|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tri-Ace||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
August 7, 2008 - The folks at Microsoft have made a huge push to usurp Sony's title as console king of the RPG. Games like Lost Odyssey, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, and Final Fantasy XIII have and will make the console a comfortable home indeed for fans of JRPGs. Furthermore, the list doesn't end there. Infinite Undiscovery, from famed developers Tri-Ace, will release for the system on September 2, 2008. This new IP will infuse a lavishly detailed world with a real-time combat mechanic. The mix of a decidedly Japanese-style storyline with a more modern action RPG approach looks to attract alternative gamers into the Microsoft fold.
Infinite Undiscovery is both a story and action-heavy game. Consequently, the game is full of classic JRPG conventions but should also appeal to less patient gamers. We had a chance to see the game in action at E3 2008, and it's safe to say the game shined. The story centers on the moon and the powerful gifts it bestows upon the people of the planet. Accordingly, nearly everyone has some kind of power from the moon except for a few unfortunate souls known as the Unblessed. The story in Infinite Undiscovery follows a young hero named Capell, who looks identical to the world's prophesied savior, Sigmund. As such, Capell is thrust into dangerous situations for which he is simply not prepared.
That's because Capell, a simple bard, was born Unblessed. As such, his ensuing struggle against a maniacal cult known as The Order of Chains and their leader, Leonid the Dreadknight, will be trying indeed. This black cult has captured the moon for itself, trying to harness its power to pave the way for their leader's ascension to godhood, while denying the rest of the world's inhabitants their right to be blessed by the moon. Moreover, the unholy chains that have captured the moon are making crops fail, causing unnatural catastrophes, and are unleashing foul creatures upon the lands. It is up to Capell, the hero Sigmund, and an eclectic group of Blessed called the Liberation Force to put an end to the chaining of the moon and the machinations of the Dreadknight.
Obviously, the story in Infinite Undiscovery is very involved. Additionally, loads of exquisite CG and in-engine cutscenes will help to fuel the players' imaginations. The graphics in the game are very solid. Combat looks intense and beautiful. The only issue we found was minor clipping when certain powers were unleashed or there was generally too much action on-screen. However, they've had a couple of months to get the polish right before release. Thankfully, both character and enemy design is top notch. The overall look of the title should prove to be very engaging for fans of the genre.
To top it all off, the real-time battle mechanic will keep the game flowing from beginning to end. Combat allows players to take advantage of a party made up of members with various blessings. The control scheme is developed in such a way that issuing commands to both individual and paired party members can be done almost instantly. This system of order issuing is known as "Connect Actions." These actions will give your party A.I. a general course of action to be taken during fights and allows the player to concentrate on their own tactics. The end result is fast-paced action that is highly stylized with brilliant spell effects and lethal melee animations.
As far as level design, we don't have much information to share other than that of the over world. The demonstration we were given set us off to do battle in a large desert-like environment. The party was able to travel all over the map in search of nasty beasties. It looks like Infinite Undiscovery will have players investigate large, open world maps in order to find more linear dungeon levels to progress the storyline.
Interestingly, Infinite Undiscovery will make use of a difficulty system that rewards players for challenging themselves. The way this is done is via additional content. In order to see everything the game has to offer, players will have to grind it out on the hardest setting. This is an intriguing feature that harkens back to the hardcore bent of days gone by.
Infinite Undiscovery will undoubtedly be a big hit with JRPG fans who have already embraced the Xbox 360. We're not sure if it has the power to win over converts by itself, but with the upcoming stellar line-up of similar titles on the horizon, it seems fans that don't yield to the 360's charms may be missing out on a lot of great experiences.
CCC Editor / News Director