Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse (Video Game 2004) Poster

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One small step for man... one small step for Xenosaga.
Druff8 July 2004
Somewhere along the line during Monolithsoft's PR junkets and interviews and whatnot, Xenosaga fans came to believe that Episode 2 would wrap up the current plot line involving the characters introduced in Episode 1, and that Episode 3 would jump ahead a few thousand years in the timeline and introduce new characters. Apparently, this is not the case. Episode 2 does resolve some conflicts and bring closure to a few issues, but none that are very major or have much to do with the grand scheme of things. It seems that most of the cast will be returning for Episode 3.

While there are still many fans who stubbornly cling to the hope that Xenosaga will follow a course of events that will eventually lead into a retelling or even a remake of 1998's Xenogears, Episode 2 doesn't do much to bring us any closer to that. Notice that I didn't say that it doesn't do ANYTHING to bring us closer to that. However, I remain firm in my belief that if Xenosaga does have any relation to Xenogears, it will tell the untold stories that took place in episodes 1 and 6 in the Xenogears epic, as these are the only two episodes that weren't completely outlined and fleshed out in either Xenogears the game or the book Xenogears Perfect Works. In other words, these are the two remaining parts of the 15,000+ year story in which the authors still have the opportunity to be as creative as possible without contradicting the events told of Xenogears.

In any case, Xenosaga Episode 2 continues to follow the same path as Episode 1 did: This is a relatively small, sensibly sized RPG. It isn't the grotesquely bloated epic that Xenogears was, and fans who were hoping it would be are bound to be disappointed.
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6/10
I do believe this is the main reason there won't be more than three.
Aaron137526 August 2007
The story is okay, but let's face it...I figured some sort of major plot point would be revealed, something groundbreaking would happen. No it doesn't, just some cool action scenes with Jr. being a bit more of the focus this time, although Shion still seems to be the main character. The fighting is also awful, I could not stand it this time. Just to hard to really get the upper hand in some fights. The robots were a tad better though. Playing this one made me almost not get three as the okay, but nothing really going on story and the fighting were drastic steps back from part one. Though it was not all bad as a cool new character was introduced in the form of Shion's brother Jin who made a very brief appearance in part one. Yes at the beginning you see a flashback and there is a very cool cinematic of him and Margulis fighting. This is the highlight of this game for me. The rest is a bit of a letdown. Though they did manage to get some more music in this one.
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Another triumph from the Xenofolks
Karunirin17 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
If you ask me, this game is a worthy successor to both Gears and the first Saga. While not the cinema-padded epic of the first (I believe the longest cutscene tops out at 30 minutes), it manages to give even more detail than the first, a welcome change. This go-round, we are presented with the omnipresent and sinister U-TIC Organization and its dark commanders, the Ormus. However, the central thrust of the story is on the relationship between Gaignun (Nigredo), Jr. (Rubedo), and Albedo. The story takes a considerably darker and more morose turn; while the first focused on the struggle against the Gnosis, the second is really more about the struggle with oneself. While presented as an aloof madman with a mad cackle and titanic will in Ep. I, Albedo becomes much more human. Indeed, the very reasons behind his insanity are made clearer, as is what the hell U-DO is exactly. Contrary to some early reviews (even one on a prominent gaming site), the game actually goes to great lengths to flesh out its storyline. The Miltian Conflict, the Zohar, U-DO, the Y-Data, and more are finally made more than vague details in a worried Billingslea grumble.

Maybe it's just that I don't mind being told a story. However, it bears mentioning that, while the original had more gameplay than some give it credit for, the second episode boasts even more. This is something of a dubious gift when fighting Margulis or the Patriarch, but it's welcome. The only really plodding times are at the very end, where the game indulges its FFX side and presents several bite-size cinematics in a row. The grand finale, over which the dirge-like "Sweet Song" plays, is another triumphant close. Between this and "Fatal Fight," it's just about enough to make me miss Mitsuda's score a lot less. Of course, I liked the music in the .hack series, so...

In essence, the game isn't perfect (the sometimes blocky hands detract from what is otherwise a graphically pleasing game), but it is very well done. It's not for everyone, and many will pan its tendency to tell you a story rather than be immersive 100% of the time. However, the epic scope and grand storytelling are more than enough to keep this gamer occupied. The melding of the personal and space-opera aspects create an, if not unique, certainly flashy piece of work that present a solid experience. Even if the religious and philosophical references aren't necessary, they at least seem to have some bearing on the actual storyline (the implication that the Zohar emulators, named for the Apostles and "Mary's Child," are the solution to the Gnosis (gnostic) and heretics is an undercurrent). All in all, it was immensely enjoyable.
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