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Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2

by Bandai
Platform : PlayStation2
Rated: Teen
101 customer reviews
Metascore: 73 / 100

Price: $45.99 + $3.99 shipping
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  • Engage your enemies with larger, more powerful mechs with their own independent, tactical battle system
  • Devastate your opponents with innovative cooperative combat techniques, with refined boost systems and a unique zone attack/zone break mechanic
  • Customize your party with power-ups, advanced attacks and over 100 different skills
  • Explore lush, expansive environments and enjoy detailed, realistic character designs
  • Challenge more than 30 side quests for hours of action-packed adventure
21 new from $45.00 58 used from $9.95 10 collectible from $15.49
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Product Description

Product Description

In Xenosaga II humanity wages an epic battle for survival against extinction. Earth has been abandoned and what remains of humanity is locked in combat with malevolent aliens called the Gnosis. Travelling through deep space, they'll have to seek out the ancient artifact called the Zohar. Rejoin the characters from the first Xenosaga in the enthralling second chapter of this landmark multi-part RPG saga.


Imagine if Peter Jackson, instead of continuing his The Lord of the Rings epic in movie form, had decided to tell the story of The Two Towers through limited edition Bazooka Joe comics. The characters would all be there and the concepts behind the story would still be intriguing, but the delivery and execution would be devoid of grace or subtlety. If you're having trouble picturing that, just pick up a copy of Xenosaga Episode II and you will understand all too well. Despite my undying adoration of the first entry, I am sorry to report that this game is a dropped ball of Devil May Cry 2 proportions.

Let's get one thing straight: This is not a bad RPG. It is, however, utterly disappointing in its mediocrity. Even ignoring the radiance of its predecessor, this game features some baffling design choices that seem specifically intended to make it frustrating. It contains a meager 25-hour critical path (one of the dungeons is even repeated!), jarring load times before each fight, and an absence of money or shops that leaves you with a constant shortage of necessary recovery items. I'm not against titles breaking from conventions, but these are some of the worst decisions outside of Charles Grodin's resume.

Unfortunately, the area where Episode II has received the greatest attention is also where it falters the most. It sports a redesigned battle system that focuses much more on combined efforts rather than individual abilities. By stocking extra attacks and using the shared Boost gauge, the party can cooperatively unleash devastating combos. First you attack a sequence of zones on an enemy (which breaks its defense), then boost other characters into the action queue so they can take advantage of the weakened foe. Unfortunately, this method quickly becomes the only viable way to inflict damage on any enemy; whether it's a simple encounter or key boss fight, every battle is a pathetic routine of eating attacks as you build up your various gauges in preparation for the big assault.

My favorite thing about the first Xenosaga was the way it systematically gave the finger to anyone who didn't devote themselves, body and soul, to taking in the whole experience. "Oh, you don't want to watch the plot or figure out the skill system?" the game seemed to say, "Well toughen up, buttercup. It's a long ride." On the other hand, Episode II appears to be aimed squarely at the milquetoasts who couldn't handle the previous iteration, coddling and cooing "Do you want a lolly, sweetheart?" Where the series' balance (or imbalance) between story and action was once the subject of criticism, the frequency of amazing cutscenes is now all that redeems Episode II.

Give loyal fans more philosophical puzzle pieces, but make them suffer along the way

Despite some jaggies and Shion's new "bus station skank" style, it is a sleek and beautiful game

The voice actor switch-ups are unfortunate (especially KOS-MOS), and the soundtrack frequently jumps between awe-inspiring and comically inappropriate

Increased accessibility comes at the expense of engaging customization

The ratio of "pay attention time" to "play time" is still uneven, but the action cutscenes rank among the very best in gaming

Moderately High

Rated: 7.75 out of 10
Editor: Joe Juba
Issue: March 2005

2nd Opinion:
I wish I had better news to share. But facts are facts, and the follow up to one of my favorite RPGs is a disappointment on many levels. Graphics, story, and jaw-dropping cinematics are thankfully not on the list of casualties – those remain truly top notch as they combine to exhibit expressive characters wrestling with interweaving themes of family, betrayal, and the nature of evil. It's too bad gameplay fails to be even remotely as complex. Combat is desperately shallow, especially in the lengthy mech sequences that show up in the second half of the time. The game-spanning series of side quests are contrived and drab, but you're forced to endure them to get some of the better power-ups. And when I started encountering frequent inane box puzzles, I nearly threw up my hands in existential, angst-ridden despair. The whole affair seems amateurish in comparison to the intricate original. So do I think Episode II has a lot of problems? Yes. Will it disappoint you as it did me? Probably. But if you're a fan of the original, do I still think you should play this one? As much as it's going to hurt – definitely.

Rated: 7.5 out of 10
Editor: Matt Miller

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Product Details

  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B0002CHJAA
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches ; 4 ounces
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: February 15, 2005
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,316 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Karrigan Ambrian on April 23, 2005
The story is Good. The movies are always entertaining, and the story is always interesting. It never reaches the emotional depths that the last game did. There seems to be a greater emphasis on making the whole thing more...unrealistic. The first game presented a believable future - all the technology was explained, things behaved realistically, etc. That's all thrown out in this might sound strange, but it seems to be more "Japanese" than Episode 1. Characters now swordfight in a Samurai style and shout things in what sounds very similar to Japanese. They shoot lasers out of their swords (and it's never explained why). There's even a character that wears samurai-ish robes. It destroys any believability this universe had.

Also, I'm personally disappointed that the game focused so much on Jr. (couldn't stand him from the first game), and not so much on wonderful KOS-MOS, who's not even present in the first half, and barely says two words in the second. And this is a Very Good Thing, because some of the voice actor changes were not for the better. Shion's VA is improved, but KOS-MOS's was a huge downgrade.

The music is also terrible compared to last game's. Episode 1 marked the first time I ran out and bought the soundtrack to a game. The beautiful orchestra and haunting chorus from that game have been replaced by forgettable boppy tunes, with maybe one decent melody in the whole thing.

Now, one to Dark One's taint = the gameplay. The battle system is easily the worst I have ever seen in any RPG. Ever. They aren't random - the enemies are onscreen. This is the One and Only Good thing. When you do touch an enemy, it takes a strangely long time to load. Your characters appear, one-by one. Then the monsters appear, one-by one.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David Skipper on February 18, 2005
...... I'm going to assume the reader has played episode 1, if you haven't this might not explain much. For those of you who have ....

This is a nice sequel. It picks up right where the last one left off. The new look is great, though I didn't mind the old anime look either. The cutscenes are beautiful and usually action packed. However all's not well. They changed the battle system. It took me a lil while to figure just how it works. Gone are the flashy tech moves that made the battles awesome. {I hate that} Tech moves won't catch your eye at all this time around. The battles are harder and much more strategic, but duller. There is however a nice selection of ether and support skills that you can learn to build the charcters the way you see fit. The story thus far makes sense and explains alot of things you might {or might not} care to know. The only other promblem is that the cutscenes take so long. You can pay attention for only so long before your mind wanders. The first had this promblem so I'm not surprised. They don't have an ecyclopedia this time around ..... on episode 1 that thing was vital to understanding the story {at least for me} Fans will love it. Just thought I'd warn you and soften the blow of the new battle system.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By citan-uzuki VINE VOICE on March 6, 2005
The Xenosaga series is truly the most amazing and enthralling RPG that I have ever played. The size and scope of the story being told here is nothing short of epic. The game play is very good, with a fine balance between solving puzzles, fighting, and cinematics.

You can complete this game in less amount of time than the previous game. However, the battles in this second installment in the series are much harder and much more strategic than in Episode I. Even minor enemies possess high amounts of HP, and they can also inflict various status effects that must be properly dealt with if you want your battle party to survive. The pace of the battles are faster though. Because some of the battles must be completed within a certain time limit, there is an additional surge of adrenaline rush in trying to plan and execute your moves. The concept of boosting your characters is carried over from the previous game. However, in this one, there are some tricks involved in using boost. Four of your characters have the ability to either "air" (send an opponent flying in the air) or "down" (knock the enemy down). While the enemy is in such a state, more damage can be inflicted by the next battle character. But, you would need to boost properly and at the right time in order to put this chain of events together. Anyway, do not let that discourage you. The battle system has been simplified. Also, the character development system has also been greatly simplified. You do not have the multitude of weapons and armor options here that you had in Episode I. The types of attacks at your disposal have been narrowed down. In other words, the learning curve will be less steep.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 26, 2005
It used to be one of those adages that the second novel was always worse than the first. This is no longer true, possibly because great first novels have become rarer. But games, on the other hand, generally get better with each sequel. Or that was the way it was before 2005. I wasn't particularily happy with Suikoden IV, but it is Xenosaga 2 that is the current holder of my 'disappointment' award. For which I will no doubt get blasted.

Imagine that your production staff spent so much on improved character graphics that when the smoke cleared, there was only time to put together a core story with about 20 hours of play. What would you do to inflate the story? How about a set of 50+ mini-quests that send the player shuttling back and forth across known space. How about a couple of record length cut scenes? Throw in a battle system so complicated it takes hours to figure it out. And to add insult to injury, make everyone move very slowly. And there you have Xenosaga 2. A game that really could have been great, drilled into the ground because of the wrong priorities.

There's nothing really wrong with the story arc that a couple of additional 'missions' wouldn't have solved. Instead some relatively trivial bonus dungeons are your reward for finishing the game. Most of the side quest time is spent traveling, not solving or fighting. They would have been more enjoyable if the player didn't have to keep flying back and forth between New Militia and the Foundation. The battle system, which was complicated before now has too many intricacies to count. Yet once you level up enough, brute force is just as effective as finesse.

I have to concede that the character graphics are amazing. Facial expressions are perfect and the effects are often lifelike.
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