After losing his memory, Fei Fong Wong found himself in the small town of Lahan. Because he couldn't remember who he really was or where he came from, he decided to stay there and teach martial arts and paint -- one of his personal hobbies. After his arrival, he became friends with the various townsfolk, who in return treated him like one of their own. Still, who he was and what happened to him in his past bothered him; he was afraid it would come back to haunt him one of these days.
And it did. One day, an organization in control of large Gears, mechanized robots built for war purposes, came into the small town of Lahan. Fei was at the center of attention and with no hesitation jumped into a nearby Gear and started fighting back. The villagers were scared to death as he began to destroy the threatening enemies; he also aided in the destruction of the town. Enraged at the way he had handled himself, the townsfolk exiled Fei from the village with his only friend being an inventor named Citan.
Little did he know, Fei's adventure was just beginning. As the protagonist, you will scour the globe looking for friends and allies to join your cause, find out who is behind the organization who destroyed Lahan and discover what they have to do with you and your past.
Square Soft's role-playing game Xenogears documents all this as well as the struggle between man, machine and the destruction of a god. Because of its religious overtones, the game was met with a barrage of controversy from domestic importers and translators. It was finally given the go ahead for American translation and wound up being praised as one of the best role-playing games of 1998.
Certain characters will join your party while others stay with you throughout the game; you have no more than three people at one time (much like Final Fantasy VII). Each character has their own reason for helping you out combined with a whole past history as to why they want to overthrow the empire. That history is documented in individual character development.
Unlike most role-playing games from this company, there are two different battle systems. The first system is called the character battle, which plays just like it sounds. Your characters have their own unique combinations and attack abilities. In order to use these, you will have to pay attention to individual character points. Depending on which button you press determines how many action points will be used that round -- the higher the points are, the more damaging the attack will be. As your characters become more skilled and raise levels, they will be given more powerful abilities.
The other system plays a bit like the character battles with a twist. At certain times, you will have to engage in battle with your Gears. Each Gear has a specific amount of fuel that can be used in a battle (items can be purchased to replenish the amount) and works like action points. Certain moves take a specific amount of fuel to execute and character combinations work with the Gears, though their power is amplified tremendously.
In towns, you can buy various supplies, such as health items, stronger swords and weapons, and heavier armor for protection. Additionally, certain towns are Gear friendly and have stations in which they can upgrade. Though the process is sometimes very expensive, you can tune up a Gear's motor, replace the engine, up the fuel amount, buy newer, advanced weaponry, and replace the armor for more protection.
Xenogears takes place on two CDs and features over twenty minutes of original Japanese animation to help progress the storyline in key moments. Each town is rendered in 3D and features a camera system allowing you to rotate and zoom around your character for the best view possible.
Probably one of the best games of the console.