First Impressions: Tokyo Xanadu eX+

Tokyo Xanadu is a game that I thought about playing for a good chunk of 2017. Having been sucked into Falcom’s vortex through the Legend of Heroes series, tackling an action variant seemed like an idea that made a lot of sense. But once the definitive version (eX+) was announced for December, I decided to wait a little while.

When the game went on sale this past weekend, I pulled the trigger. With a rare day off at my disposal, I jumped in for the first five hours or so, and have been enjoying my time quite a bit.

To someone new to the Xanadu series coming in from Trails of Cold Steel, there’s a lot to like here. The graphics and menus and fonts all look familiar, but the gameplay is a fresh take. Instead of turn-based grid RPG combat, it’s all about swords and ranged attacks and action sequences. Nestled within a familiar framework, I feel right at home making the transition. Hell, for example, the recipe system is almost identical — with four different outcomes depending on who’s cooking the dish — and the sidequest timing flows in a similar fashion.

The story isn’t anything groundbreaking, but at the very least it’s a format I enjoy and I’m interested in learning more. Essentially there’s a world beyond our own that goes unseen to most, triggered by haywire emotions, where people from the real world disappear. Certain people have access to that place with the help of technology, and in this case, some of them happen to be young school students who have a sense of justice.

Am I describing Persona 5 or Tokyo Xanadu? You’ll never know, though to be fair, this came out before P5.

Still, the plot is decent enough to this point and the characters are pushing me forward. So far the cast is relatively limited — just two party members, though you can see a couple others hovering in the surroundings. Our main character, Kou, looks like kind of an asshole on the cover, but he actually has a lot of depth to his personality even in the early going. He’s been assisted on these Eclipse incidents by Asuka Hiiragi, who recently spent time in a foreign country (oooo, mysterious!!) but happens to kick ass on the side.

As usual with Falcom games, the writing is sharp and clever so far and the translation has been impeccable (speaking of which, Ys VIII finally got that upgraded dialogue patch, so it’s another game coming soon). Unlike the Trails games, Xanadu didn’t get an English dub, but that hasn’t been a huge bummer at this juncture.

I’m eager to keep going, which is a good sign. We’ll see what twists and turns Tokyo Xanadu offers down the road, but I’ve been having a lot of fun so far.

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