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RPG Backtrack: Episode 41 - Xenophobic Cutscenes

JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: KirinAdministrators
edited April 2011 in Latest Updates
The Xenosaga series may be justly accused of many issues, but a lack of ambition is definitely not one of them. For good and for ill, we talk about everything we could remember from Monolith Soft's big production.Xenosaga - really, what else could it be?
It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.


  • KisakiProjectKisakiProject Member Full Members
    edited April 2011
    Oh my god I am so excited to listen to this. I was wondering when you get to it. :bigsmile:
  • JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited April 2011
    I managed to forget a few things, including the inexplicable attire Shion wears during episode 3:
    Mac hinted at it, and then we never went back to the subject, but look at her! That's what a member of a punk band in the late 70's would wear onstage, and even if Shion left Vector's employ, I never saw anything in her character that made me think this is what she would wear casually.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited April 2011
    People seem to have a big problem with the look of Episode III Shion in particular. I always found this surprising, since Monolith Soft hadn't exactly been subtle about turning all their female characters into fetish material since the series began. I think a more eye-roll worthy change was the way MOMO seemed to have "developed" between episode II and III, despite this making absolutely no sense.

    In the future, military uniforms are all low-cut, and everyone gets their casual fashion sense from Jodie Foster's character in Taxi Driver.
  • otakudensetsuotakudensetsu Banned Banned Users
    edited April 2011
    i remember when shion was in a bikini in the first game... mmm, too bad she couldn't return in a bikini in the other 2 games. or was there an unlockable costume for all the characters in swimsuits..? i'll have to check my save files.
  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    edited April 2011
    Well the first game Shion's clothes are understandable as it was a uniform from Vector and all Uniforms from a respectable job are serious. Also I don't know if it was for the podcast time limit but you talked little about Chaos who was a very intriguing character. Oh and a constructive criticism... Please change the headsets when you have $. They don't work as good as Sabin's or Paw's.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited April 2011
    LordKaiser wrote: »
    Well the first game Shion's clothes are understandable as it was a uniform from Vector and all Uniforms from a respectable job are serious. Also I don't know if it was for the podcast time limit but you talked little about Chaos who was a very intriguing character. Oh and a constructive criticism... Please change the headsets when you have $. They don't work as good as Sabin's or Paw's.

    Everyone's headset? Really? I just bought a new one!
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • XR2XR2 Member Full Members
    edited April 2011
    I enjoyed the first game enough to play it twice. The battle system was reasonable, the environments and characters were interesting, and it's always nice to play a game that's not about saving the world from a doomlord with increasingly contrived explanations. However, Xenosaga was just a game about getting from point A to almost getting to point B. I love epic, complex, and long stories, so I was on board.

    Unfortunately, I find Xenosaga 2 to be unplayable. The main culprit is the battle system. It makes for interesting boss fights, but it also makes random encounters drag on way to long. They all played out exactly the same way too. Everyone passed until their boost gages were full and then you hit an enemy with the right combination of moves, used up everyone's actions, then did it over again, mixing in a round of healing now and again. When I had to do the same dungeon twice, just in a different season, that was enough for me.

    The stylistic discontinuity didn't help matters. These things tend to bug me more than other people already, but the change in art style, change in half the voice cast, and change in money management didn't win it any favors. Focusing on Junior didn't help either. If the game were about Chaos, I might have tried to push through it.

    If III were a nice conclusion, maybe I would track down a copy, but since it sounds like it's a mess in that regard, I can safely skip it. <sigh> One day, someone will be able to create a finished epic RPG series. That is my dream.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited April 2011
    On an interesting if kind of unrelated tidbit, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean has two references to the Xenosaga games. One is a boss called Gnosis, which according to the flavor text, it is a "creature from another dimension, particularly known for its utter strangeness." Another is theRare Action Figure card, which is of KOS-MOS. It does nothing in-battle.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • Just DougJust Doug Member Full Members
    edited April 2011
    Man this post is too long... (EDIT: and I forgot the most important part--I really enjoy RPGbacktrack and listen to every one that covers a game I've played! Thanks guys and great job covering all three games in one swoop, I always like to go down to the corner of Memory Lane & Nostalgia, just on the other side of the tracks from RAGE.)


    If you're someone who likes obtuse, weird science-fiction plots that are skimpy on the explanations, Xenosaga's certainly not going to disappoint in that department. It's definitely a style of delivery that lowers its accessibility/sensibility, but some people go for this convoluted jigsaw-puzzle stuff (like me).

    Thankfully, Episode III at least had a big database/glossary thing to you could go through if you cared enough about the game world. Even then of course it's not all nicely outlined and explained in cliff's notes for you.

    Here are some quick-as-I-can-make-them spoileriffic answers for some questions people seemed to have in the podcast, if you actually would like to know (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong as I'm doing this from memory):

    Why does Wilhelm need KOS-MOS/T-ELOS/Mary Magdelene, Vessels of Anima, chaos, or any of the other MacGuffins that have nebulous explanations? To restart the universe, which is the ultimate goal of Wilhelm (or was his ultimate goal to reset the universe so many times some player characters come along, find their own solution, and lift the yoke of fate from their shoulders?--naahhhhhh). They each have their own explanations, but really all that matters is that to build the RESET button for the universe, Wilhelm needs to fill a certain grocery list. The awakened consciousness of Mary Magdelene (blue-eyed KOS-MOS) is on that list.

    What are the Gnosis? The subconscious minds of people who despaired and broke away from the collective subconscious of humanity/the universe. It's basically the collective-subconscious equivalent of cancer. This is the threat that looms over the universe and is why Wilhelm wants to hit RESET over and over. They exist in a part of our universe that paired with the physical world constitutes our entire plane of existence--this same place in which the Gnosis dwell is also where the UMN is located and where our consciousnesses and collective subconscious all lie.

    What's Dimitri Yuriev's deal? He made contact with U-DO at some point during his many reincarnations and anyone who meets U-DO usually ends up going nuts. It's something like sensory overload for the brain or ultimate despair at seeing the fate of the universe (kind of the same effect from looking at Cthulhu...), and Yuriev made it his mission in life to ascend to a higher plane to escape his misconceived notion of the horror of U-DO.

    What the heck is U-DO then!? A being that exists in a realm that's beyond our comprehension, a higher plane of existence, if you will. Being from a wonderful magical land of rainbows and (compared to us) infinite energy, it can be used as an energy source in our little plane of existence.

    Why is it looking at us?--curiosity, I suppose. It just wants to know more about us, but it probably doesn't realize the full effect of its observation on our plane of existence. By the way, Abel and the Abel's Ark are basically U-DO's eyes, ears, and mouth in the physical and gnosis world, respectively.

    As for it being capital-G god, it may appear to share some of the qualities people associate with God because of its nature, but it's not given any context in its own realm. For all we know, it's just an insignificant animal or a child among the things that populate its plane of existence. The only reason it matters to the characters in the plain-Jane universe at all is because U-DO happens to be connected to the lower realm through Zohar, Abel, Abel's Ark. I guess it'd be like if a human being accidentally found a way to jack into another plane of existence that's far inferior to our own and the little guys in that lower plane of existence used the connection to siphon energy off of us (but if we ever spoke to them they'd go crazy!).

    This is a site that has a translation of--if I understand correctly--part of the Perfect Guide to Episode III that outlines a bunch of the murky stuff from the whole Xenosaga series, including various characters' motivations, things like U-DO and the UMN, what the heck chaos and KOS-MOS really are and what the powers of anima and animus are, and so on. It's a heck of a lot to slug through and the translation sounds a bit awkward at times, but if you're dying to have more explanation of Xenosaga stuff, you can probably find it in there.
    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Shakespeare, Hamlet Act I, Scene 5

    "You need mad bank for lobster cash." - Sabin1001
  • VncentValntineVncentValntine Pretty much... Full Members
    edited April 2011
    btw, Shinji Hosoe composed the in-game music for Ep II while Yuki Kajiura composed the cut-scene music. As opposed to Ep III where Kajiura composed all of the music.
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