Warning minor spoiler that doesn't really have any impact on the plot whatsoever.
I feel like I'm starting to repeat myself with half of these reviews, half the games i've been reviewing so far have been rpg's which gets repetitive after a while as i end up repeating myself over and over again when i talk about the quality of the art design and music. I will be reviewing more rpg's in the future (when i get around to finishing them) but until then, this is the last rpg i can really think of that i haven't covered yet (besides the Star Ocean games which i have to get around to at some point). Why haven't i covered it? Partly because it wasn't on my backlog but also because i just didn't feel like i could make a good quality review out of it at the time as it wasn't on my mind. It's easy to forget about Infinite Undiscovery, the game with the worst name since Sticky Balls.
The reason why this game is so forgettable is simply because it's not the most recognized of tri-Ace titles and it messes up on one of the most important parts of a tri-Ace game, the combat. So prepare to read my Star Ocean Till The End Of Time Review all over again except a little less harsh this time round.
So lets begin with the storyline. You play as Capell, a flute player who just happens to have gotten himself locked up for god knows what reason. He soon ends up getting involved in a resistance group known as the liberation force after being rescued by a girl names Aya and as usual, Capell gets thrown into huge adventure which mostly revolves around a reccuring plot device. Thankfully the story is not as bad as it sounds as the plot is implemented well enough to keep the player motivated as the main cast of characters are likeable and play a strong role in keeping the plot fresh. So overall, the story is great and like many tri-Ace games, shows a great sense of philosophy in it's lore concepts which i particularly found to be the most overlooked elements of the game and one of the things i praise the most about it.
Have you heard of Capell the flute player? Well i haven't, is that some kind of pornstar name?
On the other hand, some of the characters are either flat out bland or annoying and some don't even have a purpose in the plot. Many of these are secondary characters who are basically, supposedly important npc's who can fight but aren't members of the party. Think Larsa from Final Fantasy XII when i say this. You will usually see them running off doing their own thing but for the most part, you will rarely ever see them and if you do, they likely won't even be fighting. I believe i only saw the secondary characters in combat twice, and it was on two of the chain bosses.
The worst part about this game is simple. Yeah sure the secondary cast are basically useless but what about the primary cast? Surely they could be of some use. Sadly, though the primary cast can be members of the party, they cannot be controlled. The only character that can be controlled is Capell. This infuriated me since i wanted to play with the characters i like, not just Capell. Why can't i play as Balbagan and swing his massive axe at multiple enemies, dealing tonnes of damage to them. In theory, Balbagan would be the strongest party member due to his high strength and versitile moveset, the problem is that the ai is bollocks in Infinite Undiscovery so much so that there is even a button in which it's sole function is to actually tell the ai to heal you instead of them just standing their picking their nose and even if you do, they will sometimes not recognize it and this means you have to press it over and over until they do!
All Muscle, no common sense. Pretty much sums up the ai of this game.
The fact that you can't even control the other characters doesn't help to this and makes the game feel messy a lot of the time. Oh and to add to that, the battle menu is the same as the regular menu and they are both in real time! So you have to scroll through the entire main menu just to use an item.
Always remember to "look after the injured" and "GRINN VALESTI"!!!
Another issue is that because you can only control one character in the entire game (Capell), the game soon gets repetitive and most of the moves he learns are just stronger versions of his previous moves (and there are not that many). Seriously, i've seen more variation in Devil May Cry 2's combat than i have in Infinite Undiscovery's combat and that's saying something. Even worse, the game decides to bring back the same nightmare inducing controls as Star Ocean Till The End Of Time forcing you to mash either A or B to use regular attacks/special attacks. Thankfully the Xbox 360 controller functions better than the PS2 controller and it a lot easier on the thumbs due to it's spherical surface (and yes this is an Xbox 360 exclusive). Plus the controls feel more responsive and can actually tell the difference between tapping and mashing, so this isn't really a major frustration.
I can only facepalm at the mistakes the developers made in this game. I see what they were going for, an action rpg with no battle transitions on console? Sounds cool right. Trouble is that because the combat is filled with so many unnecessary features, it makes the gameplay feel severely clunky. One of the features that they added to compensate for the lack of character control was the connect system. The connect system allows the player to interact with other characters and allows them to select their actions in battle. In other words, it allows the player to indirectly control the other characters. The problem is that connecting with another character disables the much more vital heal button so you will never use it. It also disables the flute button which can only be used out of combat but i use that term loosely as i have used the flute during battle as it provides some useful buffs in post game content. To use the flute, you need to have your sword sheathed (did i forget to mention that the right trigger is used to pull out the sword?) and press X. In other words, if you want to use the flute in battle and you are connected to a character, you have to press the left bumper, then A, then the right trigger, then X. This is the definition of clunky game play.
Well Excuuuuuuse me princess... oh shi- i broke one of my own rules now i'm going to hell....
PLEASE SPARE ME OH GOD!!!
-------------------------------------Minor Spoiler is over----------------------------
Sorry i just had to do that...
Like Star Ocean Till The End Of Time, if you can get over it's issues, the combat can still be enjoyable, if a bit repetitive but it is broken nonetheless, just to a slightly lesser extent. Despite my rantings, i did find Infinite Undiscovery to be more enjoyable than Star Ocean Till The End Of Time because at least the item creation is somewhat enjoyable and isn't way too convoluted like it was in Star Ocean Till The End Of Time, for this reason, the game play won't be getting half as bad of a score because the micromanagement saves it. Sure there is still a chance of failure but it's not half as frequent as it is in Star Ocean Till The End Of Time and at least you have a clear idea of what it is you're actually creating.
There is also a way to level up your item creation level which allows you to create items easier unlike in Star Ocean Till The End Of Time where the characters are so incompetent to learn that you have to hire more experienced inventors to create items for you which is annoying as hell. Essentially and i am jumping forward a bit here, item creation in Infinite Undiscovery is similar to that of Star Ocean 4 which was released afterwards and if you enjoyed the simplicity of item creation in that game, you will probably like this one just as much so long as you remember to save before creating important items as there is a chance of failure unlike in Star Ocean 4 so be aware of that.
The presentation of this game is rather subjective. The textures are very colorful though i found them to be a bit too dark in some places, though this is just a minor issue that some people might point out. Aside from this, the art design is fine and the dark textures never really bothered me as i found it quite tasteful. Just expect a lot of really deep colors in this game.
Anybody got a light?
Music wise, this game's soundtrack is interesting to say the least, it really brings out the would-be serious tone of the game and for some reason, the soundtrack keeps the player involved more than anything. It really builds up a sense of tension that somehow manages to make the game feel more serious than it actually is which i can't complain about considering the fact that for the most part, the game is light hearted, sometimes too light hearted. In fact it sometimes becomes so light hearted that the game can sometimes become quite obnoxious.
If you see these kids, call the police immediately and ask them to send a swat team. It's gonna be a bloody mess.
The music helps shed a more dark tone on the story which is fitting considering the fact that the story arc is actually more serious than it is portrayed to be. I can't blame tri-Ace for doing this to be honest as you need some lightheartedness in a game or you'd get bored quickly with all the seriousness. There is a point in the game where the storyline gets so serious to the point that the light hearted tone of the game collapses almost instantaneously. I Forgot to mention, the music is yet again composed by Motoi Sakuraba and it is definitely one of his better works. Personally i consider Infinite Undiscovery to have one of my favourite soundtracks up there with Valkyrie Profile 2 as the music illustrates the tone of the game well as well as simply being great to listen to and of course memorable. If anything, the music easily compensates for the games flawed battle system.
So all in all, Infinite Undiscovery is a game that a lot of people misjudge and cannot appreciate for understandable reasons but it's easy to see what this game was trying to achieve and it's not the execution that ruined it, it was the inclusion of too many unnecessary features that added nothing to the game and only ending up making it clunkier, had Infinite Undiscovery shared the same battle system as the Star Ocean series, it would be up there with the rest. Sadly it is not but it's still worth a try as it can be enjoyable if you are willing to overlook it's issues. Seriously it's not hard to find this game cheap, if you have a 360, go and grab it now for a fiver. I recommend it for anyone who's looking for an action rpg that they want to breeze through as the game is quite short.
Lifespan: Very Short
Would you replay? Maybe
Overall: Satisfactory (and believe me, i want to give it better)
Just an outspoken fan of rpg's and gaming in general who likes to rant about first world gamer problems because there are so many.
My blogs mostly consist of reviews/rants of games of all generations, particularly rpg's. I try to blend my reviews with both facts and opinion so that people can see from my own experiences and decide for themselves. i will also tend to review older titles because i still believe that there are few people out there who haven't played these awesome titles and deserve to give them a chance.
Oh and as for some negative's you might point out, i can't spell for my life and my grammar is terrible. Plus i like to exaggerate my points a little to make things more fun, yet some people are dense enough to take them as fact.
Here is my response to those intelligent enough to point them out:
Heres my review rating system:
Masterpiece (Same as masterful but for overall score, will be based on opinion), of course it won't be perfect in every way but it will be close to perfect, no game is perfect.
Masterful - Perfect in every way (Formerly 9.5+) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)
Exceptional - Goes way beyond expectations (Formerly between 9.1 and 9.4) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)
Excellent - Does what it needs to and provides a first class experience (9.0) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)
Great - Does what it needs to, provides a high class experience (8.5-8.9) (recommended to all fans of the genre)
Good - Does what it needs to and provides a very enjoyable experience (was 8.0 - 8.5) (recommended to all fans of the genre)
Satisfactory - Does what it needs to, provides an experience which is just enough to satisfy the player (Formerly between 7.5 - 7.9) (Reccommended to read the review if unsure)
Decent - Does what it needs to, experience can very depending on the players tastes (Formerly 7.0-7.4) (Recommended to read the review if you plan on picking up the game to see if it's for you)
So-So - Not for everyone, has some issues, may be worth a try if patient enough to cope with it's flaws (Formerly 6.5 - 6.9) (Reccommened to read the review if you're interested in the title)
Flawed - Alot of flaws, difficult to recommend, some may be able to pass them by but will require a lot of patience (Formerly 5.0 - 6.4) (Reccommened to read the review if you're interested in the title)
Awful - (Formerly 4.9 and below) (If you see this, don't pick the game up for this catagory)
Kill It With Fire - (Same as Awful but for overall score, based on opinion which in this case is usually right if you see the game, you know what to do, don't buy this and if you do, get some gasoline and a match)