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Wolf Kanno
02-23-2016, 08:52 PM
So SE is actually using the Xenogears IP for a small game, Monolith Soft released Xenoblade Chronicles X last Christmas, and Namco-Bandai was feeling out the fans last year to see if anyone wanted to see a Xenosaga HD Remaster for modern console; so we've been getting a lot of interest in Tetsuya Takahashi's Xeno franchises in the last year.

Anyone interested in revivals, sequels to Xenoblade, or how about that HD collection? So this thread is to discuss the various Xeno franchises and maybe discuss why the various titles have endured in the hearts of gamers despite them all being cult classics at best.

Fynn
02-23-2016, 08:56 PM
I want all the Xeno things

I want the HD collection so that I can finally experience Xenosaga properly

And I want more Xenoblades because the first one is the favorite game of all time

And an update of Xenogears would be nice as well

In general, the more, the better. It's a shame we'll never get to see all those other episode of the series Xenogears was originally supposed to be. It would have been so awesome to play

Pumpkin
02-23-2016, 09:18 PM
I love the Xeno series and I would play an HD remake. I would also love an updated Xenogears because while I LOVE the story, I can't play the game too much. It's too difficult and clunky for my tastes. I also quite enjoyed Xenoblade and plan to play Xenoblade Chronicles X someday. Xenosaga was an amazing series, and III is my favourite of the whole bunch.

I would love a new game tied in with those but not part of them. Like Xeno... cake idk

Forsaken Lover
02-24-2016, 01:03 AM
I have no interest in Xenobalde Chronicles or Xenobalde Chronicles X. XC already sounded like Takahashi had abandoned any attempts at more serious storytelling/characterization and I found an interview for XCX where he specifically said the game would have absolutely no in-depth or philosophical ideas. Plus, even fans of XC think XCX went too far and has an absolutely awful story. Basically, Tetsuya Takahashi makes Japanese Skyrim.

I miss Yasunori Mitsuda. He was a vital part of the Xeno experience and produced possibly the greatest JRPG OST ever with Xenogears and one ofthe best OSTs ever with Episode 1. I also miss Joanne Hogg, the singer for both of those games.
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I'd love a Xenosaga HD Collection but we fell woefully short of the numbers Namco wanted ibelieve so I'm sad to say that probably won't ever happen.

Do I want a Xenogears remake? I'm not certain. Xenogears is such a product of its time that it be hard to say if it could recapture the same feelings and ideas if reproduced nowadays, even if it was completed with better graphics and whatnot. I guess I'd just say no because I want to hold onto my memory of it. Remakes can tarnish those.

Mirage
02-24-2016, 02:59 AM
most of them are pretty bad, actually, except xenoblade 1

Wolf Kanno
02-24-2016, 04:13 AM
I have no interest in Xenobalde Chronicles or Xenobalde Chronicles X. XC already sounded like Takahashi had abandoned any attempts at more serious storytelling/characterization and I found an interview for XCX where he specifically said the game would have absolutely no in-depth or philosophical ideas. Plus, even fans of XC think XCX went too far and has an absolutely awful story. Basically, Tetsuya Takahashi makes Japanese Skyrim.

Yeah, but he's also said he will focus a bit more on story the next project due to feedback on XCX. It doesn't help that his wife Soraya Saga wasn't hired to help him on the Xenoblade titles, and she's basically the other half of the classic Xeno experience.

Though I actually felt Xenoblade had a stronger setting and cast than most JRPGs lately. It may not have been the next coming of Gears or Saga, but it was certainly better than what we have been getting from Japan. It still also dealt with some interesting themes that made it obvious it was a Takahashi piece so I wouldn't necessarily brush the plot off just yet. Can't say anything about Chronicles X, but that game was always meant to be more of a traditional hard Sci-Fi series, hence why I believe they hired an actual author of Sci-Fi anime to help with the script.



I miss Yasunori Mitsuda. He was a vital part of the Xeno experience and produced possibly the greatest JRPG OST ever with Xenogears and one ofthe best OSTs ever with Episode 1. I also miss Joanne Hogg, the singer for both of those games.

Well Joanne Hogg may not have returned but Mitsuda did compose the ending theme for Xenoblade which is actually one of his better songs.

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I'd love a Xenosaga HD Collection but we fell woefully short of the numbers Namco wanted i believe so I'm sad to say that probably won't ever happen.

I wasn't terribly surprised considering the franchise kind of bled away fans as the series went on. It's a shame though, because it would have been a great excuse to get the old team back together.

Vyk
02-25-2016, 01:39 AM
I loved Xenoblade Chronicles way more than Xenosaga. And especially in comparison to other JRPGS. It kinda sorta had real drama. Someone in Japan finally got it. Deaths that mattered in a way I haven't seen done since the 32 and 16 bit generations. Some things may have been light and campy here and there but I never felt like they were being melodramatic. I honestly felt more melodrama from Xenosaga. But that may have been the dubs fault

Fynn
02-26-2016, 02:21 PM
Yeah, Xenoblade Chronicles is kinda my favorite game of all time.

I really need to get a WiiU for XCX :hyper:

Mirage
02-26-2016, 02:42 PM
Take it easy. It's not nearly as good. Get it if you can get it cheap, i guess, but don't put a lot of money into it.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 02:42 PM
No but you don't understand

I don't care if people don't like its story

I NEED THIS GAME INSIDE ME NOWWW!!!!

Mirage
02-26-2016, 02:48 PM
It's not just the story. mech combat isn't nearly as refined as ground combat, and you have to do a huge portion of the endgame in a mech. Because of this, it's not nearly as fun to actually play as XC1 either. The music is also not as great, and the world is very pretty, and has potential to have very rich lore, but the game gives you absolutely 0 lore whatsoever. All the things that could have been interesting about the world are not touched upon even in the slightest, and the ending is the worst kind of sequel bait that i have seen since FF13-2.

Get a second hand WiiU in some years and find the game in the bargain bin, or on an e-shop sale. Or wait and see if the NX gets backwards compatibility and get the game there.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 02:50 PM
Well, I've listened to the soundtrack for the longest time and I love it, and you spent the latter part of Xenogears in the Gears too, so I don't mind that

DO NOT TRY TO DISSUADE ME MIRAGE I NEED THIS AND I KNOW WHAT I'M ABOUT

Mirage
02-26-2016, 02:52 PM
It's not about minding mechs or not, it's just that mech combat isn't actually good. It feels like something they decided to put into the game not because it adds anything to it, but because they have some sort of infatuation with mechs because of an overdose of gundam in their teenage years. Aside from the "lol im in a kool mech" feeling you get for a short while, it's just combat that is much less refined, less balanced and less fun than ground combat.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 02:53 PM
It's more like Takahashi has been a mech fan for all his lives and this was meant to be his mech game

LEAVE ME ALONE MIRAGE I WANT TO PLAY THIS!!!!!!

Mirage
02-26-2016, 02:55 PM
Yet the best game he's ever made is one where you don't pilot them. How odd.

I'm not saying you shouldn't play it, I'm saying you shouldn't buy a WiiU just to play it. The console is obscenely overpriced for the hardware it's got, and Nintendo has been completely passive when it comes to pricing their console according to its demand and what their competitors offer. The console's worth perhaps 2/3rds of what it is selling for at most nowadays. Just wait for the NX.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 02:56 PM
But there are people in mechs anyway, so it counts

Mirage
02-26-2016, 02:58 PM
it doesn't have two completely different modes of fighting that completely mess up the balance and sense of progression in the game, so it doesn't count.

Having mechs just as a mode of transportation would have been much better for the gameplay.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 03:03 PM
Yep, still sounds exactly like Xenogears. It's well loved for its clunkiness. The awesomeness of riding a huge mech usually outweighs any design flaws

Mirage
02-26-2016, 04:35 PM
mechs in xenogears were fucking awful

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 04:40 PM
It's well loved for its clunkiness.

Wait, clunkiness is a good thing?!

Fynn
02-26-2016, 04:41 PM
mechs in xenogears were smurfing awful

They were. But they were damn awesome at the same time.

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 04:45 PM
Nah it was just pretty awful

Fynn
02-26-2016, 04:46 PM
But you're in a mech punching things, so it's still awesome

Mirage
02-26-2016, 05:14 PM
there are much better games to play if you want to be in a mech and punch things

zone of the enders, for example. those games are even on ps3 in hd now

Fynn
02-26-2016, 05:15 PM
Are they RPGs?

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 05:16 PM
Fynn is the sort of person who would find the latest Transformers movies to be fantastic pieces of cinematography.

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 05:16 PM
I've been trying to get sharky to play Xenogears because I LOVE the story but I can't with the gameplay. I can't.

Mirage
02-26-2016, 05:16 PM
don't change the rules! it's the punching in a mech that is important here.


I've been trying to get sharky to play Xenogears because I LOVE the story but I can't with the gameplay. I can't.

you and me both. it's pretty awful

Vyk
02-26-2016, 05:29 PM
I'm with Fynn. I'm interested in the game but on the fence do to the story progression and implementation. Nothing I've heard about the mech combat has turned me off. People hate mech combat in Xenogears and I loved mech combat in that game

Fynn
02-26-2016, 05:35 PM
Fynn is the sort of person who would find the latest Transformers movies to be fantastic pieces of cinematography.

No :stare:

Have you even played Xenogears, brah?

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 05:37 PM
This thread isn't selling it to me, I have to admit.

And Transformers is mechs punching things. The latest ones even had Dinosaur bots, which anyone under the age of seven might find exciting.

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 05:39 PM
I'd watch a Let's Play, honestly

Fynn
02-26-2016, 05:41 PM
Xenogears is about God and humanity and a romance lasting ten millenia with lots of truly profound themes of gnosticism. Mechs are just a cherry on top of this incredibly ambitious, unique game that has one of the best stories in video gaming.

Also, transformers are not mechs, you ignorant pleb. Michael Bay has nothing to do with anime mecha

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 05:45 PM
Xenogears is about God and humanity and a romance lasting ten millenia with lots of truly profound themes of gnosticism... AND MECHS!!!!

Are the mechs an honest inclusion, or were they included just to appeal to the inner child of people who think mechs punching each other is the coolest thing ever?

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 05:45 PM
They are very story relevant and a big part of the setting and game

Doesn't change the fact that they're awful to use

THE DARN THINGS CAN FLY WHY DO I HAVE TO AWKWARDLY JUMP UP THESE HORRIBLE, TINY BLOCKS

Mirage
02-26-2016, 05:46 PM
Well, Vyk, did you play Xenoblade, and did you like it? If so, what did you like about it?

Fynn
02-26-2016, 05:47 PM
Xenogears is about God and humanity and a romance lasting ten millenia with lots of truly profound themes of gnosticism... AND MECHS!!!!

Are the mechs an honest inclusion, or were they included just to appeal to the inner child of people who think mechs punching each other is the coolest thing ever?

What Pumpkin said. They're a big part of the lore and work really well with the concept

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 05:52 PM
Sorry if I sound sceptical. It's just when I think of mechs, I honestly think about boys playing with robots, going 'pew' 'pew' and think 'explosions' would be a sound career choice.

Mirage
02-26-2016, 05:53 PM
Too bad there is nearly no lore, and their implementation ruins other, more well-designed aspects of the game.

I wouldn't have minded if they were optional, but a large amount of the endgame content absolutely depend on them. They also break the flow of the game all the time, because:

The first half of the game, the game teaches you that it's fine to take risks, it's fine to do a lot of trial and error, and failing will respawn you pretty close to where you were before with no downsides. Then suddenly, mechs come into the picture, and the slightest miscalculation means that you not only have to pay money to replace the lost mech, but that you have to stop everything you were doing, go back to your hangar, fiddle with menus, then travel back to whereever it was you were before you can continue doing what you were actually interested in doing.

They're also an enormous money sink to upgrade, and you practically end up with characters that have close to 30 item slots that you need to keep track of, upgrade, and compare to hundreds of items. Now, I love having customisation options, but nearly 30 item slots for at least 4 characters leads to an enormous money sink, that again breaks the flow of the game if you want to keep your gear up to date. This is further expanded by lots of gear having up to 3 customisation slots each. It just starts getting boring after a while, as the UI for changing and comparing items leaves a lot to be desired.

Fuel consumption is another thing that breaks the flow of the game. You have to regularly stop whatever you are doing to fast travel to your barracks and spend a certain currency to refuel in order to be able to keep using them, then fast travel to the closest FT point to where you were before. It adds no actual difficulty to the gameplay itself, just another annoyance that you get very tired of after a while.

XC and the first half of XCX has a strong focus on letting you figure things out on your own, with automatic checkpoints and no death penalties if you choose a bad approach, and allows you to do everything at your own pace and retry as many times as you want, while still offering a lot of actual challenge in combat. The way mechs are implemented is sort of like taking one step forwards and 4 steps back.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 05:54 PM
Sorry if I sound sceptical. It's just when I think of mechs, I honestly think about boys playing with robots, going 'pew' 'pew' and think 'explosions' would be a sound career choice.

A reminder, transformers are not mechs, they are robots. Mechs are when the humans pilot them, and they're a staple of anime, and since the 90s they've all been about things like the horrors of war, humanity's hubris, what makes us human, etc.

And Mirage, WE GET IT! YOU DON'T LIKE XCX! I STILL WANNA TRY IT VERY BAD LALALALA

Vyk
02-26-2016, 06:05 PM
Well, Vyk, did you play Xenoblade, and did you like it? If so, what did you like about it?
Oh I'm not gonna lie. The combat was surprisingly good. And I loved fighting. But I don't need it to be that good. I really got into the game because I loved the story and characters and drama and humor. All done well. And I get no sense XCX does that stuff much

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 06:05 PM
Sorry if I sound sceptical. It's just when I think of mechs, I honestly think about boys playing with robots, going 'pew' 'pew' and think 'explosions' would be a sound career choice.

A reminder, transformers are not mechs, they are robots. Mechs are when the humans pilot them, and they're a staple of anime, and since the 90s they've all been about things like the horrors of war, humanity's hubris, what makes us human, etc.

I still think the same, just replace 'robots' with 'mechs', and replace 'pew pew' to 'OMG I'M INSIDE THE THING WATCH ME CRUSH THE ENEMY'.

Really, anything that mankind has made can be used to explore the 'horrors of war', 'humanity's hubris' type ideas.

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 06:08 PM
It really is an excellent story if you enjoy things like philosophy, psychology, Christianity, Gnosticism, mixed with sci-fi. It's very layered and presents some interesting concepts. Some of it is pretty out there and odd, but overall it's very complex and in-depth for a video game story and I think it's pretty great. The mechs have some srs stuff, not just wow crush stuff lol type of thing and they're a pretty integral part of the plot. They even set some of the first main events in motion and it's something that's taken very seriously

Mirage
02-26-2016, 06:09 PM
Well, Vyk, did you play Xenoblade, and did you like it? If so, what did you like about it?
Oh I'm not gonna lie. The combat was surprisingly good. And I loved fighting. But I don't need it to be that good. I really got into the game because I loved the story and characters and drama and humor. All done well. And I get no sense XCX does that stuff much

The story in XCX is laughable compared to XC. The characters are less developed and instead you get two dozen pretty shallow party members to choose between, but no good interface to switch between them. You have to track each and every on of them them down in the field to add them to your party, including when you just want to swap them in to move gear from them to someone else. The combat is comparable to XC on foot, but the ground combat becomes less and less balanced as the game gives you stronger and stronger mechs, and eventually all encounters are either balanced for mech combat and really annoying (or downright impossible) to do on foot, or designed for foot combat and therefore possible to obliterate from orbit with a single strike with a mech. Boring.

Here's another fun thing about mech combat:
Some enemies must be fought in the air at high altitude. If you perform a topple on them, they start falling. As they fall, the enemies move out of combat range, and the enemies despawn, only to respawn at their original position with full health, while the fuel you used in that battle still is lost.

Even more fun is it if the enemy topples you, make you fall out of combat range, only for the battle to once again restart with the enemy at full health. This also often happens if your mech gets destroyed (even if the three party members' mechs are still working) and you start falling down faster than the enemy pursues you (if it chooses to do so at all).

Eventually, you run out of miranium (because the storage limit for this resource can be pretty low) which makes it impossible for you to refuel your mechs in the barracks, forcing you to sit around and wait for the next batch of miranium to come in from your mining probes, instead of actually doing what you wanted to do in the game.

I actually liked (loved, even) the first half of the game, and even managed to ignore many of the problems with mechs allthe way towards the last chapter, where all the shortcomings just started stacking up and annoy me enormously as i tried to do side combat in mechs. Well, that, and also the fact that i started to slowly realize that the game would end up not touching upon even *some* of the actually interesting things about the world we were on.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 06:11 PM
Sorry if I sound sceptical. It's just when I think of mechs, I honestly think about boys playing with robots, going 'pew' 'pew' and think 'explosions' would be a sound career choice.

A reminder, transformers are not mechs, they are robots. Mechs are when the humans pilot them, and they're a staple of anime, and since the 90s they've all been about things like the horrors of war, humanity's hubris, what makes us human, etc.

I still think the same, just replace 'robots' with 'mechs', and replace 'pew pew' to 'OMG I'M INSIDE THE THING WATCH ME CRUSH THE ENEMY'.

Really, anything that mankind has made can be used to explore the 'horrors of war', 'humanity's hubris' type ideas.

It's just that anime mechs have evolved in a different way and are currently much more associated with psychological navel gazing thanks to one particular series that shall not be named, while transformers have been tainted by The Bay.

Seriously, what's so wrong with someone building this big story by incorporating mechs into it? Play the game yourself and come back to me then, we'll see if you've changed your mind :p

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 06:12 PM
Once you get a mech, why would you want to fight on foot?

Fynn
02-26-2016, 06:13 PM
Well, in Xenogears you had to conserve fuel

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 06:15 PM
Plus the fact that they were AWFUL

It's a shame what I'm hearing about the new Xenoblade. I want to try it but I hate mechs for the most part, especially in Xenogears. Oh well

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 06:15 PM
So which Xeno game is considered the best, then?

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 06:16 PM
Depends what you're looking for. They're all similar but different. I like the Saga games the most, followed by Xenoblade, follwed by gears just because of the gameplay

Mirage
02-26-2016, 06:21 PM
Once you get a mech, why would you want to fight on foot?

Because the foot combat is better balanced, offers more variety, and allows for more strategic gameplay.

Mechs are better at dispatching enemies, in the same way that launching a nuke is an easier way to subdue your enemies in a war. Sure, it's great if you're a general or president in an actual war, but it doesn't make for fun gameplay in a game that is made for entertainment.

Most of the time, mech gameplay in XCX boils down to make sure your dps is insane enough to kill them before it breaks one or two of your mechs. If your mech breaks, go back to your barracks, pay 500k and try again with an even better weapon or hope for better luck. Repeat until out of money or enemy is dead.


So which Xeno game is considered the best, then?

Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii has the best gameplay, very unique game world with lots of lore and give you a strong sense of wonder. Music is some of the best I have heard in any game ever.

It is not similar to xenogears or even xenosaga except maybe thematically to some degree.

Mirage
02-26-2016, 06:28 PM
So which Xeno game is considered the best, then?

Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii has the best gameplay, very unique game world with lots of lore and give you a strong sense of wonder. Music is some of the best I have heard in any game ever.

It is not similar to xenogears or even xenosaga except maybe thematically to some degree.

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 06:32 PM
I actually have an Nintendo Wii! What luck!

I still need to finish Tales of Xillia, my second Dragon Age playthrough, SMT: IV... but yeah, I'll look into it one of these days.

Mirage
02-26-2016, 06:36 PM
I actually have an Nintendo Wii! What luck!
No, actually. The Wii version was made in very limited numbers and they're impossible to find outside of ebay price gougers.

You can buy it on the WiiU e-shop for 15 pounds however, or get the N3DS version for a bit more.

Or you can emulate it on a PC. The Wii is pretty easy to emulate.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 06:37 PM
They're all great for different reasons

Gears is a classic PS1 RPG with a world map and everything. It's the most FF-like of them all. It has a really ambitious story and is also very long, and I highly recommend you start with this.

I've only played a bit of Xenosaga. It's similar to FFXIII in that you have very, VERY linear gameplay and super long cutscenes. It's kind of a reinterpretation of Xenogears' concepts storywise and is also pretty excellent, from what I've played. I think you appreciate it more when you get to see the nods to Xenogears.

Xenoblade Chronicles is an open-world RPG that really makes you want to go out there and explore. While the themes aren't as heavy as in Gears or Saga, it still has a great story with memorable characters, and you can see it's still a Takahashi game. Probably the most accessible, and my personal favorite game of all time, though I do think you're better off checking out the other two first ;)

Mirage
02-26-2016, 06:39 PM
Xenosaga's gameplay made me want to commit seppuku with my dualshock controller.

I'm sure there is a good story in there, and i know the music is great, but damn. It's just not good at being a game. At all.

I like RPGs, I love sci-fi, and i'm extremely weak for hot robot chicks. You'd think XS would be a perfect match for me, but it just isn't.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 06:40 PM
The combat system was pretty great, IMO. Very strategic. Different strokes for different folks :monster:

Mirage
02-26-2016, 06:42 PM
I'd have to be very strategic to drive a real life car with a digital gamepad too. Still not a great idea.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 06:43 PM
That's a weird metaphor but okay

Mirage
02-26-2016, 06:45 PM
metaphors are my disability

i'll take "weird" over "terrible" any day

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 06:54 PM
I think he means the combat is very... unmanoeuvrable? Clunky? Hard to get to grips with?

Mirage
02-26-2016, 07:01 PM
well from what i've heard, the general consensus is that XS1 had bad combat, XS2 had worse, but XS3 actually had good combat.

I'd buy a HD port on PS4 if they improved on the first two games, but not until the price dropped by a lot.

Scotty_ffgamer
02-26-2016, 08:04 PM
I actually quite liked Xenosaga 1's combat. It's been a while since I've played though, and I didn't have much rpg experience when I first played it so that might contribute to it. Why do people usually see the first game's combat as bad?

The Xenosaga series is probably my favorite of the Xeno series, although Xenoblade is close behind. That could change if I ever actually beat Xenoblade. I still haven't ever beaten Gears and really need to get around to doing that.

Xenosaga is extremely linear compared to the openness of Xenoblade. It's kind of surprising how much I like it compared to FF XIII (which I enjoyed). I think I just really like the more sci-fi setting of Saga, and I just really enjoyed the overall story.

Forsaken Lover
02-26-2016, 08:40 PM
Jesus Christ, the most activity I've ever seen in a thread on here in years and I miss all of it.

Gear combat sucks, plain and simple. It's not too bad to start off with but it gets very tedious, especially by the end where they force you to only use gears. On foot combat was infinitely better.

Xenosaga III had the best robot of any Xeno game I've played.

Xenosaga 1's combat is decent. It's very reminiscent of Xenogears ie. you spam Tech Attacks just like you spammed Deathblows. But I don't see any reason to call it bad beyond that.


P.S.
Transformers was never actually good or deep, Bay didn't change anything there.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 08:48 PM
I was never a fan of transformers and I never claimed they were deep. I just heard it has nothing to do with the feel of the source material :p Transformers Animated was pretty fun tho

Mirage
02-26-2016, 08:56 PM
Jesus Christ, the most activity I've ever seen in a thread on here in years and I miss all of it.

Gear combat sucks, plain and simple. It's not too bad to start off with but it gets very tedious, especially by the end where they force you to only use gears. On foot combat was infinitely better.


You know something's true when Forsaken Lover and Mirage agree on it.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 09:12 PM
Nah, you're the two weird controversial opinion guys, so that's not saying anything :p

(Jk I love you both)

Mirage
02-26-2016, 09:20 PM
well, someone's gotta look past the surface of things.

and it's always just one of us that has a controversial opinion while the other doesn't, so this time it's definitely not controversial

Wolf Kanno
02-26-2016, 09:45 PM
Here's the games in a nutshell. Pardon grammar because I'm in a hurry.

Xenogears is an ambitious classic PS1 game that was one of the first RPGs to utilize an actual 3D world with 2D spites. The game revolves around Fei Fong Wong, an amnesic man brought to the little country town of Lahan under mysterious circumstances. When a battle being waged by the two neighboring nations spills into his town, Fei makes the choice to jump into one of the Gears (giant robots) which ends up being pretty disastrous for everybody. Fei is forced to leave and goes on a journey to discover who he is which it ends up connecting to the 10,000 year history of the planet and God. Honestly the story and characters for this game are the main selling point and I do feel it's one of the best stories from the genre.

The gameplay comes in two flavors, ground combat and mecha combat. For the most part they work the same in terms of UI but function differently. You character has ability points that can be spent on a combination of Light, medium, and heavy attacks (if you've played Chrono Cross you'll understand) which can unlock special finishing moves called Deathblows when used enough. AP not used can also be stored to create strings of deathblows as well. In addition to this, you have traditional magic as well, though buff/debuff is more useful than offensive. Gear combat works the same except your Gears have fuel instead of AP and their combo/deathblow system is much simpler. Fuel has to manually be recharged unlike AP and Gears can't be healed by magic (well with one exception) unless you use a special accessories that heals your gear in exchange for a certain percentage of your fuel. So Gear combat requires a bit more strategy works more like a traditional RPG resource marathon. Gears also utilize deathblows but they are based on the ones your characters have actually learned. Dungeons are fully 3D and do involve some platforming which is where Gears age really comes in. As an early 3D title by Square, it hasn't aged as well and there is a particular dungeon that tends to make people swear this game off. Also combat falls into the "easy random encounters, ridiculously hard boss battle" formula as some of the ground battles involve pretty monstrously overpowered villains and Gear combat loves marathon boss battles, whereas random encounters can often be too easy. Still I appreciate the use of platforming as a mechanic and the game has some really clever puzzle and dungeon layouts that use the 3D aspect well even if I'm a minority on that opinion. The game is just a bit clunky compared to modern standards.

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Xenosaga is bit harder to break down, the trilogy offers different quality depending on the entry. Xenosaga is a sort of reimagining/prequel to Gears, set about 5000 years in the future of our world. Mankind has conquered space but lost Earth in the process and mankind is now dealing with a strange alien presence called the Gnosis. They are intangible beings that exist on another plane of existence but they have the means to interact with human and harm them. Luckily science has prevailed and humanity is poised to be able to fight back. Shion is the head of a special R&D division for Megacorp Vector Industries who is building the first fully robotic android named KOS-MOS, and anti-Gnosis device the Federation hopes touse to fight back the Gnosis. When the planet Ariadne mysteriously disappears, Shion and her staff have to go along with the Federation ship to investigate in hopes KOS-MOS will be ready for something... it soon becomes clear the whole mission might be the work of different organizations and special interest groups as the ship is poorly armed for the mission and the mission changed it's objective once a mysterious monolith was recovered. Shion and KOS-MOS journey leads them across the colonized galaxy and deals with political intrigue, the nature of humanity and even God. This is pretty much all I will say about the story since the trilogy continues the same story. The game has good characters and strong themes but the writing is a bit off depending on entry. Episode 1 has a really slow pace and ends abruptly, Episode 2 has mixed pacing and writing with the first half of the game being slow but tells a good story and the second half feels rushed. Episode 3 has pretty strong writing but kind of rushes through the whole plot giving one bombshell after another as it tries to complete the story within the games time frame.

Gameplay differs between entries. Episode 1 involves a battle system that takes its cues from Gears. Characters have AP and can perform combination of attacks to perform Techs which are the games equivalent of Deathblows. Differences come from combos being split by physical vs. ether/magic instead of the light/medium/heavy of Gears and Cross, also Tech/deathblows are assigned to certain combos instead of just being specific combinations. Techs can be upgraded as well and unlike Gears, they have the ability to target groups instead of being purely single target. It sounds complicated but it's actually pretty easy once you start using them. Characters also learn magic abilities and their is a customization mechanic with high abuse factor that allows you to learn the s[special bonus effects of armor and accessories which you can then equip in addition to your one accessory slot. There are mecha in the game called AGWS which have a very lite-Front Mission/Armor Core feel to them with different parts being able to be mixed in and weight actually being a factor. Sadly, AGWS can be quickly outshine by abusive character customization. Dungeons are more linear but add a cool mechanic where your character can destroy special containers on the field around enemies that allow you to avoid fighting them or conferring up bonuses during battle.

The games best mechanic which thankfully is retained in most entries is the Boost/Turn System. Basically every round of battle cycles through four or five bonuses such as raising critical hits, raising Boost Gauge, double XP, etc... so it's important to make sure your characters get their turns during a beneficial bonus while the enemy turn lands on a less useful turn. Like FFTactics or FFX, you can see turn order and see where these bonuses land for each characters turn. You have a boost gauge which when filled up be allowed to let that character to take their turn next so you can effectively control turn order and make sure the enemy never gets too many advantageous in battle, of course the bad guys can do this as well and they even get a special counter-Boost which can override your own so it becomes important to make sure the computer doesn't get the Boost+ bonus too often or they'll take multiple turns in a row which is bad news for your party. This system gives all of the games a very cool strategic element to combat.

Episode 2 combat is similar to FFXIII, in fact I'm pretty sure Toriyama's combat team pretty much lifted the entire concept of their battle system from this game. Basically we're back to combos like gear but their are no deathblows and attacks are separated by High and Low attacks. Every enemy has a specific combo they are weak to and if performed properly, the enemy guard is broken allowing the party to deal extra damage to them. In addition, certain character attacks can actually create a Down or Up effect that either launches the enemy into the air or smashes them into the ground allowing you to deal even more damage. So combat revolves around breaking enemy guards and then launching or smashing them to get maximum dame. Of course these effects only last until the end of the round but you can make the round last longer by utilizing the Boost system mentioned above, allowing your whole party to string together group combos on enemies. It works really well in boss battles, especially since they're built around countering these types of strategies and requires some planning but the system doesn't work too well in random battles due to enemies having high health that just drags the battles out longer than necessary. Customization is also a downgrade as the game not only removed equipment, but characters now all share a skill pool and lose most of their individuality in combat. There are Dual-Techs in the game that serve as Tech/Deathblow expires but they require too much set-up and in the end are not as useful as a good use of combos much like how Full ATB Bar moves are kind of useless overall in XIII.

Mecha are replaced with the E.S. units which serve a story and game purpose like the Gears but they have little customization and they are pretty basic. They're only nice element being that their combat works a bit more like Episode 1 combat giving you a break from the combo system.

Episode 3 is a bit odd and basically tries to merge the combat mechanics of the previous two games into one which ultimately makes for one of the best systems in the series. You still break guards but no longer need to perform multi-party combo/boost moves to scratch off 10% of an enemies health and characters are again individualized with magic and skill based attacks returning and actually being useful in combat. Each character also has two skill trees to go down that makes them functionally different like making chaos either focus on breaking guards or becoming more of a black mage type character. E.S. combat is more robust with better customization and works closer to Episode 2's basic combat system but damage algorithms make combat less of a chore and keeps the boss battles pretty epic. Sadly, it's been ages since I played this entry so I can't remember the specifics of gameplay as well as I used to.

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Xenoblade Chronicles is an MMO-style single player RPG set on the bodies of two dead giant gods, one organic (Bionis), the other machine (Mechanis). Since their fateful battle that killed them, life has emerged on their bodies and have continued the war between organic and machine. the Monado, is the sword the god of the Bionis used in the fateful battle but now shrinked down to human size. It is the only weapon powerful enough to destroy the Mechon that invade their world. In the past a hero named Dunban fought off the last Mechon invasion into the Bionis using the Monado but lost the ability to use his right arm. Year later, Shulk grows up in Colony 9 and studies the Monado. He's friends with Dunban and his sister Fiora and they live peacefully at the foot of the Bionis. When the Mechon attack Colony 9, Shulk takes up the Monado and fights back but loses many people he loves, making him vow revenge and go on a journey to stop the Mechon. In his journey he discovers that the Monado grants many powers, most important, the power to see the future. These visions haunt Shulk who learns he can change the future by denying the vision but it makes his journey more hazardous as he races against time to stop the worst outcome. Shulk's journey will lead him through political intrigue, the true history of his world and the ancient war between the gods and to God itself. Noticing a theme here yet?

The gameplay works like an MMO with characters all having particular roles in combat and skills which use cooldowns instead of standard MP. Skills confer bonuses based on where you attack the opponent making positioning a core mechanic to combat. Each character also plays rather distinctively making it pretty fun to try out all of the party members. The game has a heavier reliance on exploration and MMO-style fetch quests which is a welcome change from the very linear Gears and Saga. Each town has people you can befriend through quests and helping them unlocks more quest which involves some fun story quests that help flesh out the world. The Visions also play a role in combat, as Shulk will gain visions of a super attack a Boss or Mark will perform that will kill a party member; at which point the player has a certain amount of time to prevent it from happening. I'm sure someone will give better details because this is all just the most fundamental aspects of the gameplay.

In terms of gameplay, from best to worst

Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenosaga Episode 3
Xenosaga Episode 1
Xenogears
Xenosaga Episode 2

In terms of story
Xenogears
Xenosaga series
Xenoblade Chronicles

Not to say that Xenoblade doesn't have a great cast or story, but it's a much lighter affair to the more heavy handed mature themes tackled in Gears or Saga. Even Takahashi has said that XC was meant to have a simpler Shonen Jump feel to the story whereas Gears and Saga are more philosophical and character driven.

Likewise, Episode 2 and Gears are hardly unplayable messes like some people would argue, but they won't be winning any best gameplay awards and age has certainly not be kind to one of them unlike with say the FF series.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 09:49 PM
Wolf Kanno: in a nutshell
*posts 40-page essay*

Wolf Kanno
02-26-2016, 09:55 PM
Wolf Kanno: in a nutshell
*posts 40-page essay*

Hey, I'm trying to describe three series that span five games while actually giving an informative description. You don't sell games saying the gameplay is good or story is great without a little enticement.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 10:14 PM
Wolf Kanno: in a nutshell
*posts 40-page essay*

Hey, I'm trying to describe three series that span five games while actually giving an informative description. You don't sell games saying the gameplay is good or story is great without a little enticement.

I never said it was a bad thing ;)

Let's just hope Formy reads it :p

Forsaken Lover
02-26-2016, 10:15 PM
I too saw the similarity between Break/Stagger but that's really the only similarity between XS2 and FFXIII's combat systems. I cannot stress this enough because the two are night and day.

Xenosaga II makes FFIX look like a nonstop thrill ride in terms of gameplay. It has to be the slowest fucking game ever. FFXIII meanwhile is a twitch-fest that hurts my fingers after a while.

IT TAKES TEN SECONDS JUST TO LOAD ALL THE BATTLE MODELS AT THE START OF EACH FIGHT IN XENOSAGA EPISODE II.

Then of course there's XIII's Paradigms and the like which is way different from XSII.

ALSO YOU CAN'T BUY ITEMS AT ALL IN XENOSAGA II. No weapons, either.

-gibbers-

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 10:37 PM
Looked at all three, thanks Kanno!

Honestly, you ranked the story of Xenoblade Chronicles as the worst, but I read the description and it seems interesting from where I'm standing.

And the combat sounds compelling - the 'death vision' sounds an interesting mechanic, if done well. Would you say Xenoblade Chronicles is a good game to start the series with?

Mirage
02-26-2016, 10:53 PM
the death vision is probably the only annoying mechanic in the game :p

but you can avoid it by not sucking in the first place

it is not a series, btw. barely even a metaseries. Xenoblade has no connections to Xenosaga has no connections to Xenogears. Except being from the same group of developers and having some philosophical and thematical similarities. They are maybe a spiritual series, but that's it.

But you should play Xenoblade first because it's objectively best.

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 10:56 PM
I actually forgot it was a thing

I find Xenoblade to be the most different of the three, but it's as good a place as any to start if you want to. It's super expensive over here though, not sure about there

Fynn
02-26-2016, 11:03 PM
It still has a great story, but it's just much lighter and less philosophical than the others. It's okay to play on its own, but it's also nice to know where it all came from

Mirage
02-26-2016, 11:06 PM
not if they get burned out playing a game in which they hate the gameplay

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 11:08 PM
it's also nice to know where it all came from

I think Kanno's post did that. :p

Fynn
02-26-2016, 11:09 PM
You never know if he'll hate it. There's stuff to like about Xenogears' gameplay even if you specifically can't see it. Everyone's different

Fynn
02-26-2016, 11:11 PM
it's also nice to know where it all came from

I think Kanno's post did that. :p

He barely scratched the surface.

Don't be dissuaded by Mirage. The games are really something else. If you REALLY don't want to play them, at least do as Pumpkin said and watch an LP. Though I still think the story works best when experienced on your own, it's really worth experiencing period. It might just have the best video game plot, like, ever.

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 11:11 PM
Xenogears is sharky's favourite of the bunch and he actually loves the gameplay. I think it's all really subjective as far as which everyone will enjoy more. Xenosaga III is by far my favourite, followed by I. The story is best in Xenogears though, I think, and the world is best in Xenoblade. I actually don't like Xenoblade's gameplay much myself but it's still a very good game. I think the genral consensus though is that Xenosaga II is probably the worst of the lot by a good bit. Which is a shame because it gets so much better in the next entry.

Formalhaut
02-26-2016, 11:16 PM
I'm leaning towards Xenoblade Chronicles, but obviously people have different opinions. And it won't be for a long while yet, so feel free to keep tugging me towards one game or the other.

Fynn
02-26-2016, 11:18 PM
Xenosaga II had terrible, terrible music outside of cutscenes (the music for those were composed by the amazing Yuki Kajiura). That really made me not want to finish the game and that's saying a lot.

But yeah, I actually liked the combos in Xenogears, and I also kinda enjoyed the Gear battles. Xenosaga I's system was also cool, while II's didn't bother me either and I liked the Proto-staggering.

That's kind of the thing about games - don't give yourself an opinion until you try them, because you can't really experience a game from reading about them. They're all great games with different strengths and weaknesses - you won't know what works for you until you try ;)

Also, both Pumpkin and I are recommending them. You remember how things went the last time this happened, don't you? :p

Pumpkin
02-26-2016, 11:19 PM
Really though you have your whole life ahead of you, so pick whichever you want to play most, have fun with it, and then look in to the others :monster:

Why play one game when you can play 6?

Fynn
02-26-2016, 11:21 PM
Really though you have your whole life ahead of you, so pick whichever you want to play most, have fun with it, and then look in to the others :monster:

Why play one game when you can play 6?

Yup! Get out there and try new things - don't let the opinions of others color your expectations! You'll be the ultimate judge of what worked best for you ;)

Wolf Kanno
02-27-2016, 12:33 AM
I too saw the similarity between Break/Stagger but that's really the only similarity between XS2 and FFXIII's combat systems. I cannot stress this enough because the two are night and day.

Xenosaga II makes FFIX look like a nonstop thrill ride in terms of gameplay. It has to be the slowest smurfing game ever. FFXIII meanwhile is a twitch-fest that hurts my fingers after a while.

IT TAKES TEN SECONDS JUST TO LOAD ALL THE BATTLE MODELS AT THE START OF EACH FIGHT IN XENOSAGA EPISODE II.

Then of course there's XIII's Paradigms and the like which is way different from XSII.

ALSO YOU CAN'T BUY ITEMS AT ALL IN XENOSAGA II. No weapons, either.

-gibbers-

Conceptually, the games are similar with combat based around a gimmick of breaking an opponents arbitrary armor before getting a temporary opportunity to inflict real damage before having to rinse and repeat until the battle is won or lost. They work differently in execution; but I feel they have the same issues of only being engaging during boss battles and random battles are more of a chore or tedious exercise. Of anything, I actually like Episode II's incarnation a bit better because the Boost system actually makes it so battles always involve a real sense of tactics and you do need to build a strategy for most boss battles overall. XIII was always more twitchy and my options were more limited to make it feel less engaging.


Looked at all three, thanks Kanno!

Honestly, you ranked the story of Xenoblade Chronicles as the worst, but I read the description and it seems interesting from where I'm standing.

And the combat sounds compelling - the 'death vision' sounds an interesting mechanic, if done well. Would you say Xenoblade Chronicles is a good game to start the series with?

It's all pretty sweet actually. The Death Vision mechanic is handled pretty well despite what Mirage insists. Breaks up the monotony of combat.

The story is actually really good in Xenoblade, it just lacks the same level of scope as Gears and Saga so for someone who grew up on the older stuff, it's a bit more light and fluffy than I am used to from this team. In terms of RPGs overall, the game is actually really good in the story department it's only ranked the weakest of the games worked on by Tetsuya Takahashi and even then the game actually has better consistency and pacing than Gears and Saga, so it has its strong points as well. It does deal with certain strong themes that are in most of Takahashi's works such as mankind's relation with god and whether free will makes us the master of our own destiny or whether it's a mistake and we must be subservient to our creator. Not to mention Humans are Bastards (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HumansAreBastards) is a favorite trope.

The real treat of the game is exploring the world and meeting the locals. There are some interesting stories in this game and the concept of the world keeps it pretty engaging throughout. The Gaur Plains (which is literally the third area in the game) is roughly the size of Grand Pulse from XIII and there are even more areas like it in the game. The game also does a pretty good job of making zones feel distinct from each other so you don't really get the feeling of being in the same area with different wallpaper like say... FFXII or White Knight Chronicles. Xenobalde is a great intro into Takahashi's style but it won't prepare you for Gears or Saga because Blade was designed to be those games antithesis. The game's design was created based on the feedback of his previous works which are mostly criticized for being 70% plot/cutscene and 30% gameplay that is often not as fun as it should be. Even fans would agree that Gears and Saga would work better as novels and high production TV series (we'll forget Xenosaga the Animation exists) than games. So for Blade, Takahashi set out to make a fun and interesting game first and then the story came afterwards. I think XCX has a similar design philosophy. So while it keep themes and styles, the game has a different feel and purpose. You'll probably find Gears and Saga lacking if you go back to them after playing Blade in terms of gameplay and structure.

Mirage
02-27-2016, 07:38 AM
Of course people have different opinions and tastes

I mean, have you seen how many people regularly eat at mcdonalds?

Forsaken Lover
02-27-2016, 09:05 PM
Conceptually, the games are similar with combat based around a gimmick of breaking an opponents arbitrary armor before getting a temporary opportunity to inflict real damage before having to rinse and repeat until the battle is won or lost. They work differently in execution; but I feel they have the same issues of only being engaging during boss battles and random battles are more of a chore or tedious exercise. Of anything, I actually like Episode II's incarnation a bit better because the Boost system actually makes it so battles always involve a real sense of tactics and you do need to build a strategy for most boss battles overall. XIII was always more twitchy and my options were more limited to make it feel less engaging.

Yes, the great strategy of
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I'll twitch my fingers off any day rather than do that.

It's not like there is no strategy in XIII, anyway. You can't just twitch to another paradigm and win. My latest run has taught me how amazingly valuable SAB is. If you're on the ball with your debuffs and buffs, it makes the game much more rewarding.

Wolf Kanno
02-27-2016, 09:23 PM
Yes, the great strategy of
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I'll twitch my fingers off any day rather than do that.

It's not like there is no strategy in XIII, anyway. You can't just twitch to another paradigm and win. My latest run has taught me how amazingly valuable SAB is. If you're on the ball with your debuffs and buffs, it makes the game much more rewarding.

You're forgetting that enemies will also be boosting and breaking up your flow, as well as some enemies require two characters to break, or again the turn order element that makes it so you have to pay attention to who is doing what each turn so that the boss doesn't get the Critical Hit bonus turn when they get ready to pull off their ultimate attack.

XIII has strategy, I just found it weak and unsatisfying since there is enough Paradigm slots to make all of the Paradigms you really need for almost every fight barring a super monster or two. It isn't helped that XIII kind of uses underhanded tactics to make the game actually difficult. XIII has speed but I felt it lacked control and substance, mostly feeling like winding up toys and letting them do their thing while you engage your mind somewhere else because strategy was mostly common sense as opposed to the enemies being set up in a way you have to figure out how to beat them.

Regardless, I'm not a huge fan of either system and wish developers would stop with gimmicky "additions" to combat as an artificial means to force the player to stay engaged.

Wolf Kanno
03-03-2016, 05:33 AM
Looking back on the Xeno games, I'm starting to wonder if the plot dealing with the High Entia and their desire to breed with human may have been a holdover from Xenogears, as I can totally see Kislev's issues with mutants may have developed into a similar situation. It just always seemed to me like Kaiser Sigmund knew more about what may have been going on than he let on. I also bet the Life Recycling Act from Saga may have shades of this as well.

I'm wondering if any unfinished plot points from one game made it into one of Takahashi's later titles?

Ffamran mied Bunansa
03-14-2016, 06:41 AM
I played Xenogears for the first time last month and I was blown away. The world and story that Takahashi crafted was amazing. It amazes me to think that could have been the game we got instead of Final Fantasy VII. I was impressed by Fei and Elly's relationship, probably one of the best romances in gaming. Also was incredibly surprised when they were flat out shown to have sex with no trying to sidestep around it.

I also absolutely loved Xenoblade, and greatly enjoyed Xenoblade X, though not quite as much as the first. I am very tempted to give Xenosaga a try now, as I can firmly say I am a fan of the series. (Though I hope the next game is as story heavy as at least Xenoblade, preferably Xenogears).

Forsaken Lover
04-16-2016, 09:03 PM
So I was thoroughly stunned when I found this
http://www.insanedifficulty.com/board/index.php?/forum/142-the-xeno-archives/

Been looking for hacks/mods of these games forever and never found a one. But this guy, the man responsible for the excellent FFVIII Requiem, modded Xenogears and the entire Xenosaga Trilogy.

Still have to get around to playing these, though. It was just a very pleasant surprise.

The Captain
04-24-2016, 05:03 AM
Xenogears was a game I happened to pick up while at the mall one day many years ago just because it looked fairly interesting. I had NO idea what I was getting myself in to. The game seemed to revel in throwing as much philosophy in to its storyline as possible and by the end got DARK. I wasn't a fan of how the second disk was literally crammed together but I understand there were budget, time and space limits so it is what it is. To this day, it remains the biggest pleasant surprise gaming experience of my life as I had absolutely no idea what it was about or anything else. Yes, the graphics haven't aged well, but it's still a classic of story telling. Stick with it, the game really is a joy to play.

Xenosaga I could just never get through. I finished the first game fairly quickly but the changes made to the second game just frustrated me to no end and eventually I just gave up which is very rare for me. Plus, the 20+ minute cut scenes ended up becoming a bother. I loved the storyline and the characters, but I wanted to PLAY the game, not WATCH it.

Finally you have Xenoblade. I could go on for days about this one but all I'll say is that it still ranks as one of my favorite games of all time. At any point, I could just pick this up and get sucked back in. The world itself is so wonderfully crafted, with so much history built in and while yes, it might feel a bit lighter in tone, it still has high stakes. It also has the element Xenosaga was missing: This is a game to PLAY. You explore every nook and cranny, gasp at how much detail has been put in to every area and best of all, this game took some of the biggest drawbacks of RPG's and turned them in to strengths.

To wit, there is a quick travel option, which makes tracking back a breeze. There are literally hundreds of quests and most of them DON'T require you to return to the quest giver. Simply fulfill the duty and the quest completes itself in your inventory. The short hand made it so much more fun to play and get lost in. This is the rare game where you WANT to waste time and wander around a while.

If I had to rank them:

Xenoblade
Xenogears
Xenosaga 1
Xenosaga 2

Never played:
Xenosaga 3
XCX


Take care all.

Wolf Kanno
04-26-2016, 09:16 PM
What's been interesting about replaying this game again is seeing how much they did actually foreshadow in this game. I haven't really touched the series since finishing Episode 3 nearly a decade ago, but my memory is not too shabby.