By Kristin Hanson
Finally, Microsoft has heard the call from gamers everywhere for the Xbox 360 to become a more RPG-friendly console.
With very few games of this genre on the Xbox 360, the recently released Japanese RPG Infinite Undiscovery from Square Enix was highly anticipated.
While the game hits some high points, it is obvious that Microsoft hasn’t raised the bar quite yet for the new generation consoles.
Infinite Undiscovery, at a glance, is a beautifully crafted world with engaging character development and a fast paced, real-time battle system that keeps players on their toes.
While fans of the classic Final Fantasy RPG and the like might shun the real-time approach of the game, where battles and situations change in response to the player’s choices, it is an evolution in RPGs that many find unique and entertaining.
The world of Infinite Undiscovery is based upon certain humans having the ability to use magic, due to the moon phase they were born under. One group, called the Order of the Chains, seeks to disrupt this flow of magic by chaining the moon to the earth, sending them on a collision course. A man named Sigmund the Liberator is the people’s only hope.
The main character of the game, Capell, gets tossed into this mess when he is mistakenly confused for Sigmund the Liberator due to their mysterious identical appearance.
It is the player’s mission to explore the world with Capell and his allies in order to destroy various chains and help out your fellow citizens. The likeable and humorous characters make for some good dialogue along the way.
Like all other RPGs, exploring the world and fighting your way through dungeons are important aspects. However, Infinite Undiscovery has several flaws that, at times, make this gameplay less than enjoyable.
When given a mission with vague location descriptions coupled with a large world map, it can get discouraging retracing the same paths looking for the nook or cranny you need.
The battle system, since it is in real-time, utilizes artificial intelligence for your other party members, which can get frustrating.
If Capell dies, then the player has no control over what the other party members do and has to watch how the battle pans out without being able to access the menu or issue orders.
Even when he is still alive, opening the menu during a battle does not pause the action, so you had better be quick about it.
RPGs are historically known for their lengthy playtime and long, elaborate cut-scenes. Infinite Undiscovery has the cut-scenes, but only takes around 20 hours to play through including side quests.
The depth of a truly excellent RPG is difficult to obtain in that relatively short amount of time, and Infinite Undiscovery is no exception.
The time-consuming part of the game is that the save points are spaced out in such a way that the “game over” screen may elicit a feeling of despair when you realize how long it’s been since you were last able to save.
With Tri-Ace as the game developer, the lack of depth in the storyline is quite disappointing, since this is the company that developed Star Ocean, a gem among RPGs.
Square Enix, who released Infinite Undiscovery for the Xbox 360, is extremely well-respected and well-known in the RPG community. This game had great potential to influence the genre, but unfortunately, that potential was never quite fulfilled.
While still a fun play, Infinite Undiscovery may leave many gamers wanting more innovation from Microsoft than the company seems able to give them at this point in time.