Play it for the story!

User Rating: 7.4 | Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose PS2
The first Xenosaga was a unique RPG experience for me. I had never played a game that featured so many cut scenes, most of which were considerably long. Fortunately the scenes were done very well, and it made for an enjoyable time despite a mediocre battle system and unimaginative enemies. I was looking forward to Xenosaga 2 despite it receiving lower reviews than the original because I wanted to see what would happen next in the story.

GAMEPLAY - As you may have read elsewhere, the battles in X2 actually go down a notch from the first game. You still use the "break" system where enemies will have a weakness to a specific attack. It also becomes important for your characters to "stock" up their attacks to unleash devastating combo chains. The problem is that this involves a lot of turns where your character is not doing anything, which isn't much fun. Another step back is character customization, as you now have all skills available for any character, which certainly takes away the uniqueness and strategy as to who you want to use in different battles. Another odd aspect is the absence of shops. Everything you get will either be from battles or chests, which is OK but I think most people like to go and buy specific weapons and armor for their characters. Overall I would have to say that gameplay did regress as compared to the first game.

GRAPHICS - In my opinion the graphics did take a step up this time. The characters and backgrounds have a sharper look with more details. Some will miss the look of the characters from the first game with their huge eyes but seeing as I'm not a particular fan of anime I preferred the more realistic look that this game provides. Unfortunately once again I found the enemies to be pretty nondescript, not much detail and a lot of repeats, with the exception of the bosses.

SOUND - A step back this time. On the one hand it provided a lot of entertaining voice work, but the change in the voice for Kos-Mos was definitely for the worse. The music was nowhere near as memorable this time either, which was disappointing.

VALUE - This game took me approximately 25 hours to complete, which is relatively short for a RPG. The game had a feature known as GS (Good Samaritan) quests, which provides opportunities to pick up useful items. These quests varied, some were simple fetch quests while others were more of the puzzle variety. There were quite a few of these quests, and if one were to attempt to complete all of them then there would be a considerable amount of extra time added to your gameplay. For my part, I became bored with these after completing only about six as I wanted to get back to the main quest, but some may find them entertaining.

SUMMARY - Overall I was disappointed with the game. The gameplay became dull to me and I was getting through the battles just so that I could find out what was going to happen next. I have to admit that at about 2/3 of the way through I was getting impatient to finish this game and hopefully move on to a more interesting RPG. I have a hard time recommending this to anyone unless they are a fan of the Xenosaga story. With that in mind I'm sure that eventually I will pick up Xenosaga 3 to see the conclusion, and hope for improvements in the gameplay.