Back to ABSOLUTE PLAYSTATION   Coming Soon > Whats New > Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews

Reader Review: Xenogears
Author: Marco Dimaano Email

Reader Review

Taking a different road from the Final Fantasy series, Xenogears is a 
sci-fi epic, opting for a full-blown anime style above the more fantasy 
and CG flavor of Square's other games.

Xenogears is a LONG and epic adventure, spilling into 2 discs. The 
majority of the 60 hour or so quest is in the first disc, while the 
second disc are mostly all boss battles connected by length story 
cinemas. I say lengthy with no exaggeration- Xenogears takes a lot of 
time to thresh out it's very complex and dramatic story, made a bit 
longer even by the fact that you cannot skip cinemas (this is 
necessary, in the long run however). 

As for mechanics, Xenogears will please you with it's visual style- an 
interesting mix of fully-rotational polygon environments and detailed 
sprite characters. While a bit rough on the edges, the sheer detail of 
populated towns and cities and atmospheric dungeons will amaze you. One 
gripe though- the camera often is inadequate, leaving you with 
unsatisfactory views of your party.

Movement in the world of Xenogears also contains a platform-like run 
and jump element, which while certainly adding a degree of interactivity, 
serves only to annoy you at certain points where a misjudged jump can 
force you to repeat an agonizingly long climb up a mysterious tower 
(luckily, you don't die from such mishaps).

The fighting in Xenogears, like other RPGs, is still turn-based, though 
the use of AP points and selectable attacks and combos gives a new twist 
to the usual "Attack" and "Defend" options. Also of note is combat while 
riding the huge mechanical Gears. This is where Xenogears really 
distinguishes itself- there is nothing more satisfying than taking down 
an incredibly powerful boss with your newly upgraded war machines. 

As for music and sounds, Xenogears does not disappoint with simply the 
most atmospheric tracks I've heard. Perhaps there are not so many 'name' 
tracks as there were in the Final Fantasy series... the soundtrack is 
more akin to FF Tactics. Even so, tracks like the Music Box theme, 
Maria's Heroic Theme and the ending song are gloriously beautiful, 
giving perfect emotion to a scene, be it a romantic interlude, a 
flashback to some timeless tragedy, or a revelation of a traitor.

I do not wish to spoil any of this game's magnificent plot, but suffice 
to say that it deals with lots of mature issues like religion, genetic 
manipulation, human nature, love, betrayal, war and reincarnation. Your 
characters go off on a quest against an unknown threat, and the 
uncovering of the true enemies is one of the game's great mysteries.
Xenogears also is the first RPG from Square (I think) that actually 
shows bed scenes (though after the act) and implied sexual relations. 
I'd like to stress though that these issues are well presented, and I 
see no way any mature player can be adversely affected. 

This would probably make for a very heavy plot, but thankfully, the 
game's cast of characters are superbly designed and warmly portrayed. 
You WILL find yourself genuinely caring for these people; they cease to 
be onscreen pixels, and soon become your close friends. With them, 
you'll share laughter, tears of joy and sadness and moments that will 
really touch you throughout the game.

Thanks to the characters and the excellent writing, the game never 
becomes dragging, and always moves at a fever's pace. The story is so 
good, that you will not want to put the game down until you finish... 
and finish it does. Thankfully, the game's story, while initially 
cryptic, is totally explained with all mysteries solved at one point or 
another, and most characters have a satisfying resolution. The ending 
will no doubt satisfy your efforts in full.

In the end, Xenogears is a classic, matching FF7 in grandness of scope, 
story and characters. In it's objective to take you to worlds you've 
never seen, to make you feel one with dear friends and comrades, to 
touch and move you from sadness to glorious bliss, this game truly 

Best of all, unlike FF7, you will not walk away with dissatisfaction 
at the ending, just happy memories.

Rating: A

Review by MADman

    GAMES        Get your PSX games HERE!