The Return of Talking Time

Go Back   The Return of Talking Time > Talking about media > Talking about television games

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-30-2011, 07:11 PM
Pajaro Pete's Avatar
Pajaro Pete Pajaro Pete is offline
so exciting!
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 19,845
Default Catching the tears of a broken world: Talking about Xenogears

Much like the game itself, this post is largely a rambling, incoherent mess of ideas that never quite synthesized into something meaningful.

Please be warned that there are huge spoilers under those tags and also a gratuitous use of colons. Proceed at your own risk.

I'm playing through Xenogears again, well, I'm right at the end now and grinding out cash for Gear upgrades, and I have opinions about the game and I felt like I should share them. Apparently they are worth their own thread.

The Characters

Like a number of high profile games from Square, a lot of the complaints have been so ingrained in the gaming subculture that they've essentially become the truth, even if they aren't accurate. Think "Cloud is so emo!" and "Sephiroth was a mama's boy!" Neither of these things are actually true, at least in FFVII (the compilation is another story, one that we should totally ignore because wow, that was some foul storytelling there), but they're perpetuated by stupid people on the internet.

"Fei is whiny and mopey just like Shinji!!!!" is a common one, but... it's not true. There are a couple of places in the beginning of the game where Fei does whine about how he doesn't want to pilot Weltall and that he hates fighting. And there's a good reason for that: The first time he tried to pilot it, he went bonkers and killed nearly everyone he ever knew or loved. So yeah, I'd say he's entitled to still be upset about it the night after it happened. He doesn't want to fight alongside Bart because he's met people he cares about and he's afraid of hurting them, but quickly gets over that during the Gebler attacks so he can save some kids. His whole "whiny and mopey" arc lasts ends at the four hour mark in a sixty hour game.

He doesn't even shift into "reluctant, but doing it because he has to" mode either, he becomes confident, upbeat and proactive. He's happy to fight if it means he can help others.

I guess the problem with this is that during those first four hours, we know that the game has a Giant Robot Battle System and every time Fei says "I don't like Gears or fighting!" it's another second where we aren't beating the shit out of things in Giant Robots.

Fei does flip out after Elly becomes Miang and there's that long, introspective sequence in his mind. He's upset for about thirty seconds, then starts wondering what the dealio is, then mans up and tells Id and the Coward they need to suck it up and stop whining. That's Fei, the character the player has been controlling for most of the game.

But most annoyingly, the game seems to believe this lie, too. After it's revealed that Fei is Id, Citan asks Elly, because she's been around him the most: "Were there not times when he would show signs of psychological imbalance, where he would be manic depressive one minute then fly into fits of rage?" and she confirms it. But the thing is: This never happened. He got really upset at the beginning of the game because he had killed most of the people in Lahan. I'm pretty sure he's allowed to be really, really, really angry about that.

Moving on:

Elly, on the other hand, is basically completely awful on so many different levels. Her physical attacks are basically worthless, she's allegedly a magician but needs an expensive accessory to actually be competent with magic (not counting the fact that her group and all target spells have a pretty high chance of failing)... and she's forced in the party a number of times because she's the ~love interest~

One thing I did like about Elly: The contrast between what happened when she flipped out and killed a bunch of people and when Fei flipped out and killed a bunch of people: Fei takes everyone out in a painless flash of bright light, while Elly made them explode into bloody pulps. (Technically, though, Elly didn't kill a "bunch" of people. I think Krelian says that she only killed two of them and the other three were healed up with Nanomachines).


Also her Gear looks dumb. It has a freaking ponytail and makes cartoon hearts pop out when she hits things. Because she's a girl, you see!

But the worst thing about her is that the writers didn't seem to know what they wanted to do with her (At times it feels like Xenogears is working with two separate scripts). On the first disc, she seems pretty normal and her character arc about learning to be like a person instead of a space nazi works pretty well. But when disc 2 comes around, her personality changes completely. Fei even comments that she looks different, but say she's the same as she's always been. Except she isn't. She switches from a teenage girl, one who threatened to drop Emeralda back at the bottom of the ocean because she was all over Fei, one who was peaking at Fei in the shower less than two hours ago, suddenly becomes Living Saint Who Feels The Pain Of All Living Things. Which, I suppose, is fine, because she's supposed to be channeling Mother Sophia. But then we get flashbacks of Sophia who's all like, "Yeah, I'm not actually some kinda Saint, I'm just a woman, and I get angry/horny/sad/etc just like all other women." It makes Elly's whole personality shift completely insane and nonsensical.

(That's actually one complaint that isn't made up by the internet. Xenogears really is insane and nonsensical. It's difficult to follow because it throws a metric fuckton of proper nouns at you every cutscene but with no frame of reference to help you make sense of it. Worse yet, it starts using the same terms but assigning them different meanings: "Gazel" and "Gazel Ministry" are used interchangeably, but "Gazel" is also used to refer to the First Class Citizens of Solaris; You have "Abel" the first Contact (Fei's first incarnation), and "Abel" the people of Solaris; "Cain" the Emperor of Solaris and then someone referring to Citan as "Cain" because he's betrayed "Abel" (Fei)... it's just, urgh, really?)

Misc thoughts about the rest of the cast:

Bart and Citan are the only other party members who even remotely matter to the storyline.

It's weird that Citan only has two scenes with his wife in the entire game, and only one with his daughter. According to Perfect Works, Midori doesn't like him because she knows he's a spy for Solaris, but Citan doesn't really talk about either of them through most of the game. It's just... weird, and it's one of those things where I don't understand why they even gave him a wife and kid.

Speaking of: Citan married a woman named "Yui" and took her family name. Yeah, no, the developers totally never heard of Evangelion before.

Rico is utterly forgettable, and like most people I bench him as soon as Elly joins the party and promptly forget about him. His storyline is poorly explained and abandoned before he officially joins the party. He's the Kaiser's son, but it never explains why the Kaiser doesn't know about him. The game implies that he's discriminated against because he's a demi-human, but the Kaiser looks like a demi-human too (he looks like he's the same race as Dominia). But he isn't, he's full-blooded human.

Billy is annoying because they introduce his infinitely cooler father first. Seriously, I would have vastly preferred him to Billy. Billy your sprite looks dumb and goofy in battle and I hate your hair. What you have going for you: You provide one of the craziest mood whiplashes in the game (and Xenogears is FULL of mood whiplashes): The children at the orphanage go through their zany launch sequence to send his gear to him so he can fight the giant Wel, and then the next sequence is where the party finds out that the Ethos is corrupt and full of kiddie diddlers.

I like Maria's Gear, but she doesn't have any reason to be in the game except to up the Evangelion-reference quotient.


Emeralda is awesome. Her Gear is awesome (it's my favorite in the game). I wish she joined sooner, because unless you go off to tool around on the world map with her, you won't get to use in battle for several hours.

Annoyingly, both Yui and Jessiah disappear on disc 2 and that's a pretty big bummer, given the what all goes on during disc 2. Then again, Billy can still use Jessiah's Gear in his special attacks and Fei tells Midori to listen to Yui at the Snowfield Hideout, so both of them might still be alive. I'd like to think that they're both outside the Hideout kicking Angel ass. Apparently Yui is quite the accomplished swordswoman, you see.

The Villains

You know, one thing about Xenogears I kinda liked was that you had no idea who the big bad was gonna be. In the beginning of the game, they throw half a dozen bad guys at you: Emperor Cain, Creepy Masked Man Grahf, Asshole Rival Swordsman Ramsus, Ominous Assistant Miang. Evil Chancellor Shakhan, Creepy Masked Executioner... there are a lot of bad guys in this game, and yet, at times, it seems like there needed to be more. Case in point: The Fatima Hurricane that destroys Aveh at the beginning of Disc 2. Apparently it's a Solaris weapon, but, you know, this is after Solaris was fucking destroyed by Id, so I'd like to know who the hell is piloting that thing.

A scene I liked: At the "Tree of Knowledge," when Krelian captures Fei and the party, Grahf shows up with his big bad villain music and starts in on his spill about how he's gonna become one with Fei, but Krelian tells him to knock it off. The music cuts off and Grahf just walks away. It's really funny that a villain got cut off mid-monologue, walked away, and took his music with him.

The Scenario

Multi-disc games ruined storytelling. Star Ocean 2, Dragon Quest VII, Xenogears... these are all games where the end of the first disc is a fake-out that doesn't work because you know you have a whole 'nother disc to play. The build-up to invading Solaris and the events that take place there would have been an excellent fake-out and the insanity that follows (what makes up disc 2) would have been just that much more shocking.

I mentioned earlier that this game feels like they were working with two scripts. Here is an example of that: When Fei first meets Bart, Bart says that he thinks the great treasure the Fatima Jasper is supposed to unlock is an Omnigear, but he doesn't know where it is. Towards the end of Disc 1, the party has to go back and defend Nisan from Aveh, and we find out that no, Bart's pretty much always known where the Omnigear is and just chose not to get it. And the townspeople apparently don't know that Bart is the Prince despite dialogue suggesting it when you first visited. And at some point, Nisan obtained the corpse of Margie's mother, even though she (Margie) was originally captured because she thought her mother was still alive in the capital of Aveh.

...in other words, nothing that happened after you first visit Nisan actually had to happen. That includes the godawful prison scenario.

I was surprised to find out that the story of Xenogears was originally pitched for FFVII, but that's mostly because it feels more like a Chrono game. From Trigger, you have this huge turtle-like parasite monster that crashes on a planet, causes human evolution so it can feed on their energy so it can eventually awaken and move on (I know, I'm sorta generalizing. Dues actually creates humanity and is gonna use them to repair itself instead of just feeding on their energy). From Cross, you have this bitchy Mother of Humanity who's determined to keep everyone in check, who manufactures and uses the save points as a means to do so. You have a protagonist who makes contact with a semi-benevolent being that's been trapped in the giant parasite monster, and eventually find out that the whole game was orchestrated to free that being.

I mean, yeah, this mostly means Cross lifted a lot of stuff from Xenogears, but you know, whatever.

You know, I'm not totally opposed to the "Sitting in a chair talking about things" storytelling mechanic. It's a little pretentious, but I think it works really, really well the first time you see it (This link contains spoilers). It's kinda lame the way they use it during huge, world-changing scenes, but I don't mind it for the smaller, more intimate scenes. It sorta makes it feel like a stage play, you know?

The Gameplay

I don't know why they even bothered giving characters weapon slots. So few characters actually use them and they make so little difference anyway.


Xenogears has a tiny world. Like, really tiny. There are only seven towns on the surface spread across 1.5 continents (Lahan, Dazil, Aveh's Capital, Kislev's Capital, Nisan, Thames, and Bart's Hideout. I'm being generous when I include Lahan and Bart's Hideout in there). See that map right there? Yeah, the labeled section and the islands in the lower left are the only inhabited parts of the worlds.

The Aquary region (the islands) really, really, really needed another "normal" settlement, because apparently all that's down there is the Ethos, the Ethos Orphanage and Thames, and none of these places are remotely normal). Given the size of the world, I'm not even sure they need a world map to begin with. There's not a whole lot to actually find, most of its empty, and you're already being dragged from point A to point B through most of the game.

(I do appreciate the fact that the major cities are presented as having more to them what you see, but it still doesn't quite convey the level of catastrophe that goes on during disc 2)

This is a really talky game. Everyone knows this, and it's sort of a punchline nowadays. Well, it was a punchline back then, too. The cutscenes, even the ones on Disc 2, are pretty much neatly divided up in thirty minute chunks though. Which, yeah, is a lot, but you know, the modern era has certainly put that in perspective, isn't that right Mr. Kojima?

The Tower of Babel isn't nearly as bad as I remember it being. I guess once you learn that 99% of the chests in Xenogears have worthless items in them (most of the chests in Babel are weapons for Elly's Gear, so, yeah, pretty much worthless), you don't have to worry so much about making tricky jumps to reach them.

Gear Bosses are way too gimmicky. They're not really challenging, most can be defeated really easily as long as you have the best buyable gear upgrades (Ramsus and Miang's Gears near the end of the game are the exception - Ramsus's gimmick is that he can knock the entire party's HP down to 1. This is super annoying!)... Actually, as a whole, Xenogears is a really easy game as long as you aren't forced to carry Elly with you. I do kind of hate how the Combo system becomes totally worthless once you get the way overpowered 7 point Deathblows.

Important: This game needs an automap for every area. I would trade the compass for an automap any day of the week. Even in towns.

The Crucifixion Scene

You know the one. Chu-Chu died for our sins. Funny story: There's actually some context to this scene. It's still really dumb, but I can kinda see what they were going for. Only four Gears are crucified: Weltall, Fenrir, Seibzhen, and Chu-Chu. The idea, I think, is that they were crucifying the four characters the Gazel didn't need: Fei (The Contact), Maria (who isn't an an Animus), Chu-Chu (a native to the planet) and Emeralda (a nanomachine colony). The others, Bart, Billy, Rico and Citan, are meant to be used as bodies for the Gazel Ministry because they're Animus. The problem is that they put Citan in the scene instead of Emeralda (because he needed to talk, because, again, he's one of the four party members that matter to the story), and oh yeah they're fucking crucifying giant robots. To make matters worse, those three characters (Maria, Emeralda, and Chu-Chu)? Their Gears are all special. Seibzhen is remote controlled, Emeralda's is controlled by nanomachines and Chu-Chu can change her size at will. So in spite of kinda seeing what they were going for, they still managed to make it utterly ridiculous.

Apologies for grammatical problems. Consuming 60 hours of Xenogears has rendered me incapable of communicating like a human being.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-30-2011, 07:14 PM
Brickroad's Avatar
Brickroad Brickroad is offline
Lv. 7 lawful woods faffer
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Tampa Bay
Posts: 24,608
Default

I didn't realize this game was terrible until I had already spent fifty hours playing it.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-30-2011, 07:16 PM
Belmont Belmont is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 6,319
Default

Great wrap-up, Turnip. Xenogears is a crazy, hot-mess but so many people love to disregard its faults in a half-assed and hyperbolic manner without really articulating its problems--let alone its strengths.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-30-2011, 07:16 PM
Eirikr's Avatar
Eirikr Eirikr is offline
clearlynotcollegeeducated
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Eternal Baltimore, MD
Posts: 10,150
Default

Having 9000 posts is cute, isn't it, Turny-Wurmy?

But I love Xenogears. I just wish I didn't have to play the game to experience its story and music in-context.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:11 PM
Feynman's Avatar
Feynman Feynman is offline
Lifetime blunderer
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,364
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brickroad View Post
I didn't realize this game was terrible until I had already spent fifty hours playing it.
That's a pretty good summary of the Xenogears experience.

And yet, despite being pretty damn awful, I still kinda like Xenogears. What the hell is wrong with me?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:36 PM
Issun's Avatar
Issun Issun is offline
Not Constantinople
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sad Lesbian Capital of the World
Posts: 17,365
Default

I rather enjoyed reading your post, Turniphead.

As everyone knows, I love this game to death, even if it isn't quite as earthshaking to me now as it was when I was twenty. Still, I got over arguing about the game along time ago, and am content to enjoy it without worrying what others think about it.

No one can deny, though, that Xenogears has some really amazing music.

Especially this, my favorite track from any game ever.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:48 PM
Pajaro Pete's Avatar
Pajaro Pete Pajaro Pete is offline
so exciting!
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 19,845
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThricebornPhoenix View Post
Xenosaga showed us what this is like. You don't get any sense of spacial orientation or distance between locations, which can be really confusing.
Xenogears doesn't have a strong sense... no, understanding of spacial orientation anyway. At one point, you fire a cannon from Ft. Jasper to Babel Tower. Ft. Jasper is located next to Nisan, Babel Tower is in the center of the Aquary Islands:



It'd be like firing a cannon from France to Chile.

I was thinking they should probably just do a point-click map or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosencrantz View Post
Great post! You forgot about how utterly broken Citan is as a playable character, though. Even when you first get him, he's two or three levels lower than Fei, but every one of his stats is still higher. He remains surprisingly powerful for most of the game, and then on disc 2, he gets his fucking katana and he's suddenly even more powerful. (Not that it matters, because there's only, what, one dungeon that you play on disc 2 where you're not in your Gears?)
Yeah, at first glance, Citan seems like he's supposed to be the "Doesn't hit that hard, but is really fast!" guy, but they messed up because he does hit that hard and he's really fast.

You get to use the katana for the very last bit of disc 1, too (He first starts using it when the party's completely reunited and escaping Solaris).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosencrantz View Post
Another problem with Rico, aside from him being useless to the story, was that he was surprisingly weak. Sort of like the anti-Citan. I understand why he's slower than the other characters in battle -- it's an RPG cliche to have the "big, strong guy" be really slow, even though I hate that -- but the one time you're forced to use him, your other two characters are Fei and Citan, and Citan's speed is something like twice what Rico's is. For all I know, Rico was a million times stronger than Citan, but he never got a damn turn because of his awful speed stat.
I didn't really touch on how most of the characters are in battle, but this, a hundred times. It's not uncommon for Citan to get two turns in for every one that Rico gets, so even if Citan were substantially weaker instead of marginally weaker, he'd still be a better character. This has the added problem of making it difficult for him to learn Deathblows, making him even less useful than everyone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlitzBlast View Post
(And Xenogears isn't a NGE c&p as much as it's just a blend of various mecha shows.)
I would say it draws quite a bit more from NGE than other shows, but yeah, Ramsus is cut straight from the Primary Gundam Antagonist template. Elly's crew also feels very Gundam-esque, but that's mostly because their character designs look really weird and out of place compared to everyone else in the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Flash View Post
Unrelated to the posts above. I'm not posting to contradict anyone's opinion.

I wasn't so impressed with Evangelion when I finally watched it at age 16 or 17, and that was because I had already played Xenogears and loved it. I imagine the opposite is true for people that saw Eva first.

Also I breathed a sigh of relief when I hit disc 2 because I hated wandering around areas to find the next cutscene-triggering NPC. After dozens of hours of playing disc 1, I'd felt I had seen enough of the Xenogears world and wanted them to just tell me their damn story already. And then they did. I didn't notice the slow text crawl either. I do now.
You get used to the text speed. At first, it's pretty much unbearable (when I first started playing it recently, I was like, "OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS THIS IS TAKING FOREVER" but I barely noticed it during the chair narrations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceTalk View Post
The "game had two different scripts" theory makes a lot of sense, primarily because it also feels like two different teams designed the combat. The ground combat is key for a large portion of the game...and then ceases to exist at the end when the last few dungeons require Gears. There's even a portion toward the end of the game where you can wander into the desert to grab a sword for Citan - but by that time there is hardly any more ground combat!
Another wasted subquest at the end of the game involves Emeralda growing up. When it happens, her stat growth changes so she's pretty much guaranteed to get points in everything when she levels up... except, at this point in the game, you're lucky if you have ten levels before the end and the only stats that matter for gear combat are Accuracy, Evasion, Ether and Ether Defense... stats that Emeralda already has high growth in. Also, you know, you'll hardly ever see her grown up sprite because you'll be in gears most of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceTalk View Post
I would not be against eliminating Rico from the game altogether if it eliminates the awful, awful sewer dungeon. (Perhaps he could be replaced by Ramsus before the final dungeon.)
The sewer dungeon really isn't that bad if you have a decent map. Trying to use the one the game gives you is a nightmare though 'cause it's sectioned off and you can't switch between sections.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceTalk View Post
-- Either rework the platforming mechanic or do away with it altogether. And if you must have platforming in the game - make sure you can't have random battles while Gears are in the process of jumping OH GOD THE TOWER OF BABEL WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
I agree they need to rework the platforming, but I assure you, Babel Tower isn't nearly as bad as you remember.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Issun View Post
I rather enjoyed reading your post, Turniphead.

As everyone knows, I love this game to death, even if it isn't quite as earthshaking to me now as it was when I was twenty. Still, I got over arguing about the game along time ago, and am content to enjoy it without worrying what others think about it.
If it makes your twenty year old self feel better, my biggest gripe about it is that it falls so short of its potential.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Issun View Post
No one can deny, though, that Xenogears has some really amazing music.

Especially this, my favorite track from any game ever.
The music is outstanding. The only song I outright hate is the infiltration one (I think that's the name) that plays nonstop while you're in Kislev.

I like the graphics a lot too. The 3D environments are really well done (they're much better looking than a number of games from the early PS2 era), and the battle sprites are tons of fun to watch. The models for the gears are ok, but giant, "natural" enemies like Gryphons look awful. I absolutely hate the tiny, muddy sprites they use for gears on the map.

The anime cutscenes are really well done, even if they don't give a rip about lip synching.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:58 PM
Feynman's Avatar
Feynman Feynman is offline
Lifetime blunderer
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,364
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnip View Post
I like the graphics a lot too. The 3D environments are really well done (they're much better looking than a number of games from the early PS2 era), and the battle sprites are tons of fun to watch. The models for the gears are ok, but giant, "natural" enemies like Gryphons look awful. I absolutely hate the tiny, muddy sprites they use for gears on the map.
Oh, definitely. Though to be fair I have a soft spot for 2D sprites on a 3D field.

Citan is definitely hilariously overpowered. He's amazing even when he's fighting hand-to-hand, and once he starts using his sword nobody else can even come close.

However...

Quote:
You get used to the text speed. At first, it's pretty much unbearable (when I first started playing it recently, I was like, "OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS THIS IS TAKING FOREVER" but I barely noticed it during the chair narrations.
I will never get used to the text speed in Xenogears. It is the single worst thing about the game.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-30-2011, 07:39 PM
ThricebornPhoenix's Avatar
ThricebornPhoenix ThricebornPhoenix is offline
Current Objective:Survive
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,533
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnip View Post
Given the size of the world, I'm not even sure they need a world map to begin with. There's not a whole lot to actually find, most of its empty, and you're already being dragged from point A to point B through most of the game.
Xenosaga showed us what this is like. You don't get any sense of spacial orientation or distance between locations, which can be really confusing.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-30-2011, 08:16 PM
Rosencrantz's Avatar
Rosencrantz Rosencrantz is offline
Renegade Game Councelor
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NorCal
Posts: 4,610
Default

Great post! You forgot about how utterly broken Citan is as a playable character, though. Even when you first get him, he's two or three levels lower than Fei, but every one of his stats is still higher. He remains surprisingly powerful for most of the game, and then on disc 2, he gets his fucking katana and he's suddenly even more powerful. (Not that it matters, because there's only, what, one dungeon that you play on disc 2 where you're not in your Gears?)

Another problem with Rico, aside from him being useless to the story, was that he was surprisingly weak. Sort of like the anti-Citan. I understand why he's slower than the other characters in battle -- it's an RPG cliche to have the "big, strong guy" be really slow, even though I hate that -- but the one time you're forced to use him, your other two characters are Fei and Citan, and Citan's speed is something like twice what Rico's is. For all I know, Rico was a million times stronger than Citan, but he never got a damn turn because of his awful speed stat.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-30-2011, 10:08 PM
Dawnswalker's Avatar
Dawnswalker Dawnswalker is offline
Love and Peace
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5,926
Default

Yeah, pretty much everything you need to know to help make the story make sense was in Perfect Works, and only in Perfect Works. Squaresoft probably should have just provided copies of that with each game, instead of the instruction booklet.

And I totally agree with you about how much Xenogears loves its mood whiplash. There are so many examples I could choose from, but I think my favourite is when Hammer abruptly goes from goofy, pop-culture referencing, sidekick-of-the-plot-arc to cold-blooded murderer. Because DRAMA.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-30-2011, 10:36 PM
BlitzBlast's Avatar
BlitzBlast BlitzBlast is offline
Busy With School
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Actually immersed in school work
Posts: 3,386
Default

Actually, the reason why Citan took Yui's name is because she beat him in a duel and proceeded to propose immediately afterwards.

(And Xenogears isn't a NGE c&p as much as it's just a blend of various mecha shows.)
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:07 PM
TK Flash TK Flash is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Not-kano
Posts: 8,816
Default

Unrelated to the posts above. I'm not posting to contradict anyone's opinion.

I wasn't so impressed with Evangelion when I finally watched it at age 16 or 17, and that was because I had already played Xenogears and loved it. I imagine the opposite is true for people that saw Eva first.

Also I breathed a sigh of relief when I hit disc 2 because I hated wandering around areas to find the next cutscene-triggering NPC. After dozens of hours of playing disc 1, I'd felt I had seen enough of the Xenogears world and wanted them to just tell me their damn story already. And then they did. I didn't notice the slow text crawl either. I do now.

Xenogears remains one of the most memorable games to me, but I don't deny that it has some major flaws that will turn some people off.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:21 PM
PT's Avatar
PT PT is offline
Too Much TV Game
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,820
Default

I'd much rather have a Xenogears remake than a FFVII remake for several reasons, but the main ones being a) The game could be far, far better if edited/rebalanced/reprogrammed. b) I'm kind of nuts and would play a XG remake despite the source game being mostly terrible. c) I like seeing FFVII fans squirm that their favorite overrated game gets passed on again.

The "game had two different scripts" theory makes a lot of sense, primarily because it also feels like two different teams designed the combat. The ground combat is key for a large portion of the game...and then ceases to exist at the end when the last few dungeons require Gears. There's even a portion toward the end of the game where you can wander into the desert to grab a sword for Citan - but by that time there is hardly any more ground combat!

Honestly, just do the following few things...

-- Full rebalance of ground and Gear combat, notably making Ether/Techs actually useful. Why were Ether attacks completely useless (exception: Elly, but only with an Ether Doubler) when you were inside a Gear?

-- Massive edits to the story for coherency and time. Rewrite it so terminology doesn't easily get mixed up, rewrite it so it seems like one, coherent narrative was being used. Rework/redesign all of disc 2's content in the process. (And better yet, don't have a second disc.) Fix the damn text speed or, better yet, make some of the talky scenes with Cain and the "council" cinema scenes.

I would not be against eliminating Rico from the game altogether if it eliminates the awful, awful sewer dungeon. (Perhaps he could be replaced by Ramsus before the final dungeon.)

-- Either rework the platforming mechanic or do away with it altogether. And if you must have platforming in the game - make sure you can't have random battles while Gears are in the process of jumping OH GOD THE TOWER OF BABEL WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Xenogears could be a much better game! It would take actual effort to do these sorts of changes though, so it'll never happen. Oh well.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-31-2011, 12:01 AM
JDS JDS is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,068
Default

So how far did Xenogears make it as "Chrono Trigger 2" in its development before it became its own intellectual property? I read ages ago that footage of Chronogears was actually shown at a trade show before they overhauled the game. I've always assumed that the sprites from the Lucca cameo had to have been leftovers.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-31-2011, 01:46 AM
Tomm Guycot's Avatar
Tomm Guycot Tomm Guycot is offline
Bald Gendou
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: California
Posts: 11,978
Default

I wanted to link to my huge scathing take on Xenogears from GameSpite Quarterly 8, but it appears Parish has not posted it yet.

So... yeah, F that game.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-31-2011, 05:48 AM
SpoonyBardOL's Avatar
SpoonyBardOL SpoonyBardOL is offline
Too Big For Smash?!
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Newfie Land
Posts: 16,298
Default

The text speed is the only thing that has ever kept me from replaying Xenogears. I've tried on a couple of occasions, but it always defeats me before I'm even done with Aveh.

How can Dragon Quest 1 have an option to change text speed, and not effing Xenogears? Arghblarghle!

I'm not saying it's the ONLY problem in the game, it's just the one flaw that keeps me from revisiting it. Though sometimes I wonder if I should be thankful for that.

I actually kinda liked Rico, and stubbornly used him way more than I should have. But I've always gravitated towards the 'big strong slow' characters in JRPGs, and time and time again they're the characters that potentially have some of the more interesting stories but are always passed over for development. Like Ziggy from Xenosaga who, despite actually having a spin-off RPG (terrible one mind), still feels like he has less development and has a smaller fanbase than characters like effing Jr. and chaos.

The music is aces, though. Knight of Fire is on my personal top 10 favorite Boss themes.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-31-2011, 09:12 AM
Zef's Avatar
Zef Zef is offline
Find Your Reason
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: The Vortex World
Posts: 31,277
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceTalk View Post
-- Either rework the platforming mechanic or do away with it altogether. And if you must have platforming in the game - make sure you can't have random battles while Gears are in the process of jumping OH GOD THE TOWER OF BABEL WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
Technically, you're not. The game does its random battle check and starts loading it (you can often hear the disc whirring) while you're on solid ground, but the loading lag is so bad that it only transitions into the battle a few seconds later --which is a problem in Babel, yes. It needs an override "delay" to stop the transition until you're back on a firm foothold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grignr View Post
Calling something Soylent was too stupidly obvious, though. Unless they were going to twist it somehow and they didn't.
I believe that the scriptwriters sincerely didn't think anyone would get the reference --is the movie THAT much of a cultural icon in Japan? The translation team, then, probably didn't find a way around the issue, or didn't bother to obscure it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnip View Post
Also her Gear looks dumb. It has a freaking ponytail and makes cartoon hearts pop out when she hits things. Because she's a girl, you see!
She's a Magical Girl!

That said, if Seibzehn let out hearts with its punches because Maria (an even younger, frillier girl) controlled it, it would've been awesome.

Quote:
But then we get flashbacks of Sophia who's all like, "Yeah, I'm not actually some kinda Saint, I'm just a woman, and I get angry/horny/sad/etc just like all other women." It makes Elly's whole personality shift completely insane and nonsensical.
Also: when confronted by an inescapable situation, Sophia's answer is "ram a big-ass spaceship into it" while Elly goes "let baddies batter me around in my own Gear."

Quote:
Speaking of: Citan married a woman named "Yui" and took her family name. Yeah, no, the developers totally never heard of Evangelion before.
He also wears tiny round glasses, has cryptic conversations with the manipulating overseers, and his daughter is so silent she might as well be mute. We're lucky she doesn't have red eyes and blue hair.

Quote:
I like Maria's Gear, but she doesn't have any reason to be in the game except to up the Evangelion-reference quotient.
I'm pretty sure she's a reference to some mecha series where the controller stands on top/outside said mecha instead of piloting it from inside a cockpit. Tetsujin 28?

Quote:
Annoyingly, both Yui and Jessiah disappear on disc 2 [SPOILER]
Quote:
Billy can still use Jessiah's Gear in his special attacks
He's using it, but how do we know there's anyone alive in the Buntline's cockpit after so many, many uses? It's really difficult to survive for long, let alone contribute to the plot, when you're ammo for your son's attacks.

Quote:
I mean, yeah, this mostly means Cross lifted a lot of stuff from Xenogears, but you know, whatever.
Also, the Planet had a species of intelligent animal-like creatures with their own culture and everything, but the crash of an alien, parasitic entity destroyed them. Whatever little was left was razed by the humans who rose to power thanks to this entity.

Quote:
You know, I'm not totally opposed to the "Sitting in a chair talking about things" storytelling mechanic. It's a little pretentious, but I think it works really, really well the first time you see it (This link contains spoilers). It's kinda lame the way they use it during huge, world-changing scenes, but I don't mind it for the smaller, more intimate scenes. It sorta makes it feel like a stage play, you know?
I minded it for the Mass Driver excursion and the appearance of the Angels. Twice the game hinted at a massive, global war between humanity and the latter, and it was really annoying to see both instances passed over. Yeah, the first was a flashback, no point dwelling on it... the second was just "Oh, and these things came out. Next topic!" without even showing what the war was like.

Quote:
I always liked how the Eldridge crash site actually left a world-changing crater, but I don't think I remember what caused the crater at the NW corner of the map.

And it's the first time I notice Japan at the Southeast

Quote:
Gear Bosses are way too gimmicky. They're not really challenging, most can be defeated really easily as long as you have the best buyable gear upgrades (Ramsus and Miang's Gears near the end of the game are the exception - Ramsus's gimmick is that he can knock the entire party's HP down to 1. This is super annoying!)
I absolutely hated that battle. Hate hate hate hate hate.

Anyway, while I still enjoy the gameplay and even the dungeon exploration (though everything in Solaris was twice as long as it needed to be, especially the escape route) I've come to forgive the story (if not the storytelling) for what it is. It's not that it's pretentious or overwrought, it's just that the writers had so many ideas in their heads, probably after spending a drunken night doing the late-90s equivalent of a Wikipedia chain on Gnosticism, that they were too excited about using them without consulting an editor first. It's like amateur fanfiction --it means well, and sincerely wants to tell an interesting story, yet they had so many religious/mythological concepts to work with, and they all seemed so cool and interesting, they couldn't bear to do away with any of them, so they crammed them all in. Even if they contradicted each other at times, or led to dead-end plotlines/characters, or ended up as nothing but obscure theological namedrops.

(I mean, how the HELL did that small hill with the pod containing Elly v0.1 manage to stay completely hidden from at least three major, technologically-advanced civilizations until the end of the game?)

There's a lot of love in the game, it's just an unskilled delivery of that love. A good director, and a much better editor, could probably elevate it to the level its creators originally intended.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-31-2011, 10:46 AM
PT's Avatar
PT PT is offline
Too Much TV Game
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,820
Default

Quote:
Final Fight With Ramsus/Miang
I had wanted to mention that fight in my main post, but time (and coherency) got away from me. That fight was awful, mostly because the Gears battle system put you at such a disadvantage against people who could drain your HP quickly. The healing = fuel mechanic was bad, notably because, even with a special item, you couldn't charge your fuel back up fast enough for it to make any difference.

But I did like how System ID wasn't something you could use in every fight - it was strictly a last-resort, "end this now" type of maneuver that could easily backfire if you run out of fuel before taking out a boss. Especially in the case of someone who can drain your HP down to 1 at any moment! Again, the above spoiler-texted fight was madly frustrating...and was bookended beginning and end by several soul-crushing minutes of unskippable cutscenes!

Last edited by PT; 07-31-2011 at 12:46 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-31-2011, 11:41 AM
Pajaro Pete's Avatar
Pajaro Pete Pajaro Pete is offline
so exciting!
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 19,845
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Don't forget the re-write to turn the story into an original and interesting piece of fiction instead of a quivering mass of anime and sci-fi cliches!
It's a JRPG, they don't come in any other flavors.

Wait, I guess you can substitute sci-fi cliches for fantasy cliches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
That said, if Seibzehn let out hearts with its punches because Maria (an even younger, frillier girl) controlled it, it would've been awesome.
That's different because #17 is huuuuuuuge so it'd be funny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
He also wears tiny round glasses, has cryptic conversations with the manipulating overseers, and his daughter is so silent she might as well be mute. We're lucky she doesn't have red eyes and blue hair.
Nah, you see, Elly already has the Eva girls covered: Red hair like Asuka, a military officer like Misato and bringing the creepy Oedipus implications/mother of humanity like Rei.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
I'm pretty sure she's a reference to some mecha series where the controller stands on top/outside said mecha instead of piloting it from inside a cockpit. Tetsujin 28?
Well, I meant how eventually her father's spirit is placed in Seibzhen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
He's using it, but how do we know there's anyone alive in the Buntline's cockpit after so many, many uses? It's really difficult to survive for long, let alone contribute to the plot, when you're ammo for your son's attacks.
According to his own words, he modified it so it no longer kills the pilot. Which is what it originally did. By Citan's actual design. Citan literally designed a weapon that fires the pilot as a bullet and kills them. Citan's kind of an asshole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
I minded it for the Mass Driver excursion and the appearance of the Angels. Twice the game hinted at a massive, global war between humanity and the latter, and it was really annoying to see both instances passed over. Yeah, the first was a flashback, no point dwelling on it... the second was just "Oh, and these things came out. Next topic!" without even showing what the war was like.
Well, the Mass Driver thing I don't mind so much because having to run through a dungeon with only Elly and Emeralda sounds awful, but yeah, "Angels came from Deus and started destroying the world. It was pretty messed up." really doesn't do it for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
(I mean, how the HELL did that small hill with the pod containing Elly v0.1 manage to stay completely hidden from at least three major, technologically-advanced civilizations until the end of the game?)
Miang kept people away, I imagine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceTalk View Post
But I did like how System ID wasn't something you could use in every fight - it was strictly a last-resort, "end this now" type of maneuver that could easily backfire if you run out of fuel before taking out a boss. Especially in the case of someone who can drain your HP down to 1 at any moment! Again, the above spoiler-texted fight was madly frustrating...and was bookended beginning and end by several soul-crushing minutes of unskippable cutscenes!
I don't like how the Id issue is just kinda swept under the rug for most of disc 2 ("Oh yeah, Fei, here's a sweat band that'll keep your emotions under control. Have fun!"), but I appreciate that towards the end the game chides you for relying on System Id too much.

Here are a handful of other dumb things I remembered:
(Um... I took notes while I was playing of stupid things, ok?)

At the end of disc 1 -
There's a scene where Fei and Elly are running around in Solaris's capital city and the Emperor addresses a large crowd. Elly zones out while listening to him and Fei has to snap her back to reality. A little while later, the game explains that everyone in the world have psychological limiters that imbue them with an innate fear and reverence for Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry. Which, ok, that explains why Elly zoned out earlier, right? Fei probably wouldn't have one on account of him being The Contact and not really a part of humanity.

...but then the game says that no, Elly is the only one without the limiter, making that whole scene where she's entranced by the Emperor pointless and nonsensical. (It also makes 99% of what happens in Solaris pointless, because Citan reveals that it was all an elaborate ruse to get the limiters off the rest of the party so they can fight the Emperor and Gazel Ministry... Something that never happens in the game. Hooray, we just wasted three hours of our lives!)


Later, at Elly's house, you have this scene where Fei meets her mother, Medeena. The exchange between Elly and her mom is really awkward and strained, and it works really, really, really well. You can feel that they're not on great terms, and then Elly reveals its because she's actually the daughter of her father's surface-dwelling mistress, and that's why she has dark blue eyes and red hair instead of looking like an Aryan.

This leads to a couple of "No matter what, (Medeena) is your mother," scenes, which I had always taken to mean "It doesn't matter if we're not related by blood, we're really a family!" But apparently, no, Medeena is actually Elly's biological mother, and the reason Elly's hair and eyes are different are because she's the Antitype. This seems like a fair enough explanation, until you remember (or notice in future cutscenes) that Sophia has different hair and eye colors than Elly.


Xenogears, stop introducing plot points just so you can throw them away thirty minutes later!!!
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07-31-2011, 12:24 PM
Belmont Belmont is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 6,319
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnip View Post
Xenogears, stop introducing plot points just so you can throw them away thirty minutes later!!!
Thaaaaat's Xenogears!

*jazz hands*
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07-31-2011, 01:36 PM
Dhroo's Avatar
Dhroo Dhroo is offline
:3
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Northern Virginia
Pronouns: he/him
Posts: 2,458
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by several people
final Ramsus and Miang battle
I've always had kind of a love/hate relationship with that fight sequence. I really want to like it because it's maybe the only truly difficult Gear battle in the game, but yeah, it can be incredibly frustrating and is preceded by a ton of dialogue. It's cool that you're actually forcing me to manage my fuel consumption in order to win a boss fight, Xenogears! But it's not cool that Ramsus using his 1 HP attack a second time seems to be determined completely randomly!

I'll always love this game, (large, numerous)warts and all, so it's nice to see some reasoned conversation about it. I wish I had more to add, but I'm already finding myself agreeing with everything Zef and Turnip say, and they're saying it a lot better than I would.

Oh yeah, I actually kinda like the sewer dungeon and found the in-game map useful. Mostly I think I just love the Redrum boss, and its later incarnations. The rest of the Kislev sequence is absolutely a slog, though. I've had several attempts to replay the game stall out as soon as I get there.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07-31-2011, 02:36 PM
Zef's Avatar
Zef Zef is offline
Find Your Reason
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: The Vortex World
Posts: 31,277
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnip View Post
Xenogears, stop introducing plot points just so you can throw them away thirty minutes later!!!
Ugh, yeah, I don't know what was up with Solaris. Sure, everyone had a lot of revelations about everyone else, but as I recall none of their actual objectives for storming the city were actually fulfilled. (Except for Citan's real objectives. But Citan's a dick.)

Since storming Solaris basically led to the awakening of Deus and the vast, vast, vast majority of humanity either dying or turning into a -~Wel~-, it would've been better if they had stayed in the Chu-Chus room in Shevat and partied all night.

And, man, despite everything that I've forgiven the game for, one thing that still rubs me raw is how you're given the Ygg 4 to fight an enemy that came the hell out of nowhere, and then in its second appearance it's sacrificed to bring down the Merkava. I wanted to use the city-sized Gear for more than one battle! Especially a battle so easy it might as well have been scripted!
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 07-31-2011, 03:17 PM
Pajaro Pete's Avatar
Pajaro Pete Pajaro Pete is offline
so exciting!
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 19,845
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
Ugh, yeah, I don't know what was up with Solaris. Sure, everyone had a lot of revelations about everyone else, but as I recall none of their actual objectives for storming the city were actually fulfilled. (Except for Citan's real objectives. But Citan's a dick.)
They do actually accomplish what they came to do. Well, sorta: The team went to Solaris to destroy the final gate generator, so Shevat could wage war against Solaris. If you recall, they have to use Seibzhen's plot contrivance power to bust through Solaris's gate in the first place. Of course, the party doesn't actually destroy it themselves, Jessiah does. Citan's there with him, but Jessie tells him to run along while he stays to fight... Ramsus, I think? When I was playing this time and saw this scene, I was like "Oooooh so that's what happened to Jessie!" But no, he turns up later during the escape sequence and I believe in the ensuing cutscene dump.

But, you know, given what happens, fulfilling their objective was totally pointless.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 07-31-2011, 03:21 PM
TirMcDohl's Avatar
TirMcDohl TirMcDohl is offline
The Goofiest Roebro
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 6,504
Default

I love using that thing's special attack.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 04-06-2012, 08:20 AM
mattpannella mattpannella is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
Anyway, while I still enjoy the gameplay and even the dungeon exploration (though everything in Solaris was twice as long as it needed to be, especially the escape route) I've come to forgive the story (if not the storytelling) for what it is. It's not that it's pretentious or overwrought, it's just that the writers had so many ideas in their heads, probably after spending a drunken night doing the late-90s equivalent of a Wikipedia chain on Gnosticism, that they were too excited about using them without consulting an editor first. It's like amateur fanfiction --it means well, and sincerely wants to tell an interesting story, yet they had so many religious/mythological concepts to work with, and they all seemed so cool and interesting, they couldn't bear to do away with any of them, so they crammed them all in. Even if they contradicted each other at times, or led to dead-end plotlines/characters, or ended up as nothing but obscure theological namedrops.

(I mean, how the HELL did that small hill with the pod containing Elly v0.1 manage to stay completely hidden from at least three major, technologically-advanced civilizations until the end of the game?)

There's a lot of love in the game, it's just an unskilled delivery of that love. A good director, and a much better editor, could probably elevate it to the level its creators originally intended.
bumping this thread to quote this. perfectly sums up my feelings on the game's story, and why i love it even though its flawed as fuck
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-15-2017, 10:33 PM
Positronic Brain's Avatar
Positronic Brain Positronic Brain is offline
Out Of Warranty
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Pronouns: He/him
Posts: 9,923
Default Thread, come forth!

Kotaku's Jason Schreier asked Tetsuya Takahashi point-blank about what happened with Disc 2.

Quote:
As it became clear that Takahashi and team weren’t going to hit their deadlines, Square’s higher-ups suggested that they just end the game after the first disc, when Fei and his team escape from Solaris.

“It was a rough way to end it, and I felt like if we do that, then the players will not be satisfied,” Takahashi told me. “So we had a proposal—I proposed that if we do disc 2 in this way that it turned out to be, we can finish the game with the current number of staff and the current time allotted for the schedule and the remaining budget we have.”
So they did run out of time, but they added Disc 2 not because it was a placeholder or because their superiors told them they had to finish the game, but because otherwise it would have ended in a cliffhanger.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-15-2017, 11:17 PM
Violet's Avatar
Violet Violet is offline
Discordia
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: fairbanks, alaska
Pronouns: she / her
Posts: 11,015
Default

Quote:
Xenogears, widely considered one of the greatest role-playing games ever made,
LOL

Seriously though, it does make sense that they wanted to finish the story in spite of the looming deadline. It's nice to finally hear what happened there.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06-16-2017, 09:30 AM
Zef's Avatar
Zef Zef is offline
Find Your Reason
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: The Vortex World
Posts: 31,277
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
Kotaku's Jason Schreier asked Tetsuya Takahashi point-blank about what happened with Disc 2.
There's a suspicious lack of confessions to how much they loved Evangelion in that response.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 09-06-2018, 04:27 AM
Positronic Brain's Avatar
Positronic Brain Positronic Brain is offline
Out Of Warranty
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Pronouns: He/him
Posts: 9,923
Default

Elly's figure is available for pre-order at Square-Enix's European store and it's looking good.



There's a Weltall figure, too, but unfortunately is not at scale
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
anime pope , chuchudiedforyoursins , gears and fighting , men of the sea , rpg , square , square enix , the real thing , xenogears , xenowhatever

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:00 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Your posts ©you, 2007