Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DFB – Xenogears Fraction X

*This is it, the last one; Xenogears’ inevitable conclusion. For this entry, I’ve decided to accompany the writing & artwork with some scans I found yesterday of the now-elusive Perfect Works book. This book, as I’ve previously explained, details the entire backstory of Xenogears’ universe and all it’s lore. Topics range from the discovery of the Zohar all the way to episode VI (though much isn’t actually provided for episode VI). Even if I have no way to efficiently read or translate all of this, it’s still nice to have, even in digital format. Anyway, as usual--if you want to avoid spoilers at this point, just leave the page. If you just want to bypass the story summary, skip down to “Notes and Observations”.*

Chapter X –“Baring One’s Fangs at God”

As Id makes his way towards the Zohar, Fei is still locked inside his own subconscious with Id, who cruelly regards Fei as a “fake persona”. He introduces Fei to his “coward persona” (Fei’s figure sitting on the ground in the fetal position) and informs that he or “they” have created yet another, fourth persona to help delegate his emotional torment. He then tells Fei that the rest of the team has followed him and that he should just remain inside his own mind and observe.

Meanwhile, Citan and the others have found Wetall-ID’s true form, locked in a sort of casing deep under the earth. As Id awakens, the Zohar erupts out of the ground, and he viscously assaults them all, now powered by the massive generator. The Wiseman then arrives to help the crew and Id finally acknowledges him as Fei’s (or his own) father, Khan Wong. Fei’s father is powerless against Id’s relentless beating, but his voice eventually reaches Fei inside his own subconscious (who is gradually submitting to Id’s will). Id suddenly appears before Fei again and tells him how they came into such a state. It was shown how Fei had a normal and happy family life until his mother suddenly changed into an entirely different woman (Miang assumed her persona). Fei’s mother acted regularly in Khan’s presence, but changed entirely when he was away. This involved taking Fei to research facilities where he was brutally experimented upon and tortured. His “mother” coldly watched as the experiments attempted to “awaken” him. Fei was shoved with countless needles and cruel experiments were performed on him. He was also forced to watch children, women, and men die before him in an attempt to stir his emotions.

Id then hatefully informs Fei that he was created solely out of Fei’s need to endure all of that torture. All the extreme negative emotions that Fei couldn’t deal with…were passed on to Id. This created a persona that knew nothing but pain, sorrow, and hatred. All the resentment was forced upon Id to deal with all Fei’s misery. It is then revealed that one day Grahf came looking for Fei, as to return to his original body because he was Lacan, Fei’s past life. After Lacan’s initial exposure to the Zohar, he gained the ability to transmigrate his will into others (much like Miang), which allowed him to live for centuries. As Grahf nearly killed Khan, Fei struggled with the scene while his mother (who existed as Miang), coldly watched on. Fei then gave into his emotions and became Id, which destroyed his mother and offloaded his guilt from that action onto Id as well.

Fei then realizes that he has to come to terms with his coward and Id. First he forcefully tells the coward that they must take responsibility for their actions. After this, he and Id are finally granted access to what “Fei” actually saw that day (as the coward held control over many of Fei’s memories). The memory recounts how his mother actually assumed control over her own body at the last moment and sacrificed herself to save Fei. This allows him to confront Id himself and make him realize that his only interaction with the world doesn’t have to be destruction. His past wasn’t as grim as Id assumed it to be, and the destructive side of Fei’s persona is put into contact with it’s mother’s actual personality for the first time (Id acknowledges it as being “too warm”). After this, Id grants his own memories to Fei and tells him to figure out who they really are and what must be done now. He is then briefly put into contact with scenes from his previous incarnations’ pain. First he witnesses a small child known as Abel shown watching an earlier Elly be slain by Cain. Then he sees a man known as Kim (who was shown in flashbacks earlier from Zeboiim), protecting his and Elly’s created child, Emeralda (as Elly was sterile in that incarnation). It is also implied that Miang had the government sent after their child for scientific reasons. Elly is finally shown being shot by a large amount of soldiers as she buys time for Kim to hide Emeralda. Lastly, Fei witnesses Lacan’s loss of Sophia.

Fei then comes into contact with a being that lives within the Zohar itself. It claims to be from a higher dimension that Fei cannot even begin to perceive, and it describes this world where everything “acts in the manner of waves”. Fei immediately refers to it as “God” but the being says in some ways it can be referred to as such and others not. It acknowledges itself only as “EXISTENCE” and informs Fei that Deus connected with it’s dimension while studying it’s own purpose. The existence also informs Fei that it descended from this point of contact (“The Path of Sephirot”), which is where Fei is currently located now. The wave existence tells Fei that it became bound to the Zohar due to this contact with Deus, thus trapped in the “fleshling’s dimension” (creating the illusion that the Zohar was the source of infinite power). It then reveals that it has a plan for release and this includes Fei, as he was it’s first human contact.

Abel (Fei’s first incarnation) was the sole survivor of the Elderidge crash; simply a small boy who became separated from his mother during Deus’ takeover of the Elderidge. As Abel stumbled into the Zohar’s chamber, his will to find his mother was imprinted on the Zohar (the wave existence) and this caused it to create the first Elly/Miang (The Mother). Upon this “contact”, Fei was granted it’s power and Elly was given it’s will. Now that the wave existence has crossed paths with Fei again, it requests that he destroy it’s physical body (Deus) in order to release it from this dimension. Deus’ existence is different of the Wave existence’s and will trap it within the Zohar forever if it merges with the rest of humanity. Being the first contact, Fei is the only one who can destroy the Zohar through Deus, and release Elly. Fei and Elly were literally born to be together. Fei agrees and vows to help release the wave existence in order to save Elly.

The wave existence states that through his shared power with Fei, it contributed to everything that Fei used in order to deal with his tragic childhood. Fei has found his resolve however, and attributes the blame only to himself now, regardless of what actually transpired. The wave existence observes that Fei has finally come to terms with his past and has now achieved “himself”. The wave existence begins to disappear while telling Fei that he is to use “Xenogears” to destroy Deus and set him free. Fei desperately pleads to ask him more, but the Existence only tells him to “Ask…her…later” before disappearing entirely.

Back at battleground, Fei hops out of the newly acquired Xenogears (an angelic and elegantly designed version of Wetall) and rushes to his father’s gear. As his battered father observes Fei’s return to his “actual self”, Khan suddenly gets up and hoists Fei up by his throat. His form then changes to the masked skull figure…Grahf…Lacan. Grahf reveals that Khan was his newly acquired body since the day of fighting him. Fei is shocked and questions the nature of the Wiseman’s help, but Grahf explains that Khan’s will simply overrode his at times, which is why Khan chose to mask himself when he appeared before Fei. Grahf then acknowledges that his contact with the wave existence led him to believe that only through destruction would he be granted any true solace. Fei denounces this claim and Grahf proceeds to pit his “True Wetall” against Fei’s Xenogears (Wetall after Wave Existence Contact). Grahf is no match for Fei aboard Xenogears now and falls before him. The Zohar then calls out to Fei, crippling his movement. Grahf announces that this is due to the Zohar’s desire to merge with him, the first one to separate from it. Grahf announces that Fei is “the contact’s true will”, and he is just the vengeful remnant of yet another split that occurred upon Lacan’s initial contact with the Zohar. He then decides to offer himself to satisfy the Zohar’s desire while Fei goes to face Deus’ perfect form. Before he disappears, he requests that Fei rescue Elly (for Lacan that means Sophia), who is now merged with Miang and therefore every other woman that has ever existed (including Fei’s mother and all of Elly’s former incarnations).

The team then travels to Kadomony, another piece of the Elderidge that houses a super computer that was used by Deus in order to create the first woman. Fei relates to Bart that he, Elly, and Miang house the memories of all their past lives within their introns (which regular humans are unable to do). This allows the three of them access to an abundance of knowledge that everyone else is incapable of. Back on the Excalibur (Shevat’s flagship), the crew plans an elaborate plan to penetrate the Merkava. This involves the Yygdrassil IV combining with the Excalibur in order to provide them with a brief window to shut down the Merkava’s defenses. It is also revealed that Taura has created a Disassembler (the opposite of the Mass-Driver) to prevent the Seraph Angel troops from regenerating. This allows the crew to adequately defend the Yygdrassil and the Excalibur while making their way to Merkava. Xenogears’ contact with the wave existence has tied it to the Zohar, which serves as hub for transforming the entire party’s gears back into their omnigear state (they were reverted due to Krelian taking their anima relics for Deus earlier). The crew then sets out to enact it’s plan, to destroy Deus.

The crew successfully carries out their plan to take out Merkaba’s main cannon, but they notice that their plan was a little too successful. They cause the ark to crash into the planet, which activates Deus. The Merkava was merely acting as a vessel of transport for the global weapon. Deus then terra-forms the entire planet in an attempt to convert it into a massive weapon itself. The team then decides that it’s time to storm inside Deus and eliminate the core. They talk with the Zephyr, who expresses further sorrow for their actions over the past 500 years. She questions Citan about their “friend rescued from the Merkava” and it is shown that the team took Kahran from the ship earlier. Ramsus, who is still sulking over his purpose as trash, is responsively slapped by Citan for wallowing. He turns Ramsus’ attention towards the Elements, who have been the only people, truly standing by his side throughout his life. He saved all of their lives before and earned their respect and loyalty. Ramsus then agrees, as he sees the four girls as living testaments for who he actually is.

After sufficiently preparing, the crew sets out for the massive form that is Deus, which has imbedded itself within the planet. The crew then makes their way through the remains of the Merkava, which has also become a part of the creature. After a dizzying venture through it’s labyrinthine interior, they come upon Deus’ core, a massive biological energy generator with four orbs swirling around it. The crew then leaves the choice up to Fei on whether to deal with the orbs first or the core itself. The four orbs are sub weapon systems designed provide Deus with a more expansive means of support. 


After the crew penetrates the core, they find Deus’ perfect form within it; a massive angelic beast that is in actuality…their god, however synthetic that may be. After a grand battle, the crew is finally able to force Deus into retreat. Upon it’s fall however, Citan speculates that the weapon will generate a force powerful enough to eliminate the entire planet anyway, killing them all. To the team’s surprise however, the massive energy core then begins to hover and lift away from the planet, seemingly on it’s own merit. Fei immediately recognizes this will as Elly’s, who is attempting to sacrifice herself again to move Deus (who she is now fused with) away from the planet. This is almost fitting, as it seems to be the fate of Elly, even across transmigration, to sacrifice herself for the safety of her corresponding “Contact” (i.e. Lacan/Sophia). Fei decides that if Elly is to sacrifice herself this time, he wants to be by her side for it. After Deus’ defeat however, Xenogears is the only gear able to operate anymore and all ether abilities on the planet have dissipated entirely (because Xenogears is only thing other than Deus to directly make contact with the wave existence). As Bart makes Fei promise to return, he lifts off in Xenogears, flying full speed at the departing Deus.

When Fei catches up to the sentient weapon, he progresses to it’s interior once again. Making his way inside, he finds himself nude, and staring at an also-nude Elly, curled up in the fetal position; suspended, while encased in a ball of light. Fei recognizes this area as the “Path of Sephirot”, which is the same place the wave existence contacted him at earlier. He then converses with a voice, which he eventually recognizes to be Krelian. Krelian proceeds to tell Fei that the wave existence’s state of being as a one of unity and something all humanity should strive towards. He relates to Fei (whom he refers to as Lacan) of humanity’s perpetual drive to cause strife and hurt themselves. This constant and eternal state of humanity’s emotional and physical torture leads Krelian to truly believe that uniting with the wave existence will cause everything to work as one…with a cohesive existence of waves. He arrives at the resolute end that humanity will follow him into this higher domain of existence, to truly be embraced by the love of god, not their false love weaved out of his absence. Fei then steps in to argue for humanity’s imperfection as that of a benefit and privilege they’re all granted, to help one another. With this resolve, Fei has bared his fangs at god himself, announcing that they do not need his help to live their lives. Krelian hears this, and then decides to test Fei’s faith and will by submitting him to a final hurdle to overcome, the Urobolus, the final incarnation of Miang, humanity’s mother.

After overcoming the Urobolus, Fei frees Elly and they attempt to escape from the now unstable area. Elly tells him that while fused with Deus, she realized Krelian’s true intentions; he actually loved humanity more than anyone. Krelian’s resolution stems from his deep sorrow over Sophia’s death. Her sacrifice was something that profoundly affected him to the extent where his only way of coping was his resolve to “create god for himself”. Through all his acts, his end goal was to achieve a world where “no one would experience loss ever again”.

As they try to flee the dimension, they find themselves about succumb to death when suddenly they’re both whisked away, far above the planet; Krelian has saved them. Elly and Fei then urge Krelian to return to the planet with them, but Krelian announces that he’s not going back (despite Fei’s desperate pleas) and progresses onwards. He affectionately relates how his horrible actions throughout his life have entirely removed him from the human race. He then transcends to the next dimension via the path of Sephirot to “walk with god” with his last words to the couple: “Actually, I envy you two”. Fei and Elly then use Xenogears to make their way back to everyone awaiting them on Ignas. Their true god has been freed, mankind’s faux god has been destroyed, and the cycle Fei and Elly have existed within for ten thousand years has finally been broken. They are allowed to proceed forth on their own terms, truly mankind now.

~End Xenogears: Episode V~


Notes and Observations

Yasunori Mitsuda is a Beast.
Yasunori Mitsuda did a lovely job with Xenogears’ OST. Though I got extremely annoyed by “Stage of Death”, I think faulting any composer for making a “bad battle theme” is ludicrous. After I hear any one song so much, my ears begin to bleed regardless. As long as it’s actually a battle theme, it works, case closed. As for the rest of the music, as long as it remains varied enough to capture the custom scale of it’s adventure, I remain content. Mitsuda does this by using obvious influences from foreign areas (any composer that dips into the Celts’ taste typically does good work). It’s ironic that Tetsuya Takahashi (the designer) initially valued graphics over the music, as the game’s score definitively made Xenogears in good number of areas.

My Ranked Personal Favorites (all are on my Mp3 player at the top right of the blog):

6th-“The One Who Bares Fangs at God”–6:05
I originally thought this track was another (which is ironically in first place on this list) because of how stylistically epic the title is. When I found out that it’s actually the LAST battle song (not the penultimate), I ended up disappointed with it in comparison. It is admirably successful however, in how it’s interwoven into the confrontation with the Uroborus (Miang), and captures the mystic setting of the arena (the path of sephirot). How it begins playing prior to the fight itself is also important, because it eases the mind into a final yet serene encounter. My criticism is against the fight itself, not the music. This track is actually pleasantly disappointing in how it gets away with it’s faux-chorals and I won’t argue with anyone who dotes on it.

5th-“Ties of Sea and Flames”–3:08
I’m not entirely sure if this track plays prior to the Yggdrassil boarding, but I fell in love with it during a particular scene involving Sigurd, Maison, and Citan explaining Bart’s motives to Fei. Xenogears is one of the few games that can STILL get away with becoming sappy when it wants to be. This track is the manifestation of that, and usually plays when some dramatic character-based-revelation is on the stage presenting itself. It does begin to go backseat in the second half of the game, which is kind of sad. Given how intrinsically I tied this theme to my first few days aboard the Yggdrassil, I was okay with that though, and it’s one anybody will pick up on when first starting to get into the game. It’s emotional, it’s memorable, and most importantly, it’s very catchy.

4th-“Fuse”–2:33
This is the exact opposite of the #5 and plays during times of stress and action. Sometimes I even caught it going on during fights. What this track does well gets the blood pumping very gradually. It’s a well paced, and manages to define sense of rush and anxiety without inducing oppressive panic. If one pays really close attention to how I wrote my story summary, they can pick out the exact moments when this track surfaces. That is a gift not many action-tracks can boast for themselves.

3rd-“Flight”–4:50
This presents itself when Shevat first comes under attack. It transitions very abruptly from being a darker version of what “Fuse” does well to an assertive heroic cheesiness. I mean cheesiness in a good way as well, because the tracks always consistently meshed with the tone of the scene. It started out as Maria’s theme and ended up playing during dramatic gear scenes (i.e. the appearance of the G-Element). It’s a track that begins to help melt the roles of the antagonists into people to sympathize with (mainly the elements). My only complaint with it is that it didn’t actually flow into a battle at all (I actually think it only did once and I might be mistaken there). Though I like “Knight of Fire”, I would have rather have heard this in place as a boss theme at times.

2nd-“The One Who Is Torn Apart”–5:06
This is for all intensive purposes, Id’s theme song. I described this in a previous entry as being a track about “everything that is nothing” and I stand by that now. It’s ominous in how the player immediately associates it with not only Id, but what actually drives his existence as well (long before the game spells it out too). It’s also the only thing that kept Id’s initial appearance (as the scarlet gear) from being incredibly cliché. It’s an in-the-moment song that has a good number of standout sequences due to it’s inclusion alone. Id’s actual introduction (above Zeboiim) in which this plays during a boss confrontation with him is where I realized my love for the piece. Citan’s interrogation of Id (still remains my favorite narrative-area in the game) plays stage for this as well. The persona’s appearance in Fei’s subconscious mind (visualized as a child-Fei with his hair over his eyes) is an area where this theme dominates everything around it. Everything about Id’s strike sound effect also jumps out when I think back on this theme as well. It’s a pleasantly brooding theme that doesn’t go overboard in being “emo”.

1st-“Awakening”–4:23
This is what I thought “One Who Bares Fangs at God” actually was. This is the music that accompanies the battle with Deus and encapsulates everything that’s good about destroying god. My opinion is that everything I love about my 6th pick is achieved with much better grace in this track (right down to the vocal synths). Awakening holds hands with intensity itself in this fight and almost always seems to sync up with the action going on while playing. The vocal chorus always struck it’s peak when I hit Deus (which causes one of his Seraph defenders to violently flyby shooting a counter blast back), and it always slowed down when he pulled the big moves out of his ass (i.e. Ultimate Break). Ultimate Break is serendipitous when juxtaposed against this track because it’s that RPG move that involves the final boss metaphorically pulling out it’s long penis and slapping the player in the face with it. Making the universe blow up is one thing, having some sensible music to go along with it is something else entirely…

The Zohar and the Monolith
There’s a certain charm & mystique to the Zohar in both Xenosaga and Xenogears. It’s an obvious allusion to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and should be an instant corollary for those who’ve seen the movie. In that film, the monolith was a large black rectangular stone that appeared each time humanity transcended to a new level of consciousness. It’s eventually revealed as an alien artifact which Arthur C. Clarke jokingly identified as “an alien swiss” army knife, furthering intelligent life each time it made an appearance. In Xenosaga, the Zohar is the physical portal between the U-DO’s (“god’s”) domain and the human one. It’s also an unexamined source of infinite power as in Xenogears. In Xenogears however, it’s the same basic golden rectangle with further defined purpose, a generator to power Deus. It’s also revealed in Xenogears that the Zohar only appears as an infinite source of power because the “wave existence” (the “god” in xenogears’ world) became trapped inside it.

The weakness for me in the Xenogears’ use of the Zohar was the stripping of it’s will. The wave existence’s text should have been nearly illegible to the player (and Fei could play translator in some way). There should be some way of communicating with the thing while not crossing it’s threshold of mystique. It’s not something that requires an ambitious plan. Alma’s letters in the dot hack games freaked me out and it’s what I’m alluding to with this desire (to get some sense of eeriness when in contact). Something that crumbles logical ground for the player to stand on is what I desire. I love the subtext that goes along with it as a sort of quiet entity, not simply a power source. It provides an almost eerie sense of spirituality. Playing as Abel in “year 0” would have been an amazing thing to experience from a gameplay standpoint. In a hypothetical remake, the game could offer a playground for controlling Abel, as he becomes separated from his mother in the wake of Deus becoming self-aware (instead of the opening movie). Either way, I’d rather the Zohar stir up existential fright, rather than superficial power.

Final Bosses
These guys are important to me. Luckily, the times are gone when the final boss has to be the end-all-be-all fight. However, in RPGs specifically, the final boss is always supposed to represent some sense of thematic finality in terms of the game’s narrative. I don’t consider the Urobolus the last fight in the game, as it doesn’t really pose a threat (unless you’re not paying attention at all). Deus is the actual final boss of this game for me and posed an excellent opposition to seeing the end of this game. Something nice that Xenogears does is give the player the option of crippling Deus by taking out his support structures. Destroying either (or all of) of the surrounding orbs around it’s core slices a good chunk out of it’s starting HP and strips it of it’s cheapest moves.

What I really loved about the fight with Deus’ core was his two defending angels that maintain a sense of intensity throughout the fight (in addition to “Awakening”). Deus usually auto-counters physical attacks, which sends either of these guys elegantly flying across the screen violently, blasting random party members for 4,000 HP or more. Though my enjoyment of this fight is hindered by the gears combat itself, it’s definitely a high point of the game. Though I love that Miang is actually the final boss of the game, I wish the fight with the Urobolus was much more difficult than it was. I would have also preferred the fight been on foot with a nude sprite of Fei vs the “suggestive” mother of humanity (no matter how unrealistic that is considering the ESRB).

Eternal Return
Both Xenosaga and Xenogears use the concept of Eternal Return as a means to move it’s story along. While it’s used in Xenosaga as a specific driving plot point, it is downgraded to more poetic meaning in Xenogears, specifically between Elly and Fei. Even without the Perfect Works, Xenogears manages to faintly trace three other stories while maintaining it’s focus on the main one. I typically find a game like this and demand it be revitalized by a remake. I’m fine with something of say—System Shock 2’s caliber, as it’s STILL a great game and can stand on it’s own feet, even a decade later. Xenogears however, has aged and time hasn’t treated it well (and no, I’m not speaking about visuals dumbo). It’s massively self-indulgent narrative is actually one I’d argue DESERVES a remake. With the right dialogue retooling, CAREFUL consideration of scenes, and sufficient budget (notice once again that I very specifically said nothing about visuals), Xenogears could become a title with the facility to shift forward the entire industry a few years (and at this point I’d argue decades). This is especially relevant in the world of RPGs, where something such as this would greatly flourish the industry at large.

When one considers how the very concept of eternal return has died in the face of things such as Christianity and Science, art is at this point--the only thing nurturing such a notion anymore (yes I’m one of those people). Updating the science in a future Xenogears installment is key here as well, as science is something that changes drastically over time periods (i.e. Citan calling Fei a schizophrenic is very problematic now). Xenogears tries, even as it is, to run science and religion (it may be more accurate at this point to say “metaphysics” in place of religion) into one another (which is good), but it needs to be responsibly handled. This is something Xenosaga of course, tried as well (though Xenosaga shallowly toyed around with astrophysics more). While I’ll solemnly assert that Xenosaga deserves to rest in peace, I’ll stand behind Xenogears requiring transmigration for the “greater good”. It’s a fantastic game with the potential to achieve a sort of “godhood” for itself (go laugh at that irony). Xenosaga never touched the Zohar for itself, Xenogears did.


Ω. Μετεμψυχωσις, A Retrograde Legacy
Moving forward to Xenosaga, It seems that it simply got tripped up in too many ways to successfully honor it’s predecessor (though I still prefer saga to gears for selfish reasons). It’s (Xenosaga) visual design, censoring, budgeting, and inappropriately-crammed-into-three-entries narrative all ended up horribly tarnishing what should have been an amazing spiritual successor to a lovely game. The titles share troubled/rushed development, but Xenogears’ true faults are more based in it’s time period. What’s important here is what’s implied in the title of this note, “retrogradation”. I certainly encourage someone to step up and argue my opinion here, but going from saga to gears pretty much cemented my perspective that the state of this particular type of RPG (heavy-handed tale spanning continents/worlds) got worse over the years.

Even now, in our age riddled with trite desires (i.e. High Definition), more and more games are actually regressing in terms of what they do well (if they even DO it that well in the first place). Though I could go on to further name this in a string of other RPG franchises, Xenogears was the first one to solidify this for me. My deduction is that this is simply because of my own personal interests; which are lined up in such a way that led me from my immediate appeals to the exact same ones (albeit with a bit more substance behind them). This was only garnered by playing Xenosaga and Xenogears in reverse. This paints the illusionary picture that Xenosaga left a legacy for Xenogears to capitalize on. The sardonic humor in that is that the Xenosaga titles are still being praised to this day as the mistaken prequels to Xenogears. Totally unrelated, yet running exactly parallel to one another, love it.

Xenogears MVP - Krelian
Though I stand by my two personal favorite characters in this game characters (Miang and Id, who really aren’t characters at all in a sense), I acknowledge Krelian’s worth in the story overall. I do however, wish he had been introduced earlier and Sophia’s death more faintly traced in the earlier portions (the Nisan necklace swinging back and forth just isn’t enough). It’s the equivalent of putting one’s best football player in during the last quarter of the game. Even with Krelian making his debut a well before disc 2, he’s still left out of a great chunk of the game as a whole. The best way for this problem to in a sense, “fix itself” is for the second disc of Xenogears to simply be redone. Canonically speaking, disc 2 probably encompassed more time than disc 1 did. As I said in the last entry though, the perception of time was lost, so the game (specifically Krelian’s character) suffered because of it.

Krelian’s earlier life should be conveyed in some sense for the player to experience to his reverence towards Sophia (though I don’t know how it could be worked in). I thought it was a bit lame to play him up as a villain when it should have been obvious from the beginning that he wasn’t. The span of his life in particular is important in the narrative as he (as a human) made himself important in the grand scheme of things (as opposed to Elly and Fei who were predetermined by the wave existence’s will). Throughout the game, he progresses from an ultra-violent high-ranking military man to a scholarly person with a strict personal faith (stemming from his spiritual benefactor Sophia). This would have also separated him from Lacan, who was romantically interested in Sophia (at this point it’s arguable to most that they simply both loved her romantically). The only thing I feel should never happen is that control be given over Krelian. He should remain outside the player’s control at all times, it’s part of his allure.

Righteous Reward?
Xenogears also plays homage to the notion of achieving something beyond good and evil. Though generally speaking, Xenogears is about another wayward computer hell bent on misbehaving. It’s more of a story about people, plain and simple. With the state of inexplicit narratives in games (or moral ambiguity), it’s important to notice it as an issue for the gamer as well. Is the medium truly based around conflict? I’d certainly love to argue no, but I won’t deny that most people I’ve seen, experience a certain disconnect when they’re a “good person” fighting what they perceive to be another “good person". Sometimes people like to let their own morals and codes run rampant, overriding (and sometimes destroying) the game’s ability to cognitively tie up a person’s mind with audio/visual constructs (which are able to be engaged at will).

Coloring roles is a tool that’s been used by drama ever since the early stages of dramatic literature (even before then as well). Now it’s something games can further by perversely binding the player to the game’s narrative. That’s certainly not easy because writing has to be tailored (which hasn’t happened yet), gameplay has to have a clearly dominating role (which is a problem in Xenogears), and the game has to be developed while those sensitive areas are being explored (which is no easy feat in itself). This is certainly a lot of work considering the end result being “small” in some sense. When one realizes how sensitive a person’s subjective perception is though, they’ll agree that those small rewards are probably most important right here; where passion and pleasure find no equal.

XenOpinion
While I will acknowledge Xenogears as the far better game between the two siblings (and the one I’ll choose to play in comparison any day), I still harbor too much love for Xenosaga to just cast it off now. Between the makeout on both games, I now hold them in equal regard. Like I mentioned before, despite Xenogears high-praise in it’s time, the fanbase is rapidly compressing itself into a cult and I’m not sure I’m okay with that (though that’s just me). It’s surely by far one of the best console-jrpgs I’ve ever played and I don’t feel silly in any way with that statement.

From it’s lively locales, intricately weaved narrative, and strong characterization, it’s a title worthy of adoring, even a decade out of it’s time. My greatest wish is that another Xenogame will be made one day, WITHOUT the crippling factors of budgeting and development. These games manage to shine through their horribly extensive list of faults, showing titles of great purpose beneath. If I had my pick, I’d demand this game specifically be remade, with the considerations I’ve gone over in the past month. As I always state in my writing--if I ever attain the time or the money…I’ll fucking do it myself.