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What the hell happened?

Forget Final Fantasy. Kingdom Hearts? Don't make us laugh. The plot of the Xenosaga series packs in more characters and bizarre menaces per minute than the rest of the PS2's RPGs combined. Don't believe us? We've cooked up a little guide to the plot elements you need to know to wrap your head around the mysteries of Xenosaga III.

This is the bare minimum you need to know. We've left out huge chunks of story in the interest of just telling you the details that are crucial to the ongoing series. So while it might be nice to talk about that time when Shion served curry to Captain Matthews... well, it's not here. No, we concentrate on the absolutely necessary info, and whether you've never touched a Xenosaga game before or you beat the stuffing out of the both of them, this is one detail-packed recap you can't afford to miss.

Before we begin, we'll warn you: we're summarizing two entire RPGs' worth of plot here, so it's going to move pretty fast. And even if you can keep up, this isn't going to make a lick of sense if you aren't familiar with the game's main characters. Fortunately, we've already whipped up an informative look at all of them for your convenience. Clickhereand you'll be able to get a refresh on Shion, KOS-MOS and crew.

Oh, yeah - it should go without saying, but the rest of this article spoils Xenosaga I and II extensively. You've been warned.