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Game Review: Tokyo Xanadu


Tokyo Xanadu is a Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) developed by Nihon Falcom for the PlayStation Vita. Dive into an intriguing and unique story with plenty of button-mashing action that will keep you hooked from the start to the end. The key focus of this review will be on the gameplay while providing a very brief overview of the storyline and main characters.



Game: Tokyo Xanadu
Genre: Action JRPG (Dungeon Crawler)
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Year Released: 2015 (Japan) & 2017 (Global)
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Available in: Japanese & English/Chinese subs


Storyline:

Tokyo Xanadu takes place in a fictional world where Tokyo was ruined by a massive earthquake in 2005. Fast forward 10 years later, Tokyo has been rebuilt and peace fully restored. Beneath the facade of tranquillity lies something sinister. The game starts of with the following event scene. One day after his part-time work, Kou Tokisaka who is a student at Morimiya Academy, spots a girl being harassed by two delinquents. He follows the trio into an alley in an attempt to intervene. Just as Kou is about to make a move, a portal appears out of thin air and the four of them are warped into an alternate dimension known as an Eclipse (Dungeon). Within these Eclipses are evil monsters termed as Greeds. After the introductory scenes and as the game progresses, Kou will meet new allies from his school and together they will fight the Greeds, hopefully closing the Eclipse portals for good!

Main Characters:

Kou Tokisaka

Kou is the main protagonist of Tokyo Xanadu whom you will be playing as most often. A second-year student at Morimiya High School, Kou is portrayed as cool and aloof but also highly reliable. Aside from dungeons where you can swap over to other characters, you will be playing as him. 

Asuka Hiiragi

Hiiragi is the girl who was harassed by the two delinquents at the start of the game. She is also Kou’s classmate and has just returned from the United States. She is an enforcer from an organisation known as Nemesis, whose aim is to close the portals leading to the Eclipses.

Sora Ikushima

Sora is a first-year student at Morimiya Academy. She is a member of the school Karate Club and extremely talented, having learned the martial art from a young age.

Yuuki Shinomiya

Yuuki is a first-year student at Morimiya Academy. He is a genius and prodigy with a very high IQ. Yuuki lives in a lavish apartment and has a lot of money, earned using his exceptional intelligence. He barely goes to school, only attending the minimum number of days to successfully graduate. Many of his schoolmates are unaware of his existence.

Mitsuki Hokuto

Mitsuki is a third-year student at Morimiya Academy and the Student-Council President.

Shio Takahata

Shio is a third-year student at Morimiya Academy and the former leader of a delinquent group known as BLAZE.

Rion Kugayama

Rion is a second-year student at Morimiya Academy. She is a member of an idol group called SPiKA.


Gameplay:

The gameplay of Tokyo Xanadu is fairly standard as with most Nihon Falcom games. Discounting event scenes, the gameplay can be broken down into two parts, namely Free-Time Mode and Dungeon Exploration Mode. However, do note that after certain event scenes, you will be required to answer some questions. Depending on the choices you pick, you will be able to raise your Wisdom status parameter. There are three status parameters, Wisdom, Courage and Virtue. All three parameters must be raised to unlock certain events and to receive some items. 

Free-Time Mode

You will be playing as Kou in Free-Time Mode. In Free-Time Mode, you roam freely and talk to various Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) and the main characters. The two major things to do in Free-Time Mode are completing quests and attending bonding events. Depending on the quests involved, some are mandatory while others are optional. Bonding events are done by talking to the main characters and/or supporting characters at particular parts in the game. This will trigger an event scene showcasing the interaction between Kou and the specific characters you had chosen. Bonding events will consume one Infinity Shard for each character you interact with and raise your relationship level with them. You will only be given a limited amount of Infinity Shards during bonding events; therefore, it is vital to bond with the characters you prefer the most. 


Dungeon Exploration Mode

This is the main and combat portion of Tokyo Xanadu. You will get warped into the Eclipse via a portal where you have to defeat Greeds lurking inside and an Elder Greed (Boss) in the depths. You would probably be unfazed by the bosses if you have experience in playing dungeon crawlers, although some of the bosses were quite difficult to defeat. What I like about the combat in the dungeons is how seamlessly smooth the fights are. There is little to no lag while fighting the Greeds which is not very common in PlayStation Vita games but considering that this game was made specifically for the Vita, it is understandable.


Dungeon exploration allows you to use the main characters instead of solely playing as Kou. You can have up to 3 playable characters in your party but can only play as one at any given time. This enables you to freely change between characters in your party. The HP bar is the bluish-purple ring, as shown above, Hiiragi is at full health currently with 530 HP. The MP bar is the green bar towards the bottom which is next to the hp bar. You can use skills by consuming MP such as using Hiiragi’s ice strike as shown above. MP can be regenerated by using normal attacks on Greeds, hence you should alternate between the two.


Greeds in the dungeons are weak to specific elements. There are five elements in Tokyo Xanadu, Flame, Wind, Steel, Spirit and Shadow. As depicted above, the Greed is weak against the Flame element, therefore you should use a Character such as Kou. Using specific characters that are strong against different Greeds is important because it gives you considerable advantage in terms of damage dealt to them. Fighting Greeds in the dungeons allows you to charge your X-drive gauge. X-drive can be used when the X-drive gauge reaches 100%. Notice the bar labelled X-DRIVE, that is the X-drive gauge. When X-drive is used, your character will have increased damage, HP regeneration and heightened resistance against knockbacks. 


X-Strike is a powerful special attack that deals tons of damage to Greeds. X-Strike can only be unleashed when the X-Strike gauge is full. The X-Strike gauge is the yellow meter with the lightning symbol next to the HP bar. The gauge is charged by attacking Greeds, similar to the X-drive gauge. A good tip would be to save your X-Strike for bosses as using them on normal/cannon fodder Greeds is redundant. Each character has their own unique X-strike and is very eye-catching, fitting for their ultimate ability. 

Some of the Bosses in Tokyo Xanadu:





Pros (+) of Tokyo Xanadu:

I would like to reiterate the smoothness of the gameplay as lag is virtually non-existent. This is a major plus point of Tokyo Xanadu as I have played many PlayStation Vita games of which enjoyable gameplay is hindered due to lag and random screen freezes. The graphics of Tokyo Xanadu are also visually appealing like with most Nihon Falcom games. The bonding events allow you to enjoy event scenes with your favourite character. Note: Rion best girl! You will get more attached to the characters as the game progresses.

The combat system is really amazing as well. You are able to use a combination of moves to suit the situation, such as using skills while jumping in mid-air. The bosses in the game are challenging to a certain degree. For example, some of the bosses do not follow an easily predictable pattern of attack which makes the fights much more challenging and not boring. Besides the actual combat, the layout of the dungeons is also interesting as most dungeons are non-linear. There are many obstacles in dungeons which is typical in Nihon Falcom games, such as switches you have to engage in order to progress. This makes the gameplay much more fun and non-repetitive.  

Cons (-) of Tokyo Xanadu:

Majority of Nihon Falcom games suffer from the same inherent issue which is the long event scenes. Despite the fact that you can fast forward event scenes, you should watch the entire event scenes at least once in order to truly appreciate and understand the story. The second flaw of Tokyo Xanadu is the slow pacing. The pace was slow but not unbearable. If you are willing to look past these two issues, a truly exciting adventure in the Eclipses awaits you!

Overall Rating: 4/5
If you have a PlayStation Vita and have yet to play Tokyo Xanadu, I highly recommend picking up a copy because this is definitely one of the best Vita games out there.

Written by Kou

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