falcoski's Infinite Undiscovery (Xbox 360) review

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Shoot for the Moon

Tri-ace's JRPG Infinite Undiscovery performs well in combat, but overall, this over-ambitious game lacks connection with the stories characters and fails to deliver on a few gameplay levels.

IU takes the traditional turned-based RPG elements and substitutes the gameplay for real-time action. While the targeting system is easy enough to adjust to and the combos look pretty when chained together, the actual gameplay is a little dissapointing. Capell, the main character (and the only character you control) is limited to two buttons for main attacks. You can string a couple of main attacks together, then follow with a special attack or two to maximize your damage dealt and total hits. Other than that, that is Capell's bread and butter. He learns new special attacks as you progress throughout the game, but even still, those newly aquired skills are put through the same button pattern.
At times, it felt like I had three choices to make before strkiing--knock down combo, uprising combo, or the six-slash pattern. After one of those three, Capell could throw in a special.
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To heal party members, a quick "Y" button tap would do the trick to have a party member either cast a spell or throw a berry at a wounded member. It made healing quite easy but didn't always work for me. Most of the time during a boss fight, I would run around, circling my oppenent tapping the "Y" button to heal, hoping I wouldn't get hit, which wasn't that strategic...just running around...in a circle. I liked when it worked and hated when it didn't. The "Y" button did its job, but I wished that I could've the item distribution for the health and magic meters, maybe with a quick menu or a button assignment.

It was really satisfying when all of the party members would perform their specials simultaneously and have colorful spells raining down on an enemy while Capell hacked and slashed and danced--like an beautifully orchestrated, but deadly assault. Times like these took the combat to another level of fun, momentarily. And for the most part, the camera is usually zoomed out enough but can get cramped especially in small dungeon areas, but mainly stays out of the way. The basics for the combat system are could be considered easy to master for some, but there are plenty of enchantments to players (i.e, 5% increase of attack or an elemental enhancement) that make the combat a little more meaty. But without the enchantment addition, the combat system just does not feel that strategic. It lacks a real sense of  "O.K, I need to cast this spell, then heal, then special attack, then defend..." which is hard to do with a real time based game. Overall, Capell does a nice job with his teammates when a bombardment occurs of grabbing the attention of the player, and it's because the combat system shines so well with the involvment of the other characters that makes it a pleasant although simple experience.

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The combat was occasionally great, but the same could not be said about the voice-acting. Nevermind about the mouths never being in synch with the words spoken, but what made it dissapointing for me was the lack of connection I had with the characters. When I first met Aya, the young girl and Capell's love interest in the castle, I thought of our first interaction didn't flow well...and remained that way until the last couple hours of gameplay. A lot of the cut-scenes were almost unbearable at times because of the dialouge and presentation of the characters. I believe that some of the problems were the introductions of a lot of characters that Capell seldom talked with. It even states when you form your party before going out into a mission that a few players are "secondary." It just feels like the majority of them don't really belong. If Capell had a better connection with the main characters, the story could've been more explicit between the important ones. IU failed to do this an just slapped a bunch of characters that Capell really never associated with, and continued on with the terrib-tastic voice overs.

The only gripes I had with IU were the connections between characters and some gameplay decisions. I enjoyed the story (minus the voice-acting) and thought it tied together well in the end. The graphics are great to look at and the music score is lovely. I believe it is a decent JRPG that can be played through once. Give it a try, it took me 22 hours to complete without completing side missions.


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