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8/18/2014

Let's Play Xenogears, Part 27 (Final)

The battle that will determine humanity's fate, and possibly that of the entire universe as well.



(I really hope you enjoyed this LP, by the way.  I spent six and a half months on it...)

Answered questions
  • Krelian's plan was, in short, to cause humanity to transcend their physical forms and become "wave existences" themselves, thus being free of all of strife.  However, due to the interference of Fei and company, the only one who transcends in this way ends up being Krelian himself...
Various Factoids and Symbolism
  • Metatron and Sundel are likely named after the twin angels Metatron and Sandalphon, said to be the "voice of God" and the one who delivers prayers to God, respectively.
Unanswered questions
  • What is Sigmund trying to gain by allying with Grahf and the "masked woman"? (Never answered; this mostly just goes to show that Krelian, Miang and Grahf are manipulating both sides of the war)
  • What kind of deal did Sigmund want to make with Fei? (Also never answered)
  • Miang apparently has the power of hypnosis.  How many people is she manipulating with this power, and what is her motive in doing so? (It's never seen again after that particular scene, so take a shot for the Square cliche of "introducing a plot point, then immediately dropping it and never mentioning it again".)
  • What threatens to turn Citan over to the "dark side"? (I think this was just a touch of purple prose; the middle of the game seems to have a real problem with that...)

My conclusion

In some ways Xenogears is Square's most frustrating game, and that is simply because it encapsulates their propensity for wasting talent in virtually every facet of its design.  They get a script written by three of the best writers ever to work under their banner with some legitimately well-crafted characters and an interesting universe, then proceed to bury it beneath a shoddy translation, insipid humor and cliches, terrible pacing and sparse gameplay with virtually no exploration element.  They get a great voice actor like Cam Clarke to play the story's tragic villain, then don't let him act.  They get a talented composer in Yasunori Mitsuda and have him write maybe a dozen songs that you'll soon get tired of because they play constantly throughout the game's 50+ hour runtime.  Hell, even the designers go to waste; rather than allowing them to create a vast and dense universe for us to explore in depth, they were just encouraged to turn the whole thing into a linear sequence of plot scenes that feed the player exposition by the shovel-full (particularly evident toward the end of Disc 1 and especially throughout Disc 2).  A lot of Square's other games are mediocre and forgettable, certainly, but Xenogears had everything it needed to become a golden game, and that just makes it all the more frustrating when it ends up falling so far short.  I don't regret playing it again (as doing so has allowed me to better appreciate its strong points), but taken as a whole, I simply can't recommend it.

Well, at least virtually everyone involved with this game learned their lesson about Square and has gone on to do bigger and better things than they could ever dream of at that dead-end company...

A translated version of Xenogears Perfect Works, in case you're curious as to what Xenogears was originally intended to be...