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Xenogears

ゼノギアス

Developer / Publisher: Square
11 February 1998
Xenogears [ゼノギアス] - cover art
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251 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#173 All-time
#9 for 1998
Fei Fong Wong is raised in Lahan Village after losing his memories under mysterious circumstances that involve him being brought to the village in an unconscious state by a masked man. Following an encounter with a group of mechanical battle-suits known as "Gears," Fei is forced to leave the village and embark on a journey after his forgotten past.
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Releases 3
1998 Square  
2xCD-ROM
JP 4 961012 977147 SLPS-01160 / SLPS-01161
1998 Square Square EA  
2xCD-ROM
XNA 6 62248 99802 2 SLUS-00664 / SLUS-00669
Xenogears PSOne Classic
2011 Square SCE  
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Title
There's no other game quite like Xenogears. It's unique in how it explores a spiritual territory that no other game before had even attempted to approach. It's chiefly invested in the search for God, and what it means/takes to cultivate a spiritual identity. However that's only the tip of the iceberg in this colossal narrative that grapples with other similarly lofty themes derived from philosophy and psychology. I'd say it's probably the most ambitious story ever told in the history of gaming, and if not then it's at the very least the most ambitious of any JRPG. Some have even suggested that the video game medium was inadequate considering the scope of its story, since some canonical character details and backstory to the Xeno-universe were left out of the game entirely and had to be fleshed out in the Perfect Works companion book. All the cutscenes put together amount to about 18 hours, so fitting much more into this story probably would have been a bit overwhelming (if it wasn't already).

Another aspect I've found unique in this game is how it's the only one that has led me to revere the soundtrack above all its other elements. I obviously don't mean to say the rest of the game is a flop, but I genuinely believe this OST contains some of the most beautiful music ever recorded, and it perfectly accompanies the cascade of potent moments delivered throughout. It's hard to imagine Xenogears being nearly as immersive as it is without its stellar soundtrack, considering how well it enriches the visuals and atmosphere of a game that kinda really needed it. Even the game's director Tetsuya Takahashi (who initially believed that music in video games was "not all that important") has admitted that without the the music of Yasunori Mitsuda, he would not have been able to achieve his goals for this project. Mitsuda has delivered so impressively throughout his career as a composer, and his work in the Chrono series is a widely held testament to this, but I believe this is without a doubt his greatest achievement.

I won't deny that Gears has its fair share of flaws, but the passion I have for this game will likely never be matched. In my opinion, Xenogears is one of the richest and most epic experiences that can be found in gaming, and deserves to be remembered as one of the premier artistic statements ever made in the medium.
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halfwaytoathree 2016-10-01T03:37:09Z
2016-10-01T03:37:09Z
5.0
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Xenogears stood as JRPG's premier monolithic sci-fi epic. If anything, the game is a showcase of long, visually appealing cutscenes that almost serve to dispose of the typical village/dungeon JRPG progression. Having fully embraced their acrobatic style of storytelling, Square now seeks to stretch it to new levels, effectively splitting their game between one disc of JRPG modulated by heavy use of excellent cutscenes, and another disc of an almost egregiously-linear cinematic experience, punctuated with random skill checks. While effective, these moments sometimes feel too scripted and render much of the RPG elements meaningless, making combat feel like an afterthought in the grand scheme of things. Rich as the game's characters, world-building, dialogue, and scenes may be, the psychological elements were a lot more interesting than the main plot, despite the numerous themes laid about. As far as scale and variety go, Square's cutscenes were unmatched.

The combat system was surprisingly unique given its lack of emphasis - built around estimating chance with a heavier degree of resource management/partitioning damage, and ends up much more involved than the norm. The special combos dilute some of the interest, but deathblows and AP management make boss fights more engaging. Gear battles are a little lesser, but the fighting mini-game area battles was a welcome surprise. However, dungeons were ultimately somewhat tedious despite standing out conceptually. Overall, Square's propensity for drawn-out, epic length stories is on full display here for better and for worse. Parts of disc 1 and (especially) disc 2 could be trimmed down to produce a masterpiece. As it is, this is Square at their most talented, ambitious and varied, but also at their most self-indulgent. Xenogears didn't so much revolutionize JRPGs as they helped add a new dimension to cutscene arrangements and abstract storytelling.
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Blah_Blee 2021-06-28T14:00:42Z
2021-06-28T14:00:42Z
7.5 /10
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It has literally taken me fifteen+ years, on and off, to try and complete this game.

The story is magnificent for an unpolished Squaresoft title, but the battle system is completely atrocious.
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MoaM 2020-02-28T21:19:11Z
2020-02-28T21:19:11Z
4.0
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Its been exactly 2 years since I played through and beat Xenogears, its a game that took me roughly 2 weeks to complete and brings back memories since that was kind of an odd time period in my life. Xenogears was actually a game I meant to play for a while before I did, I heard tons about it and played most of the other Square games including all the mainstream Final Fantasy games and Chrono Cross, and Xenogears seemed like a game I'd enjoy since I heard it used a lot of psychology in its story.

Xenogears is essentially your typical JRPG but instead of going to tons using giant swords or guns, you travel around in giant mech suits and combo together abilities while exploring a post-apocalyptic World with tons of complex and deep lore. That's the thing about Xenogears, it plays pretty much like most other Square games, but its the deep lore along with big open World that make it stand out. Each town I went to in this game stood out, and I still can recall all the towns and big segments in this game pretty well 2 years later. The first disc of this game is really good, and among some of the best JRPG. The story was pretty complex, but it wasn't too difficult to follow, it was basically about an evil empire like organization who was exerting its power to control a bunch of oppressed people who are in constant war with each other. But then in the back story you have your characters weird split personality, you have the whole religious and psychological parallels, tons of deep back story surrounding the history and characters.

Disc 1 is really solid and has a ton of locations, dungeons, and bosses/segments. The story feels like is progresses pretty natural, although it does drag out at times and feels slow for the first half. But then about 2/3 through the game you switch discs and then the game goes downhill. It just throws a ton of dialog that explains what your characters do, and it mostly is just boss fights without many dungeons. I feel the developers just ran out of time so couldn't include many extra areas, which is a shame because this game would have been huge if you actually got to play all the areas that are described in the 2nd disc. It just got tedious since disc 2 felt more like reading a novel than playing a game, and it would get overwhelming since so much would go on without you seeing it happen. Disc 2 just felt like it tried to cram the conclusion to the game in and it hardly had any playable segments or dungeons. Even the endgame to this didn't feel satisfying, I felt like the end dungeon was a bit weak and didn't feel unique or memorable and the final boss in this game really was more annoying than cool because you had to hope you chose the right team to defeat the different parts. The very end of the game is typical everyone is happily ever after anime type ending.

I mean Xenogears is really a mixed bag of mostly good, the first disc of this is really good with tons of areas to explore, tons of bosses, tons of story and you get a decent variety of party members with different abilities to choose from, and playing as the mech suits add a unique and fun mechanic that require strategy since they run on fuel so you can't just spam random attacks. But then about 2/3 through the game after you defeat Grahf for the first time. The final 1/3 is just tons of story thrown at you and the game tries to throw a very convoluted back story along with rushing through the rest of the main story and tries to conclude everything. I just wish the final segments of this game were more engaging.

Xenogears does have a good story, even if it is confusing and convoluted but if you watch a Youtube video or read the complete works it does have interesting lore, and the idea behind the game is very unique. But the game does throw a bit much at you and there are tons of characters, factions, and events that are thrown at you throughout the game, and its very hard to understand the full story from the start. Even I was confused often on who certain characters were, why the bad guys were trying to do what they were doing, and who was on who's side, plus I was never sure if Fei had amnesia or split personality since the game hinted at things he did that he couldn't quite recall. Plus Elly being added makes a bit more confusion since its like she may have amnesia or is hiding the truth from Fei, on top of the love story which to be honest, was a bit more sexual than I expected for a Square game. But if you can deal with a confusing story that will require most likely tons of analyzing and outside sources to fully comprehend, and also are able to put through with a kind of rushed and dissapointing final 1/3, it is one of the best RPGs of its time, it has a bit open World with tons to explore, it has tons of areas and characters and like I said, the game did take me 2 entire weeks to beat when I played it in late March of 2016 and I played it every day for at least 6 or 7 hours a day. I really enjoyed the World and different locations, along with the different twists the plot would take and the characters all seemed unique and the Xenogear combat was a unique twist to the typical turned based JRPG formula. The game did drag at times, but I did enjoy how fleshed out the dungeons and different locations were, and there were some annoying backtracking moments, but it was never too extreme. Plus, the game never felt overly difficult, although the end of the game did require a bit of grinding but then again a lot of other Square games had similar design. The only complaint I have is the final 1/3 just drags this game out and feels like it was super rushed and has way too much dialog and reading and not enough playing. The story also at times does feel a bit oddly paced and is hard to follow once the game starts introducing new characters and showing flashbacks. But once you start taking time to understand the story, it ends up being a really engaging game and one of the best Square games, maybe it has enough flaws to hold it back from being the best, but it does a lot with what it was given and is one of the longest and most fleshed out JRPGs of its time, and it brings back fond memories.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T20:32:11Z
2017-07-21T20:32:11Z
4.0
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Catalog

faill17 ゼノギアス 2022-08-16T09:52:09Z
2022-08-16T09:52:09Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SMZXW ゼノギアス 2022-08-16T01:47:27Z
2022-08-16T01:47:27Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cloudydonut ゼノギアス 2022-08-15T14:02:55Z
2022-08-15T14:02:55Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hanl3po ゼノギアス 2022-08-14T14:31:52Z
2022-08-14T14:31:52Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
uglynik ゼノギアス 2022-08-12T19:18:10Z
2022-08-12T19:18:10Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Earworms ゼノギアス 2022-08-12T15:57:59Z
2022-08-12T15:57:59Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bleakage ゼノギアス 2022-08-12T08:34:34Z
2022-08-12T08:34:34Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
joiner ゼノギアス 2022-08-08T21:23:45Z
2022-08-08T21:23:45Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
gnilegnis ゼノギアス 2022-07-31T23:59:44Z
2022-07-31T23:59:44Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LofiEnby Xenogears 2022-07-30T05:16:35Z
PS1 • XNA
2022-07-30T05:16:35Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bulletluckcharm ゼノギアス 2022-07-26T06:39:36Z
2022-07-26T06:39:36Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
koromum ゼノギアス 2022-07-26T01:45:12Z
2022-07-26T01:45:12Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Previous comments (14) Loading...
  • TheSaltman 2021-10-21 09:12:39.454998+00
    Incredible.larger than life story that is elevated far from the usual videogame fare, but very messy mechanics.
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  • DjWalru007 2021-10-25 04:44:49.389213+00
    This and Silent Hill 2 are the two rarest games in my physical collection.
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  • renbeaudach 2022-05-11 17:34:24.011244+00
    lots of people rightly pointing out all the Freudian and Gnostic themes but I'm just as struck by how much it shows that Japanese RPG writers of the time really loved Star Wars
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  • renbeaudach 2022-05-12 16:12:01.271343+00
    in all seriousness though, considering the place and time this got made, and even when you consider its ultimately unfinished state, this game remains a real triumph
    reply
    • TheSaltman 2022-08-15 19:42:30.571285+00
      I was thinking about this a few weeks ago, and it's honestly a miracle a somewhat finished product ended up on the shelves, in the west too (well, USA at least, us Europeans got fewer games from Square in that era).
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  • liliyanon 2022-06-12 11:05:08.814344+00
    just beat the game omg
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  • meradorm 2022-07-05 22:41:42.787623+00
    underrated
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