Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht (Video Game 2002) Poster

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Best PS2 RPG to Date
CraigOfAllTrades30 January 2004
Let me start like this. If you like console RPGs but what something different than Final Fantasy 10/9/8/7 (etc. their all the same) then you will love this masterpiece. Admittedly it does rely heavily on cinematics. Hell, their are more than one times when a save game screen will come up twice with out you even playing in between them. Luckily though the story is original and well told with dozens of characters and a ton of twists. It'll appeal especially to sci-fi fans and Neitzsche followers(?) for obvious reasons. If you're not expecting oscar winning performances in a video game then you won't be dissapointed in the voice acting. Except for maybe hearing Sherri Lynn use her "Sasami" voice for the 800th time. Character designs, while not very creative are believable (least for an anime setting) and the men actually look like *gasp* MEN. And I should ad that it's fun to be fighting some unique enemies in a unique way rather that more slime blobs and shadow beasts with an archaic NES battle system. All and all if you're willing to put up with hours of (great) story sequences then Xenosaga is well worth your money. And not a Chocobo in sight.
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A Very Ambitious RPG
dragoon_dart17 January 2004
Xenosaga, Episode I has to be one of the most ambitious RPGs that I have ever had the pleasure of playing. The story is truly epic. And the battle system is perhaps the best I have encountered since Xenogears. By the way, Xenogears, which came out in 1998, is actually the sequel to Xenosaga. Xenosaga, which was released two years ago, is actually a prequel. This method of story-telling is similar to the one used by George Lucas with his Star Wars.

Xenosaga starts off with the discover of a mysterious artifact in Lake Turkana, sometime during our century. The game then quickly moves forward in time, to approximately 4000 years in the future. In that distant future, man's technology has evolved to the point that would appear to us as nothing short of magic. However, even with man's technology, they have yet to unlock the secrets of the mysterious golden artifact that was discovered at the start of the game. To complicate matters, a very brutal and lethal species of ethereal beings called the Gnosis are eager to take the artifact away from man. Our weapons are useless against the Gnosis. The central character of the story, Chief Engineer Shion Uzuki, has been given the mandate to develop a humanoid Anti-Gnosis fighting system called Kos-Mos. As the story progresses, Kos-Mos goes through a development process that in the end, made her more than just a weapon of destruction into a totally unique and living being.

The battle system is fabulous. You, the player, will have option of engaging the enemy directly. Each of the main characters have a set of attacks, from the physical, martials arts type attacks to long range attacks involving the use of some very special abilities. Some of your main characters will have the ability to "pilot" giant, mechanical humanoid fighting systems called A.G.W.S. (Anti-Gnosis Weapons System). You have the option of outfitting your A.G.W.S. with a variety of weapons, such as Gatling Guns, Rifles, Grenade Launchers, Swords, Drill Claws, and Lancer Arms. Each of your main characters are also highly "customizable". You earn points during battle. It is your choice how to use those points to acquire skills, and to increase attributes for your players. Strategy plays a big role in battles. Also, unlike the typical RPG, in Xenosaga there are no random battles. So you are not subjected to fighting the same enemies over and over for the 99th time. The enemies are visible, and you have the ability to use "stealth" to avoid them in most cases.

The soundtrack is composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, who is the equivalent of John Williams in the world of RPGs. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed the soundtrack.

By the way, do not expect all of the plot lines to be resolved at the end of the game. Most will not. This is only part I, of a six-part story. I highly recommend this game. Especially for those players who demand more from their RPG than the typical, mind-numbing, overly-repetitive random battles that you usually find in the Final Fantasy series. I have also played FFX. And while it is also good, the story simply does not even come close to the size and scope of that being told in Xenosaga. I believe that a well-made RPG can do a much better job of telling a story, compared to a movie. In an RPG, you do actually get to be the main character and interact with the story. An RPG can immerse in the story to th extent that a movie could never hope to do. If you like complicated plots, epic story, fun battle system, and lovable characters, then I highly recommend this game to you.
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The start of an epic story...
Aaron137526 August 2007
Yes this is my type of role-playing game, more story less action, less fighting to level up and so forth. If that is not your kind of game, then I would suggest you skip this series, however, I thought it was great...though not as good as Xenogears, the game this may or may not be a prequel to. The only reason I say may or may not is that it ends suddenly in part three and it does not all add up to what Xenogears picks up. This game basically stars a cute gal named Shion, get to know her well as she is the focus of this series. During this part of the story you are mainly introduced to the characters and the villains. You get your intrigue and you get your Gnosis, strange creatures seemingly unbeatable at first. The fighting is turned based and fairly fun, however, the inclusion of robots in this particular games seems rather underdeveloped. For the most part they are rather pointless. Still you get your good story and the ending is good too, though almost nothing big gets done and no real surprises in the first edition. All in all though a good game where the only real flaw is the lack of variety in the music during fights and such.
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An appropriate doorway to a mesmerizing story
Kate12 January 2007
I felt that Xenosaga I was a great doorway to the final story in III. It is most unfortunate that this series is as severely under-appreciated as it is, but it must be approached with an open mind. The story and the characters are well developed, and if the series had been able to span the originally proposed six episodes, we would further be enveloped in this well-written epic tale. However, it is possible that the in-depth plot could be daunting to those who shy away from reading fantasy novels; those who instead prefer first-person shooters over games that have a tendency to emotionally move the player through character development and plot revelations may encounter aggravation and impatience. However, if you are willing to delve into a believable world and have your life changed, this whole series is for you.
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Not for the restless
MyNameisAllie14 December 2003
Xenosaga: Der Wille Zur Macht is an RPG that requires great patience and a lot of time. Many people complain that the cut scenes are too long and uneventful (or in other words, pointless). I will admit that Xenosaga's cut scenes come in hefty doses, ranging from 15-40 minutes long at a time.

But believe me when I say, those cut scenes make the game.

For someone first playing through the game, the concepts and stories introduced are hard to follow and understand. It takes a lot of imagination and analyzing to follow a particular storyline. Basically put, Xenosaga does not spoon-feed you the story and what is going on. It's up to you actually put everything together. For some people, that's nice. Others though, will get frustrated with the lack of explanations in the game. I had to play through the game twice before I scratched my head and said "Oooh! So that's what happened! I get it!"

Graphics in Xenosaga are not spectacular; but then again they aren't hard on the eyes either. The characters all have different and distinct personalities. And surprisingly, they all have equally intriguing past histories. The game really does not focus on one main character.

My only real complaint with Xenosaga would have to be the sound. Vocals are fine enough throughout game (and when I say that, I mean they won't make your ears bleed), but the music gets irritating, especially during battles.

Xenosaga's battle system makes the game much easier to play in my opinion. You can see your enemies and avoid (most of the time) the annoying random battles. Tech attacks help make the battles go quicker. It's especially nice that a 1/4 of your EXP points you gain go to your reserve combatants. So no one is left behind at level 5.

All in all Xenosaga is a great RPG. As said before though, this game requires a lot of time and patience. If you are looking for a fast paced, simple story, then stay away from Xenosaga. Otherwise, you'll probably enjoy it!
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Well done RPG
Newski_the_Hippie27 August 2004
I hear too many complaints about this excellent game. Sure, many of the characters are cliché. But you know what, so is Luke Skywalker. If you are going to be complaining about characters you have seen over and over again, go rip into every single scifi out there. And Final Fantasy Seven really doesn't have an original plot. That's what this game has above most RPGs: A well done plot. The game moves on a level where it always leaves many unanswered questions. Even at the very end, you still don't know everything. You can make a distinction like "She's good, He's bad" and such. But not too much more. Your left with "Okay, somethings up with this." Unfortunately, to see the plot unfold you have to sit through what is overdone robot stories very reminiscent of Blade Runner (I sometimes accidentally call the bots, known as Realians, Replicants). THe story doesn't get moving until halfway through. This is always a flaw of a first in a series. You have to set it up. Sometimes its more enjoyable than others. This time its, 'Bear with use' and with this game there was no avoiding it. ith characters that seem like similar things have been done, its a shock that the Battle Android Kos Mos is the most original character. Most sci fi androids are very robotic and heartless, while others are on a quest to become human. Kos Mos becomes more human as she interacts, yet it is not the focal point. She is an Android, and really thats all their is to it. Shion Uzuki is another well done character, only because of Voice Actress Lia Sargent. Actually, The voice cast in this game was Phenomenal. Very well acted. Unfortunately, the lip sync is not the best. It is tolerable, though.
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A huge disappointment.
daos_kannar13 November 2005
The biggest problem with this RPG is the fact that it plays more like a movie than a game. One second you are watching a conversation between Allen and Shion, and then the "cinimatic" stops. Than you need to move into the next room, and lo and behold! Another "cinimatic!" Though some parts of the story tend to be quite interesting, it just does not live up to the majesty of Square Softs, Xenogears (Xenosaga is the prequel who's rights were sold to Namco.) Though you don't need to play Xenogears to enjoy Xenosaga, it is still recommended to delve into this classic Playstation RPG. The battle system is decent, and the boost system does make it very interesting, but it's biggest flaw happens to not be with the game-play, but rather the soundtrack. Boss battle or not, the music is always the same (excluding Albedo, who is just to cool to have generic music). Trust me, it will drive you crazy. You may enjoy the game, you may not. This is just my opinion.

Personally, I think the RPG realm has been in a great decline ever since Squre and Enix combined, considering they used to be big competitors, it gave them a reason to make games, but considering that there isn't a real challenge anymore, they can do whatever they want.
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Typical RPG in non-typical shell
jaywolfenstien8 September 2003
I could go on about how this game's desire to be a movie bugged me, how the polygonal acting and animation bugged me since animators have yet to nail human expressive gestures and lip syncing. And I could criticize the voice acting, the unrealistic and poorly flowing dialogue, poorly paced cutscenes bugged me . . . but I won't. I will say that while this game wants to be a movie and though game cutscenes have come a long ways over the years it still is light years away from its cinematic parents.

Supposedly XenoSaga was this deep intricate RPG with a mature plot and scope, but I didn't see any of that when I played. It came across as an ensemble of goofy or cliché characters backdropped by a collection of typical plot gimmicks getting stuck in `clever' dungeon sequences.

I stopped playing because I found myself waiting for the damn cutscenes to end, and if not that I was playing just to get through the dungeon/towns as quickly as I could to advance the plot since nothing was grabbing my interesting and making me want to play. I wanted to get to the `deep wonderful RPG' I'd heard about. After getting a good 75% into the game, I flat out gave up wishing I had stopped much earlier but everyone kept telling me it gets better.

I didn't like nor could I buy into hardly any of the characters (supporting or playable). Everyone came across as childish avatars of what's supposed to be individual traits, like Namco's team talking down to its audience, `Allen is the nervous geek you're supposed to pity and sympathize with,' `Virgil is the pointless guy you're supposed to hate who rambles for 15 minutes in the middle of life-or-death situation,' `chaos is the character you're supposed to like because he's quirky and powerful.'

Namco, I can make decisions for myself. Give me non-hideous character designs, please. MOMO, Ziggy, 'Little Master' (aka Jr), the Elsa & Durandal's crew. No thanks.

I didn't mind KOS-MOS so much despite her being equally as cliché as the rest of the cast. She actually came across as believable with her mechanical, webster's dictionary-defining all key terms in her speech, actually fit (every character talked like that, but only KOS-MOS had reason to). And I don't now why, I just found her straight forward programming and resulting naivety providing desperately needed comic relief, and fortunately, Namco opted not to explore KOS-MOS too deeply. I have a feeling that would've ruined that character for me as well.

The plot was explicitly explained, leaving no room for individual exploration and interpretation; thus, no real room for intellectual stimulation. Nothing important implied for the gamer to figure out for themselves; if anything, they leave irrelevant details to the gamers. And not only do we get a giant glossary of used terms but in mid-conversation characters will stop and define things for us. People don't talk this way. If you're going to have a glossary let the gamer view it, and most terms the gamer already knows or can figure out what it is by the context of the conversation. Wake up, Namco. You have intelligent people playing your games.

Maybe it would've helped if XenoSaga I didn't come across as a children's book that looked at a Stephen King novel for a few buzzwords and a plot point or two to create the illusion of sophistication.

In the end, I didn't find the characters likeable, the plot did not intrigue me, and the gameplay bored me. And it just goes to further discourage me from playing RPGs anymore and wasting 20+ hours on an unimaginative plot with boring game play. And once the Suikoden series loses its shine, I have a feeling this RPGer will hang up his Role Playing controller for good.
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"Xenosaga: Episode I" stumbles about, and seems to be suffering an identity crisis. There's a lot to like, but also a lot to hate with a passion.
MaximumMadness2 December 2013
I am going into this review fully and honestly admitting a confession: I have not, to date, completed "Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille Zur Macht." I've started it. Heck, I've even gotten about 8 hours of gameplay into it, but I always come back to one major revelation- this game is suffering a major identity crisis. And I always end up stopping my playthrough, even though I do deeply desire to finish this game and its two sequels, to see where the story winds up.

Yes, this is a game that fancies itself as a deep, provocative Sci-Fi epic. And not only that, it fancies itself as a deep, provocative Sci-Fi epic movie. This is one of those games where, every five minutes or so of gameplay, you are jarringly pulled from control in order to watch a 10 minute cut-scene. And often, it's a cut-scene filled with pretentious "sciency" dialog that you won't understand, and a plethora and onslaught of intrigue, twists, turns and double-crosses that make it difficult to follow the overall story lines. You can tell at heart, this would have made a better movie (or anime) series than a game, because the creators clearly have an agenda to tell a vast story that just isn't able to be supported by the confines of a JRPG video game.

But even still, this isn't a total loss of a game. In fact, there's plenty to like here. It's just that everything is betrayed by the constant interruptions and the forced, and often contrived storyline they force-feed you.

The game seems to predominately follow Dr. Shion Uzuki, a cute-as-a- button scientist in the future, who is working on a project to develop "KOS-MOS", an android, to help combat a vile alien force known as the "Gnosis." However, there is much intrigue and much going on amongst various other characters, and a mysterious device discovered nearly 4000 years in the past may be the key to the entire story.

At least, I think that's what the story is. As I said, I have never completed the game, and to be honest, what I have completed suffers a very confusing mass of different story lines, sub-plots, characters and themes. It's exceedingly hard to be able to follow what is going on for much of the game that I've played.

The game itself is competent and very well-made, to it's credit.

The graphics are very nice. They have a stylized, almost anime-like feel to them, which I quite liked, and the visual design, while arguably a bit tame and repetitive, is very interesting and feels true to a futuristic style. The voice acting is very, very well-done from what I've seen, in particular from Shion Uzuki, who is just so sweet, kind and well-meaning. Every time she speaks, you want to leap through your television and give her a big hug. The music is also very strong, atmospheric, and theatrical, making the game feel very epic in scope.

And though simplistic, the controls, both on-screen and in battle (this is an RPG, meaning that general gameplay and battle scenes are controlled through different mechanics) are great. And while pretentious, over-written and hard-to-follow, the storyline and characters are interesting and generally well-developed.

Unfortunately, the decent gameplay and interesting story and ideas just suffer so badly from the onslaught of overlong cut-scenes, and the conflicting, confusing storytelling. If this game didn't suffer these faults, it would have easily warranted an 8 out of 10. Maybe even a 9.

But those pesky cut-scenes and the confusion and frustration they cause almost all but ruin the experience. However, there is too much to like to completely dismiss the game, so I am giving it an ever-so-slightly above average 6 out of 10. Give it a shot. It's far from perfect, and there's much to flat-out hate here. But there's also enough to like that it may be worth playing for some gamers.
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A great RPG
DirectorLawrence17 February 2004
I loved this game. Unlike the other guy that commented I think this game a breath of fresh air for RPG games. Its about time a great RPG came out that wasn't made by Square. AND, I could SEE the enemies and chose my battles unlike other RPGs that just throw you into a battle. For someone like me that takes extra time out to really build up his characters its really helpful to your enemies. PLUS NO A.T.B.!!!! YAY!!! I don't have to worry about getting killed while deciding what move would be best to use. The game is original and is EPIC. Its one of my favorite RPGs.
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One of the best RPGs of all time!
badboyofthehood_sam19 May 2003
This is one of the best RPGs I have ever come to play. It beats out MORROWIND for the XBOX and the FINAL FANTASY series for the PLAYSTATION 2. The intense graphics, the outstanding soundtrack, the plot, and the mystery to the game makes it unique. It's a different type of RPG that makes it also unique. I'll be waiting for "XENOSAGA EPISODE 2". (10/10 on my account!)
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