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Old 11-15-2015, 04:53 PM
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Chapter Index!

Xenosaga Episode 1
Part 01: You're reading it now
Part 02: Let's Learn Xenosaga
Part 03: The Woglinde and You
Part 04: Everybody Hurts
Part 05: New Ship, Same %#&^
Part 06: Space Cop and Lil' Bot
Part 07: Blazing Sword, Blazing Curry
Part 08: Invasion Elsa
Part 09: Here Comes a Special Boy
Part 10: The Death of Fun (and Cherenkov)
Part 11: Black Betty, Business, and Bikinis
Part 12: Hero's Journey (to Jail)
Part 13: Memory Lane
Part 14: Kukai Burning
Part 15: Sing Me a Song
Part 16: Xenogears the Revenge
Part 17: Love, Justice, Courage, and Giant Robots
Part 18: An End
Part 19: Let's Review Episode I
Part 20: Cliff Notes

Episode 1 Special: Xenosaga the Animation
Special: The Animation Part 1
Special: The Animation Part 2

Xenosaga Episode 2
Part 01: Past Beginning
Part 02: Crosstown Traffic
Part 03: Family Matters
Part 04: MOMO's Big Day
Part 05: Sympathy for the Devils
Part 06: Snow Compromises
Part 07: Shion Uzuki: Model Employee
Part 08: Sound and Fury Signifying Ormus
Part 09: Explosive Revelations
Part 10: Up to the Precipice
Part 11: Sidequest Roundup
Part 12: Dark Omens (of Giant Robots)
Part 13: The End(s) of Albedo
Part 14: Let's Review Episode II
Part 15: Cliff Notes

Episode 2 Special: A Million Little Spin-offs
Special: Xenosaga I & II
Special: Xenosaga Pied Piper
Special: A Missing Year

Xenosaga Episode 3
Part 01: Begin Again at the End
Part 02: What's the Entire Galaxy Been Up To?
Part 03: Like a Romantic Comedy, but with Robots
Part 04: True Rumors
Part 05: Storm Castle, Save Princess
Part 06: Not Much of a Rescue
Part 07: Sex, Violence, and Archaeology
Part 08: What Time is It?
Part 09: Shion Through the Ages
Part 10: Fashionably Late
Part 11: The Under Labyrinthos Dance
Part 12: Another Stupid War
Part 13: Heaven or Hell: Let's Gawk
Part 14: Blood, Gnosis, and Tears
Part 15: Back to Reality
Part 16: Oh, Daddy
Part 17: URTVogears
Part 18: It's the Little Things (About Giant Robots)
Part 19: A Jerk Planet for Jerk People
Part 20: Deeper into the Shallow End
Part 21: Jesus, Mary, and Gnosis
Part 22: Love in the Time of Testaments
Part 23a: The End of the Universe
Part 23b: TEotU Explained
Part 24: Final Character Roundup
Part 25: Let's Review Xenosaga

Episode 3 Special: Final Words
Special: The Xenosaga FAQ
Special: Xenosaga Freaks LIVE!
Special: Xenosaga (and me) and Religion
Special: Beyond Xenosaga

Where to begin?

As many of you know, Xenosaga was a trilogy of JRPGs for the Playstation 2, released once every two years or so. Probably the best known feature of this trilogy was an inscrutable storyline full of religious imagery that could put Evangelion to shame, and a bevy of cutscenes that make Metal Gear Solid look like a mere flipbook. It was also a sequel of sorts to the Playstation 1 JRPG, Xenogears.

So, let’s start there.

Though, before we go any further, I want to be clear: this is a Let’s Play, so it will spoil the whole of Xenosaga. Yes, assuming my thumbs don’t fall off and my eyes strike in defiance, I will be LP’ing the entire trilogy. Additionally, I will not be stingy about potentially spoiling things in the narrative ahead of time. If I want to note that Junior is an immortal right from his introduction, I’m going to do that. Also, a lot of this game evokes scenes and characters from Xenogears, so it is very likely I will spoil that nonsense, too. Come to think of it, if you care about playing any game with “Xeno” in the title completely clean, just go ahead and read something else. Now’s a great time to brush up on your Mega Man Anatomy!

Anyway, back to Xenogears. Xenogears was, in hindsight, a singular gaming event that I’ll likely never experience again. XG was released right at a horrible time for my peer group, when raging teenage hormones and Tifa Lockheart convinced us all that JRPGs were some kind of high entertainment that parents just don’t understand. Coupled with Neon Genesis Evangelion, “our generation”’s media was just so much more important and meaningful than anything that had come before, and I know I wasn’t the only one that was suckered into thinking Fei and Elly’s millennia old love story was the most significant story ever told.

Despite the accolades of the immature everywhere, though, Xenogears had a flaw. Xenogears was, one way or another, unfinished. Yes, the entire second disc of the game was paced about as well as this LP inevitably will be, and it should have been obvious to even the casual observer that great swaths of the game were cut, but, no, that wasn’t the issue for fans. The problem was that there was a complete “Perfect Works” book out there, and it claimed that Xenogears as we knew it was merely Episode 5 in a six episode series. Like a similar nerd fetish, Star Wars, we were all on the edge of our seats waiting for the next chapter, and all the prequel chapters.

But the future refused to change.

Fun fact: Xenogears didn’t need prequel stories any more than Star Wars. In much the same way that you know everything you need to know about Darth Vader from the original material (we used to be best buddies, and now we’re not), and in no way needed to know exactly what the guy was doing when he was five and building robots, Xenogears covers the important parts of episodes 2, 3, and 4 over the course of the game proper. Episode 2 was simply the story of Cain and Abel, which I think has some further detail in other sources. Episode 3 was “Zeboim Culture”, which was the “permanently 1999 AD” epoch that allowed for “our” cities to be buried under the Xenogears world. And Episode 4 was that Solaris War that I swear gets more development during the game than Rico. Yeah, you could probably set a neat noir game opposite Fei-Kim’s time in a labcoat, or maybe a TRPG set during Fei-Lacan’s military service, but Xenogears’ numerous flashbacks already told you everything you really need to know.

But there are two unknown periods proposed by Perfect Works. The most obvious was Episode 6, the only Episode to take place after Xenogears, aka “this space intentionally left blank for sequel”. But on the other side of the spectrum, there was “Episode 1”, which, on a whole, seemed to exist merely to get all the pieces together for Episode 2 onward: Earth-Man has gained space travel, the Zohar, and a need to create a space god thanks to a galactic war. It really is all place setting, because you can’t just start a story saying “In the beginning, Man created God and the Earth”, you need to have some reason space-god-slug was produced and stuck in an enormous ship, so how about a galactic war, or something?

Of course, the only issue with focusing on Episode 1 would be that, by definition, it would be devoid of all the reincarnation nonsense and the parade of familiar characters that were recycled for every other episode. And, divorced from the central “world” of the other episodes, all you would have left is, basically, Star Trek with JRPG flourishes. It would be like telling the story of Lavos’s creation on another planet: any similarities to beloved characters and situations from Chrono Trigger or Chrono Cross would be incredibly forced and completely nonsensical. Anime wagon train to the stars has been done to death already, so what would be the advantage of slapping the Xeno license on it?

Naturally, Xenosaga Episode 1 was announced.

As information dribbled out, an anxious fanbase learned details that were good and bad. Bad news: despite the name, the “Xenosaga Series” would only focus on the Xenogears Episode 1 epoch. So, sorry, no tour of the entire Xenogears series (and Xenosaga Episode 5 wouldn’t be a Xenogears remake). But good news: at this point, everyone knew of the production troubles that plagued Xenogears toward the end of its development, producing what was, effectively, only 60% of the actual vision of the game. Now, with an entire multiple game/episode “saga” to tell a story, surely we would see the real, complete Xeno experience. No sitting around watching a pendulum swing, we’ve got space to breathe! A whole galaxy! Sure, Monolith Soft, team Xeno, had to jump from Square to Namco to get the game made, and, thus, we wouldn’t be seeing any licensed Square/Xenogears characters, but we learned of Dr. Shion Uzuki pretty fast, so we knew a genuine Xeno experience was incoming.

And that monkey’s paw granted us the game we all asked for…

What’s going on here?

This will be a Let’s Play of the entire Xenosaga series, Deus willing.

Don’t you have better things to do with your time?

I’ve wanted to replay the Xenosaga series in its entirety for some time, but I know it’s a complete time sink, so examining the series on the forum here is a fine excuse to do such a thing.

Oh, devote a lot of time to thinking about Xenosaga?

Man, I used to. I remember practically begging for more at the finale of Xenosaga Episode 1, but by the time I finished Episode 3, I barely could remember what happened. Like, seriously, I beat the game, and like a week later I couldn’t remember exactly how that went, despite the fact that my younger self would have killed for that information. Something happened there, I’d like to reexamine what.

So what will this LP focus on?

There’s no way around it: this is a “story driven” game series. Cutscenes are lengthy and plentiful, and there’s no end of aggravating -important terms- that are implied to be dripping with meaning… but… are they?

Looking at it from another perspective: there are about a billion “mysteries” floated in the opening episode, but are they satisfactorily answered by the ultimate finale? This was a game series that was released over the course of years, I don’t expect every thread to be properly analyzed, but it’d be nice if all those conundrums added up to something.

So we’re all about the story here?

Nah, I want to examine how the nuts and bolts of the game all interact with the storytelling involved. Would this game have been better as (just) an anime series or light novels or alike? Does “playing” Xenosaga enhance the narrative, or detract from the vision with gameplay concessions? Who knows, but let’s find out.

It’s a JRPG. What about the battle system?

I can only speak to Xenosaga Episode 1 right now, but I can say I’m not going to focus too much on the individual battles of the game. There’s a significant reason for that that will become apparent shortly into the LP, but, to be clear, I’m not going to be focusing much on battle strategy and distinct monster mobs. There are just too many battles I vividly remember banging my head against when I initially played this series, and this LP is never going to progress properly if I’m trying to survive and overanalyze what it means for the Minotaur to use acid rain inside a spaceship.

Picture or Video LP?

Picture, for two reasons. One, I personally find it difficult to “follow” video LPs, if only because if I’m in a situation where I can sit down and “watch” something, I’m probably watching a scripted show, and not someone else play a video game. This isn’t to disparage video LPs, incidentally, it’s just how my own viewing habits work, which naturally influences what I myself produce. The other issue is that this game is so full of cutscenes, it would mean that half the videos would just be “hey, everybody shut up and watch the movie”, or me trying to ineffectually “riff” on cheesy JRPG dialogue in the silence of my own basement, which… gets old fast. So, picture LP for everyone’s sanity.

Anything Else?

Special thanks to this XSI script that will save me soooo much time.

And this Episode 2 script.

And this Episode 3 script.

And this Uncensored look at Episode 3 (major spoilers).

So, in the spirit of intros, let’s get this show on the road!

Last edited by GoggleBob; 01-13-2017 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:56 PM
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Oh boy oh boy oh boy
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:04 PM
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:09 PM
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Default Part 1-1



Xenosaga Episode 1 Der Wille zur Macht is here! Yes, as a bonus for fans, every episode of Xenosaga came with a Nietzsche quote, this one translates to “The Will to Power”. I suppose we’ll get in to how this applies to the game somewhere around the finale, but for now, just be aware that pretension has bubbled out of the game proper and into the title.



Sorry if that’s a little hard to read, but I’m formatting these shots so they’ll appear well on mobile devices as well as computers-proper. I have a tendency to browse the forums while on my phone, and, again, I’m a giant narcissist, so I assume my audience is me. I understand me. Anyway, that says 20xx AD, Lake Turkana, Kenya. This is, if you’re curious, a real place, and is widely believed to be the birthplace of man due to an overwhelming number of fossils. Here’s one of those random spoilers I was warning you about, but Xenosaga eventually gets around to confirming the Bible as a thing that happened, so, if you’re marrying anthropology with Christianity, you could claim this was Eden, or someplace close.

Additional fun fact: Lake Turkana is the world’s largest alkaline lake, which is where batteries come from (citation needed).



And speaking of anthropology, we’ve got a lovely little dig going.



Here’s our Indiana Jones du jour, Dr. Masuda. He offers important advice, like, “ground hard, water wet.” He’s a doctor!



And, look, we (the guys Dr. Masuda is paying to do actual work) found something! It looks like a floor tile?



Oh, it actually has a shallow polygon indentation. Anybody pick up the key to this puzzle?



Ah ha! Dr. Masuda has it handy.



This Noise



Oh yeah, that’s the ticket. Every archeologist dreams of the day they stick a random rock into some other rock and it lights up like a Christmas tree.



A… relatively tiny Christmas tree.



And random ruins are now spiking out of the lake. Crocodiles are greatly inconvenienced.



And the ruins spew forth a giant, floating, golden monolith. Dr. Masuda has anticipated this, and hired timpani players for just such an occasion.



The golden idol shoots a beam into the heavens, splits the sky, and causes a downpour. This is a desert, so good on you, monolith, way to stick it to nature.



But enough about that, now it’s 4,000 years later. Dr. Masuda is long dead.



Good game companies bring presents.



Here’s the title again, as a mysterious, golden object floats through space (spoilers: scroll up).



Meanwhile, we’re getting a readout on a computer screen about KOS-MOS and Shion Uzuki. This is basically a dos prompt OF THE FUTURE.



Gaze at an R&D department OF THE FUTURE.



And here’s a lovely surfboard coffin that, mark my words, is absolutely what I want to be buried in. LPs are legally binding.



And meet our heroine…..’s butt. Eh, it’s still the intro, so we’re going kind of easy on actually focusing on characters.



See what I mean? Just enough to know she’s got a weird hairstyle, as Shion takes a seat in a Virtual Boy OF THE FUTURE.



To stop being snarky for all of a minute, here we have a brief (like, seconds) scene of a computer diagnostic performing a series of quick medical tests while prepping Shion for virtual reality. It’s… kind of crazy how much detail goes into these scenes that are, again, shown for all of a minute. Like, I suppose they could have just grabbed random MRIs off the internet or something, but, regardless, it was someone’s job to stick some very convincing (to a layman like me) medical jargon all over the screen. And, no, to my knowledge, there isn’t anything important hidden in all of this, like it reveals Shion has cancer before it becomes a real part of the plot, it’s just a lot of window dressing for a generally boring scene that plays while the player is likely getting a soda.



Back out in space, here’s a big ship.



Here’s some text on KOS-MOS that flashes across the screen briefly. You actually may get some interesting details from the scroll, but it’s all explained as the game progresses anyway, so don’t strain your eyes. Of note, it reveals that KOS-MOS stands for “Kosmos Obey Strategical Multiple Operation System”. PROGRAMMING TIP: Never name a robot with an infinite loop.



Back out in space, some Opa-Opas are grabbing the monolith. It’s hard to tell scale here, but each of those ships is big enough to house one dude.

Last edited by GoggleBob; 11-15-2015 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:26 PM
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Default Part 1-2



And here’s this dude, who decided it would be a good idea to reach out and touch the monolith with his bare (for space) hands.



And he gets absorbed into the thing in a beam of light. Somebody put a caution sign on that thing!



Back to Vector R&D, here’s a seven layer deep diagnostic of KOS-MOS. Again, an incredible amount of detail for a brief scene that flashes during the credits sequence.



Now we get to see what’s going on in the virtual world. It’s… pretty dumpy.



“There's noise appearing in the temporal lobe.”

“What's the problem?”

“It's on the left side of the temporal lobe. I'm showing slight stimulation of the synapses in section 818. It's within permissible bounds, though… Do you want to abort?”

“No, let's keep going. Just stick to the menu. I'll try for a direct approach. Back me up.”

“Roger. Launching NATARAJA connection system.”

Nataraja is, for those of you that are curious, absolutely not a name anyone would use for a computer system.



Back out in space, somebody liked the monolith so much, they put a ring on it.



Now, I don’t know about you, but if my password was “Ye shall be as gods”, I would laugh maniacally every time I tried to log into the system.

Related, “Ye shall be as gods” was a phrase that showed up under much more dire circumstances during the intro of Xenogears. It’s also a possible translation for Genesis 3:5, and it’s basically the serpent’s sales pitch to Eve to get her to hurry up and eat that damn fruit of knowledge already. One way or another, it’s a piss poor password, as, come on, it doesn’t even have a unique character in there.



So now Shion and KOS-MOS are palling around in a virtual reality world. Shion’s first move is to ask the unfeeling robot how she feels.



KOS-MOS is, if nothing else, polite.



Okay, how about I introduce both of you?



Shion Uzuki is our 22 year old protagonist for the series. She is a genius, an experienced martial artist, and ridiculously empathetic. She’s the heart of the series, in more ways than one, and she is, for better or worse, forced to carry the emotional burden of practically everything, as her more prominent partner is not so much the expressive type.

She’s also kinda crazy.

This isn’t some Buckcherry, vaguely misogynistic appraisal, either. This is completely, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Shion is constantly, constantly surprised by things KOS-MOS does, and the majority of that surprise is based on KOS-MOS being an unfeeling robot. Newsflash, Shion, KOS-MOS is an unfeeling robot, and you built her, you should know this! But, no, time and time again, Shion is just shocked by the robotic actions of the robot she built. Once, when she was a child, Shion traced her hand on cardboard, cut out the design, decorated it with construction paper feathers, drew a little beak, and then stuffed it in her mouth and was shocked when she discovered she didn’t taste delicious turkey flesh.

This… wouldn’t be a terrible trait in most fictional characters. Like, if it’s a pretty well worn trope to have a character that is “book smart” but dumb when it comes to real world applications, but, unfortunately, Shion is the main character, and the POV character in a universe that runs on mystery. Shion is supposed to be a whiz kid, but she can’t seem to see the galaxy-wide conspiracy that puts her and her project squarely at the center of the universe, nor does she ever seem to question the completely baffling circumstances that repeatedly envelope her and her companions.

Ultimately, Shion gets a lot of the same flack as Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Shinji: when you’ve got a character that is the center of a gigantic, interesting universe, you don’t want to hear them whine about how much it hurts to hug spiky mammals, you want to see ‘em get out there and kick ass and solve those galactic mysteries.

And she has a distracting anime squirrel face!

Basically, what I’m getting at is that Shion is Xenosaga’s first big mistake, but I will be tracking her deliberately through the LP to see if there is improvement.

And, as eluded to earlier in the LP, Shion has the same last name as Citan from Xenogears, a character that won’t be born for another few millennia, and was only using the name as a cover anyway. But, hey, reference!



KOS-MOS, on the other hand, is pretty rad, and there’s a reason someone decided to make her the mascot for the series. KOS-MOS is a robot, which, as will be covered multiple times in the game, is a rarity at the time of Xenosaga. She’s also completely unemotional, and that’s a feature, not a bug. This isn’t your typical Pinocchio ‘bot that you see all the time in sci-fi (“What is… love?”), this is the definition of a badass, get %^# done robot with a mission, and an arsenal of weapons to help her do it. Also, in stark contrast to Shion, she possess a laser-like focus to pursue her goals, even if those goals are beamed into her head by aliens, or whatever is going on. KOS-MOS’s only drawback appears to be rare instances when she becomes possessed by the spirit of Mary Magdalene.

Yes, that Mary Magdalene.

We’ll get into it later.



For now, she’s just serial number 00-00-00-00-1



Shion apologizes for putting her robot to work, because she does that.



IT BEGINS



“A predetermined set of emotions has been hard-coded into my emotion module to better facilitate interactions with humans. In order to better facilitate a relationship with you – Chief Engineer Shion Uzuki of the KOS-MOS Project, Vector Industries First R&D Division – I will emit an expression such as sadness, only when that response is deemed necessary. However, the emotion module of my program has determined that this is not necessary at this time.”

Shion, go ahead and write that down, and tape it to the inside of your glasses.



RIGHT. WE AGREE.



…. Sigh… Of course you do.



KOS-MOS just… just doesn’t care, Shion. She is rolling her eyes so hard in that helmet, it’s about to pop off.



Shion gives a call in to Allen, who is that other voice that has been randomly popping up. We’ll look at him when we get out of this whacky reality.

Also note that they’re picking up from Process 277. I completely believe that this means Shion has had the same stupid “conversation” with KOS-MOS 276 times.



Allen proposes getting absolutely nothing done, as is his wont.



And that leads to a Virtual Tutorial… which is where we’ll stop for today. We’re about fifteen minutes into the game, and this is the first we’re actually using the controller for anything. Seems like a good time to take a break.

NEXT TIME ON XENOSAGA: “Shion, I need to be cleaned.”
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:20 PM
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Xenogears - the sequel to Xenophobe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post
it reveals that KOS-MOS stands for “Kosmos Obey Strategical Multiple Operation System”. PROGRAMMING TIP: Never name a robot with an infinite loop.
Actually, this is sort of a thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post
“Roger. Launching NATARAJA connection system.”

Nataraja is, for those of you that are curious, absolutely not a name anyone would use for a computer system.
Ridiculous religious "imagery" in a Xeno game? How unexpected...
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:40 PM
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Oh Xenosaga.

Please keep a running tally of every time the game tries to impress the player with a bigger ship.

- Eddie
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:56 AM
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Wow the character models have not held up at all. I remember when this game looked like hot shit. What fools we were.
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Old 02-14-2016, 08:09 AM
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Oh Xenosaga.

Please keep a running tally of every time the game tries to impress the player with a bigger ship.

- Eddie
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Old 11-16-2015, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post
One way or another, it’s a piss poor password, as, come on, it doesn’t even have a unique character in there.
As I recall, that makes it perfectly in tune with the rest of the game.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post
WI know I wasn’t the only one that was suckered into thinking Fei and Elly’s millennia old love story was the most significant story ever told.
I know someone who argues passionately every time the subject of romance in video games comes up that Fei and Elly is an example of one of the greatest romantic relationships in the medium.

And I'm like 'dude, seriously?' Sorry, I just don't see it. Did they even like each other?
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:15 AM
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There might've been a bit of people telling us that Fei and Elly liked each other, but I can't really recall. There was the scene with the shower in Solaris near the end of Disc 1.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:40 AM
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Remember how the first (minutes long) trailer for Xenosaga ended with a brief shot of that one kid that looks an awful lot like Fei and the Xenogears fans went bonkers?
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Old 11-16-2015, 02:49 PM
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I haven't played Xenosaga and why do Shion's eyes glow? It's freaky.
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Old 11-16-2015, 02:56 PM
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If I had to guess, it's because she has magic hi-tech space contacts.

Yes, with her glasses. Her eyes are just that bad.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:42 AM
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How the hell are they even staying on, then? Can she even breathe through her nose with how strongly they must be clamped down?
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:45 AM
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it's the future
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:45 AM
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meaning: she has magnets implanted in her nasal canal
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:03 AM
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This looks shit.

Sorry, that's all I've got to contribute. This looks like a game that is shit to play.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by madhair60 View Post
This looks shit.

Sorry, that's all I've got to contribute. This looks like a game that is shit to play.
It's no illusion; I think you'll find it's every bit as fun to play as it appears!
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  #21  
Old 11-18-2015, 06:14 AM
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As someone who loved Xenogears and then forgot all about the series until Xenoblade, I'm looking forward to this entire thread. Can't you just post it all at once so I can read it all now?!?!??!
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  #22  
Old 11-18-2015, 10:56 AM
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Really hope that this thread doesn't end up just giving me some sort of nostalgia as if I'd want to play through these things again.
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  #23  
Old 11-18-2015, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatie View Post
Can't you just post it all at once so I can read it all now?!?!??!
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  #24  
Old 11-18-2015, 03:22 PM
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Hey now, doing a Let's Play takes a lot of time and work. Give him until the end of the week to get the whole trilogy finished.
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  #25  
Old 11-20-2015, 08:15 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-1

PREVIOUSLY ON XENOSAGA EPISODE 1: …. Nothing much happened. Like, we figured out it’s the future, we’re in space, and Chipmunk Face and Mega Woman are going to run through some tests. So, let’s get right to it!



This is the first we’re even allowed to use the controller in Xenosaga, so, naturally, we’re dropped into a stark white void where you can either battle a dude or switch your tutorials with KOS-MOS acting as some kind of computer terminal. Not off to a good start humanizing your robot, Xenosaga.



BATTLE TIME



Let’s learn about Normal Attacks! Normal attacks are your basic “fight” command for the game. You’ve got an option of square or triangle, and, most of the time, you then can make that choice twice a turn. Square is usually a physical attack (shown here as “Knuckle”), and triangle is usually a magic/elemental attack (shown here as “Firecracker” which is, I don’t know, water elemental or something). So you can do a double physical hit (square square), a magic to physical hit (triangle square), or the reverse, physical to magic (square triangle). Note that your order may switch your element: hitting triangle first will give you a fire attack, but square-triangle will grant something more electric.

For the record, I kind of like this system, as, traditionally, elemental attacks are linked to magical spells, which consume MP (or whatever). In this battle system, however, you basically have, as an example, “unlimited” fire attacks as long as your triangle button still works, so there’s no need to miserly hoard your MP reserves in the face of a battle that might be finished faster by exploiting a weakness. I refer to this kind of battle system as a “reverse-Persona”.



Speaking of weaknesses, here’s an explanation of the three types of monsters you’ll see in this game: B for biological (like the humans we see here), M for mechanical, and G for gnosis. Remember, just because a particular monster belongs to a particular group, they don’t necessarily all share the same weaknesses. #notallgnosis



Here’s Shion delivering a delicious knuckle sandwich (square button).



Followed by a shocking jolt from her arm thingy (triangle button).



Note that all biological enemies explode in an absolute Pollock of blood. It is deeply unnerving. But don’t worry, kids, it’s all a simulation!



Hey, here’s that thing I just said. Note that, like Xenogears, “Magic” is referred to as “Ether”. Space’s favorite show is My Little Gnosis: Friendship is Ether.



Here’s KOS-MOS’s victory animation. She often exclaims, “Shion, I need to be cleaned.” It’s never not weird.



Oooooh Tech Attacks. Here’s the good stuff. See that little bar of light blue under Shion’s portrait? Well, that’s like six little arrows. Four of those arrows get filled up every round, and every action depletes two arrows, thus the previously mentioned “two attacks a round” thing. However, when you chill out for a round either by guarding…



… or deploying just one attack instead of two, then you save a couple of arrows, and have six (not four) arrows for your next round. Six arrows allow you to perform two attacks, and then a special tech attack...



like Shion’s craziness here...



Or KOS-MOS’s Mega Buster. This is how you really do damage in Xenosaga, and learning when to go for the all-out tech attack or something more basic is what you really want to focus on. There’s a tad more nuance to tech attacks, but we’ll cover that sometime later.



Here’s the tutorial on the sub menu, which is barely a thing. We already covered Guard, above that is…



Ether, which is your basic magic command. As previously stated, but to reiterate, “regular” attacks can have etheric properties, so you’re not stuck relying on your EP points. At this point in the game, the only useful application of Ether is Shion’s cure spell… whatever it’s called here. Medici or something.



Move is another option, which, really, is just a row switch command. Want to hop into the back row? Here you go. We’ll look at that a little more sometime around when we introduce the magical girl and the terminator.



As is noted here, there’s no Run/Escape command in the game. You’re stuck using an item that has the exact same application, or a spell Shion can learn called “Goodbye”. I’m… confused as to how this offers any great tactical advantage, gameplay design wise, over just sticking a “run” command at the end of the sub menu. Maybe they didn’t have enough room for more buttons?



Oh, Medica! That’s what Shion’s Cure spell is called. It heals one ally. It does what it’s supposed to do.



Here’s the most important move in the game: Boost. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that, while there is a turn order displayed in the bottom right, it’s not like Final Fantasy 10’s order notation that clearly displays who will be moving when for the next thirty turns. Xenosaga only shows, I think, a maximum of four character turns at a time. This is, kind of, a good thing. If your character isn’t in the current “crop” of turn order, you can expend one Boost Point to boost your character to next in the line. To reiterate, you can’t boost if your character is going to be moving soon, but if they’re not, they can sneak in and really ruin the enemy’s day. An immediate use here is healing: boost Shion up next, and she can Medica an injured ally before the monster has a chance to cause irreparable damage.



See, here’s Shion boosting, so she's up next.



Now the other big reason to boost is to game the event slot. Every turn has an “event”, and it’s the same four events looping in a predetermined order: nothing, critical up, boost up, and points up. The ideal way to play is to boost your characters so they have the most benefits from the events. You’ll want your heavy hitters to attack on critical up events, anybody that needs to fill their boost gauge (boosting costs boost points that are gained over the course of the battle) on the boost up events, and defeat your foes on the points up event, so you receive more EXP and assorted special points.



Special Points are used to level up every damn thing. Ether abilities evolve and mutate into new skills through ether points, Tech points up tech skill powers and speed, and… I forgot the third thing’s name. They let you yank abilities out of accessories, so you don’t have to wear an anti-poison amulet forever, just draw out the skill and have it innately.



While this giant dome generates to trap our heroes in their first real battle, I’ll note that those previously mentioned events also affect the monsters, so you do not want a super powerful boss attacking on a high critical event, and whatever you can do to keep your opponents from boosting is a good idea. Yes, the enemy can boost just as well as you do, and the whole thing becomes a kind of struggle to boost properly and control the flow of the battle. It’s just the kind of battle system that allows you to stress all the time because oh God should I be boosting right now?



Anyway, here’s our first real battle, where the enemies actually fire back.



Let’s go team Vector Product Placement!

CONTINUED NEXT POST
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  #26  
Old 11-20-2015, 08:25 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-2



Yeah! Bad guys! Aim for the throat!



Aaaand 12 points of damage. After another eight machine gun blasts, we’ll really be in trouble.



Shion delivers a punishing electrical attack… and that’s about it for these guys.



Here’s Shion’s not at all creepy/awkward victory animation. You’re not actually playing the game, so you won’t have to see this another 10,000 times. I envy the dead.



Remember, we’re in a sort of virtual reality world right now. Back in Vector R&D’s lab, the Vector peons are acknowledging that all is going well.



Here’s Allen. Allen is helping. Let’s look at Allen a little more closely.



Allen Ridgeley is 24, and Shion’s second in command, a job that grants him the emasculating title of “Junior Chief Engineer”. This is appropriate, as Allen Ridgeley, spoilers, is just a giant weeny granted a human body by the Fairy Princess. As part of this magical pact, Allen must never actually reveal his weeny origins, but he must act like a completely milquetoast pushover for the rest of his days. Allen can only become a real boy if he experiences true love’s kiss, so he sheepishly romantically pursues Shion, the only woman in close proximity with a name. Allen, despite having the offensive and defensive capabilities of damp toast, will stick around and journey with the party from the beginning of Episode 1 all the way to the end of Episode 3, so buckle in, and get ready to enjoy that special brand of humor where a guy is constantly followed around by a magical invisible butt that farts only on him.



Back in the digital world, Shion, expert scientist, wants to skip all these stupid tests and just get to the fun stuff.



Weenie Man objects, as progress frightens him.



Shion assures Allen that it will be fine. Shion is filled with lies.



This might seem like Allen showing the tiniest glimmer of a spine, but, no, he’s basically just admitting that he won’t sit around and watch Shion die when the alternative is pressing, like, one button.



Shion makes their relationship status perfectly clear.



If you were to pan down the camera just slightly, you’d notice that Allen is submissively urinating.



The nameless staff smells blood in the water, and soon a thunderdome will break out to determine the next Junior Chief Engineer.



Allen attempts to recapture some faint trace of masculinity by demanding everyone actually do their job and not just sit around like a bunch of catty NPCs. Good luck with that.



Alright, enough of Shion’s Whacky Friends and back to the actual game. As Shion notes, this place is a virtual space inexplicably based on ruins from 2000 AD. Pretty convenient for all these guys playing the game from the distant past of 2002. I suppose I could mock this further, but I guess half our computer simulations are based on medieval villages from like a millennia ago, so maybe this all makes sense? Maybe Shion spends her weekends hanging out at 21st Century Faires?



Shion takes the time to tutorialize a little further: there is… stuff that you can blow up, like random barrels and such, that, when exploded, will release a “trap” for wandering enemies. Use the terrain to your advantage, and blow up whatever you find. Videogames 101.



Yay! We’re starting! My controller works for more than the “advance text” button!



On-screen encounters are the norm for this game, and, as noted a moment ago, you want to lure enemies into exploding stuff to aid your missions.



Of course, I could not for the life in me direct this tachikoma into the blast radius of that yellow barrel, so normal battles for me.



Nothing exciting going on here, just Shion calling the wrath of Thor down upon her enemies.



Nice truck.



BOOM.



Inside the nearby (virtual) installation, there’s a mysterious red door that we can’t reach. Somebody make a note of that.



Another battle, another pile of random points accrued. I guess it’s “S. Pts.” that draw out abilities from accessories. Steve Points? That sounds right.

CONTINUED NEXT POST
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  #27  
Old 01-13-2017, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatie View Post
Can't you just post it all at once so I can read it all now?!?!??!
HAPPY!?!
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  #28  
Old 01-14-2017, 06:12 AM
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TirMcDohl TirMcDohl is offline
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Very happy.

Good times, Gogglebob.

I did burn through NXC a few years ago, and yes, it's dire. There are a few more nods to Xenosaga there, too. I think you go to the Rennes le Chateau cave there, too. I remember being in a cave when Shion mentions something about being scared of lightning, and the upshot is at the end of the stage, she gets her Lightning Blast tech as one of her attacks.

There's also a series of stages aboard the Woglinde there too, probably treading the ground that PXZ would retread later.
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  #29  
Old 01-14-2017, 10:48 AM
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So is this 'The End' The End? Man, I kinda don't want it to be over, but I suppose there isn't much more to cover. At least not until Namco is reminded 'Oh yeah, KOS-MOS exists' and throws her in another weird crossover game.

This has been one hell of an LP series, GoggleBob, great job! If there were a list of the cream of the crop LPs on Talking Time then this one would absolutely deserve to be on it. I really enjoyed it from start to finish and it was a great trip back through memory lane and reminded me that I still really like this series, for all its flaws.
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  #30  
Old 11-20-2015, 09:22 PM
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The only thing I remember from this game is that AGWS stands for Anti-Gnosis Weapons System or something.

So, you know. Prototype, manned KOS-MOSes.
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