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Running time: 44 minutes
Super condensed version: “Can human beings, who create waves of ugly desire, ever become like the sea water that’s stirred by the beauty of the moon?”
WHAT. That’s the only appropriate response to Sonata’s preachy ending that’s longer than an episode of LOST. The whole game takes place in a fever dream/deathbed hallucination of real-world composer Chopin, which sounds so effed up we couldn’t wait to see how out-there the end would be. When the whole thing ends with a melodramatic, faux-philosophical whimper, you can’t help but feel ripped off.
However, the usually dry, unemotional dialog that permeates games like this is replaced with the aforementioned psychobabble. Some of the best quotes play over the credits, which is why we include them in the total running time – they’re so incomprehensibly convoluted they take on a life of their own, and become a genuinely entertaining part of the show.
Running time: About 45 minutes without credits
Super condensed version: Heroes stop the bad guy from dicking up the world, then some of the wordier protagonists stay behind to sacrifice themselv… hey, wait a sec – haven’t we seen this ending before?
The Wiki synopsis for Xenosaga III is nearly 3,000 words, so that should give you an indication of how brain-meltingly mundane the ending must be. Every concept, conversation and thought is given 17 lines of expository dialog to get the point across, when any competent writer could say the same damn thing in four. Plus the usual melodrama, ‘90s era voice acting and head-scratchingly vague message.
But, what do you expect from a series that was slashed from six games to three? When developer Monolith was finishing up Xenosaga II in 2004, it assumed it would have four more games to tell this tale – instead, it’s all mashed together and packed into one final installment. Despite an admittedly imaginative universe and some admirably lofty goals, it all amounts to an ending that, while longer than most, is just as plodding as every other so-so JRPG.