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     " ...It will be interesting to see where it goes from here. "

      Title: Xenosaga:Der Wille zur Macht by Namco

      Format: PS2 RPG

      Reviewing Monkey: Zimbu

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The graphics are some of the smoothest I've seen on the PS2. From the futuristic environments to the anime-styled characters, everything has a crisp look to it. The CGI movies (of which there are many) are gorgeous, many of which meet or surpass those of the general standard for video game movie animation, Square-Enix. Characters and enemies are fluidly animated and there is never any sign of slowdown during the "ultimate" attacks. 5 out of 5

      Playability: Using three characters from the available six, you fight off a deadly alien force using a combination of physical attacks, techniques, and ether skills (magic, basically). When things get really hairy, some characters are also able to summon their 20 ft. giant robots to deal some major damage. It's a pretty basic RPG setup that should be easy to get the hang of if you have any experience with games like Final Fantasy. While there aren't very many opportunities for side quests, you are able to roam around starships and orbiting space colonies, allowing a good deal of freedom. However, the sheer volume of cinema scenes slows down the gameplay somewhat. You can expect to regularly put down your controller for anywhere from 10 to 35 minutes to watch the story unfold. This can get a little irritating at times, but the storyline is interesting and complex enough to probably keep your attention. 3.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Like almost all RPGs, there isn't any multiplayer to speak of. As there aren't more than two or three secrets and sidequests, you'll likely only play through it once, maybe twice if you want to get a better grip on the story. Of course, your first playthrough will surely take over 50 hours (and that was with a strategy guide). And don't worry, it is possible to skip the cutscenes if you just want to fight that one really cool boss or do a level 100 game. 3 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       While Xenosaga might lag a little with its incredible amount of cutscenes and movies, it is a beautiful, engaging and thought-provoking RPG. Being that this is the first episode in the series, it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

      The Good: The graphics are beautiful, the story is entertaining and the battles are fun.

      The Bad: Almost too many cinema scenes and a bit short on replay value.

      The Overall Ugly: If you're an RPG fan, don't hesitate to grab this one.

      What it's Worth: Definitely worth its current Greatest Hits retail price.

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