OK, before I begin. A bit of a disclaimer. Although I own all 3 of the current Gen consoles, I am not a fan of the Xbox 360.

  • I dislike how the pad is a tad too large and how the face buttons are not as comfortable as other pads. Often it feels like the pad was designed for a specific type of game and other types have to work around it with varying degrees of success. (it’s similar to the N64 pad in that respect but the N64 pad was even worse)
  • I hate how I have to up the volume to very loud just to drown out the noise of the DVD drive
  • And I also hate the Sword of Damocles-esque RROD issue (which I fear may occur soon on my box as I had several issues prop up while playing this game)

Despite these issues, I will not allow it to influence what games I will purchase. Though, if it is a multiplatform game, I will get a PS3 version (unless it’s a First person Shooter)

Ok, now that I have that off my chest and some fanboy flamebaiting (hopefully) out of the way by showing my stance and writing this review with just the game in mind, this is a review of Infinite undiscovery on the Xbox 360.  It’s an action RPG in a similar manner to Star Ocean: till the end of time and Final Fantasy XII.

The game was developed by Tri-Ace, who also made the star ocean and Valkyrie profile series so I had high hopes for it as I really enjoyed those 2 franchises (The original Valkyrie profile is one of my top 3 RPGs ever).

The game itself owes a lot to final fantasy XII in that the game is played in real time throughout. enemy encounters seamlessly move into combat which is done with the analogue stick to move your player and 2 buttons to attack and perform special attacks.
You only ever control a single character throughout the game, with AI taking control of the other characters in your party. You are able to “connect” with them in order to take advantage of their skills and special abilities but you are never able to directly control them.

So, how did the game fare? Not well…

I Loved:

  • The epic battles: In some dungeons, you are required to split your party into 3 teams and each one makes their way through the dungeon using a different route. The system was a little half baked. I would have preferred to have been given control of each team as they often assisted eachother on several occasions. A similar system was used in the PS1 RPG, Wild arms. you had 3 paths for your heroes and only one was able to progress through each one. They would use teamwork to help other members traverse the dungeon by opening paths and the like.
    Sometimes, the paths cross and you are able to fight using several teams. On one occasion, I had 12 characters all fighting at the same time on the same screen.
  • some setpieces: On other occasions, you are required to assist an army with their assault (or defence) and it’s quite fun working your way up to a goal while assisting other minor characters. It’s not on the level of, say Dynasty warriors, in terms of how busy the screen gets but it does an adequate job of portraying your team as a small part in a larger battle.
  • The AI: when given the correct strategy for a battle, the other characters can hold their own pretty damn well!


  • The connect system: Why bother with it at all? it would be much better to control the other character directly so you don’t have to wait for them to catch up and get ready. It’s less of an issue in cities, but it shouldn’t have been used in battle situations
  • The plot: aside from a general lack of epic-ness (never thought I’d say that about a game where you have to save the world… again), the writers were very amateurish. The overall plot fell into pretty much every stereotype from previous RPGs, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that the game effectively holds up flags at certain points which tells everyone with more than a few brain cells what will happen later on. There’s no suspense or surprise because the “shocking” event was advertised quite blatantly earlier on. Several plot points were also explained in very rushed fashion very late into the game, by which time you barely remember or care about what was being said.
    I know tri-ace are able to pull off a good story, they did it with Star Ocean: Till the end of time and Valkyrie profile silmeria so how they managed to come up with this drivel is a mystery to me.
  • The graphics: There was nothing interesting in the graphics, in fact the game looked very bland. Worse still was that there was no feeling of a busy city in several key locations. A small number of NPCs are available to give the impression that some people actually lived in the cities but they were never active. If FFXII can manage it, why not IU?
  • Localisation: Square-enix didn’t even try here. They created an english dub and tacked it onto the game. You can tell because the lip sync is non existant here. To make things even freakier, the characters often talk with their teeth firmly clenched.
  • The battle system: despite being given a large number of MP draining special attacks, the majority, no, the entirety of your battle tactics will be to spam a 3 hit combo which ends with a a single special move which is given to you at the beginning of the game and does not consume MP. So it’s not really much of a step up from clicking “fight” on the menu of older RPGs.
  • Busy screen: When attacking enemies, esp with multiple allies, the effects which appear to register a hit becomes so frequent and large, you can’t tell what you or any of your allies are really doing. Only the combo bar on the left of the screen even hints that you are hitting the enemy like you are hoping.

HATED (yup, there’s more)

  • The Cast: Not since Final Fantasy X have I hated the cast of an RPG this much. Actaully, that’s a bit harsh since, due to the larger than normal size of this cast (I refuse to say big cast. Suikoden, now THAT is a big cast at 108 characters), most fall by the wayside and are quickly forgotten. I don’t even remember the names of some of them. But for the most part, out of the main players, only Eugene didn’t make me want to cause him severe pain. The main character, Capell, is even more infuriating than Tidus and I still can’t get over the fact that he got over some severe grief and self destructive anger management issues with a bit of hanky pankey!!!! seriously!!!
    The main girl, Aya is a tifa design clone and a Tsundere so she must be a winner right? Fat chance with this bunch. Her behaviour is often so amateur and childish that I wish that the would conveniently leave the group due to parental pressure or some other duty.
    A lot has been said about the twins. They have a combined age of less than 18. Nuff said.
    But my greatest scorn goes to Edward. In fact I’m just going to skip over him in case my annoyange boils over.
  • The English dub: While it’s nowhere near as bad as the worst dub ever, the person in charge of choosing the VAs for the characters should never work on another title ever again. Some of the characters have massively inappropriate voices which don’t suit them one bit. The bosses are also laughable. I challenge anyone to take the dreadknight seriously when he sounds like that!!!
    Also, I couldn’t figure out how people could mistake capell for Sigmund when one has the the voice of a 36 year old and the other has the voice of a 6 year old (i’ll let you figure out which one is which).
    But at least the cast did try. it’s not that they were particularly bad, just massively inappropriate. Like the majority of the Sekirei anime cast!
  • The AI: Remember how I said that with the right tactics your AI buddies are surprisingly competant? Well, the reverse is also true. Pick the wrong one, or forget to set it after your previous battle, and they become monkeys! It is also more than possible that your entire party may get wiped out before you are able to change the tactics to something more appropriate.
  • The Menu system: Accessing the menu system does not pause the game and it is designed to be similar to traditional RPGs. While this is fine for quiet times travelling or in towns, the system is useless and needlessly clunky when in combat. If you find yourself in a situation where all your other teammates are dead, you may as well reset because you will not be able to navigate the menu and use an item to resurrect them before the enemies completely overwhelm and kill you too.
    If you want to be healed or need someone resurrected, just hope that the AI will do it soon enough, either that or hope that the enemies focus on them instead of yourself.
  • Slowdown: Even for something as basic as your main character hitting multiple enemies with a wide attack, the framerate will suffer. So you can imagine how bad it can get when it gets really busy! It just adds to the button mashing tactics for combat and spamming a single combo but it also makes a specific action into a complete waste of space. The creators decided to not give a block button for your character, but instead gave a parry button which requires good timing to successfully pull off. It’s hard enough when it’s just 1 on 1. Unsurprisingly, it becomes nigh on impossible to even attempt it while the framerate is stuttering worse than a stereotypical geek asking a hot girl on a date.
  • Lack of Direction: After an event, you are often told that you will need to go to the next city. Unfortunately, you are never told where the city is or which direction you will need to go so you will end up wandering around several expansive areas until you (hopefully) randomly come across your destination. Assuming you survive that long. On occasion, you are told to head in a certain direction. Just a shame that they are often wrong. west =/= north west
  • The game length: This is my biggest gripe. I don’t know about many of the readers here but I have gotten used to RPGs taking up in excess of 60 hours from start to finish, even without side quests and the like. Unfortunately , I’m not kidding when I say I clocked Infinite undiscovery in

    17 hours and 51 minutes

    And that includes lots of backtracking, getting lost and running around in circles. I could easily cut off an extra 2~3 hours off the time by simply knowing where I needed to go next.
    There’s also very little to keep you coming back for more. There’s the seraphic gate (a main staple of Tri-Ace games which basically equates to a very hard and near endless dungeon) and achievement whores will probably need a few playthoughs to get everything but for the most part, once you’re seen the credits roll, that’s all.
    I don’t know if it was a conscious decision or if it was a limit of the media (the game comes on 2 DVDs) but I really hope that this is not the shape of things to come. More interestingly, it raises some questions about the size of Final Fantasy XIII now that it’s coming Xbox way.

In short, I was more than a little disappointed in this game. It was heralded as a major coup by microsoft when they announced several RPGs from square-enix exclusively for the 360. Many were wondering if they would be able to do what blue dragon and lost oddyesy failed to do and capture the imagination of the japanese market and jRPG fans in general. Instead, IU will just fall under the wayside. It’s worth a rental or if you find it on sale. I cannot find myself recommending paying full price for it.

It also leaves some major worries for star ocean and last remnant…
the 360 may have the upper hand on the PS3 in terms of the number of jRPGs, but aside from Tales of vesperia, none are particularly good. If I was sony and S-E offered to port infinite undiscovery, I’d tell them to keep it.