TL;DR: I was thinking about how Xenogears was a flawed masterpiece and want to learn about and discuss other flawed masterpieces.
I was thinking about one of the best JRPGs of all time, Xenogears for the original Playstation. It is the epitome of the term flawed masterpiece. If you haven't played it, I'll give you a run down on why. It has probably the most expansive and complex story in any game ever. It deals with religion, false gods, Freudian psychology, genocide, discrimination, cannibalism, etc… And the plot is even deeper than just that, covering the story of a planet. But I can't talk about it anymore without spoiling one of my favorite games of all time.
Xenogears was marred by production issues. It was originally going to be Final Fantasy VII, but Square executives deemed the story too dark to be a mainline Final Fantasy game. It was decided to make Xenogears its own IP. The game was made by young developers with a two year development period. As they finished disc 1, they realized that they weren't going to finish it on time and Square executives wanted them to release end the game at the end of the first disc. (Spoilers on what happens at the end of disc 1) Which is when Fei and company escape from Solaris. If you haven't played the game, the end of disc 1 is a decent yet extremely unsatisfying way for it to end.
The creators and executives came to a decision to rush the second disc, and this is where the masterpiece gets its flaws. The first disc ends after about 40-50 hours of play time, and disc 2 should have at least have been as long, but it takes about 10-15 hours. There are only a few dungeons in disc 2 and outside of those, there is usually 30 minutes to an hour of dialogue (sometimes even just text on a screen to show you what happened) followed by a boss battle. This isn't to say that you won't enjoy it, you will since the game is so story driven. Just, it isn't the same as the previous disc. It prevents the game from being perfect. There are some main characters that only get one or two lines of dialogue in disc 2, since their stories couldn't be fulfilled.
Then you finish the game, and you see the words "Xenogears Episode 5 The End" show up on screen. This was supposed to be one of 6 games covering the whole story of the planet, which you only get bits and pieces of in game. They later released a 304 page book called Perfect Works covering everything they wanted to include in the game Xenogears.
I would give anything to be able to play through disc 2 the same way I played through disc 1, and then to play through five other games covering the story of the planet, I would cry with joy. I know this turned into a retrospective on Xenogears, but I felt like it would be interesting to see what made this game a flawed masterpiece. I hope you guys at least found that it interesting and now want to play one of the best JRPGs of all time. I know I made disc 2 sound pretty bad, but it's not actually that bad, it's just let down to not get to see things fully fleshed out. It also has incredibly fun turn-based RPG mechanics that use different button inputs to do different attacks called deathblows. (I'll explain that more if anyone wants me to.) You also get to have fun riding around in mechs.
Anyways, what other games are flawed masterpieces? And what makes them that?
Edit: I found this tweet showing the length of Xenogears' script in relation to other games and works of literature.
Source: Original link
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