[Shock Value is a weekly segment which runs down inexpensive titles that are more than worth the money spent.]
- Title: Infinite Undiscovery
- Developer: tri-Ace
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Genre: JRPG
- Release: September 2008
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Pricing: New: $15, Used: $10
Infinite Undiscovery is an Xbox 360 exclusive JRPG which released a couple of years ago. I know that Xbox 360 exclusive JRPG’s don’t necessarily have the best reputation in gaming, but this one is actually worth playing. It has a number of things going for it, but I should tell you now that if you don’t typically like JRPGs, you won’t be very wowed with IU.
The story features a few JRPG clichés: a surprise princess, magical youth and an effeminate if determined main character but also features a unique spine about an oppressive force that has imprisoned the moon. The music is rather nice and the voice acting is passable, but it can’t escape moments of awkward translation.
The graphics are fairly good, and hold up well when combat is littered with explosions, sparks and shimmery magic spells. The game’s presentation may not be as princely as other JRPGs available on the console like Final Fantasy XIV, but its gameplay is arguably much stronger than that game’s. Exploration is seamless and fun.
Players will traverse a huge world map completing quests, collecting items and equipment and leveling up their characters. The developers have thrown in a satisfying amount of enemy types and environments. You’ll find yourself spending hours just roaming around filling out your map like the good JRPGs of old. The main character, Capell, has a flute which can be used to locate hidden items and areas.
The combat system is the pride and glory of this game. Instead of choosing to bog down progression with a standard turn based battle system, the developers crafted an exciting and action packed real time battle mode. Combat is fast and frenetic as you chain together special attacks, jugglers and combos to decimate your opponent, keeping them airborne and vulnerable for as long as possible.
While people sometimes seem to associate real time battle modes with easier games, know that Infinite Undiscovery will let you have it a lot of the time and send you to your nearest dungeon to correct yourself with a little grinding. Party members are competent and supportive, even distributing ample healing spells and items with little guidance. They also tear into enemies utilizing all their skills and combos, which excites you and prompts you to follow suit.
You can command your party members with various commands like to attack a single enemy or spread out and focus on balancing the playing field. There is also a rich item creation component that ranges from things like cooking, writing, alchemy and more. You spend a good chunk of time collecting components for the best items.
Tri-Ace has never had a problem crafting an enjoyable action RPG and Infinite Undiscovery is no exception. Its strong points more than overpower its shortcomings and I recommend it. It didn’t get much shine when it released back in 2008, but now that prices are so low, fans of the genre have no reason not to check out this game.