Infinite Undiscovery has the makings of a top tier Japanese Role Playing Game. When a game is backed by the world renowned publisher Square Enix and developer Tri-Ace, the company that made classics such as the Star Ocean series and Valkyrie Profile, there is no reason it should be disappointing. The utter feeling of “been there, done that” that shrouds this Xbox 360 exclusive still is a mystery towards all the game working, from the impunging grip of the linear and OK story, to the semi-traditional gameplay aspects that make up the combat system. One would think the claims of innovation, originality, and the creation of an unpredictable gaming experience would be trivial. Infinite Undiscovery is a decent game, but it just doesn’t live up to the hype and promises the developers have made for it.
Capell is an unlikely hero that is thrown into prison, due to his uncanny resemblance to the world’s great hero. The Order, an evil group that ensnared the moon with chains and fastened them to the surface, bleeding life from the planet aimed to lock up Sigmund The Liberator instead, whose great quest is to free the world from the iron grip of poverty and despair. As complex as the story seems, it is very familiar to plenty of other JRPG’s that have ever been released. Reluctant hero, inner conflict, “the world is dying,” evil organizations, we get the idea and dozens of times. After his torment continues, he is eventually rescued by Aya, a member of Sigmund’s rebel forces, and inevitably gets caught up in Sigmund’s heroic journey and great quest to liberate the world.
Capell’s character is fairly typical and likable text book hero in most JRPGs. He starts out as the whiny and reluctant hero and gradually starts to come to terms with his destiny, which is to save the world. Eventually along the way, Capell runs into a formidable amount of companions for a total of 18 characters in all for to pick and choose from, which lends to an interesting dilemma of who to pick from so many players. Infinite Undiscovery really takes a hard hit for having to pick and choose what characters to add to such a narrow party selection. Capell can only take three other party members into his own party, leaving the others group members to do their own thing. This means you have to pay attention to all the characters at one time or another to make sure their armor and weapons are up to the task, because you can never really be sure when one of the characters will eventually have to assist Capell or break into multiple groups. Changing parties should be added to allow players to skillfully progress certain characters but it can get a bit annoying having to constantly break, split, join and do it all over for the sake of having such a small amount of people in the party. Unfortunately, having to micro-manage your team plays out as more of a hassle than it is rewarding.
Infinite Undiscovery uses a two-button real time combat system. It’s good ole mindless sword slashing fun with the ability to use combo’s, it works well enough to keep the player interested in the combat and gives a good sense of battle. The rest of your party attacks on its own free will for the most part, which is fine because you have enough to deal with just managing your own character. Luckily, there are certain moments you have the ability to control of other party members. . Infinite Undiscovery allows you to “connect” with another member of the party. When connected, you can order them to perform two pre-set attacks. There are moments you come across that this is absolutely necessary to “connect” such as, getting past a puzzle. In combat, its adds a little extra spice to the mix but like I said, you most likely will have more than enough to deal with Capell’s own moves and combo’s.
Another way to command your party members in combat. Is to hit the Y button this will call for healing. This works great, which is good, because your going to need to be healed a lot. There is no block button only the ability to parry, if you can manage to press the trigger at the appropriate moment. If you actually manage to parry it will stun the enemy giving you enough time to heal or attack the enemy. I found parrying problematic when there wasn’t a lot of enemy’s on the screen, with a lot of enemy’s on the screen your going to run into some pretty choppy frame rate issues that makes parrying nay impossible. Unfortunately, there are slowdown’s in Infinite Undiscovery. In this age of next generation software, high powered processors and graphic hardware, Infinite Undiscovery suffers from rather large frame rate dips. The game is gorgeous, Detailed character models, slick animations, but the action slows down immensely when a large amount of enemies horde the screen. Its far from game breaking, but much like Mass Effects horrible frame rate it serves as a distraction and sometimes can cost you a heal or much needed parry.
Square Enix has a reputation of making some of the best looking games in any given generation and with top notch CG elements. And for the most part they live up to this standard. The CG work for the most part is very well done and the visuals, wont drop your jaw but are up to par with what you can expect from a Xbox 360 game, so good. Visually the part that is striking is the special effects from the magic and special attacks. There large, there bright, and a sight to behold but also causes some framerate problems, so it’s a double edged sword. The story ends up basically to play out very linearly with no branching elements. Some side quests are there, but none greatly impact the story. I’m sure hardcore players will complete these sidequests but will be left unsatisfied with the lack of reward for doing so. There are some really great twist’s in the story along the way that make the story more compelling, but it should be expected for a more exciting game.
The music itself is a highlight of the game right along with the cut-scenes as every song that is played during its 20 to 30 hour course is a strong score. One odd thing is that some cutscenes offer no dubbing, which is a shame because the voice work is well done. If I could guess, I’d say about 90% of the cut scenes are dubbed, with the rest for one reason or another lacking any voices.
Infinite Undiscovery is a great game for lovers of traditional JRPG’s and are looking for something new and exclusive to the Xbox 360. For others looking for a new and exciting experience, it is more dissapointing than anything. Some of the design choices don’t make a whole lot of sense even in attempting to break the mold of traditional JRPG’s, but they only half-succeed and free fall. This game is not all boring, it is not unplayable, and by no means is it a bad game. It’s just not what it could have been potentially, and that’s desperately sad. The story is lackluster, the characters are okay, and the combat is for the most part not bad to be summed up as an overall inconsistent game with a few good things around the world. One moment it can be great and then the next moment its cliché and awkward. If you’re on the hunt to discover something new, this finite adventure just might not be what you want.