An article written based on a Destructoid community blog topic, focusing on disappointing releases. You can find my original incredibly old and poorly written Xenosaga Episode III review here.
Not having touched Mass Effect series, I can’t really say anything about what’s going on with BioWare and their ending fiasco at the moment. Somethin’ ’bout cupcakes. Cupcakes or not, I can sort of, kind of, almost, not really relate to them with another sci-fi RPG trilogy that was a bit of a disappointment for myself. Monolith Soft’s Xenosaga was set to be one of my favorite series, and a shining example of the developer’s more unique JRPG designs. I have an undying love for the team, thanks to their engaging and strategic battle systems. Xenosaga I and II were true to this. Critics, however, complained about II being overly complicated. Instead of just taking a step back with Xenosaga III, Monolith Soft basically took it to the chopping block and removed everything but the battle system’s torso, reducing it down to a traditional RPG experience. That alone was a disappointment on my part. It was a liveable change, but good heavens the worst was yet to come.
Shion, the main character, is a total downer. She spends all of Episode III talking about how she hates life, herself, cats, puppies, batman, video games and everyone around her. She hates everything, and I hated everything about her. It’s been too long since I’ve played for me to really say if she reacted realistically to the situations, but I do remember wanting to stab pencils into my ears and rip my eyes out whenever the walking emotional time bomb appeared on screen. Towards the end, she just gets ridiculous. The series was cut short, so the title has a sudden end. Because of this, there’s no recovery on her part. By the end, she’s still just an awful person.
I’m all for creating realistic and flawed characters, but to me it does nothing if every aspect of that character digs its claws into my soul. However well the character was portrayed really doesn’t matter to me if it completely destroys my entire experience with a title. Now, just seeing or hearing her name sets my blood-a-boil. Now when I think Xenosaga, I think of Shion. She basically ruined my entire memory of the series, even if I still faintly recall the more interesting plot points from Episode II and those fancy battle systems.
The Episode III was generally received as a solid climax to the series, so I realize I’m out of the loop here. Even without Shion, I would have been disappointed if only for the simplistic battle system, which many praised. Shion, however, has guaranteed that I’ll never look at the series the same again.