Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
Buy On
  1. But perhaps the best measure of its success comes with the profound disappointment and anticipation felt as the spectacular conclusion fades and the prompt screen asks for confirmation - to save your party for use in the next chapter.
  2. 70
    The narrative of Xenosaga dwarfs all of its other elements, which are under-developed in comparison.
  3. The amount of playing time between save points and the lengthiness of the story segments might annoy a less patient gamer, but if you wanted a shallow storyline, why are you buying RPGs?
  4. The game is so deep, so intriguing, that it rivals almost anything (that I’ve seen anyway) that Hollywood can dish out. And while some may be put off by the fact that there are a few thirty-minute cut-scenes in there, everyone should try this game.
  5. It is utterly breath taking at times. Anime and video game fanatics unite! The start of a truly excellent series is here!
  6. But simply put, the cinemas are so full of incredible edge-of-your-seat excitement and intrigue that it feels like watching a top-quality anime production. And lets be straight here, who doesn’t like cinemas?
  7. Takahashi has created something vastly more deep and complex than just "watered-down Nietzsche." Indeed, if you wanted to put a misplaced literary reference on this game, something closer to James Joyce's Ulysses would better represent the fantastic and masterful sci-fi pastiche that XS offers.
  8. The story is engrossing; the voice-acting is stellar; the music is awe-inspiring; and the battles are just as entertaining as before.
  9. 89
    From its cryptic opening moments to its startlingly unresolved ending, it’s unlike that which has come before it... [and] could shape up to be Square's most formidable competition yet.
  10. 88
    For those of us who like this sort of thing, however, Xenosaga is a deeply enriching thrill ride towards the cosmos.
  11. Xenosaga spins one of the most engaging science fiction tales I've seen in recent years.
  12. Xenosaga's biggest strength - an incredibly deep, often thought-provoking storyline - could end up being its commercial downfall. The abstract philosophical references and heavy religious imagery bookending the sheer glut of cinematics may simply prove to be too much for the casual gamer to handle.
  13. The critics will be keen to slam these scenes as a crucial flaw but while we’d agree that they are possibly the most annoying factor, they do an excellent job of pushing the story forward and after the first few hours, the balance becomes much more acceptable.
  14. An original and memorable entry in a genre that's been mostly stagnant for years now... More than enough to recommend it to anyone looking for a truly great role-playing game.
  15. Deeper-than-a-Bible-sermon battle commands, philosophical in nature, cinematic by choice and at times infuriatingly self-absorbed (non-interactive 45 min. cutscenes??!!), Monolith Software’s first chapter in what will be a multi-chapter episodic RPG arc has to be admired, reviled and thoroughly experienced from start to finish.
  16. 80
    The storyline is worth the ride and I can easily say that Xenosaga is one fantastic RPG.
  17. If you can get over the cutesy, anime driven art style of the game you're going to find a very rewarding RPG that will be fun for a long time.
  18. netjak
    It is a shame as the game that I was actually able to play was really damned good, but the absurd overuse of cut scenes, terrible voices, and ridiculously clichéd storyline destroyed the potential that was within.
  19. 90
    A masterpiece of cinematic, anime-inspired, science-fiction storytelling, but only if you have the patience (and time) to endure cinemas that can last upwards of 45 minutes.
  20. The brilliant story is enhanced by a beautiful score from Mitsuda and cinematic sequences which are stunning, to say the least.
  21. 80
    If you are the kind of gamer who generally wants to button through game cinematics anyway because you think they're a pain in the ass, you should avoid Xenosaga like it was a proctologist with a history of methamphetamine psychosis.
  22. 60
    Xenosaga's failing is not its presentation, but its mediocre story. Merely putting a story in a game doesn't exempt the game from criticism that would be leveled at any other story-based medium.
  23. Xenosaga has that extra special something that has been missing from RPGs for the last couple of years, an enthralling, profound story that leaves you truly wanting more.
  24. The depth of scope and execution is impressive and leads me to want for more.
  25. While I disagree that the future of RPGs entails such a separation between movie and game elements, the two still propel one another in the best interests of the story.
  26. With an enchanting soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, exciting turn based combat, and 80 hours of gameplay, there is a lot to like about this RPG.
  27. GMR Magazine
    As complete and comprehensive an epic as we have ever seen, and it succeeds on all levels, both plot-wise and game-wise. [Mar 2003, p.55]
  28. PSM Magazine
    Even with Xenosaga's wonderfully intense and challenging battle system, the game falls short in terms of actually playing time. [Mar 2003, p.39]
  29. Edge Magazine
    The antithesis of the arcade fix and, despite the fact that this stance is unfashionable at the moment, comes highly recommended, not least because it offers a different view of gaming's future. [May 2003, p.97]
  30. Game Informer
    Despite a host of involving gameplay mechanics that most RPGs can only envy, Xensaga's crowning achievemenet is its story. [Mar 2003, p.76]
  31. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Despite the hour-long cinemas, it has more gameplay than most RPGs thanks to its deep battle system, tons of customizable stats, detailed minigames, and absorbing side quests. [Mar 2003, p.128]
  32. Play Magazine
    Xenosaga unapologetically challenges our conceptions of love, death, science, and religion, and aims to confound with its multifaceted plot... Just about as good as it gets for RPGs. [Mar 2003, p.59]
  33. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    It's flawed, for sure, and it's a bit too heavy for its own good. But if you give it your all, you'll come away from the game exhilarated and exhausted, with sexy android images and deep metaphysical questions rattling around in your mind for months to come. [Mar 2003, p.112]
  34. Cheat Code Central
    You might enjoy watching the lengthy cutscenes and getting involved in the pondering of philosophical issues, but I've already been there and now I just want to play before I die.
  35. GameNow
    If you're into epic insanity, giant robots, and turn-based combat, you'll love it. [Mar 2003, p.48]

Awards & Rankings

#37 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
#17 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 3 out of 40
  1. David
    Jul 27, 2004
    Xenosaga has an interesting storyline and the voice acting for the most part is not cheesy and very well acted. The game is riddled with cut Xenosaga has an interesting storyline and the voice acting for the most part is not cheesy and very well acted. The game is riddled with cut scenes that are very purposeful: they add depth to the storyline. Despite the great story the gameplay does lack a little. There is plenty to do and I really enjoyed the battle card game and some of the poker. The battle system is enjoyable, however, it could have used a little more development because it becomes repetitive and is more of a chore than a joy. Also, many of the environments in which the game takes place are simple and boring. The storyline is intriguing and makes up for many of the shortcomings in the gameplay. Full Review »
  2. Aug 18, 2011
    I was excited for this game, seeing as how many of the people involved with Xenogears were behind this. But this game ends up a bit tooI was excited for this game, seeing as how many of the people involved with Xenogears were behind this. But this game ends up a bit too convoluted. I didn't mind the long cutscenes but the story is a nonstop series of inconsistent tidbits, characters and details which do not make any sense until the final few hours of the game- and even then, you'll constantly find yourself referring to the database to figure out what's what. The characters, even the lead, never develop beyond their initial personalities. Visually, the game is very good (especially the FMVs) and the music is great, though not Mitsuda's best. The gameplay is fairly tradition with towns to explore, secrets to find, dungeons to conquer, and bosses to beat. The battle system and character development systems are very complicated and contains so many different aspects that you will spend a vast majority of your time in trail in error to find what characters and attacks work against what enemies. The game is also incredibly inconsistent in terms of difficulty. Above all, the entire game just feels slow and tedious: the long and boring dungeons, the overly simplistic but tiresome puzzles and nearly every single battle just seems to drag on. Ultimately though, if you do make it to the end, you will see that it's only the beginning of a huge saga and it will pique your interest. Full Review »
  3. Oct 3, 2010
    I was a Xenogears fan and I was eagerly awaiting this game but it inevitably was doomed to let me down. It is not a Xenogears game only butI was a Xenogears fan and I was eagerly awaiting this game but it inevitably was doomed to let me down. It is not a Xenogears game only but for a few references. Full Review »