Speaking of Xenogears.
It’s early morning on a Sunday, and I’ve risen from my bed in order to tackle an almost insurmountable stack of evaluations to write for my students. There’s no one else up in my house, so I decide to put on some OC Remixes and get to work.
The first track that comes on is this one, from the community’s “Humans + Gears” project, a two-disc album of Xenogears remixes. Though the whole thing is a bit hit-or-miss, there are a handful of truly exceptional tracks, including this take on “Faraway Promise” by remixers Avaris and Level 99. I highly recommend you check it out.
Xenogears ramps up its religious allegory/giant mechas theme pretty early on, so the game doesn’t often stray into the pastoral (not in the same way that, say, Legend of Mana does), but there are a couple of locales in the game that utilize Mitsuda’s brilliant score to convey that setting quite nicely. I think the acoustic piece that these fine remixers have put together only adds to this mood, and hearing it in the kitchen of my house early on a Sunday morning definitely makes me wistful for the farmhouse in which I grew up.
It’s NaNoWriMo time, and that means it’s time for me to assemble my yearly writing playlist.
Based on the tune I’m offering here, go ahead and take a guess at the tone of my piece this year.
Xenogears is one of the most brilliant and most flawed games I’ve ever played. When it was initially released, it was among the most technically and visually impressive games available for consoles, and certainly the JRPG with the greatest scope–beating out even the biggest Final Fantasies. (It probably still doesn’t stack up against the Baldur’s Gates and Planescape: Torment, but hey).
I’m always hesitant when I consider recommending that someone try and play through Xenogears. If you can cope with its pace, its difficulty, the often awkward and dull translation, and the fact that the game is essentially unfinished–the second disc is like an outline for what the developers envisioned the rest of the game ought to be–it’s one of the most thoughtfully created and emotionally resonant games out there. It’s a game that legitimately tries to tell a mature story, though the telling of that story is hampered by a number of factors.
Recommending Xenogears is kind of like recommending someone tackle Ulysses–if they can glean from it the brilliant and remarkable insights present within the text, there’s little that can compare with the experience. There’s just an awful lot to slog through in order to reach those jewels.
But seriously, though. You should totally play it.