Monday, January 16, 2012

The Xenoverse Awards

In space, everyone can hear Shion Uzuki's footsteps

The main game-related project I did this year was play through the Xenosaga series and Xenogears. No Xenoblade yet, but it has no connection thematically to the Xenoverse works so it isn't relevant for this particular post. Besides, if what I've heard about it is true, it'd sweep the awards if it were included.

Xenosaga is a re-imagining loosely based on the origin story of Xenogears, and if you like either game/series, the other is worth playing. Here I'll be doling out awards to the four games that transpire in this Xenoverse. Some assembly required, some restrictions apply. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Act now and we'll include a free custom gourmet genuine imitation Miang nipple.

The Gundam Award for Best Mechs

Winner: XENOGEARS. This game has some of the coolest mech designs in the history of gaming. They are numerous and only get better as the game goes on. The Omnigears, in particular, are pretty stunning.

Runner Up: XENOSAGA 3. Features twelve anima-linked gears, most of which resemble XG's Omnigears. Who knows if they're intended to be the same gears. They're even radder in PS2 graphics. Only loses to XG due to there not being quite as much variety throughout the game. It's a close call.

The Black Swan Club Scene Award for Being The Most Fun 

Winner: XENOSAGA 3. It's got the right mix of gameplay and cutscenes, and both manage to stay interesting throughout. Some of the endgame fights take WAYYYYY too long (800,000 HP on one boss, for instance), but other than that the game is pretty fun.

Runner Up: XENOGEARS. Truly a fun game, but the dialogue is extremely extensive and drags on at times. It doesn't have as good of a game-to-cutscene ratio balance (which makes for fun) as XS3.

The Return of the Jedi Award for Last Xeno Lots of People Cared About

Winner: XENOSAGA 1. People really cared about that game. Unfortunately, the game wasn't very good, which alienated a lot of people. It seemed to have nothing whatsoever to do with Xenogears after the first five minutes, which alienated still more people. At the end of the day, people cared when they went in, then didn't care after it was over. It was like sleeping with the hottest girl at school, only to discover that her sexual prowess is that of a mannequin.

Runner Up: N/A

The Mozart Award for Best Music

Winner: XENOGEARS. This one is a no-contest. Xenogears has one of the greatest soundtracks in the history of video games, right up there with classics like Chrono Cross, Chrono Trigger, and Vagrant Story. Incidentally, most of the above soundtracks were also brought to you by Yasunori Mitsuda.

Runner Up: XENOSAGA 3. Yuki Kajiura did this one, and it has some standout tracks. If one were to only count cutscenes, XS1 would win this category. Unfortunately, it has almost no gameplay music for some bizarre reason, while XS3 has a normal soundtrack.

The Avatar Award for Best Graphics

Winner: XENOSAGA 3. It came along last, so it makes sense that it has the best graphics. They're outstanding for latter-day PS2.

Runner Up: XENOSAGA 2. Chronologically, of course this is our second-place game.

The Salma Hayek Award for Damn, That Woman Has The 'Bod
Note: Playable characters only. Robots, children, and furry creatures are exempt from this one. Sorry, Japan.

Winner: Shion Uzuki (XS1, XS2, XS3) - It's nerd-tastic to say a woman in a game is hot, but when it comes to having the bod, Shion has it going on. 

Runner Up: Elhaym Van Houten (XG) - Taking second is Xenogears' heroine du jour. The graphics limitations of the game really hurt her odds here, but her looks in the official artwork of the game keep her in the running.

The Ann Coulter Award for Most Offensive Audio

Winner: XENOSAGA 3. CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP! So yeah, the constant clopping footsteps as you run around the game world are unnecessary and completely obnoxious, and do a lot to nullify the fact that this game has good music. The funniest thing is, while riding in gears you basically hover around silently. In other words, your characters are vastly louder when walking around than your giant mechs are.

Runner Up: XENOSAGA 2. Similar issue with footsteps, only this time it's flipped. Some of the gears are obnoxious when running around (Asher). The fact that they move so slowly doesn't help, as you slowly and noisily stomp your way through the areas of the game.

The Shy Ronnie Award for Character Who is Annoyingly Weak

Winner: Allen Ridgeley. Once upon a time, I thought Allen was cool. I rooted for him to stand up for himself for the whole Xenosaga series, and at the end of the last game he finally redeemed himself somewhat. However, in my recent playthroughs I got pretty impatient with the guy. He's a non-entity, persona non grata in the life of the woman he is in love with, and yet he allows it to happen. He has no presence. I don't know if we're supposed to root for him, but I realized how annoying and depressing he actually is as a character.

Runner Up: Allen Ridgeley. That's right. "Shy Allen! Use your outside voice!"

"Ha Haaaa!"

The The Rock Award for Most Blistering Speech

Winner: XENOSAGA 3. Specifically Allen for his blistering late-XS3 speech. After saying little more than "ha haaa!" and not getting laid for the whole series, Allen suddenly brings the thunder. And then he gives it to Shion like Alexander the Great storming Asia. ...well, no. That would have been cool, though. Either way, he redeems himself at the last minute.

Runner Up: XENOGEARS. There are a number of powerful speeches in this game and it's hard to pick just one. None of them are quite as impactful as Shy Allen finding his voice at the eleventh hour, though.

The Carlos Mencia Award for Most Hated Xeno

Winner: XENOSAGA 2. Man is this game hated on. It deserves it in a lot of ways. It's Xenosaga 1's chopped epilogue, and if they hadn't rushed XS1 out it'd be for the best.

Runner Up: XENOSAGA 1. For similar reasons to the above. The game was rushed, and it shows. That said, it's a very decent game, just with problems. It's unfortunate that rather than fix the problems, XS2 only made them worse while introducing new problems, and effectively killed interest in the series.

The Nicki Minaj Award for Most Inappropriate Scene

Winner: XENOSAGA 1. When Momo gets violated by Albedo's hand, it sets a new benchmark in inappropriate gaming scenes. It also popped numerous boners across Japan.

Runner Up: XENOGEARS. The ending with all the nudity, I suppose.

The Jon Stewart Award for Most Honest Game

Winner: XENOGEARS. This game doesn't hold very much back. The story is sweeping and epic, and the creators really did their best to give the players what they wanted. The future Monolithsoft team had some major budget and time limitations, but they still did well with this game.

Runner Up: XENOSAGA 3. This game puts it all out there, and it lets you connect with the cast and characters. Not bad at all. It only fails to capture the top spot because it doesn't give Xenoverse players much closure - closure many expected.

The Dallas Mavericks Award for Best Game

Winner: XENOGEARS. If the entire XS series were one game, it would win. But since it isn't, Xenogears takes the lion's share of the Xenoverse accolades. It is a close call at times, but Gears simply feels far more complete than any of the Sagas.

Runner Up: XENOSAGA 3. It's so far above the other two Xenosagas that it makes me wonder why they didn't make 'em this good from the start. Good series overall... could have been better, but the third installment was improved enough to leave goodwill in the minds of the fans.

1 comment:

  1. "In space, everyone can hear Shion Uzuki's footsteps"