What’s going on here?
This is a Let’s Play of the entire Xenosaga series, Deus willing.
Don’t you have better things to do with your time?
I’ve wanted to replay the Xenosaga series in its entirety for some time, but I know it’s a complete time sink, so examining the series for a LP is a fine excuse to do such a thing.
Oh, devote a lot of time to thinking about Xenosaga?
Man, I used to. I remember practically begging for more at the finale of Xenosaga Episode 1, but by the time I finished Episode 3, I barely could remember what happened. Like, seriously, I beat the game, and like a week later I couldn’t remember exactly how that went, despite the fact that my younger self would have killed for that information. Something happened there, I’d like to reexamine what.
So what will this LP focus on?
There’s no way around it: this is a “story driven” game series. Cutscenes are lengthy and plentiful, and there’s no end of aggravating -important terms- that are implied to be dripping with meaning… but… are they?
Looking at it from another perspective: there are about a billion “mysteries” floated in the opening episode, but are they satisfactorily answered by the ultimate finale? This was a game series that was released over the course of years, I don’t expect every thread to be properly analyzed, but it’d be nice if all those conundrums added up to something.
So we’re all about the story here?
Nah, I want to examine how the nuts and bolts of the game all interact with the storytelling involved. Would this game have been better as (just) an anime series or light novels or alike? Does “playing” Xenosaga enhance the narrative, or detract from the vision with gameplay concessions? Who knows, but let’s find out.
And as the series goes on?
Starting with Episode 2, I will be looking at a few more matters. The most obvious is “how does it compare? “ Something is happening, is it happening better or worse than a similar event or system in Episode 1? And, in a similar vein, I’ll be looking at retcons.
Look, I’m not going to claim to be a Xenosagaologist. I have not done any greater research for this series than reading a few interviews and wiki articles. However, I know bullshit when I smell it. The company line has always been that Xenosaga 1 and 2 were supposed to be one solid piece, and, perfect world, they’d have been one game from the beginning, and the plot would be exactly the same. I don’t buy it. There are a number of events in later Xenosaga episodes that, seriously, you cannot tell me were intended from day one. To be clear, I’m not blaming Monolith Soft for retcons, or claiming that they’re in some way “bad”, I’m just saying that there are events in XS2 that really push the boundaries of contradiction when you look back at XS1, and you better believe I’m going to be keeping an eye out for such events. This kind of thing is inevitable in any long running series, and again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something I know I’ll be observing. And, yes, because I’m a giant nerd, I will be applauding the game when it comes back to something that clearly was foreshadowed in the previous episode.
It’s a JRPG. What about the battle system?
I can say I’m not going to focus too much on the individual battles of the game. There’s a significant reason for that (I’m basically cheating to save time), but, to be clear, I’m not going to be focusing much on battle strategy and distinct monster mobs. There are just too many battles I vividly remember banging my head against when I initially played this series, and this LP is never going to progress properly if I’m trying to survive and overanalyze what it means for the Minotaur to use acid rain inside a spaceship.
Picture or Video LP?
Picture, for two reasons. One, I personally find it difficult to “follow” video LPs, if only because if I’m in a situation where I can sit down and “watch” something, I’m probably watching a scripted show, and not someone else play a video game. This isn’t to disparage video LPs, incidentally, it’s just how my own viewing habits work, which naturally influences what I myself produce. The other issue is that this game is so full of cutscenes, it would mean that half the videos would just be “hey, everybody shut up and watch the movie”, or me trying to ineffectually “riff” on cheesy JRPG dialogue in the silence of my own basement, which… gets old fast. So, picture LP for everyone’s sanity.
Are these pictures small?
Sorry if it’s a little hard to read, but I’m formatting these shots so they’ll appear well on mobile devices as well as computers-proper. I have a tendency to browse the net on my phone, and, again, I’m a giant narcissist, so I assume my audience is me. I understand me.
Hey, you missed (fill in the blank)! What gives?
This isn’t a walk through, and I’m not going to hit every single sidequest, because I want this thing to end before the heat death of the universe. I’m also not, if I can help it, using a FAQ, so it’s pretty inevitable that I’m going to miss some stuff. All that said, the comments are open for the whole LP, and I do tend to read and reply to them.
When does this LP Update?
Well, it’s over now, so… never? Yes, never. It’s done.
Then how about a table of contents?
Special thanks to this XSI script, this XS2 script, and this XS3 script that will save me soooo much time. Also, this youtube video of Xenosaga 3 uncensored. Though note that that video contains major spoilers.