Xenogears is a classic 90′s RPG that came out around the same time as Final Fantasy 7 from the same company, Squaresoft. I believe that the purpose of media and entertainment is telling magnificent stories by mastering the chosen medium– done through illustrations, paintings, photos, videos and films, literature, music and even video games. Frankly, the team who worked on Xenogears created a classic, master art piece with a small budget by focusing on the story.
The most epic videogame in my opinion is Xenogears, in the sense that it is very cool and in the sense that it has a world history spanning more than 10,000 years. Xenogears is also the best RPG, the best videogame, has the best best story, and best love story ever told in any medium. Xenogears has a deep and complex storyline– originally made for Final Fantasy 7 but the producer thought it was too dark. So there’s Final Fantasy 7 which is like Harry Potter: mainstream, and then there’s Xenogears, which is like Lord of the Rings: high art. Also, it has mechas (giant robots piloted by humans). Since I have played this game, no other game has met my expectations nor can I enjoy them as much.
Despite its low quality graphics, there is something so whole and complete about Xenogears. In marketing terms, it is very integrated. The music, the design of the world, the colors and the tempo of each city or village all worked together to create a sense of liveliness and warmth–something that most videogames lack. The music is Yasunori Mistuda’s (who worked on Chronocross’s soundtrack) best work and have been a game changer because Xenogears was the first videogame to use real music rather than midi in the game. People complain about the graphics but I sort of liked the blocky sprites especially during fights because there seems to be more impact of each move; it looked rather cute and harkens back to traditional, early games. On the otherhand, Xenogears did not use 3D graphics in its cutscene, instead, it used anime style cutscenes which worked better with its gameplay colors. Just because a game is 3D does not mean it is visually appealing or bearable on the eyes, which I believe is a mistake in several games. Overall, Xenogears excel at creating moods and emotions–an element crucial in artworks.
The characters are dynamic and develop throughout the game; they often have their own reasons for their actions furthering the storyline — nothing happens just because it is cool. I actually felt a connection to the characters and cared about them more than I do with other videogames. The storyline is absolutely one of the best I’ve encountered (it ties with Sion Sono’s film, Love Exposure), playing on psychology and religion which I believe is the reason for its emotionally dynamic characters and grand story. You may have heard of the cutback on gameplay in disc two but coming from an artistic perspective, I think it worked. I love theatre and monologues, so I did not mind the change in gameplay to reading lots of monologues. Unless you absolutely hate reading for leisure, it is fine and bearable.
Xenogears really sets the bar and once it has been done, I doubt anything of the like can be done again. With that said, Xenogears is currently available on PSN (Playstation Network) for only $10 so download it and immerse yourself in one of the greatest story ever told, and the coolest robots.