Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille Zur MachtReviewed By: Nat Sullivan
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
Game Play 4/5: As is the case in recent RPGs you move your character through fairly linear maps to get from point A to point B. Much like in Final Fantasy X. What keeps this game from becoming a Final Fantasy clone is the fact that enemies are visible on the map and attack only if touched. Combat is a slower and more plodding form of Turn Based combat used in most RPGs making battles somewhat tedious. Luckily there is a way out of the Take Turns cycle. That way is Boost, a command that allows you or an enemy to take priority over another's turn. This comes in handy at times, but at others can be annoying,
Graphics 5/5: For a PS2 title this game is excellent. Going above and beyond what was thought the PS2 could do. Lighting as well as shadows are top notch. The cutscene where KOS-MOS first activates is testament to that. And although not as good looking as the water in Dark Cloud 1 and 2 the water is amazing. Character models are good looking and move realistically. Battle is flashy and the special attacks are very well animated.
Sound: Music by the London Philharmonic sums up the music. Amazingly composed, beautifully played themes combine to create a top notch soundtrack. Memories and Pain are especially amazing. Voice acting is a lot like most voice acting. Some of its good, some of its bad. Most of the main characters are done well. Some of the side characters like Shion's bumbling assistant Allen and Jr.'s helper Mary that could use some work.
Violence 3/5: Expecting something like Final Fantasy X? Well the violence in this is a lot different. Human characters fought in battle explode in blood spray, the villain Albedo wrenches his own head and arm off to frighten MOMO, realians being self destructed to stop oncoming Gnosis, and realians crawling towards a wounded person and eating her are all shown. While not graphic enough to warrant an M rating it is there and can be disturbing.
Adult Content 3/5: Jr. and a few others are given to swearing in intense situations. While not as excessive as in Final Fantasy VII and VIII it can get annoying. Words like SOB, D*** and H*** pop up. A short sequence of Shion in a bikini at a beach is shown. Characters like Jr.'s copilots Mary and Shelly wear low cut and or midriff showing clothes. Again not as bad as in some FF titles.
Occult 5/5: Ether is the magic system. It comes from a technological source.
Other: Odd seemingly out of place religious references are shown and form a core part of some cutscenes. Things like the Zohar Emulators (Power sources that attract Gnosis.) are named after the twelve disciples and the thirteenth is named''son of Mary''. The UMN database (a kind of database for things in the game.) says it is a reference to a book by the same name. Bible versus are quoted in the UMN database as well but include their respective passages and are mostly harmless. A young girl who appears in Shion's dreams is name Nephillim. There are some disturbing scenes. One involves Albedo holding his hand over MOMO's head to extract data out of her and soon after rips his arm and head off. Stepping on his head and throwing his arm aside.( It should be noted that this scene was toned down for the US release. The original showed Albedo plunging his hand into MOMO's stomach and taking off his arm and head with a knife.) The afore mentioned realian self-destruct scene and mutant scene are also intense and somewhat freighting. Jr. shows the group humans who hav e morphed into Gnosis and a character named commander Cherenkov turns into a gnosis after having a close call with a gnosis. Shion also had a close call but does not morph as of the end. People talk about an entire planet being destroyed. A very short scene of KOS-MOS on a stone crucifix is shown.
Redeeming: KOS-MOS sacrifices herself so that the others can escape. Jr. battles Albedo to rescue MOMO. Shion shows grief when seeing the realians die to ''save'' her and others on a ship. Despite being gruff the captain of a ship named The Elsa treats his crew like family.
Overall: Negative. There are some good morals in there. But unless you can take some of the disturbing stuff in it your better of elsewhere. A good game for mature RPG Gamers.
Year of Release—2003
Neutral—Ok. I will start off by saying I am a HUGE fan of Xenogears, so if anything, I am partial to it's prequel. Xenogears has been the source of religious controversy since the moment it came out, due to it's alleged attacks on the Christian faith and the church. While I think the 1st had some elements which could be argued, I think this game had a few things in it which may be a little bit more questionable. Let me explain…
*Spoilers* The first one makes no real connections between christain ideals and principals. Xenosaga, however has made more then a few specific ties to christianty. The example, of course, is the Zohar modifiers and Namco's idea to name the 12 modifiers after Jesus' twelve disciples, and the 13th named "The son of Mary", Jesus. This is where the game gets iffy for me. No longer are they discussing concepts of good VS evil, but now they are creating thier own Jesus. Now, it has not really been explain yet (as the game is only the first part of a three game series), but if the Zohar machines are anything like the one in the original, then they are suggesting that man can trap Jesus, or an “essence man knows as jesus” and use it like a tool. This is complete blasphemy, there is no rationalizing it. Another thiing which comes to mind is a part where Jr. wakes up and has 666 written on his hand. That has not been explained yet. Again, this is no longer a metaphore or allagory, but something directly from the bible. As for the game itself, I enjoyed seeing the roots of Xenogears (even though they were few) but I think this game was plauged with a pretty bad cast of characters. The storyline was decent, but in all fairness, it is the 1st part of a 3-part story, so it really cannot be judged untill its final stage. I think of this game as one long introduction. If my suspicions on where they are taking the plot, then this game slanders the truth of our Lord and his Son. I'll wait and see though. My Ratings: [3 / 3]
—Eric LeCarde, age 21
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.