Reader Review: Tokyo Xanadu EX+ (PS4)

Last year I reviewed a game called Tokyo Xanadu.  I didn’t really like the game all that much, but one of my brothers showed a keen interest in it.  So when the EX+ version of it came out and I got a review code for it, I decided to let him take a stab at it, so here is my brother Ben Woodman’s review of Tokyo Xanadu EX+ for PS4.

Initially this review was only going to be about Tokyo Xanadu EX+, however, after doing some research, I learned that many gameplay mechanics are carried over from Trails of Cold Steel and so I decided to play that game as well in order to gain context. Both Trails of Cold Steel and Tokyo Xanadu were developed by Nihon Falcom, which is a company I am coming to respect and enjoy for their RPGs.

Tokyo Xanadu is one half Ys VIII (another game developed by Nihon Falcom), and one half Trails of Cold Steel. This is mainly due to the fact that many gameplay elements are just swapped over from both games in order to make Tokyo Xanadu a reality. I enjoy both Ys VIII and Trails of Cold Steel so this should be a match made in heaven. Except…it isn’t really. The concept borrows from so many places that the game really isn’t doing anything new narratively, or with gameplay.

Trails of Cold Steel and Tokyo Xanadu both utilize systems where you are in a lot of menus upgrading your stats, weapon affects, magic, etc. after every battle. The menu system between the two is nearly identical in many ways. In fact, the only distinguishing feature that makes Xanadu different in terms of gameplay is that the combat is turn based in Trails of Cold Steel and it is action based in Xanadu. But that’s not even that unique because the action-based combat is also nearly identical to Ys VIII but a little less exciting and visually interesting.

Despite its flaws the gameplay itself is quite enjoyable if you take the time to learn it. So that is really not the main issue I have with this game. The main issue I have with this game is that the story line borrows heavily from the Persona series. Another dimension to a world bathed entirely in red and black opens up to high school students who must save the world. There are a few twists and turns but the story is not spectacular, and when compared to Persona 5 itself it pales in comparison.

Kid Factor:

Tokyo Xanadu EX+ is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Drug Reference, Fantasy Violence, Language, and Suggestive Themes.  This is an anime RPG so it comes with everything you’d expect from that genre. Often explicit innuendos are thrown into the game for the purpose of entertainment. This game isn’t chock full of that, but it is there even if in small doses. T for teen is probably the correct rating. If your kid watches any anime at all, they will be familiar with the inappropriate humor in games like this.

Overall I’d give this game a 6.5/10. It’s not bad, but not particularly great either. It’s a good time if you need another RPG to play.  –Benjamin Woodham

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