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  -XS Main
  -Part 1 :: [07.21.03]
  -Part 2 :: [08.06.03]
  -Part 3 :: [11.22.03]
  -Part 4 :: [02.10.04]
  -Part 5 :: [07.14.04]
  -Part 6 :: [08.05.04]
  -Part 7 :: [10.12.04]
  -Part 8 :: [01.23.05]
  -Part 9 :: [05.24.05]
  -Part 10 :: [01.20.06]
  -Part 11 :: [10.12.07]
  -Part 12 :: [06.30.11]
  -Part 13 :: [02.17.12]


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"Twink manages to defeat them without having to use any healing items or fairies, so it could be worse. Hopefully the game designers won't show me just how it could be worse. And maybe there won't be any lesbian innuendo in the next FFX-2 recap."
     -Jeanne, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Part 10




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Xenosaga : Part 2
By Sam
Posted 08.06.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
But Shion couldn't leave well enough alone; she has to go and wank about how much she just wuuuuuuuuvs Realians and wants to study them. The sound of an opening door is heard, and then a new male voice: "What's learning about them going to do for you?" He says it in this really nasty way, too, like he's looking down both on the Realians and Shion. I like him already. "Lieutenant Virgil!" Caspase exclaims. Virgil turns out to be a rather ugly blond man with a great deal of scar tissue on his face. He approaches the Realian Shion was looking at a minute ago, and says some evil things (we know, because there's Evil!Music playing) about how Realians smell bad. Um, okay. Caspase seems to be upset at the mere presence of Virgil in the lab, so he angrily throws out some exposition regarding the mission of these Realians: to provide combat support for A.G.W.S. Ah. So they're cannon fodder. Virgil says as much, calling them "Weapons-Grade Realians." His blunt realism hurts Shion's tiny brain, who says, "Excuse me, but these people are highly qualified soldiers..." This leads to several minutes of Shion going "They're People with Feelings!" and Virgil going "Uh-uh, they're just robots, you stupid-head!" It's all very heavy-handed and I'll save you the pain of reading about it. The only useful details gleaned from this are that these "Weapons-Grade Realians" have built-in self-destruct devices, and that Shion calls Virgil a DME addict, whatever the hell that means. Let's move on.

Virgil has by now left the Realian lab, and it's time for Shion to go, too. Before she exits, Caspase apologizes to her for Virgil's behavior. Apparently, Caspase and Virgil used to be old schoolmates, but now Caspase's a crappy doctor and Virgil's a psycho on drug rehab or something. But Virgil was on "Miltia," and upon learning this Shion nods knowingly. We have no idea what this Miltia business is about (other than that it apparently has something to do with Realians), but that's okay because we'll spend a good three-quarters of the game in the dark about what's going on, anyway. We also find out that Shion and her family are from Miltia, but when it was sealed off they moved to Second Miltia. Now her brother lives there all by his lonesome. Hey, I'd rather be alone than have Shion for company, so he doesn't have my pity, except for being Shion's brother, which has to suck.

After all the exposition, Shion finally realizes that, ohmigod, she's late for her meeting on the bridge! Like, who would have thought that taking five million detours would have resulted in her tardiness? Shion runs out of the room, since her timeliness is such a concern now that she's a good twenty minutes late. I hope they fire her dumb ass.

But leave it to Shion and her five-second attention span to fuck around even more after this. She receives another email a few moments later--a plea for help in finding some hacker who's screwing around with A.I. like our good friend Bunny. This reminds me of those emails I get every once in a while from people named Ahmed Tejan Kabbah who request money to escape an oppressive regime in Sierra Leone. After some prodding from Bunny to Do the Right Thing, Shion agrees to help catch the 3vi1 h4x0rz. Thus begins Shion's quest to "help" this worthy cause, by...receiving emails and reading them. It's not unlike a small child who colors with crayons in the kitchen as her mother bakes cookies, and then declares "I helped!" when they come out of the oven, when all she actually did was lick the beaters.

Across a catwalk from the Realian lab is a man operating a drill. There's a bunch of debris keeping Shion from walking through, so she has to play an inane mini-game where she operates the drill to clear the path. She receives the "Drill Passport" for this, so I can play this titillating mini-game whenever I want. That is to say, never.

Shion's next email includes an attachment. Now her U.M.N. connectivity includes access to a keyword database and a Gnosis database. Shion explains to Bunny that as she might have to fight Gnosis one day, it might be a good idea to have information about them at the ready, and to be able to use her own battle experience to add to that data. To put it mildly, I find it extremely funny that Shion is in charge of creating a battle android whose purpose is to fight Gnosis, but she openly admits to knowing absolutely nothing about Gnosis. How, exactly, did she come to be the head of the KOS-MOS Project? For my own sanity, I'm trying to avoid considering the obvious "blowjob" explanation.

And the keyword database? Whenever Shion hears a term with which she is unfamiliar (read: all the time) she can consult this database for a short explanation. This applies to people, places, devices, and best of all, acronyms. What does this mean for me, the increasingly weary gamer? It means that instead of trying to fit information on all these things into the plot and dialogue in a cohesive, meaningful way, the game designers thought it would be much simpler to just make ME look up everything. If this meant less clumsy exposition, at least that would be a positive. But incredibly, we still get heaping doses of that, too--just on subjects not in the keyword database. Asshats.

Most obvious evidence that Monolith Soft hates all right-thinking people?
Clunky battle system
Clunkier game menu
Awkward, gibberish storytelling
Shion

 

The rest of Shion's journey to the bridge passes uneventfully enough. Along the way, she plays grab-ass tag with some soldiers (don't ask me to elaborate; it's much too painful); visits the A.G.W.S. hangar and practices using the mechs in battle; learns about the locked red doors throughout the Hoglinde (more on these when they become relevant); and gets another email from Miyuki, informing Shion that an "ultimate weapon" for KOS-MOS is in the works. Shion, predictably, slams Miyuki for daring to help her out. Sigh. Last but not least, Shion gets an email from Namco, advertising an upcoming game. After reading the email, Shion says, "I enjoy video games," which probably makes fanboys everywhere break into a cold sweat. It makes me roll my eyes so hard that I give myself a headache. As for this spam thing, I don't know whether to applaud the game designers for realism, or to scream myself hoarse at them for not giving me an escape from the 500 spam emails I get in a day. By the time Shion finally steps onto the elevator to reach the Hoglinde's bridge, I have curled up in the fetal position on the couch, twitching.

 
No. Just...no.

Shion, to my utter delight, is chewed out as soon as she sets foot on the bridge by our old paranoid buddy Commander Jerkinov. Shion looks appropriately browbeaten, but the Captain, named Moriyama, calls off his bulldog. Jerkinov reluctantly stops himself from pinching Shion's head off her neck. Too bad. The Captain and the Commander ask for Shion's data. Once she's finished giving her little PowerPoint presentation, Jerkinov immediately asks her where the hell the real data is. Clearly, Shion had been hoping this wouldn't come up. "Well," Shion begins, "it's not quite ready. KOS-MOS' battle data isn't our top priority at the moment. We're still working out the perfect creamy skin tone and boob diameter."

Jerkinov is highly unamused by Shion's lack of progress, as it's suddenly vital that KOS-MOS be fully operational. Exposition!Jerkinov explains to her that the Hoglinde was prepared for its voyage in a big hurry, and therefore if they were attacked by "those things" (and now it's clear that "those things" are Gnosis), KOS-MOS might be their only line of defense. Therefore, Shion's reckless incompetence isn't just annoying--it's downright dangerous. Hate. Her. So. Much. Worthless. Bint.

Captain Moriyama, on the other hand, isn't too upset over this, and is willing to forgive Shion for being a million years behind schedule. I'm sure this little indulgence has nothing to do with her boobs and ass hanging out there for God and Man to see. Jerkinov is all ready to continue arguing his point (i.e., that Shion sucks and is going to get them all killed) but his beeper goes off and he immediately excuses himself. Dammit. Now that Moriyama and Shion are alone, he tells her to keep working hard, but not to work too hard. God forbid she start to get wrinkles, tee hee! Even better: "You must be tired," Moriyama says. "Take the rest of the day off." Uh huh. Playing with robots, Realians and giant drills is so taxing. I think the jury has reached a verdict on the most likely recipient of Shion's "services."

...What's that loud sucking sound?

Shion's paid with tax dollars? I'm calling my Congressman!
 

Since it cost Shion a supreme amount of time and effort just to get from point A to point B, just getting to the bridge took up this entire recap! In part 3, we'll get a glimpse of a hopefully non-wanky Uzuki, and the Gnosis attack--the one that no one has been hinting at with the subtlety of a kick to the groin--will finally happen. Will Shion survive this horrible tragedy? ...Yes, she will. Thanks a lot, game designers.

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