Kou is a high school student in Morimiya, a district of Tokyo, that spends his time outside of school either doing part time jobs or hanging out with his friends, the caring childhood friend Shiori, the overtly enthusiastic idol fan Ryouta, and the calm and collected Jun. He also spends time at his grandfather’s dojo, where his cousin Towa lives, who despite looking younger than him is actually his teacher. His normal life changes dramatically when he gets involved with Eclipse, a strange world linked to negative human emotions to which portals occasionally open in the human world, often pulling in bystanders or causing other harm due to the presence of monsters known as Greeds. Kou turns out to be a wielder of what is known as a Soul Device, a weapon intrinsically linked to him that lets him fight these Greeds and seal the gateways to Eclipse. Hence, due to his strong sense of justice, he decides to continue the fight against these Eclipse. He does this by aiding a girl named Asuka, someone part of Nemesis, an organization whose purpose is to deal with the Eclipse, and though who was distant and reluctant to involve bystanders in the fight, ultimately relents and accepts Kou’s help. Ultimately, they help out and are helped out by a number of other people. Sora is Kou’s somewhat tomboyish childhood friend that’s very dedicated to martial arts, but ends up getting involved with the Eclipse due to how her skill ends up casing deep worries for another member of her club. Yuuki is a guy that thinks he’s above everything, living on his own with money made through his technical skill, but ends up getting involved with Eclipse when an app he makes ends up hurting his sister. Shio is a guy that was heavily involved with a street gang known as Blaze that was previously disbanded, but ends up getting involved with the Eclipse when Blaze returns having some sort of connection to Eclipse. Mitsuki is the heir to a major corporation, and one part of a series of corporations that make up what is known as Zodiac, another organization dedicated to dealing with matters centering around Eclipse, and hence is able to provide a lot of support to Kou and company. There’s also Rion, a girl that’s part of the up and coming idol group SPiKA, but ends up getting involved with Eclipse when her singing seems to resonate with it. Kou ends up making a series of allies as he deals with various problems plaguing Morimiya. However, all of this is leading up to dealing with a major crisis, one connected to the massive crisis that occurred 10 years ago, and one that threatens to completely destroy Kou’s everyday life even if prevented.
Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is a remaster of a Falcom Vita game that includes various enhancements and new content such as a series of side story chapters throughout the main game that build up to an After Story not included in the original. While it’s technically part of a long running series by Falcom with the Xanadu title, this entry really doesn’t have any connection to previous titles other than being an action RPG.
In terms of story it was really good, which I found somewhat surprising considering my first impressions of the game. The story isn’t overtly complex and it’s pretty predictable without any overtly surprising twists. The world and background too aren’t overtly novel. However, though it isn’t tremendously creative, it is incredibly well made. The story is told really well with fantastic pacing, having a good blend of serious moments and lighter moments that combined really get the player invested in the incredibly strong main cast of characters and the bonds they’ve formed with each other. The main character cast is great, having a good blend of different personalities that meld well with each other with each having problems that while simple are easy to relate to, and hence watching them grow while tackling said problems and forming bonds with the others is very enjoyable. While this happens the story also hits all the right notes it needs to with said characters right when it needs to, making the story overall incredibly satisfying. Hence, while the story in and of itself isn’t particularly memorable beyond the basics, the main characters definitely are. In addition to the main cast there’s also a pretty strong and very large set of side characters. I was skeptical about having so many side characters each that essentially have their own story, and to a degree I still am considering that a lot of them felt like fluff. However, there were far more characters that felt like they had stories of value than I expected. And Falcom did a tremendously good job with writing for all the characters in that at any point in the story if you encounter a character they’ll have new lines for that point in the story which across the many dozens of characters all tie together, and often with the main story and characters as well, resulting in making the world feel a lot more alive, even if the most of the side characters themselves aren’t that memorable. The world itself in terms of world building and such did a good job, in that it doesn’t do anything particularly new, but it does a good of creating a lot of structure with various organizations, systems, background, etc. that hold up well. As a random note, while going through the story there will sometimes be moments where you have to choose a few characters out of a larger set to spend time with, and hence it is impossible to get all the character stories in the first play through though it is possible in NewGame+, which I found tremendously annoying as I never like when it’s not possible to get all the story content in a single play through unless there is a major reason why it shouldn’t be possible which did not seem to be the case here.
Game play wise, there are two phases. Outside of the Eclipse its essentially purely story, going around talking to people, watching cutscenes, etc. Inside the Eclipse it mostly feels like a pretty standard action RPG, with running through dungeons defeating enemies, doing some light platforming, and generally fighting bosses at the end. The combat felt reasonably solid. The player controls one character, but can switch to two other characters at a button press. Each character has pretty different play styles, but they generally fall into strength focused, speed focused, or range focused. There’s a basic attack that doesn’t cost anything and three special attacks (charge attacks, range attacks, and aerial attacks) that consume a bar that charges over time but can be sped up by using basic attacks and dodging. This forms the core of the combat system, and while not too complex is solid enough, and across the game matches the enemies and bosses pretty well for not amazing but tight enough combat, with the finicky lock on and camera being the biggest issue. The thing though is that there are a number of elements beyond that that make this too easy. The first is the three different types of super moves, each with their own bars, where using one charges others generally. It may be different on the hardest mode, Calamity, but in Nightmare going into a boss with all of these maxed out made them a cake walk. The other is that items can be used too often. There is a timer but it is pitifully short, so the game doesn’t feel all that punishing, which once again may be different in Calamity, but made the game feel overtly forgiving and not that tense. I know its kind of strange to be complaining the game was too easy while not playing the hardest difficulty, but Calamity sounded too difficult when I started out, and it doesn’t let you switch to that later in the game, so I was stuck with the play through I was on, so its all I can talk about. In addition to combat there is light platforming, but its pretty annoying since it isn’t all that precise. Dungeon design is decent enough with enough back tracking and side routes to not make it feel like a corridor, but not enough to feel like a pain, though it does start feeling repetitive eventually. The growth system were pretty standard as well but solid, having leveling and various equipment systems with equipment coming from various types of crafting trading, etc. There’s also a stat based on social points essentially, which ties in and makes story portions feel more worthwhile.
In terms of art style, its pretty simplistic and generic most of the time, but is pretty well done considering that and I liked how things look, especially with how clean the image quality was. That said, the graphics and technical prowess of the game is pretty low, even for a Vita game. Animation especially is incredibly janky. The dungeons had varying designs, but due to technical limitations it felt like most of them felt really similar in how boxy they were, which contributed to making dungeons feel kind of repetitive. The OP was really well made in terms of visuals and the song, and I watched through it every time it came up on my first play through. In terms of soundtrack, it was pretty solid though not exceptional, though I feel SPiKA should have had better, more focused on songs considering how big of a role they played. In terms of voice acting, it also felt kind of low budget in that random lines were voiced and random lines weren’t even within a single conversation which just feels kind of bizarre. The translation also felt over localized, which doesn’t make that much sense considering there wasn’t a dub.
An action RPG set in modern Tokyo that’s clearly low budget and very by the book, but does an incredibly good job within that context.