So it's over. I've taken Xenogears off the Backlog, and come to grips with the fact that this titan of gaming mythology is less striding colossus and more puny mortal than I remembered. It's still one of the best games of its time, but it served to clearly illustrate just how much times have changed. Xenogears is still better than some of the terrible games released today, but if each new good and great game stands on the shoulders of giants, then the games of 1998 are just too far down the totem pole to attempt making eye contact with those of today.
|And some remain firmly at crotch level.|
Naturally. there are exceptions. There are games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Chrono Trigger - games that will hold the same place in history as the Pac-Mans and Tetrises of the world in that they'll never really get old, even when measured up against today. Xenogears was, unfortunately, attempting something that had never really been done before, and since it came along a whole slew of games have done it better. Combat is smoother, the story is presented better, the characters are better developed, and they allow more open exploration of the world.
Still, if you can turn off the part of your brain that knows they didn't stop making games in the late 90s, Xenogears still presents a hell of a good time. Let's take a look at how this Squaresoft gem manages to hold on to the last bit of its luster.