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Video Game Reviews

Xenosaga: Episode 1(PS2)

Graphics: 5/5
The graphics of this game are like no other. I cannot believe how perfect everything looks...except for their hands. They never bend them. But who cares! Everything else looks great! The characters looked very detailed. They were well thought out. However, the faces of MOMO, Shion, and Jr. looked slightly similar. They weren't all that bad looking. Each A.G.W.S. (Anti-Gnosis Weapon System...big robot) looked really cool. Almost every one of them (except for the VX-10000) had their own special weapon that made your jaw drop. The Lance for the VX-7000 was quite possibly the coolest looking weapon in the game. Some of the characters' tech attacks (Shion's Rain Blade, Junior's Mystic Nocturne, KOS-MOS' X-Buster) were absolutely awesome. The AG-05 is just too wicked to comment on. Looks great, has superb firepower that looks incredible, and has a huge variety of different fantastic looking weaponry. The ships that people have throughout the game look magnificent. Space chases, gate jumping, weaponry, along with everything else in the game were very smooth, unique, and intricate. My personal favorite things to watch were the weapons of the A.G.W.S. and cinemas where you find out more about KOS-MOS. Speaking of cinemas, theres a TON of it. I mean well over 2 hours possibly. It's great.

Sound/Music/Voice-Overs: 5/5
Music was also freakin' awesome. I never got tired of any music. It was all well-suited to the current situation. When you go to a place that is meant to be depressing, they play depressing music. During a chase, they play faster, more intense music that sounded really good. The creepy music they used for the really weird occurrences actually sent chills down your spine. Sound effects were QUITE original. I hardly can remember a time when I heard two of the same sounds. In fact, I can't even think of one. They did a very nice job of not overusing sounds and music in this game. Normally you would expect a game to have crappy voice-overs. Not this game. I only heard two voices throughout THE ENTIRE GAME that I didn't like (Allen's voice and some spiky-haired guy on the Elsa). The voice-overs were FANTASTIC! I mean it! One of my favorite voice-overs was the one for MOMO. They used the voice actor of Sasami from Tenchi Muyo (anime). If it's not the same person, they sound an awful lot alike. They sounded very good.

Storyline: 5/5
Ah, now for the storyline. This game certainly has an odd one. It takes place around the year 4000 (if this is wrong, please e-mail me) and there is tons of space travel. Humans have encountered an alien species called Gnosis that is extremely hostile towards them. They just recently discovered a weapon to fight the Gnosis. This weapon is known as A.G.W.S. It still doesn't work too well unless the Hilbert Effect is activated. The Hilbert Effect is a type of shockwave that brings the Gnosis-who are ethereal-into full existence so they may be fought. You start out in a simulation with KOS-MOS (forgot what it stands for), a woman android with freakin' awesome weaponry and mad fighting skills. A little bit later the Gnosis attack your fleet. Your fleet gets demolished in no time flat. You and a co-worker are inside of an escape pod floating in space when you get picked up by the Elsa. A ship working for the Kukai foundation. They end up saving you because KOS-MOS threatens to break the glass and have all of the crew members sucked into space and killed unless they go and pick up the drop pod. You get inside where you meet a new character named chaos (non-capitalized for some odd reason) Then you switch over to Ziggy and MOMO. MOMO is an observational unit who is wanted by pretty much everyone in space. Ziggy rescues her out of an asteroid resource station. They escape and are chased by some people and end up in a crazy chase/fight scene through hyper-space and they end up right behind the Elsa and the Elsa assists and then your whole team (except for one) is there and then the story goes on. Throughout the game there is an unbelievably large amount of plot twists that occur. Lots of new characters are introduced as well. Unfortunately, because this game is the first out of a supposed six game series, much of it doesn't get explained by the end of the game. In other words, you're left hanging until the next game comes out. No big deal.

Gameplay: 5/5
Geez. Where do I begin? Let's start by saying just how much fun I had playing this game. I can't express that enough. The game was pretty hard. There were some bosses that gave me an insane amount of trouble. Never got sick of it though. Although, there was one boss that made me very angry before I learned the importance of boost. If you don't know about boost by the time you fight this guy, you're going to die for a very long time. I did. You may catch on quicker and if you do, be glad, be very glad. Anyway, since I mentioned boost, I may as well explain it first. As you damage enemies, your boost gauge goes up. When it reaches full, you get a boost point. You can use it to give you an extra turn. This is very helpful for screwing up boss' plans. Your boost gauge grows much quicker when you hit an enemy during a boost+ turn. Now to explain turn attributes. During each person's turn, there is a special field attribute that is in effect. There are four different ones. It goes in this order: None, High Critical, Boost+, and Points Bonus. None of course does nothing. High Critical makes it MUCH easier to get a critical hit. Boost+ makes your boost gauge grow faster. Points Bonus multiplies your points earned at the end of the fight by either x2, x4, or x10. Now to explain points. There are three kinds of points. The first is tech points. You can use tech points to raise the stats of your characters or to increase your tech attacks (I'll explain those later). The second is ether points. This is your magic for the game. Each character has their own set of ether spells they can learn. It costs a certain amount of points to advance your ether skills further or for half the price of a ether skill you can transfer it to another character. However, there are some skills that are character specific that may not be transferred to other people. The last type of points is skill points. Skill points are used to learn skills from accessories you get throughout the game. Some accessories have skills in them while others don't. It costs a certain amount of skill points to learn each skill and the more skills you learn, the higher your skill level goes. You can only learn skills from accessories from you current skill level. The highest skill level is five and the skills that are level five are level five for a reason. They're super freakin' awesome. Each character can equip three skills at a time. Now I'll tell you about tech attacks. Each character has their own set of learnable tech attacks. They're earned by level, not tech points. You use the tech points to increase their power level, make their recovery time faster, or advance them to a high speed skill. You have a certain number of tech attack slots. You have two high speed slots one of which is near and the other is far (the only exception to this is Jr., he has guns therefore doesn't have a melee at all). You have four low speed tech attack slots three of which are near and one of which is far. Near being a melee attack and far being their ether attack. Near and far does serve a purpose. You can't hit flying monsters with near attacks. Now, the use of High and Low speed tech attacks. In battle, you have AP. You start out with 4 every time it's your turn. Each attack takes up two AP. With a low speed tech attack you can't perform the tech attack until you have six AP. You can get six AP by guarding or doing one attack and then guarding. A high speed tech attack means you can do it when you have four AP. So, it does help to have high speed tech attacks. Wait time also takes effect. If you don't make the wait time lower, it DOES slow you down a LOT. You have single target tech attacks that do either physical or ether damage, line target tech attacks meaning you can only target the enemies in the front row with the tech attack (physical or ether damage), and all target tech attacks that target everyone no matter what (physical or ether damage). Physical attacks do more damage to a certain creature while other creatures take less damage from it and Ether attacks do more damage to something but less to others. There are many different types off attack damage. There's physical, ether, beam, lightning, ice, fire, S (don't ask what it stands for, I still can't figure it out), slash, pierce, hit, and possibly a few more. Each character can equip a weapon. Some characters have special ammo that goes with their weapon. They can also equip three other things. A piece of armor, a helmet, and an accessory. Other options are having armor and two accessories, helmet and two accessories, or three accessories. You may not have two armors or two helmets (for obvious reasons). Four of the six characters can pilot the A.G.W.S. There are six different A.G.W.S. Three of them come with characters and three of them you buy. They slowly become available much later in the game. The A.G.W.S. also has equip slots. It can equip three weapons AND three accessories. You're probably thinking why wouldn't someone use the A.G.W.S. all the time? Well, believe it or not, in some fights it's not the smartest time to use them. Sure, in some fights it makes it a lot easier to use them, but in other fights, it's just plain not going to work. There's also a card game that you can play. I didn't play it though so I can't inform you about it. I did hear that it's kind of like Magic The Gathering. I also heard it is much more fun and less annoying to play than the Final Fantasy card games. Moving on... In this game, it's not typical to see a large amount of damage or a large amount of life (it's about time). You don't see 9,999 all the time later in the game. Heck, when I was at the end of the game my highest amount of HP was 1500-something and I was around level 50! 50 is a high level in this game, I mean REALLY high. Damage wise, if you use a skill called HP strong (lower life=more damage), that's the only way to even come near breaking 2000 damage. I even had level 15 tech attacks and I was still barely doing 1500 damage without HP strong. Another surprising thing about this game was the amazing usefulness of stealing. Stealing items from bosses is the only way to get some of the rarest (one-of-a-kind) items. These items are actually useful! There's even a mail system, and environmental simulator that allows you to re-visit places you've already been to in case you missed something. There are tons of secrets. The main one is completing the Red Door side quest (DO THIS!!! You get some really freakin' awesome items out of it, including the robot parts you put together in order to get Shion's super strong ether spells). Money is very hard to come by in this game, especially early on when you want to buy all those cool A.G.W.S. weapons. That pretty much covers everything cool I can think of for this game. I loved it. I WILL play it again very soon. Not once did I get bored of this game. A MUST BUY!!!

Overall: 5/5
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