Amber Michelle (myaru) wrote,
Amber Michelle

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Xenogears: unnecessary characters and other problems

First, a lengthy quote (from here) to set the tone:

[Scene: Zeboim ruins]

Anyway, Elly flipping out has the nice bonus that she suddenly knows how all the computer equipment works, and she starts hitting buttons! This causes a large glass tube to rise up out of the floor, and then a young girl to appear within it.

This narration would make the obvious comparison to a troll doll, but everyone has made the obvious comparison to a troll doll, so let's just all agree that she looks like a troll doll and move on.


Shitan: This girl appears to be an artificial lifeform created inside the reactor. She was probably assembled in the reactor by using that series in the database in the control room... which means she's...

Stone: Our MacGuffin! [...] I'll just be taking that nanomachine colony with me, thank you!

During the drive to SoCal for Thanksgiving, acebullet and I started talking about Xenogears and its flaws, most notably - for this entry, anyway - characters who appear to serve no real purpose in the actual game: Emeralda and Rico. Let's ignore for the moment that one could argue this describes every player character but Fei, Shitan, and Elly, who are essential to the storyline on the first disc. I quoted the above because in the resulting discussion, Zach said the same thing about Emeralda: she's the MacGuffin, and otherwise insignificant.

On one hand, I have to protest, because she is involved in the Fei/Elly storyline, but... it's also true that the cell samples Krelian took from Emeralda - her "purpose" for appearing in the game - could have been taken from some bit of nanotechnology that wasn't humanoid and obsessed with Fei. Hell, Krelian could have just lifted more information from one of Kim's essays to accomplish his goal, in theory. Likewise, Kim and Elly could have died defending each other instead of their nanomachine daughter, as they did in every other incarnation.

All I can say in Emeralda's defense, reasonably, is that she's present to replace Elly as your ether user for gameplay purposes once you reach the second disc - not that there's much action on the second disc to begin with. She has a reason for existing, but her place in the storyline isn't absolutely essential as the other three are. She isn't even Animus. The storyline abandons Emeralda after you fight her at the Gate so far as I recall and only revisits her if you decide to run back down to Zeboim to look for treasure and happen to have her in your battle party. [edit: wait, was she part of the solution to the Wels problem on the second disc? Like I can remember these things. Emeralda's fate is to be society's petri dish.]

Anyway, she, like Rico, could be a casualty of the design process. So many things were. Sometimes I'm surprised we didn't all drop the game at Kislev and never pick it up again. :P

All that said, I like Emeralda, and do not object to her presence in-game, nor do I think she's purposeless; just that she could have a) been better developed, and b) been introduced with a little more... ah, set up? I don't know. I never thought about it, to be honest, but I also didn't think Xenogears was confusing - and I'm not sure if that's a mark in my favor or not, considering what people think of the game's execution. :P

I'm completely ignoring Rico in this entry - just like the game! :D But we already know he was screwed by the development process. Honestly, if they'd left Kislev out of the game completely, it would be better - not because Kislev isn't worth exploring, but because they didn't complete what they were trying to do there. Alas, axing it would have been extra work and time too.

Ha ha ha, now I've just offended every Emeralda and Rico fan there is, haven't I? But I have a reputation for doing that sort of thing.
Tags: public: xenogears
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