Xenosaga, Episode III: Thus Spake Zarathustra Monolith Soft Namco Bandai PS2 With the abridged and anticipated close of the Xenosaga series on the horizon, the final volume had the unenviable position of wrapping up two games of plot, starting and completing its own arc, and cramming in the major beats of the remaining three planned …
As mentioned in the first part of this series, Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille Zur Macht had debuted to middling sales in spite of its high critical acclaim. Unfortunately, this lead to interference from Monolith Soft, and Episode II was heavily altered leading up to its release.
It’s time to check your backs for the Darksign because with the release of Crown of the Ivory King, From Software has essentially closed the book on Dark Souls II. This final episode in the Lost Crowns DLC takes place amid the snowy vistas of a frozen kingdom, and levies some of the heaviest challenges yet.
When the mammoth project known collectively as Xenosaga was first announced in 2001, it sounded like a dream come true for RPG fans, at least on paper. Developer Monolith Soft promised a six episode epic that would redefine video game storytelling and wildly reinvent the genre. Unfortunately for the team, the first title in the series debuted to more modest sales than initially expected, and not without it’s fair share of criticisms.
It’s pretty well known by now that the mantra of the Souls series is “Prepare to die.” Yet, one finds one’s self continuously shocked at the near-trolling levels of effort that From puts into killing the player via tactics of shock, awe, and fear. It would seem that the most appropriate citation is that of the opening cutscene of Things Betwixt, where the three former Firekeepers just laugh at you before you even begin your journey…almost as if they know what kind of horrific traumas are to come.
From the very first trepidatious steps of the new Dark Souls II DLC, the notoriously tough series once again reminds players where they are, and what they can expect from such a terrible place. Crown of the Sunken King, the first of three planned expansions to be released this summer, begins in an area filled with gaping chasms, a dozen different paths, and a waiting cavalry of brutally clustered enemies (many of which are playing dead). Talk about a welcome mat!
So it looks like Sony and From Software have made nice. After the rift between the two companies, caused by Sony deferring on publishing a Demon’s Souls successor, From cut a deal with Namco Bandai and Atlus, who have published the spiritual successors: Dark Souls and Dark Souls II.