Tokyo Xanadu (Vita)

Nihon Falcom is a Japanese video game developer who has been around for decades.  Their most well-known series in the US is probably Ys (pronounced ‘ease’) but even then that’s a pretty niche series.  Another popular series they made (at least in Japan) was the Xanadu games, which received many sequels and spinoffs.  Fans of the NES may have played some of these spinoffs, like Faxanadu or Legacy of the Wizard (yes, really, all those games are related in a way).  One thing the Xanadu games have in common is that, well, they don’t have anything in common!  None of them are really related in any way (that I’m aware of), and such is the case with the newest in the series: Tokyo Xanadu.  In this game you play as a normal Japanese high school boy.  You have a part time job and hang out with friends.  But one day you discover an alternate dimension filled with dungeons and monsters, and find out that some of your classmates are involved.  Now you must juggle school, a part time job, and saving the world with your friends.

There are two main parts to Tokyo Xanadu.  The first part is playing out the normal life of the main character.  You’ll go to class, talk with friends, buy stuff at the mall, go to your part time job, etc.  You can do things like read books in the library to increase stats like Wisdom, but otherwise this is just a way to move the story along.  And personally, I didn’t enjoy this part very much.  I hated having to search for particular rooms in high school, what makes you think I’d enjoy doing that in a game?  I did pretty well in high school, but I don’t particularly remember liking it that much.  But I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt.  I don’t want to relive it in a game.

The other part of the game I enjoyed much more.  At certain points you’ll enter the other dimension and fight monsters in dungeon mazes in real time.  Gameplay is similar to other 3-D action games like Ys, Kingdom Hearts, or even Legend of Zelda.  You can switch out characters and each one wields a special elemental weapon good for defeating certain monsters.  You’ll find items and treasures you can use or equip, and gain experience points to level up your fighters.  I really wish the whole game was just this part, and just ditched all the high school drama stuff.

Graphics are pretty good and the controls are nice, although I did have to change the buttons to be more my liking.  You can also select the difficulty, too, which is good as all types of gamers can enjoy this.  I guess if you enjoy playing out high school days in games like Persona, you’ll enjoy Tokyo Xanadu if you like a little action to go along with your Saved By the Bell shenanigans.  Honestly I’m surprised Falcom went this route with this game, as they usually focus more on gameplay and sustenance more than storyline fluff.

Kid Factor:

Tokyo Xanadu is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Drug Reference, Fantasy Violence, Language and Suggestive Themes.  You do swing fantasy weapons and projectiles at monsters, who just disappear when defeated. All the other stuff is just in the text only, and is presented in that campy anime way.  I guess if you have preteens and teenagers who are accustomed to what’s in many anime cartoons and comics now, they’ll be OK with this game.

One Response to “Tokyo Xanadu (Vita)”

  1. Great review Cary. I’m thinking about picking this game up.

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