Sunday, July 28, 2013

Xenosaga 3's Omega Res Novae Demonstration

Yup. It’s that time once more. Time to delve into the seemingly never-ending well of bad decisions whose multitudes when patched together form the writing of Xenosaga 3.

What to talk about today? There are still just so many things I’ve not mentioned left that I could rant at length about. Things like the famous first FMV fight against T-elos. Putting aside the annoying Voyeuristic Paralysis Syndrome causing them not to even think of actually helping out with the fight, which I already criticized in a previous rant...why the hell do Shion and company just stay to watch KOS-MOS get her ass kicked by T-elos when KOS-MOS is fighting for the specific, clearly expressed purpose of delaying T-elos and allowing them to escape? Or things like the weirdness that all the highest technologies of Xenosaga, like combat Realians and A.G.W.S. mecha, are almost always shown as ineffective cannon-fodder, while all the heroes are saving the day with antiquated crap that’s decades,* centuries,** and even millennia*** out of date? And then there’s the bizarre and distracting decision to change the art style with each game, a change that is always for the worse--the best, most memorable art style was Xenosaga 1’s; nothing looked right for the characters after it. I could always talk about the distracting, totally unnecessary Xenogears cameos and connections (Fei as Abel, Elly as Nephilim, Maria as Mai, Shion and Jin having the same last name as Citan, etc), which serve no purpose whatsoever since the creators have explicitly said that there’s no actual plot connection whatever between Xenogears and Xenosaga.

Wait, no--I seem to remember that the last time I did a Xenosaga rant, I told you all I’d be ranting some time in the future about the Omega Res Novae presentation. Well, let’s do that, then!

Ahhh, the Omega Res Novae demonstration. What about this moment in the game makes sense, exactly? Basically, this is a military demonstration of the new giant mech suit, the Omega Res Novae, which the military wants to use against the Gnosis. To show its power and effectiveness, the demonstration pits it against KOS-MOS in a fight.

Now, insanely powerful though KOS-MOS is, I think it’s a rather strange idea that you would pit your new building-sized mecha against a human-sized battle robot to show the former’s effectiveness. I mean, these are two machines whose supposed purpose of fighting Gnosis is obviously going to take on very different roles and applications for each. Wouldn’t it make more sense to make your new giant mech suit’s competitor in this demonstration another mech suit? Wouldn’t that give you a better gauge of how much better the Omega Res Novae is than a previous piece of military hardware meant for the same form of combat? It’d be like if the Navy were to demonstrate how incredible their newest battleship was having it engage in a sea battle against one of their Navy SEALs. Obviously both the SEAL and the ship engage in combat involving water, but they’re just as obviously not meant to be doing it the exact same way. And for that matter, if the Omega Res Novae’s purpose is supposed to be fighting Gnosis, as this demonstration proclaims, why the hell are they showing how well it can fight against a humanoid battle android? Wouldn’t the obvious thing to do for the demonstration be to show it fighting Gnosis? Y’know...the thing that it is supposedly being created to fight? It’s not like they don’t have captive Gnosis they can release for it to show its stuff; they did the same thing for the T-elos demonstration just minutes before this scene. If they don’t have enough Gnosis, why the hell not just move the thing out to a part of space with Gnosis and watch it fight there? By this point in the series the Gnosis are showing up everywhere; it wouldn’t be hard to find some. Having it fight a battle android of much greater power and far different size than any Gnosis, which additionally employs entirely different combat tactics and has a completely different arsenal then any Gnosis, does not actually provide any idea whatsoever of the Omega Res Novae’s ability to combat Gnosis! If you want to prove that your new pet cat is more effective at taking care of mice than a pet ferret, you don’t show that by ordering your cat to go on a ferret killing spree, you show it by having your cat catch some damn mice!

That’s not where the nonsense ends, though, not by a long shot. The actual setup for the demonstration is completely ludicrous, too. First of all, the demonstration of the Omega Res Novae is taking place inside an enclosed arena. Now, it is a big stadium, but this is a giant fucking mech suit! The ceiling of the arena is only a little higher than it is, relatively, and the walls on each side are just as relatively close. It’s basically like if you were to go and stand in the middle of a dentist’s reception room. Fine for when you’re sitting around waiting to have your molars capped, not so good when you’re a battle mecha meant to be showing everything you can do in combat. If the damn thing doesn’t have the room to fly, dodge, and maneuver, how is this demonstration supposed to effectively show its full capabilities? All we can know for sure is that it can stand still and shoot at things.

And speaking of this enclosed space, hey, how about the fact that you’re testing a massive, hyper-advanced battle machine in an arena comparatively small to it, with many of your audience and technicians seemingly watching from the walls of this arena, protected only by fucking glass? This is a LIVE FIRE DEMO; the Omega Res Novae is actually, fully armed with missiles and lasers and who knows what else, and you’ve got your audience sitting what amounts to a few feet away! A single stray laser blast in that direction and they’re all toast! Yeah, okay, the glass is obviously going to be very strong, and can, we see, withstand a very heavy object crashing against it at a high velocity, but the Omegat Res Novae is meant to be Armageddon in a fucking can! There is no way some safety glass is going to protect against it! And to compound that, again, KOS-MOS is the Omega Res Novae’s opponent, and given that she is very much smaller and obviously meant for more personal combat, her best defense in the fight is clearly going to be evasion, meaning that the giant mech suit’s going to be firing all over the place at a moving target--giving it just that much more likelihood that one of its lasers is going to accidentally kill some bystanders. And to top it all off, the pilot of the Omega Res Novae is a kid whose mental processes and connection to the suit seem relatively unpredictable, and who is unresponsive to regular human communication--just the sort of not-fully-understood wild card you’d want at the controls of a laser-spouting death machine surrounded by helpless bystanders, right?

You also gotta love the nonsensical aftermath of this demonstration. After the Omega Res Novae’s pilot goes, surprise surprise, out of control and starts firing wildly, KOS-MOS has to jump up in the way of one of its lasers to protect the people in the observation deck. Had she not taken a laser to the face, everyone where Shion is currently standing would be atomized. The Omega Res Novae’s shut down quickly after. So once that’s done with, the very next scene has the scientist who created T-elos walk up to Shion and Allen and casually introduce himself, and the three briefly exchange pleasantries. No one seems agitated in any way that they all almost were blown to hell and back by a giant laser blast. Allen’s not saying, “Holy shit, Shion, are you okay? You could’ve been melted in there!” Shion’s not pouting in annoyance because the idiot in charge didn’t pull the mech suit’s plug the second it started going nuts. No one’s rushing around, no announcement’s being made apologizing for the near death of everyone in the observation deck where Shion is, nothing. Just business as fucking usual. Like everyone just finished watching KOS-MOS and the Omega Res Novae having a picnic lunch together. And of course, when Shion meets moments later with Juli Mizrahi, who was the one in charge of monitoring the Omega Res Novae during the demo and who must realize Shion was in that almost-destroyed deck from seeing her come from its exit, Juli doesn’t offer any sort of apology for the incident, or even fucking mention it.

Awesome grasp of basic military procedures and basic human reactions, Namco, as usual. Stellar work.

* Cyborgs like Ziggy.
** Androids like KOS-MOS.
*** Jin did you seriously just bring a Katana to a Titanic Missile-Launching Laser-Blasting Bullet-Spewing Robot Fight?


  1. Hahahahahahahh

    Not only are the weapons millenia out of date, so is weapons testing. May as well test a sniper rifle by shooting at a translucent baby fish in a murky pond. To say nothing of not pitting these weapons in some uninhabited wasteland like Nevada. Do technical analysis, remote viewing, and black boxes not exist in the future?

    Blowing shit up in a glass box. Does explosive air displacement also not exist in the land of tomorrow?

    Kids piloting mechs. How did this bullshit ever become popular? I seriously ask why.

    Ah well. It's only slightly more ridiculous than Tales of the Abyss' useless military system. "I can't maneuver troops, I'm only a general!". If you're gonma create, at least give me reasonable circumstances. But at least TotS didn't have Nuclear Tests in a Can, aiming at Mega Man in all his Dashing Glory.

    Namco. The place where creative incompetence is indistinguishable from creative apathy.

    1. Also, I would say I'm sorry for your bad experiences, but you pull yourself through the muck and mire so others don't have to. Bless you.

    2. I do it out of love, sir. Love for you all.

      No wait, that's not it. I remember now. I do it because I'm an idiot.

      Anyway, the fact that the pilot is a kid is semi-sorta reasonable in that Abel is the human embodiment of UDO, which is sort of God, and far more sort of not, but close enough to sort of God that I think that he's the only one who could pilot this thing because it's secretly* a relic of God or some such hogwash...of course, that's only a reasonable explanation if you count tedious, psycho-babble convoluted nonsense as acceptable, but if you don't, then you shouldn't be playing Xenosaga 3 anyway.

      * Not actually a secret.

  2. I always thought that the demonstration ended up getting rigged so that KOS MOS would always lose though that's just my explanation and not the game's explanation.

    In other news what is your opinion on the fact that Altus is getting sold?

    1. Well, when you're showing off your new military hardware by having it blow up previously impressive hardware, I suppose you could say that the demonstration IS rigged against the older product, so you're not wrong. Doesn't change that everything about the whole fiasco made no sense at all.

      I don't really have an opinion about it at the moment. Obviously I hope it will have little to no effect on how Atlus does its thing, since it's one of the few last dependable developers for quality RPG. Since Atlus is, to my knowledge, fairly successful and profitable, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for the new owners to mess around with it. But then again, if companies and corporations never did anything insanely stupid and self-defeating, Bioware would have changed Mass Effect 3's ending, Men's Wearhouse wouldn't have fired their own creator for no reason, and Marvel Comics would never have let Joe Quesada pick up a pen. So we'll just have to see how things happen. My optimism about Atlus games remains, simply a bit more cautious.