RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Infinite Undiscovery

Infinite Undiscovery was a debatable purchase for me. On one hand it was cheap, on the other the box looked pretty awful. However, the blurb sold me on it; promising me a great title from the creators of Star Ocean. After finishing the first disc and making decent progress on the second; I'm impressed. Just not that impressed. Infinite Undiscovery is an above average JRPG with a nice blend of elements, and it's definitely worth a single playthrough.

The graphics are awesome, almost Square Enix quality.

Genre: JRPG, Fantasy
Release Date: 2nd September, 2008
Platforms: Xbox 360
Score: 7/10
Similar Titles: Star Ocean, The Last Story, Xenoblade Chronicles

From the beginning the inspiration from the Star Ocean franchise is immediately noticeable. While the majority of mechanics are different, the skills, UI, and characters will remind you of Star Ocean. Despite this, Infinite Undiscovery sets itself apart by approaching the story without Sci-Fi, giving the traditional medieval and fantasy genre a try.

Late game you still hit for terrible damage.

The plot begins with the moon being tethered to the planet by vast chains across the land. Said chains cause disaster across the land, creating tidal waves and causing monsters to appear destroying settlements with impunity. Sigmund, an 'unblessed' man leads a liberation force- striking apart chains throughout the land. Our main character of the game is Capell, a flute player unfortunate enough to bear an exact resemblance of Sigmund. Capell is mistaken for Sigmund and imprisoned, until he is rescued by a member of the liberation force named Aya. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, although predictable at times, it was intriguing and well delivered for the majority of the game.

Capell starts out as a disinterested and selfish protagonist, but quickly develops into a hero. Although I'm sure this natural character progression is admirable and what some people want, personally I'd rather he stayed an asshole all the way through. Why? Because throughout the game, most of your party are really horrible to him. Since they all look up to the heroic Sigmund, no matter what Capell does to prove himself, he still gets treated like shit. You save several party members lives, and they still prefer Sigmund. What inspiration does Capell have to be a hero when everyone treats him like a coward? Aside from the characters being ungrateful little shites, their personalities are unique and they each have an archetype to complement the plot, and enough depth to give them life. The characters and the story are good enough to push Infinite Undiscovery from good to better, it's a shame the great dialogue isn't reinforced with great voice acting.

Lord Sigmund is beloved by everyone except the dudes who put up the chains.

Instead of being an instance based affair like you'd expect from every RPG in existence, with loading between battles and areas, Infinite Undiscovery focuses on delivering everything in one field. You can transition from exploring to battle, and even fiddle around on the menus without a single pause in play. When engaging an enemy, all you have to do is draw your sword. It's an underestimated feature, and you won't miss it until you start playing other RPG games; at which point you'll realize it was actually pretty nifty.

Although the story is pretty captivating, the rest of the game isn't so flawless. The combat, while fun at first glance, quickly turned out to lack some much needed depth and difficulty. Capell has 3 basic combos he can perform, so it quickly gets repetitive, especially when it's frustrating to aim your attacks at times. This annoyance is offset by your useful party members, who can usually put out more damage and land every hit. In some sections you can even utilize multiple parties, who will wander through the battlefield killing enemies for you. The bosses are the best part of the game, they usually take a long time to beat, give you a few low health scares, and force you to use a fair amount of items to survive.

Capell is considered a pretender, nobody likes him.

While the combat is no way near the depth or fun required to make a solid video game, Infinite Undiscovery makes up for that by providing a variety of activities and minigames to partake in. For example, you can synchronize with your party members to access their abilities. Aya can shoot her bow at explosive barrels to deal damage or shoot apples from trees, and one of the kids can talk to animals and summon them into combat or receive items. Personally, I'd take addictive combat over poorly implemented side games any day, but it's there for anyone who enjoys that kind of content.

As you progress through the game some party members are capable of creating various items, crafting is always handy. Except in this case. It's useless, you can usually only craft items that you don't need, and most players will probably finish the game without even creating so much as a potion. Among other annoying mechanics is the flute playing skill. Throughout the game you obtain several songs to play, which are often vital to making progress through a dungeon or defeating particular enemies. Sadly, playing the flute begins with an annoyingly slow animation, followed by limiting you to walking slower than Superman sporting several Kryptonite bullets. Sometimes to advance to the next bit of the game you are required to play the flute to open a secret passage. To do this you have to walk around playing the flute and hoping to god you find it soon.

Accessing the menu can only be done in real time, so doing it near monsters is a bad idea.

The biggest flaw in the game is the lack of direction. When navigating through a lair infested with enemies and puzzles, you're often left scratching your head and wondering where to go next. I wouldn't of even made it to disc 2 without googleing a couple of time consuming puzzles. That's saying something, because I finished the first disc in less than 10 hours. The second does have the bulk of the content, but it's still scary to finish half of a JRPG in such a short time.

As I played Infinite Undiscovery I found it very easy to criticize. The save points are in bad places and spaced pretty far apart. Cutscenes can't be skipped, so if you die or want to do another playthrough the game will try very hard to stop you. The combat got boring quickly, and synchronizing with a party member to use their attacks was a waste of time when you could just beat away with a basic combination attack. However, I kept on playing. What's weird, is I also kept on enjoying myself. The bits of the game that were intolerable and annoying to deal with were rewarded with a nice chunk of story or a plot twist, further immersing me and keeping me going. I can't say I didn't like it, despite all my complaints.

You decide whether to shell out the change for Infinite Undiscovery, it won't cost you much; and you might like it. There are only so many JRPGs for the Xbox 360. So what is there to lose?

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