Have you heard of a story where a bunch of high school students having special powers at their disposal are saving the world from a grave danger and who, at the same time, are trying to build their relationships, study and have as much fun as possible? Persona? Well, almost =)
Tokyo Xanadu in many aspects is similar to the famous Atlus’ game series and it’s really tempting to say that it’s a low budget clone. For a clone, though, it has some differences.
First and foremost, the combat system in Tokyo Xanadu is real time. In general, I prefer turn based games but there are so few of them that if I was picky I would get to play only one or two JRPGs on every console generation. Once you get used to the number of available moves, which might be a bit overwhelming at the beginning (I memorized the meaning of the countless gauges and indicators only after a few chapters) battles become quite pleasant and enjoyable. The game is really challenging during the first four or five labyrinths but it gets much easier later on, at least, on the normal difficulty.
The bonds you’re building with your friends don’t affect the gameplay as much as it could be. The same goes to parameters like “Wisdom”. The protagonist gets rewards as your stats grow but I don’t think that any quests or relationships depend on these stats.
Speaking of relationships — I like how female characters in this game are written. Whether it’s composed and strong Asuka (I started playing Tokyo Xanadu because of her) or a more classic tsundere Rion, or the mysterious president of the student council Mitsuki — they weren’t just a bunch of girls surrounding the main hero and patiently waiting when he’ll choose one of them. I mean, the romantic elements can definitely be found here but, after all, this game is more about friendship and support than about going out with one of your comrades.
I must admit, though, that I got a bit tired after 50 hours, partially because Tokyo Xanadu didn’t want to end. “Oh, you’ve finished the story?! Congratulations, now you can watch the epilogue, then if you watch it for the second time you’ll get have a chance to win your way to the good ending! Hahaha, but after that good ending you can also get the true ending if you invest 10 more hours” and so on.
Tokyo Xanadu turned out to be a pleasant surprise and a game that I’d easily recommend to anyone interested in JRPG. An okay story, well written characters and an opportunity to decorate your room with a cactus, I couldn’t even have asked for more =)