berserk. Upon reaching the surface, they come into contact with what appears to be the only other individual still possession of his wits--Federation officer Jin Uzuki. Together, they set off to find their objectives: the URTVs, specially bioengineered teenaged boys with the power to stop a deadly form of energy by negating it. Matters start to heat up, and just when things are getting interesting, the story shifts to the present, and we rejoin the intrepid crew of Shion, KOS-MOS, MOMO, Ziggy, Jr., and their friends as they land on Second Miltia.

There are a number of factions jousting for advantage in the game, and the advantage they're positioning for is control of the original Zohar, the mysterious artifact that was sealed away on Old Miltia several years ago. The grim swordsman Margulis and his employers come into the fore, as well as the smiling young Wilhelm with his powerful associates. There are new characters on the side of "good" as well: Shion's brother Jin Uzuki finally makes his appearance as a master of Japanese swordsmanship that can't seem to decide on a steady job; and Canaan, the aloof Realian, also comes along for the ride. Much of the storyline explores and unmasks the relationships between various characters, such as the storied past of Jr. and Albedo, as well as some new revelations about MOMO and her creation, the source of tension between Shion and her brother, and so forth. Much of this game is character-driven, and so the events in Episode II seem mostly concentrated on developing these individuals and their relationships even further. Mind you, this isn't a bad thing--the rich cast is what drives this series, so the indulgence is justified.

Rating: 7

Sound

Unlike the sporadically heard, quality orchestral pieces in Episode I, the soundtrack to Episode II is largely meek and muted. The music used will often fit the scene, but softly, almost as an afterthought. The speech work is mixed, with some of the characters having voices that are particularly grating while others are quite decent. A distraction is that much of the time the lip-synching does not match with the English speech very well at all, and the cutscenes can feel out of whack.

Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose isn't wholly on par with the original, but it retains a rich narrative and a lot of soul. The battle system tweaks are a welcome addition, along with the updated look. Despite its shortcomings, fans of the series (or those fond of character-driven RPGs with a lot of wordy introspection) would not be remiss to give this game a try.

Rating: 8

Presentation

When wandering through Episode II's slick, sci-fi future, you'll still encounter enemies as entities visible on the screen. You can either attempt to avoid, engage, or ensnare them in a trap that you can activate nearby in some cases. You'll have to be ready to fight more often than not, as your foes are rarely parked with enough wiggle room to truly bypass them. Fortunately, the battle system has gone through some refinement, affording you a wide spread of options that you can use to fell even the most difficult of foes.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

7.83 (good)

Reviewed by athrun07, Jun 18, 2006

Comments

  1. RealityEX Jun 18, 2006

    What did u mean by short RPG standards? This game took longer for me to beat than episode 1. I mean there are so many side quests and the game features are a lot more complex and advanced. Oh well.

  2. shoujoboy Jun 20, 2006

    First commenting on the review. I'm not sure if it is because the proper headings didn't show up when you typed it up, or if they were ignored all together, but your descriptions don't always seem to match up with their respective category. For example, the graphics section. You make no real mention of the graphics, just more plot synopsis and a score. Maybe just a simple restructuring would be helpful.

    As for the subject matter, I tend to rate Xenosaga much lower. Thankfully it was much less in the way of cutscenes than its predecesor, but it was still slow and boring. Where I defintely have to disagree is the soundtrack. The soundtrack was one done by the great Yuki Kajiura. You usually only heard the really good ones once, but they were at least much better than Yasunori Mitsuda's work from Xenosaga I. Funny how I pretty much hated both games, yet I'm still excited for ep III and finally putting an end to it all.

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