Don Rumata En Regalia
Texas, United States
Also known as Pasokon Deacon.

*I play a lot of older games and assorted on GOG, so my Steam library and activity may look limited at times.
Currently Offline
Last Online 24 days ago
Review Showcase
42 Hours played
Balance elevates and limits this game. More than any of Falcom's projects from their late Windows PC period, systems, aesthetics, and non-linearity counterbalance to create a sprawling action adventure that, even with its shortcomings and missed opportunities, seems fully conceived and replete with potential. If anything, this game rewards you for experiencing as much of it as possible, and of Falcom games and outside influences it took from.

I'm already near the end of my third Xanadu Next playthrough, storming my way through Castle Strangerock with every skill, technique, and trick in my book. Every time I know I'm playing one of the easier, often more accessible Falcom games from this period, but it never gets old. Even Gurumin has difficulty options this game sorely could use, not that it's bad or merely good w/o them. Ys: The Oath in Felghana, released the same year as Xananext, has that and more detailed NPCs to entertain you, not to forget Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim which is heavy on both world-building and character. The soundtrack, as textured, baroque and diverse in genre (including hard rock for two tracks later on), isn't as large and full as Gurumin's or Trails in the Sky FC's. And you don't get interesting mechanics those games feature, like rhythmic critical hits or attack/experience multipliers based on how many monsters you rend and how quickly. After some thinking I get how unusual Xanadu Next seems to fans of the company's games, mostly because it blends bits and pieces and then provides a number of seemingly less significant but unique systems.

Here's the thing. Xananext doesn't outright need those qualities to immerse you and keep players entranced. From the start it has a strong story hook, quick pacing, and challenge (from enemies, puzzles, and equipment pre-requisites) to demand attention. Then it gives you multiple ways to build your character as you travel through dungeons dwarfing anything from contemporary Falcom titles, with meaningful statistical/resource management and combat just as punchy. Xananext bridges the gap between the company's games from this period, but also calls back to a time when hand-holding was limited, and when Falcom's storytelling and game progression carried players forward in a more subtle way. You start as a disgraced, then nearly deceased knight seeking redemption at the edge of the country, but eventually become a hero of legend through hard work and the luck to be on Harlech at just the right time. Plenty of story threads connect and foreshadow each other at just the right time, propelling you through caves, heights, forests and the netherworld looking for someone or something. The game rarely lets up, with a gentle but firm difficulty curve; your skill selection and choice of weapons/armor change radically over the course of a playthrough, with myriad options for your character and play style. And Xananext doesn't skimp on features Falcom's games are known for, like multi-phase bosses, a user interface that services the game perfectly, and surprising ways to replay faster and better than before.

The variety of rooms, puzzles, group mini-bosses, vistas, and funny conversations with Harlech villagers still impress me. Mechanics like back-attacking for added damage—encouraging you to use better tactics in battle for offense and defense—defeating undead immediately using magic (enchantments), slicing up environmental objects for loot and more weapon proficiency, and leveling down to alter your build (while using stat-buffing skills) all keep me interested. But they're interesting also because the level and enemy design intertwine to make you master and treasure your skills and strategies. Some key items end up in storage, but others are essential for searching every nook and cranny of Harlech Island, which remains a treat on repeat playthroughs. Guardians allow you to customize your character that much more, and are generously easy to maximize levels for should you conserve Guardian statues for later. Meanwhile hints in the environment, as well as foreshadowing in the game's lore and NPC dialogue, let you piece together most if not all mysteries surrounding Xanadu, perhaps even what's happened to the world around. If I had to play one sequel made for any recent Falcom game, Xanadu Next Scenario II would be it just because of the sequel hook(s) this story leaves.

XSEED's release of Xanadu Next, while still suffering from conditional bugs and mistakes not caught in testing, adds true widescreen support, a revised English script, and compatibility fixes letting you play this decade-old game on modern Windows. It runs great on PCs you wouldn't expect could handle a polygonal dungeon crawler with as much detail and effects as this (par for the course with Falcom PC games, but still), And while gamepad support takes some time to configure to your liking, the result of Falcom patching it in later because the game didn't launch with any way to use gamepad, I'm fine occasionally holding "Use Mouse" for cursor movement to access inventory before getting back to the adventure. Xananext thrives on fluidity and giving you many ways to beat it but also master it; the post-game letter ranking's there to encourage this after all. If you want a modern Falcom classic with a straightforward but subtle story, pushing forth an involved and interconnected world that only gives you a break when you really need it, then Xanadu Next should be your next sword-and-sorcery exploit. The Dragon Slayer and that magnificent castle ain't gonna find themselves, much less an ancient royal conspiracy mirroring the one your character's been running from for too long.
MD Jul 2, 2014 @ 3:39pm 
I laughed too hard at that gift message. That was crazy generous of you, my day has been made and I can't thank you enough.
ViviOggi Jul 1, 2014 @ 10:55pm 
Thank you for Broken Age! :first_star::first_star::first_star::first_star::first_star:
Shengar Jun 30, 2014 @ 7:35am 
Sorry, I'm AFKing a while back leaving my laptop downloading some games. Thanks for the gift!
Rezae Jun 30, 2014 @ 5:43am 
Thanks for the gift! You ROCK!
scuzzyneighbour Jun 28, 2014 @ 2:06pm 
Thank you so much for the gift!
Rockefeller Jun 25, 2014 @ 12:02am 
This man right here. This man! Massive kudos :krstar: :krstar: