The Never Ending Realm
Infinite Undiscovery (360) Review By Samuel Rivera
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                Tri-Ace is in my opinion perhaps the best all around traditional RPG developer there is, all of their games usually get good scores from yours truly, and in this ill fated generation of consoles (at least for us J-RPGs fans) they have been the only developer in Square/Enix that has managed to keep their high standards set by their previous works. Infinite Undiscovery silly as that title might sound is s perhaps along with Tales of Vesperia and Lost Odyssey the best J-RPG bar none I have played in this generation.

STAR OCEAN LITE

                The first twenty minutes of Infinite Undiscovery were more fun than the entire 56 hours it took me to get through Final Fantasy XIII and that’s not an overstatement. The battle system is reminiscent of Star Ocean, but thanks to improved pacing and easy of level gaining while on battling make Infinite Undiscovery a much more fun game to battle in than Star Ocean.

Don’t get me wrong there are some tough battles here and there, and you will see the game over screen a few times before you see the credits roll but its battle system is never as intensive and as time consuming as the ones found in the Star Ocean games .

The game even moves in exploration mode very similarly to Star Ocean 3, with less mini quests and things to do. There is even an item creation system that is fairly simplified and it is not necessary whatsoever to master this system in order to finish the game.  Being that the Star Ocean titles are incredibly deep and somewhat complicated in their approach I truly welcomed this entry from Tri-Ace just as I welcomed their Radiata Stories RPG for the PS2.

The combat is fully in realtime-action meaning you can move your characters around the battle area and you can attack at will without having to wait for turns. The battles are fast and fun RPG games with action battle oriented systems should be the standard of the genre in this day and age.

The game is pretty straight forwards even the though from the very beginning there are large open areas and you can backtrack where ever you want to for the most part, and true traditional J-RPG in every sense of the word.

If there is any complaint that I have with this title on the gameplay front is that it is too short, of course these days the game can be found for a measly 12 dollars at gamestop, but in 2008 the game was worth 50-60 dollars which means that probably many RPG buffs well a bit cheated from a game that only gave then 18 wonderful hours of gaming, when they are used to 30 plus hours experiences by Tri Ace.

A FULL FLEDEGED NEXT GEN J-RPG

I still stand by my statement that regardless how crappy of a game FFXIII is it is still the greatest looking RPG game ever, that being said after playing Infinite Undiscovery I have discovered that perhaps XIII isn’t far and away beyond everything else in the market because Infinite looks nearly as good, and dare I say it has better looking characters and environments in terms of artistry.

I constantly enjoyed my time in this game, as I discovered new sights and towns to explore, most impressive however is how good the anime styled 3-D characters animate when they fight, run and especially during the cut scenes which mostly (save for the intro) are done in  in-game cut scenes.

All in all while J-RPGs usually don’t carry the baton of graphical prowess in this gen of consoles, Infinite Undiscovery is as good as it gets.

FINALLY A GOOD STORY FROM SQUARE/ENIX

The one thing that sets apart IU (Infinite Undiscovery) from FFXIII, aside from actually being fun to play, is that it has a pretty good story with interesting characters that somehow develop really well in the measly 18 hours that the game lasts.

Capell is one of the most interesting characters I have seen in quite a while as is his relationship with Aya. The entire melodrama between Capell, Sigmund, Aya and Edwards is interesting to follow.  The world itself has an interesting sub plot going on with the Blessed being the normal citizens of word while the unblessed are being relegated to outcasts into poverty and depravation.

That subplot could have been developed more than it did, but when the subject is brought up at a midgame pint, it is brought up the right way. There was a touching moment in the game that really reached out and touched my heart which is more than I can say for the anything the Final Fantasy series has done since 2002. One could say that the supporting characters could have been fleshed out more and one would be right, but the fact still stands that Capell’s 18 hour journey, is much more fulfilling and much more thrilling that anything in the 50 plus hours of Lighting’s journey in the RAILS of Final Fantasy XIII.

Infinite Undiscovery has a good story, with an old school feel at some points and today in 2011 it is nice to play a J-RPG on the 360 that actually has a heart and a soul.

MOTOI SAKURABA DOES IT AGAIN

Star Ocean composer and fixture at Tri Ace delivers another aural masterpiece which perhaps is his best work yet. The music here approaches the FF quality of old (during the SNES-PS1 era) which is a good thing. All the tunes fit rightly into the place and the more grand ones are truly majestic.

The voice acting is remarkably good for all the leads even if the lip-syncing isn’t quite right for the most part. 

BUY IT NOW

You can’t go wrong at this point with Infinite Undiscovery, it’s a great looking J-RPG with a fast action oriented battles system and a good tale to boot. No Infinite Undiscovery isn’t the next coming of Star Ocean on new systems, and yes the game could have been much more with a few more hours of plot and character development, but in an era where good J-RPGs are as abundant as a cold Dasani water bottle is in the middle of the Sahara desert, Infinite Undiscovery manages to quench some of the thirst of us J-RPG thirsty fans!

 

Gameplay: 9.0-Easy, fast and simple. This game does a good job of actually making you enjoy battling in order to level up!

Graphics: 9.0-Amazing Looking Characters and Great looking environments make this one of the prettiest RPGs around.

Music: 9.5- Motoi Sakuraba at his best? Believe it!

Story: 8.0 –Not the greatest tale ever told but one of the very  best ones you can find post PS2 era, the characters develop nicely and it is comforting to know some at SquareEnix is still capable of writing an acceptable tale.

Addictiveness: 7.0- Score takes a dive here because there isn’t really much to do in the game aside from finishing the main plot and that only lasts about 18 hours!

Overall: 8.5-One of the very best buys one can make now on the 360 if J-RPGs are your thing. Infinite Undiscovery keeps Tri Ace’s track record of games above the 8s intact!!! 

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