fatuous_waffle's Xenogears (PlayStation) review

great game, but only for the hardest of the hard core

With storytelling reminiscent of The Watchmen, and...  OK--I'll stop right there.  The Watchmen?  Really?  Look, I'm among the first guys to call Cloud emo, Tidus gay, and Advent Children ridiculous, but hear me out: Xenogears is one of those few games you can really nerd out on.  I've heard a rumor, but haven't actually seen it, that the game's main bad guy actually has pseudocode written for him in a companion book to the story arc.  Pseudocode is sort of a flowchart that maps out how a programmer is going to write a program.  Think about it for a moment.  Someone actually wrote a fake program for a bad guy as kind of a plot device.  That should give you some idea of how insane the world this game takes place in is. 

Fortunately, you don't need to be a programmer to understand the story, but you might need to be a philosopher.  Indeed, perhaps the star of the show is actually the story more than the gameplay.  Perhaps Xenogears was Metal Gear Solid 4 before MGS4 where the line between videogame and interactive book and/or anime got blurry and one could levy criticism as a result.  You're going to see a lot of reviews singing the praises of the plot, and probably recommending it simply because it spins a good tale.  Which it does.

But the question is: is it worth your money?  JRPG fans will find plenty to love about this game.  People who like their games more, y'know, gamey like me...perhaps not so much.  I loved all the giant robot action, as many quasi-otaku guys do, but the game remains inexorably a JRPG, which I don't necessarily like.  The game is so interesting, however, that I picked up the strategy guide and plowed my way through to the bitter end just because I wanted to know how the story concludes.  Had this been any given Dragon Quest game I would have thrown it in the trash within a couple of hours. 

One of my nerdy gaming fantasies is this game redone as a Devil May Cry-style action RPG with cel shading, or a series of manga.  Honestly, I don't view this game as a game, but a think piece.  And I think that's the crunch: how much damn sitting around reading dialogue can you tolerate?  How much of a difference is there between playing the game and reading the game script?  The gameplay seems like an interruption of what would otherwise be an incredible experience, even though I love some of the dungeons (Tower of Babel, anyone?) and I generally like the combat, thus the 4/5 stars.  But I just can't push it over that 4-star mark because as awesome as this game is, it's just not awesome enough.

0 Comments

Other reviews for Xenogears (PlayStation)

    The RPG that Final Fatansy 7 was meant to Be 0

    Xenogears is probably one of the best RPGs that I have played. Though sadly, I played the game almost a decade later. Reason why? It was because whenever I saw the game, I put off my purchase and got something else. It was a good thing that I wanted to play the game until I was more mature. Mentally mature that is. As for the game itself, it was one of those games that slowly sucked the players in. When I first played the demo, it was so cool that there were giant mechas in it. During that time,...

    3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.