Scouting Classics: Xenogears

July 6, 2012

/ by Tin Salamunic

"The first thing you'll notice about Xenogears is the visual distinction from Square's Final Fantasy games."

Xenogears was released in the middle of Squaresoft's golden RPG era. Between 1994 and 2003, Square found a way to manufacture one outstanding game after another; many Playstation owners missed quite a few of them. In less than ten years, the games they made included: Final Fantasy VI-IX, Front Mission 1-3, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy Tactics. Since Squaresoft fails to deliver such quality titles anymore, we have an opportunity to dig into the backlog!

The first thing you'll notice about Xenogears is the visual distinction from Square's Final Fantasy games. It has a completely hand-drawn look and the in-game cutscenes are fully animated. During on-foot battles, the characters are animated sprites, but when boarding the customizable mechs, you're presented with giant, incredibly detailed 3-d models. 

The characters have great depth and the cities that you visit have their own unique personalities. The game blends cyberpunk aesthetics with ancient ruins and cathedrals thrown into the mix. This game has everything you could want from an RPG: cool characters, a complex plot that deals with dark parts of human psychology, great vehicles, and challenging battles.

There are a few hiccups in the game's design. For one, the mech battles are extremely repetitive. Secondly, There's a limited supply of fuel and a limited amount of actions when you are in your mech; as a result some of the boss battles can make you feel like you are steadily degenerating, rather than having control of the situation. Overall, this is one of the most complex and original RPGs of Square's golden-era. It's also one of the best and that's quite an achievement. Finding this game shouldn't be too difficult. It's on the Playstation Network as a PSone classic for only $10. 

Review by: Ben Jelter | Reviewed on: Playstation

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