Post Reply Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra
Posted 7/5/08 , edited 7/5/08
Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra

Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra (ゼノサーガ エピソードIII ツァラトゥストラはかく語りき, Zenosāga: Episōdo Surī: Tsaratusutora Ha Kaku Katariki?) is an RPG for the PlayStation 2, and the third and final game in the primary Xenosaga trilogy. Also sprach Zarathustra, literally "Thus spoke Zarathustra", is also the title of Friedrich Nietzsche's most famous work, which introduced the concept of the Übermensch and popularized the phrase "God is dead". The game was released on PlayStation 2 on July 6, 2006 in Japan and on August 29, 2006 in North America.
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Development

In September 2005, it was officially announced that Episode III would mark the premature end to the series, which was originally planned to span six titles. The cast from Episode I and II will return; minor protagonists Allen Ridgeley, Canaan and Miyuki Itsumi are playable characters for the first time in the series, albeit only briefly. The keyword database, which was absent from Episode II, has returned in Episode III with enhanced features like images and the ability to view in-game models of characters, enemies and mecha. The database has a new feature called "Memory Code" in which any cut scene can be viewed, provided it has already occurred during gameplay in an existing save file. Episode III takes place one year after Episode II, with E.S. units from Episode II and the Zohar Emulators and "techs" from Episode I making a return.
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Story


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Censorship

The North American release of the game was criticized for a number of obvious cutscene edits that many felt were damaging to either the atmosphere or overall story of the game. The majority of these edits were for scenes of violence and blood that would have elevated the game beyond the "Teen" rating given by the ESRB to the "Mature" level. Although past games in the series have gotten away with a teen rating despite the appearance of blood, Namco removed any traces of blood from this installment for its Western release. While the storyline remains identical in both the original Japanese release and the North American versions, the exclusion of blood in certain violent scenes is quite noticeable. In one of the scenes throughout the game, when a ship is being overthrown by a group of attackers, it shows characters being shot despite the lack of blood. In one part of this cutscene, a character is pushed to the floor and begs him not to shoot. In the Japanese version, they show a soldier shooting the character with blood included but in the U.S. version, the screen fades to black and all you hear is a gunshot.

Most notable is a scene midway through the story in which a child reacts to the death of another character by "putting [the blood] back" in the dying individual. In the North American version, the child has nothing in her hands and several shots are shown of an area presumably splattered with blood, but that looks immaculate and clean in this version. Another scene where a character is pierced through the shoulder and leg by a weapon is also completely bloodless (although the sound effects remain intact,) whereas the scene is accompanied by a spray of blood in the Japanese version.

Similar edits were made to both Episodes I and II, particularly involving scenes related to the psychologically disturbed character Albedo, though fans generally agree that they were handled more tactfully than Episode III’s edits.
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Critical Response

Episode III received generally good reviews, and the majority of media and fan outlets felt that the game improved upon Episode II, which many considered a disappointing sequel to the first installment. Specifically, many felt that the new battle system, although typical RPG fare, was an improvement over the complicated "zone break" system used in Episode II, and that the voice acting was much improved with the return of several popular voice actors which were inexplicably recast for Episode II (notably Lia Sargent as Shion and Bridget Hoffman as KOS-MOS).


According to Bandai-Namco's 3rd Quarter 2006 results, Episode III sold 343,000 copies in Japan and North America.

* Famitsu review: 32/40
* IGN Review: 8.0/10
* Gamespot Review: 8.0/10
* Gamespy Review: 3.5/5
* GamePro Review: 4/5
* RPG Fan Review: 89/100
* PSM Review: 8/10
* OPM Review: 9/10
* Electronic Gaming Monthly Review: 7.5/10
* MetaCritic's Review Average: 82%
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Music

At the start of Episode III's development, Yuki Kajiura (Xenosaga Episode II, .hack//SIGN, Noir, and Madlax) became the sole composer in Xenosaga III. A handful of remixes, arrangements and reappearances of tracks from the "Xenosaga Episode II:Movie Scene Soundtrack" appear in the game. The game soundtrack, "Xenosaga Episode III: Original Sound Best Tracks (Yuki Kajiura selection)" was announced for a 2CD release on July 12th. It consists of 40 tracks selected by Yuki Kajiura from the game (It is not a complete release of all the tracks). The ending theme of the game is called "Maybe Tomorrow", sung by Emily Curtis. The soundtrack also contains vocals by Eri Itoh. The soundtrack follows the style of Kajiura's Episode II soundtrack with several key themes from Episode II, chief among them KOS-MOS' theme, appearing throughout the game.
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Posted 7/6/08
i have this game! never completed it, i was lost in this platform place... with my terribly poor japanese... lolo!
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Posted 7/13/08
shion - swim suite or her white shirt = H O T *drool*
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33 / F / buried in The For...
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Posted 7/16/08
totally loved the game, i wish they would make another ep..
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24 / M / In Heaven Watchin...
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Posted 8/8/08
thats no fun they removed the blood T_T HOHO
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