Review: Tokyo Xanadu eX+ (PS4)

Review: Tokyo Xanadu eX+ (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Tokyo Xanadu eX+
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (5.66 GB)
Release Date: December 8, 2017
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

The easiest way to describe Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is Persona by way of Falcom. While the game isn’t too far removed in feel from Falcom’s Trails series, the setting in a modern Japanese town gives it a very Persona vibe.

And while combat seems inspired by Falcom’s Ys series, the enemies and stylings of the dungeons are also Persona-esque. The whole package is still enjoyable, it just feels like an amalgamation of elements JRPG fans have seen before.

Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is a port of the Vita title Tokyo Xanadu. It includes the cosmetic DLC from that version and a little bit of extra content. I did not play the game on the Vita, however, so I can’t comment on exactly what is new.

Gameplay:
The story follows Kou Tokisaka, a diligent high school student whose caring nature leads him into the Eclipse, a dark paranormal realm. With the help of his classmate Asuka Hiiragi, he manages to summon a Soul Device to fight his way out of the Eclipse. And when several of his friends get embroiled in the Eclipse mystery, he teams up with Hiiragi to combat it.

Kou’s time is then divided between his normal activities like school and a part time job, and investigating Eclipse-based incidents. This provides the basis for the gameplay loop: normal High School stuff some of the time and JRPG dungeon romping the rest of the time.

The real world side of the game is pretty standard, though in comparison to a game like Persona it’s also very slimmed down. While running around a fictional suburb of Tokyo, Kou can upgrade gear or spend time with his friends. Plus, of course, a bevy of side quests and some optional Eclipses to find.

These parts of the game are fine but they don’t stand out much. The ‘social link’ like mechanic, where you can spend time with Kou’s friends, isn’t terribly engrossing because I never felt too connected with the characters. The town isn’t all that large so there isn’t a whole lot to explore and the side quests can be a little too fetch quest-y.

On the plus side, there are a few minigames around town. The skate park has a weird skating thing (not unlike the snowboarding in Trails of Cold Steel) and the arcade offers several playable games that can earn gems for prizes. And it wouldn’t be a JRPG if there wasn’t a cooking aspect.

Once Kou and his friends jump into Eclipse, the actual dungeon crawling is pretty enjoyable. The combat is all real-time action-based combat and it plays well. Moving and attacking are both fluid and responsive and the combatants have a dizzying amount of special moves and skills.

Unfortunately, the array of different moves also means the game uses a lot of the buttons on the controller and I found it easy to conflate one button for another. I’m sure it was exacerbated by my juggling of several other games while playing Tokyo Xanadu, but even dozens of hours into the game I would sometimes hit the wrong button and waste a super attack I had been saving or such.

A big part of the combat is the trifecta of the normal melee attacks, ranged moves, and an aerial dash attack. Each of these have a specific stat that governs their damage output and enemies can be resistant to one type or another.

Party member characters also have different elements to their attacks, which can be used to deal more damage to different enemy types. To facilitate hitting enemy weaknesses, the three current party members can be swapped out at will.

Strangely though, the game has one sidelined character as a “reserve” and one that’s just backup. While the reserve has the character slowly regaining health, both can be called in at any time. Because they’re in different “positions,” this means there are two different buttons for swapping in characters and that only adds to the button-soup confusion I mentioned earlier.

Button soup aside, the levels are pretty well designed and the way the game scores you on how well you do a level (based on simple metrics like time taken, max combo, etc.) builds in a little tension. The rewards for getting an S rank aren’t huge, so the tension isn’t too high and I found it entertaining to go for high scores without the fear of not making it.

Visuals:
Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is a port of a Vita game and like many Vita ports that means some obvious cut corners on the graphics. The visual style is pretty good, with some unique looking enemies and a vibrant town to explore. But the graphics are clearly Vita-tier and the areas of town are small portable-sized slices rather than an expansive cityscape. Even the game’s dungeons feel very “portable,” mostly being made up of small rooms connected by hallways.

Technical aspects aside, the rest of the game is pretty good. Characters can swap costume pieces and those pieces even show up in cutscenes which is a nice feature. Designs in the game are all solid and play into the world and its lore well.

Audio:
The voiced dialogue in this game is truly perplexing to me. I was mostly playing with the Japanese voices and only a portion of the scenes in the game have VO work. And within a scene, only a portion of the lines are voiced. Sometimes it’s obvious why, like the line is by a minor or unnamed character, but other times lines will randomly not have any VO work despite the previous line by the same character being voiced.

On the music side, Falcom’s audio team delivers another good soundtrack. In my opinion, it’s just good though. Some of the Eclipse tracks are very catchy and fun but a the music in town can be more rote and even start to become boring after looping too much. I don’t think this game ranks up there in the halls of Falcom’s better work, but that might be somewhat subjective.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is a good RPG, despite feeling a little cobbled together from Falcom’s other series and a few external inspirations. The combat is fast and fun, enough so to make up for some rather average “city life” segments. The story is fine, but it never managed to exceed my expectations in any way.

If you’re looking for a JRPG, Tokyo Xanadu eX+ will definitely suffice. The controls can be a little weird (they’re fully customizable though) but otherwise this is a worthwhile way to spend fifty or so hours.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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