Earlier this year, Falcom had developed the North American version of the game, Tokyo Xanadu for the Playstation Vita. I have heard that the original game’s story was boring and uninteresting. Tokyo Xanadu eX+ for the Playstation 4 and PC, the developer added extra story content to make for a more compelling story and improved the gameplay mechanics. Do these improvements make the game worth picking up for the PS4? Let’s find out in this review.
After working late at his part-time job, our protagonist, Kou Tokisaka, leaves work and walks home. He comes across a classmate in distress, Asuka Hiiragi. Kou follows Asuka’s oppressors and her to underneath a bridge. All four of them are sucked up into a portal that transports our hero, Asuka, and the delinquents into another dimension known as the Eclipse.
Kou continues on his way, only to find that Asuka has taken care of the hooligan problem. Asuka then explains to Kou that she is a member of Nemesis, a group of people who want to destroy the Eclipse. This is where the story begins and as a player, you will jump back and forth between school/real life and the Eclipse. It might sound similar to Persona 5, but this game originally released in 2015 in Japan, meaning it came out before Persona 5. In the Playstation 4 version there is a lot of character development that wasn’t included in the Playstation Vita version. There are more backstories and filler.
Another cool feature in Tokyo Xanadu eX+, is getting the chance to play as White Shroud. This character is apart of some of the side story missions that you get to play once you finish a complete chapter of the game. While playing as White Shroud, you will get to feel like a badass with your powerful light magic attacks. He has his own custom attacks and can be overpowered at times, but he adds more to the game’s story. Sometimes it feels a bit refreshing to play these mini-sections of the game in between the chapters. This 40+ hour ride feels well worth the admission price and even more so over the Playstation Vita version.
I was pleasantly surprised at how great this game’s battle mechanics were. I had heard that some people were disappointed with the Playstation Vita Version so I wasn’t expecting much. Majority of the dungeons in Tokyo Xanadu eX+ take around 10-20 minutes to conquer, but the gameplay is quite enjoyable. While battling with your characters (and adding additional characters as you continue your journey), you must use your magic abilities, basic attacks, ranged skills and Ex skills to defeat your opponents. Some enemies will die at a faster pace if you use a character’s magical affinity attack on the enemies that are weak to it. For example, if they are weak to fire, you might want to use Kou.
Along with your basic and flying attacks, you have an Ex attack. Once your Ex gauge around your character completely fills up, you can unleash your Ex attack. This can easily take out enemies and provides you with a special skill cinematic. The only problem I had with the game’s battling mechanics was the dodge and roll. I wish there was some type of block/breaking attack that would be assigned to another button. It is just a thought, but I don’t think just having a dodge rolling button is sufficient enough. It is cool to see yourself improve and successfully dodge an enemy’s attack for the first time though.
Each of these dungeons are not really hard to maneuver through, but the enemies are not always the easiest to fight either. You also have a stage result for each area dungeon that you go through. These will take into account your clear time, the rate of received damage, how many Greeds (enemies) you defeated, treasures found, and extra bonuses (No damage, Fast Time, Element Kills, Breaking Objects, and having a Max Combo greater than 100 or 200.).
Tokyo Xanadu eX+ also includes additional miniature side missions, books to read that increase your wisdom, special friendship events, and much more throughout the game too. You can even talk to every person that you see in the game. Some games like Final Fantasy XIII wanted to get rid of towns and limit NPC interaction, but Tokyo Xanadu eX+ lets you explore and interact with just about everything. However, I did feel that some of these side missions were a little dull or boring. Some of the other features that I enjoyed includes activating special relationship scenes with Kou’s friends, being able to change your characters’ clothes in Kou’s room, and being able to shop around town (buy foods, equipment and more).
Customization in Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is another wonderful feature within the game. In the menu, you can change equipment, costumes, accessories, armor, shoes, and soul devices. Within your soul devices, you can change your master cores, grids and more. Equipping certain cores can change your weapon attributes. Figuring out the type of enemies or bosses in your dungeons, will help you determine which kind of elements you want to equip to your characters’ weapons. Through your progression of the story and by watching Friendship Episodes, you will earn points towards your Soul level. As your Soul Level increases, you will unlock and be able to use a variety of abilities.
Let’s be honest. Tokyo Xanadu eX+ definitely looks like a PS2 or early PS3 game. I never had a problem with it though. It was good enough for me and did not take away from the story, characters, or its gameplay. I forgive it a little bit here because its original release was 2015. However, I would like to see a follow-up or something in the future with better graphics. This PS4 version also runs at 60 fps, which this is a huge improvement over the PSV version. The PSV version had some lagging issues and couldn’t hit a stable 30 frames per second.
I have also heard that the game for the Vita had translation issues, but I didn’t see too many of these in this version. Perhaps the publisher, Aksys Games, helped the localization and translation process go smoother for the PS4 version. The game is in full Japanese language with English subtitles, but the voice acting is superb. The soundtrack used in the game also sounds fantastic.
Overall, the extra boss fights, additional story content, and improved frame rate and gameplay were welcomed additions to the game. Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is undeniably one of my favorite Japanese games of this year. It feels and plays how a JRPG should. Some games like Akiba’s Beat just fall short and I think that this is a game that you should definitely pick up if you enjoy games like Persona 5 or Fairy Fencer F.
8.2/10 – It still isn’t the prettiest game, but it is a huge improvement over its Vita counterpart.