One of my favorite game series of all times has definitely got to be the Xenosaga trilogy for the Sony Playstation 2. Originally slated to be a six-game series, the number of installments was halved due to somewhat poor reception of the second game. All in all, though, this RPG series is definitely one worth playing. Find out why I think so…
The first installment of the series is a pretty standard RPG when it comes to game play. You level up your characters and unlock new skills. Your characters can also be enhanced through various equipments. The game play is pretty painless. The thing that drew me into the series, however, was the plot. Xenosaga has a very unique storyline that has incredible depth and various cryptic undertones. Here’s a synopsis from Wikipedia:
Since its discovery on Lost Jerusalem (Earth), an artifact known as the Zohar has been highly sought after. The aforementioned Galaxy Federation wishes to harness its power. Both groups believe that the Zohar’s significance is threefold, as a power source, the cause of the Gnosis appearance. Since the age of Lost Jerusalem, many researchers have studied and attempted to control the Zohar. Among the results of this research was the development of several Zohar Emulators. However, the original Zohar’s power still far surpasses the energy output of any known emulator, despite the fact that one of the emulators caused the disappearance of the planet Ariadne. No emulator is capable of the true function of the Zohar.
As a result, the Ormus society and the Galaxy Federation attempt to find the Original Zohar that was sealed away on Miltia at the end of the Miltian Conflict. However, the key to unlocking Miltia and the Original Zohar is contained within the Y-Data, which is hidden within the mind of a Realian named MOMO. In order to retrieve the Y-Data, Ormus hatches a plot against the Galaxy Federation and its allies by using a series of dummy organizations and insiders, as well as its military force, the U-TIC Organization and an enigmatic figure known as Albedo. In turn, the Galaxy Federation employs a cyborg named Ziggurat 8 to rescue MOMO and act as her bodyguard.
Meanwhile, Vector Industries, the largest corporation in existence and the primary arms manufacturer for the Galaxy Federation, is currently researching new ways to use nanotechnology to build an unstoppable anti-Gnosis battle android, code-named KOS-MOS. This is quite unusual, since androids have been replaced for many years by artificial life-forms known as Realians. However, Vector Industries and their head of First R&D Division, Shion Uzuki, have other ideas. Shion, a simple software researcher traveling on the starship Woglinde, becomes involved in a conspiracy not only to control the mysterious Gnosis and Original Zohar, but to reshape the destiny of all mankind.
The second game tried to change up the battle system a bit, but it worked out that battles became quite tedious. I will admit that the game play portions of the second installment were a little… painful at points, but it wasn’t all bad. Once again, the driving factor was definitely the storyline.
The third game was definitely my very favorite. The battle system returned to what it was in the first game with some notable improvements and made battles actual worth playing through. The plot movement in this final installment was intense, and the ending of the game (which left me literally in tears) leaves you wanting more.
A challenging RPG with a deep storyline accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack. What more could you ever ask for?