By Steve Baltimore / July 14th, 2017
|Release Date||June 30th, 2017|
It has been quite a while since I dove into a Falcom title, but when I saw that Aksys Games had picked up Tokyo Xanadu for localization, I was very excited. Falcom games always seem to deliver great gameplay and a fantastic soundtrack, so I had a good feeling about this one. The question is, did it meet my expectations, or just come up short? Let’s find out!
The story takes place in Tokyo 10 years after a massive earthquake wreaked havoc on the city. Many lives were lost on that horrible day, and the city has slowly rebuilt itself back to its former glory. There is a dark force creeping about the city, however, the dangerous shadow known as the Xanadu. Kou Tokisaka and a group of his friends are about to be drawn into a mysterious world where their very lives, and the lives of all those in the city, are in great danger!
While the main story here is your stereotypical anime storyline, the characters really make up for its shortcomings. Kou is one of the most relatable protagonists I’ve seen in a very long time. He’s that guy that is laid back, but if his friends are in danger he’ll dive in head first to save them. The rest of the cast have a lot of human qualities about them as well, and you will find yourself actually caring about their well-being early on. The localization team over at Aksys Games played a big role in how wonderful this came out with some top notch writing.
Graphically speaking Tokyo Xanadu looks pretty good for a PlayStation Vita title. The character models all look nice with a good amount of detail, the environments all have a distinct look, and the enemy models look fantastic as well. The boss monsters all look pretty amazing and you can tell a lot of time was spent by the team making them look as badass as possible. This being an action game the framerate is really important, and I can thankfully report that it’s solid, for the most part. There are a few areas in the latter dungeons where it gets a little dicey due to a ton of enemies being on screen at once, but these areas don’t last long.
This being a Falcom game you knew the music was going to be amazing, and yes it was. This is one of the few times I actually can say I loved the entire soundtrack in a game. There are plenty of light tunes for lighthearted daily activities, somber tunes for the heartfelt moments, and some badass upbeat tunes to lay waste to your enemies in the dungeons with. This one also features a few vocal tracks, and I really love those, especially the game’s opening track “Seize the Day.” The game is fully voiced in Japanese and while there is no English dub, the Japanese cast does an amazing job bringing these characters to life.
Tokyo Xanadu’s gameplay is a mix of doing daily activities with friends, completing side quests, and exploring the dungeons. During each chapter, you will be given a certain number of Affinity Shards. You can spend these shards to view a character episode with many of the game’s various characters. You will not have enough shards to see all of the characters events in a single playthrough, so choose wisely. Viewing these scenes will also give you extra Soul Points which allow you to access better skills in the dungeon. You can earn extra shards by finding the hidden dungeon in certain chapters and simply completing it.
Side quests will be given to you via the NiAR app on your character’s cell phone. These quests can range from a simple fetch quest to finding a girl an artist wants to paint. Doing these will not only build up your attributes but will net you some cash and other goodies. You will have to complete the side quests in each chapter before moving the story forward but the game will warn you before you go too far, so there’s no need to worry.
Dungeons are for the most part a pretty straightforward affair. Players will run into a few switches and puzzles along the way to the boss and completing the level. There’s nothing brain busting here, but the puzzles do provide a little variety as you walk through laying waste to all the enemies in your path. Combat here works similarly to how it does in the Ys series. You have a combo that attacks by pressing the “X” button three times. Square will allow you use your skill attack, this attack is usually a projectile and you can hold this button down to perform a bigger short ranged attack. Using the skills attacks will deplete the Skills Gauge, but this will refill in short order once you stop using them. The top triggers allow the player to lock on to enemies and there is, of course, a dodge roll to avoid attacks.
As you slay enemies you will notice tiny shards flying off of them. Some of these are gems you can convert to cash to buy equipment and items, and some of these are absorbed into the character, filling up their X-Gauge. When this gauge is full you can press down on the D-pad to enter X-Drive. In this mode all hits will be elemental hits regardless of which elemental core you have equipped. Your drive meter will not deplete in this mode when using long range attacks either. You will also notice little circular meters at the bottom of the screen, these are your X-Strike meter. When they meter is full it will allow you to unleash a powerful special move on all enemies on the screen. Note that X-Strike and X-Drive skills will improve as you gain more soul points and level up.
I really enjoyed the combat in this title. It was fast, furious and above all just plain fun. I was playing on normal so aside from a few of the boss battles, enemies weren’t all that tough. There are 4 different difficulty levels to choose from, so basically just pick the one you’re going to have the most fun with and roll with it, and if the game is too easy or too hard, you can adjust difficulty on the fly.
I have to say I really enjoyed my time with Tokyo Xanadu. In fact, I would have to say this is one my favorite titles on the PlayStation Vita. The characters make a simple story truly shine, the combat is fantastic, and the music is just plain top tier. I put about 35 hours into this one to complete the main story. The only real issues I have with this one are some late game framerate issues and the story is a little slow to get started. This one will run you $39.99, and if you are a fan of Action RPGs and looking for a game to play on your Vita, you simply cannot go wrong here.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Action RPGAksys GamesdramaNihon FalcomTokyo Xanadu