Xenosaga Episode III

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Xenosaga Episode III
Xeno3boxart.jpg
Developer(s) Monolith Soft
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Koh Arai
Producer(s) Tomohiro Hagiwara
Shinichirō Okamoto
Writer(s) Norihiko Yonesaka
Composer(s) Yuki Kajiura
Series Xenosaga
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s)
  • JP: July 6, 2006
  • NA: August 29, 2006
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single-player

Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (ゼノサーガ エピソードIII ツァラトゥストラはかく語りき Zenosāga Episōdo Surī Tsaratusutora wa Kaku Katariki?) is a role-playing video game for the PlayStation 2, and the third game in the primary Xenosaga trilogy. Also sprach Zarathustra, literally "Thus spoke Zarathustra", is also the title of Friedrich Nietzsche's most famous work, which introduced the concept of the Übermensch. The game was developed by Monolith Soft and published by Namco for the PlayStation 2 on July 6, 2006, in Japan and on August 29, 2006, in North America.[citation needed]

Gameplay[edit]

Plot[edit]

In 4768 T.C., a year after Abel's Ark's first appearance, which had swallowed the Zohar before disappearing from normal space, the various parties had gone about their lives; Jin Uzuki continues to work with Jr. and gang behind the scenes to investigate Ormus while Shion Uzuki returned to Vector Industries with KOS-MOS. Approximately 6 months after that event, Gnosis attacks began to happen more frequently, targeting cities around the star cluster. Due to the precision of these attacks, many believed that someone was controlling the location of the attacks that were happening. These attacks are termed Gnosis Terrorism.

During one of the investigations by Jin's group on the Gnosis terrorism, Shion discovers a link between her father and the U-TIC Organization (which is connected to Ormus), and Shion suspects Vector and the U.M.N. are involved in these terror attacks. Shion resigned her job as Chief of First R&D of Vector and joined the underground organization Scientia, an anti-U.M.N. rebel group. Enlisting the help of Miyuki Itsumi (her assistant from Vector), Canaan and Doctus (a prominent member of Scientia), Shion broke into Vector's secret facility to obtain valuable information that was originally only accessible to high level members of Vector. The information led to the discovery of Project Canaan, of which its true purpose was unknown at this point.

Meanwhile, Vector transferred the KOS-MOS project to the Galaxy Federation military. Allen Ridgeley (the new Chief) was sent together with KOS-MOS to the Federation capital, Fifth Jerusalem. Six months after Shion resigned, Allen invited her to visit him at Fifth Jerusalem. Shion arrived to discover that KOS-MOS was scheduled to face off against the Federation's newest weapon in a public demonstration. Shion meets Abel, a boy who is involved with the Zohar Project. With the help of Juli Mizrahi and Allen, Shion was able to witness the Federation's weapons, T-elos and Omega Res Novae. T-elos is a humanoid android that looks similar to KOS-MOS. Her capabilities far exceeds those of KOS-MOS. Omega Res Novae was the Proto Omega that was salvaged by the Federation after the last battle in Episode II. With the help of Sellers (who had joined up with Dmitri Yuriev), they managed to power the machine with the help of a fake Zohar Emulator (not the ones that was built by Joachim Mizrahi). KOS-MOS was badly beaten by Omega Res Novae, which resulted in the termination of the KOS-MOS project.

It was at this moment that a huge mysterious asteroid/landmass appeared in space. Jr. together with MOMO and the Elsa departs to investigate it. When they arrived at the area, they were attacked by Margulis in his E.S. Levi. During the battle, the Elsa was damaged and crash-landed on the asteroid, which Margulis refers to as Rennes-le-Château. A hypersphere of energy erupted from the landmass. Jr. and gang barely managed to escape to the Durandal. The hypersphere wraps around the landmass, trapping the Elsa in it. Juli deduced that only KOS-MOS has the ability to break open the hypersphere for them to rescue the Elsa. The team made their way to Fifth Jerusalem and met up with Shion. Together, they broke into the Federation compound to salvage KOS-MOS, which had been dumped at the scrap yard.

With KOS-MOS's help, they managed to break into Rennes-le-Château and made contact with the Elsa. While investigating the area, they were attacked by the Blue Testament, who revealed himself as Lieutenant Luis Virgil, who was killed by KOS-MOS in Episode I. After fighting him off, the team came upon an old tomb. T-elos appeared and fought with KOS-MOS. In a one-sided affair, KOS-MOS was destroyed by T-elos. Roth Mantel also appears and reveals himself as the Red Testament. Suddenly, Shion's pendant began to emit a bright light, engulfing all of Rennes-le-Château.

When the party came to, they found themselves back on Old Miltia, exactly 15 years ago, days before the disappearance of Old Miltia. With no sign of both T-elos and KOS-MOS, the group proceed to look for the Elsa. During the journey, they rescued a young Federation soldier from U-TIC soldiers, who was revealed as the young Virgil. They brought him to an old church, where he was treated by Febronia. Febronia donated parts of her organs to him to save his life and the organ transplant was successful. It was there that they met the young Shion, who was just a child 15 years ago.

When they found the Elsa, they discovered that KOS-MOS's core module was damaged and she may never wake again. Also, the Vessels of Anima that powered their E.S. machines were missing. Determined to investigate her father's involvement with U-TIC, Shion infiltrated Labyrinthos with Allen. Shion met up with her father, Suou Uzuki, and discovered that her mother, Aoi Uzuki, was one of the patients housed in the facility and confined his involvement with U-TIC. She also met the young Kevin Winnicot (her deceased lover and KOS-MOS's creator), who was serving as Joachim Mizrahi's assistant and caretaker of Febronia. She found KOS-MOS's basic theory on Kevin's computer and hastily copied it in hopes of saving KOS-MOS.

Shion and Allen returned to the team with the information that they obtained. With the data from Kevin and the help of the Professor, they rebuilt KOS-MOS into version 4. The Black Testament, Voyager, attacked the Elsa and attempted to steal the un-activated KOS-MOS. When the Black Testament was about to kill Shion, KOS-MOS awoke and rescued her. With her help, the team fought off the Black Testament.

In a bid to attempt to change history and prevent the Miltian Conflict from happening, the team returned to Labyrinthos. They found the Vessels of Anima in the base and stole them. When they were escaping from the place with their E.S., Shion heard her mother's name, Aoi, being called over the public announcement system, and returned to Labyrinthos to find her. She was caught in her attempt and was questioned by the younger Margulis, Kevin and her father.

Hours away from the Federation's 3rd descent operation (which triggered the full-scale battles), the team decides to return to Labyrinthos to rescue Shion. While held captive, Shion realizes that her father (who does not know she is the older Shion) was secretly aiding her. In the battle between the U-TIC soldiers and the Federation forces, he asked Shion to go look for the young Shion at the church and bring her to safety. Unfortunately, the Miltian Conflict had already begun.

When the team reached the church, they realized that it was attacked by Realian troops that went crazy due to the Song of Nephilim. Febronia was killed in her attempt to save the recuperating Virgil and the young Shion. Virgil, who developed a relationship with Febronia during her care, fought the Realian troops to help the rest escape. It was during this moment that the Blue Testament (Virgil) appeared. Just as he was about to attack the team, Febronia appeared and convinced him to abandon this Testament duty and together, they disappeared into the twilight, or Collective Unconscious.

Young Shion had returned to Labyrinthos to look for her parents. The team returned to Labyrinthos and found the place to be a mess. Crazy Realians had overran the facility. In a bid to save the young Shion, Shion's father sacrificed himself. The Realians had also brutally murdered Shion's mother in her ward. Filled with grief and anger after witnessing her parents' death, young Shion cried out to the heavens, summoning Gnosis in Old Miltia. Shocked by the realization that it was her who had caused the Gnosis to appear, Shion began to glow as well. Abel's Ark appeared in normal space and Wilhelm proclaims the first awakening.

The Red Testament appeared with T-elos and revealed himself as Kevin Winnicot. Kevin began to explain how Shion, like her mother, has the ability to "talk" with U-DO. Therefore, by staying with KOS-MOS (who draws power from the Zohar), she is slowly and surely losing her life. Filled with love and misery, Shion attempted to leave with Kevin, but was stopped by the team. The team escaped to the Elsa and returned to normal time. It was later that they realized that they had made a dive into Shion's subconscious, not the past. Due to the trauma of her parents' death, Shion has suppressed those memories deep inside her. Thus the goal of the Testaments was to re-awake her conscious and bring the Abel's Ark back into normal space.

Meanwhile, Dmitri Yuriev, who had taken over Gaignun Kukai's body, set off with Merkabah and his Federation fleet for Abel's Ark. To stop him, the team infiltrated Merkabah in the Elsa during the chaotic battle between the Gnosis, the Federation as well as the Ormus fleet led by Margulis. The team met Sellers, who revealed that Yuriev needed the Zohar emulators to unite with Abel's Ark. At this moment, the Federation forces attacked and boarded the Durandal. All the crew were killed except for Mary Godwin and Shelley Godwin, who both held the Arbiter code that seals off the Zohar emulators on board the Durandal. The team returned to the Durandal but was too late to stop Yuriev, who succeed in activating the Zohar emulators. The team just about managed to escape from the Durandal before it was rammed into Abel's Ark, transforming the Ark.

Determined to stop his father, Jr. led the team into the Ark and defeated Yuriev. At the final moment, the White Testament appeared and revealed himself as Albedo. Albedo draws out the Zohar and Abel and sent them away. Together with Jr., they linked up to try to absorb Gaignun (Nigredo)'s will into Jr.'s mind to save him. However, sensing Albedo's wish (that is to kill Nigredo, who was created to kill the Red Dragon, Rubedo aka Jr.), Nigredo forced himself into Albedo's body and transferred Albedo's mind into Jr. Nigredo sacrificed himself and perished together with Dmitri Yuriev. Albedo finally fulfill his wish of psychically linking with Jr. and disappeared into Jr.'s consciousness. Just before Albedo disappeared, he informed Jr. that the Zohar and Abel was sent to the planet Michtam. The team left for Michtam in the Elsa, in which its space was currently engulfed in a fierce battle by the Ormus fleet and the Gnosis.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Heinlein revealed himself to Margulis. Heinlein is actually Wilhelm in disguise. Wilhelm revealed that he created the Ormus, Vector and Hyam industries for his own purposes. Shattered by their blind faith, Margulis and Pellegri descended into Michtam and fought Jin's group to the death.

On Michtam, the group fought against the Black Testament. Voyager, as Ziggy calls him, fought with Ziggy but Ziggy was no match for him. Voyager revealed that he had tried to convince Ziggy to be a Testament together with him, and that many of the group's members are also suitable candidates to be a Testament. Canaan revealed himself as Lactis, and explained the true purpose of Project Canaan. He was created by Wilhelm to observe for suitable traits in the team as candidates to be a Testament. Sensing Voyager's greed for power, Canaan tricked him into attempting to link with Wilhelm's Compass of Order and Chaos. However Voyager could not absorb that power and both of them vanished into another dimension.

The team continues to breach the facility, and fought with T-elos again. T-elos revealed that she has the body of Mary Magdalene, while KOS-MOS had her will stored in her. Thus she needs to destroy KOS-MOS to absorb that will into her body for her full awakening. T-elos also calls Shion as the Maiden of Magdalene, who holds the key to her will. KOS-MOS easily defeated T-elos and fully awakens. Kevin appeared and tried to convince KOS-MOS and Shion to his side. Shion was blinded by her love and joined him, but was convinced by Allen that Kevin is wrong, that the happiness she will get will not be happiness if she cannot share it with her friends. Kevin, disappointed by Shion's resolve, was called back by Wilhelm.

The team proceeded to Zarathustra and along with it, Wilhelm. He revealed that the universe is on the verge of being destroyed. To save the world, he will need to use the power of Anima, as well as the Zohar and Zarathustra to remake the world, and bring it back to the origins again so that they can live this life over and over again, through the process of "Eternal Recurrence". But to do that, he needs the desire of Shion, as she holds the key to Mary Magdalene's will. It was also revealed that chaos originally had the power of Anima, but was deemed too dangerous and sealed away by Mary Magdalene. The process had caused Mary's death and those power became the Vessels of Anima. Only Mary can unseal that power and only Shion can make Mary do it.

Wilhelm tortures Shion to force her to will it. Unable to bear his love from the sufferings, Kevin attacked Wilhelm which halted Shion's torture. Wilhelm reveals that he had anticipated that Kevin would betray him, as he became a Testament only to save Shion. Wilhelm then presumed torturing Shion, and Kevin along with her.

Zarathustra is then later unleashed, and seizing his opportunity, Kevin lunges his arm through Wilhelm, in an attempt to control and suppress Zarathustra through Wilhelm (who is the self-proclaimed "operator" of Zarathustra), although the end result would end in both Wilhelm's and Kevin's death. Before this, chaos told Wilhelm that he believes mankind has the will to change that future and prevent the universe from destruction. The party then attacks Zarathustra, and maintains it. Later, Wilhelm acknowledges chaos's will and disappeared together with Kevin.

In order to fully stop Zarathustra, which had gone out of control due to the collective minds that was gathered by Wilhelm previously, Mary releases the seal to chaos's power and together with Nephilim Verum, KOS-MOS and Abel, chaos attempts to bring those wills back to Lost Jerusalem, back to the origin of time. He urges the rest to escape, that they have a mission to change this world.

In their escape, they noticed a lot of Gnosis gathering around the area. Those Gnosis did not want to leave the world and thus were going to stop chaos and Nephilim from completing their ritual. After alighting the team, Jin bade farewell as he departs in Asher to return to assist chaos in fending off the Gnosis. A battle erupted as Jin and KOS-MOS fought against the Gnosis to shield chaos. Jin lost his life and KOS-MOS sacrificed herself in an explosion. At this moment, space and time warped and all U.M.N. networks disappeared. The Elsa had escaped from the space warp and met up with the Dämmerung.

Jr., Shion and Allen, together with the Elsa, set off to look for Lost Jerusalem, the land where Jin's, chaos's and Mary Magdalene's consciousness sleep, and also the land where the key to saving the universe sleeps. KOS-MOS floats in space and her right arm and both her legs are gone, and what remains of her body is badly damaged. As she drifts she hears chaos' voice in her head telling her that apparently the universe still needs them. He then tells KOS-MOS to sleep until they are needed again. KOS-MOS closes her eyes as she drifts through space toward the sun rising over Lost Jerusalem.

Development[edit]

The Xenosaga series, a successor to the 1996 RPG Xenogears created by Tetsuya Takahashi, was intended to span six installments. However, due to flagging commercial performances, the series was cut down to a trilogy. Episode II had been redone to focus more on gameplay, but player backlash prompted Episode III to revert more to the narrative-heavy style of Episode I.[1][2] Xenosaga Episode III was officially announced in 2005, alongside the Nintendo DS remake of the first two games Xenosaga where it was said that it would be the final entry in the Xenosaga series.[3] Episode III was directed by Koh Arai. Takahashi drafted and supervised the scenario.[4] Apparently, some of the material original created by Takahashi and Soraya Saga for their original Xenosaga storyline was worked into the finale of Episode III.[1] As with the rest of the trilogy, the game made heavy use of Biblical mythology. Due to the unexplained story changes in Episode II, the story was forced to shift its focus from the original plan, resulting in major changes to the original scenario.[5] The game's subtitle was taken from the native title of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The use of Nietzsche's works and concepts was a recurring element in the series.[6] The original character artist for Xenosaga, Kunihiko Tanaka, was replaced by Kouichi Mugitani, who also acted as production designer as he had for the previous Xenosaga games.[3][7] The game was announced for a western release in April 2006.[6] For its western release, all scenes where blood was visible were censored: the blood was removed, for all other aspects remained unchanged, resulting in visual and audio inconsistencies.[8]

Music[edit]

Main article: Music of Xenosaga

At the start of Episode III's development, Yuki Kajiura (Xenosaga Episode II, .hack//Sign, Noir, and Madlax) became the sole composer in Xenosaga III. A handful of remixes, arrangements and reappearances of tracks from the "Xenosaga Episode II: Movie Scene Soundtrack" appear in the game. The game soundtrack, "Xenosaga Episode III: Original Sound Best Tracks (Yuki Kajiura selection)" was announced for a 2CD release on July 12. It consists of 40 tracks selected by Yuki Kajiura from the game (though it is not a complete release of all the tracks). The ending theme of the game is called "Maybe Tomorrow", sung by Emily Curtis. The soundtrack also contains vocals by Eri Itoh. The soundtrack follows the style of Kajiura's Episode II soundtrack with several key themes from Episode II, chief among them KOS-MOS' theme, appearing throughout the game.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 82.67%[9]
Metacritic 81 of 100[17]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B+[15]
Game Informer 8.5 of 10[9]
GamePro 4/5 stars[9][12]
GameSpot 8.0 of 10[10]
GameSpy 3.5/5 stars[13]
GameTrailers 8.2 of 10[14]
IGN 8.0 of 10[11]
OPM (US) 9 of 10[9]
PSM 8 of 10[9]
RPGamer 4.5/5 stars[16]
Yahoo! Games 4/5 stars

According to Bandai-Namco's 3rd Quarter 2006 results, Episode III sold 343,000 copies in Japan, North America and Asia.[18] It sold over 181,000 copies in Japan by the end of 2006.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Peterson, Blake (3 December 2015). "Monolith Soft and Nintendo: Why We'll Never Get More Xenogears/saga". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Mackey, Bob (10 April 2015). "How the Xenoverse Got Its Groove Back". USGamer. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q3-2005/091405a.html
  4. ^ "Reader Q&A: Xenosaga Episode III". IGN. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Yip, Spencer (11 June 2010). "Soraya Saga On Xenogears And Xenosaga". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Dunham, Jeremy (13 April 2006). "Xenosaga III To North America". IGN. Archived from the original on 21 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  7. ^ http://www.siliconera.com/2014/12/01/metal-gear-risings-mechanical-designer-created-mechs-xenoblade-chronicles-x/
  8. ^ Houghton, David (10 March 2010). "Hilariously stupid game censorship". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  10. ^ Massimilla, Bethany (2006-08-30). "Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  11. ^ Dunham, Jeremy (2006-08-30). "Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra Review - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  12. ^ Forms, World of (2006-09-13). "Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra Review from GamePro". GamePro. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  13. ^ Vasconcellos, Eduardo (2006-08-26). "GameSpy: Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra review". GameSpy. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  14. ^ "Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra Article Review and Ratings GameTrailers". GameTrailers. 2006-09-12. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  15. ^ Barnholt, Ray (2006-09-13). "Xenosaga Episode 3 Review for PS2 from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  16. ^ Martz, Josh. "RPGamer Staff Review Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra". RPGamer. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  17. ^ "Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra Critic Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  18. ^ RPGFan (2007-02-17). "Bandai Namco Announces 3rd Quarter Results". Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  19. ^ "2006年ゲームソフト年間売上TOP500" [2006 Game Software Annual Sales Top 500]. Famitsū Gēmu Hakusho 2007 ファミ通ゲーム白書2007 [Famitsu Game Whitebook 2007] (in Japanese). Tokyo: Enterbrain. 2007. 

External links[edit]