Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht

A quick synopsis on why Xenosaga is a fantastic game.

Role-Playing Games, more commonly known as RPGs, have been a dominant force in the gaming industry for many years. Whether it’s the simplistic matter of running a farm in Harvest Moon, or the complexities of micro-managing party members in Chrono Cross or the Suikoden series, every gamer has experience some form of this genre. This intentions of the Review are to remind people, that in a world where “Free 2 Play” and Massively Multiplayer games are becoming the next big thing, there are some old classic on the previous consoles that are definitely worth cleaning the dust off of, or even acquiring in the first place.

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The Xeno Universe:

The “Xeno” universe first hit North American shores October 20, 1998. It was releases earlier in Japan, becoming available February 11, 1998. The game took the gamer community by storm. It introduced a unique combat system that focused on developing Deathblow moves by entering a certain series of combinations on the controller for the Playstation One. These attacks were Triangle (Weak), Square (Strong), and X (Heavy), and they each took up appropriate Action Points in intervals of 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

Xenogears introduced the tragic story of Fei Fong Wong, and his ties to Elhaym Van Houten, and various other party members that became vital to the core storyline of the game. As you progressed, you uncovered just how deeply written the story of Xenogears was, and also gained access to fighting in “Gears”, which were Giant Mechanical Robots that were used for combating the more powerful enemies that you’d encounter.

From deep ties to history, to engaging religious beliefs with The Ethos, to love and betrayal.. Xenogears was widely accepted as an excellent game. Fast forward to 2002, when Japan was exposed to the main point of this review: Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht for the Playstation 2. This game was released the following year, February 25, 2003 to the North America. The game shares a lot of similarites with Xenogears, but I must stress that these two games have no correlation to each other, save a few references here and there.

Both games have the Zohar, have character reference similarities, and various other aspects, but are completely stand-alone games. Xenogears let its story play out through beautifully drawn animated cutscenes and deep storytelling. Xenosaga also has deep storytelling, but plays out with computer generated 3D cutscenes, using the performance of the Playstation 2 to assist in telling the story of the game.

Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht:

Xenosaga Episode I takes place in the year T.C. 4767, over 4,000 years after the opening cutscene where Doctor Matsuda discovers the Original Zohar in Turkana, Kenya. The game opens up on the Ganymede Class Warship, The Woglinde, a Vector Industries Prototype Cruiser. You gain control of Shion Uzuki, Chief of the KOS-MOS project of Vector Industries First R&D Division. All things appear to go smoothly, until the main threat of the game; an alien race known only as the Gnosis, attacks the ship, due to being drawn to the Zohar Emulator that was recovered prior to the player gaining control of Shion.

From that point on, events unfold at an alarming rate, and poor Shion gets caught up in the waves of fate. Her Second in Command, Assistant Chief Allen Ridgelly, also gets swept up for the ride. The battle system sticks with the traditional Turn-Based combat, with a maximum of three (3) party members active in your party. You have HP (Health), EP (Ether Points), AP (Action Points), and then your BG (Boost Gauge). Attacks are classified as Physical (PHYS-), or Ethereal (ETHER-), and range from HI to LOW range slots. HI range are skills that are released from a distance, and LOW are close range abilities.

You also have access to unique skills called Techniques — sort of a special attack. Each character has a variety of these abilities, ranging from Ethereal to Physical. All of these abilities can be upgraded using T.Pts. (Tech Points). You can increase the power, speed, or wait times on each abilities for an appropriate price of T.Pts. Ether skills can also be shared and/or evolved using E.Pts. (Ether Points). Accessories and some armor have innate skills that can be extracted and equipped using S.Pts. (Skill Points).

The Run Down; Short-Form:

All in all, Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht has something for everyone. Extremely detailed character customization system. Over 80 hours of gameplay. An engrossing and involved combat system, and a deep, emotional and well-written story that encompasses three total installments — all also available on Playstation 2. This game is definitely worth a play, even if you aren’t a die-hard RPG fan like myself. So clean off that dust on the Playstation 2, get together twenty bucks, and make the purchase. This game will have you entertained for a while. Rating a 9 out of 10.

Translation Information:

“Der Wille zur Macht” stands for “The Will to Power”, and is based on a trilogy of books written by Friedrich Nietzche. “The Will to Power” was the first in the series, and was posthumously published by his sister Elisabeth Forster-Nietzche.

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Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht
A quick synopsis on why Xenosaga is a fantastic game.

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