13 June 2000 | kilgres_bloodmoon
Square's crowning achievement in complexity; A Masterpiece.
The opening of Xenogears is a lavish CGI sequence spliced with anime that begins with the famous biblical line: "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." The cryptic events of the opening scenes (the tragedy of the Eldridge, and the emergence of the woman from the wreckage on the beach) lead into events that take place nearly 10,000 years later.
Following a lengthy exposition in text, the story leads to a small village on the border of the kingdom of Aveh and the Kislev Empire (the two warring nations) named Lahan. And the tale of Fei Fong Wong begins.
The general feeling at the outset of the game is one that is familiar in the realm of RPGs: Young man with amnesia involved somehow in the fate of the world. We've seen it a thousand times. However, the gods at Square turn the tables very early in the game, adding heart-wrenching tragedy to the carefree world Fei inhabits. Very soon, the once two dimensional plot gains a considerable amount of depth. Fei begins to doubt himself and his past as more and more becomes known to him about the truth... of everything.
This game literally has everything: Great villains (Grahf, Id, Ramsus, Miang), memorable characters (Wiseman, Zephyr), a barrage of the most complex plot twists (watch out once the attack against Vanderkaum begins) known in RPG land, and quite possibly the greatest love story a video game has to offer (Fei and Elly were meant to be, and finding out why is one of the most fascinating plot points in RPG history).
True to its tagline ("Stand tall and shake the heavens"), Xenogears delivers a storyline that raises questions about existence, God, and the relevance of religious doctrine. Name-dropping like "Fatima" and "the Magi", backed by inquisition style priests named the Ethos heighten the whole experience to a new, groundbreaking level.
Solidified by a simply sublime soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda, Xenogears is one of the best games of all time, and it's a shame that more people don't know that.