Tokyo Xanadu Ex+ (Review)
Playing Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is an odd experience. On one hand, it hits many of the right JRPG notes, but more often than not, the largest feeling is "Get on with it already." Not to say the game is bad - it actually is pretty good on many points - but the absolute drag of pacing is most similar to other recent JRPGs which likewise would have been infinitely better served at a faster pace.
In a recent trend of many JRPGs, Tokyo Xanadu eX+ follows a typical high school slice of life, followed by a small dungeon crawl, then rinse and repeat. The game starts off with the main guy Kou, who sees a cute classmate get chased by some thugs. Not far down the road, a demon portal opens up and everyone is sucked in.
As far as beginnings go, it's okay, but there won't be any fighting for quite a while, which starts to point towards the pacing problem. This opening sets up the idea cool enough of a hidden world beyond our perception, with only a few people (including the cute girl) that can perceive it. As soon as it starts, though, we are back in the real world and subject to an unnaturally long grind before combat is ever experienced.
Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is part social game, and for better or worse, it takes a very long time. In between dungeons, Kou will walk around the huge school, work part-time jobs, visit entertainment districts, and so on, with a huge cast of characters to talk to. The side characters are typical Falcom in that there is a surprising characterization in all the NPCs. Doing minor tasks and talking to them advances their stories, and many of them are legitimately interesting.