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2626  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 11, 2006, 04:56:57 PM
Do consider that Wilhelm's character may be a manifestation of both:

in other words, if Cain wanders forever, "Judas" could've been Cain spying out on Yeshua when he came around.

I don't think Takahashi wanted to link Wilhelm to any particular person, but if we WERE to link him, I feel the Wandering Jew myth works best. He's a guy that's been around forever and seems to know the inner workings of the universe, as well as God's plans for the universe.

I'd also like to point out Wilhelm's obsession with Wagner. In Ep. I, the database made it a point to let the reader know that ALL Wagnerian operas were tragedies. I think Wilhelm's plan for eternal recurrence is a sort of tragic ending: it was the "best he could do" to defy God and stop the heat death thing from happening.

A final link-up for Wilhelm being Cain. Don't you think Abel looks like a MUCH younger version of Wilhelm? In other words, Wilhelm could be Abel's older brother. When U-DO first speaks to Shion in the early parts of the game, the voice actor is definitely the same person that does Wilhelm.

To allow this sort of mythological setup, Takahashi is definitely warping the traditional understanding of the Judeo-Christian human origin story. It's only to be expected. After all, Evangelion twisted it by incorporating 18 angels and Lilith. It works just as well to make Abel and Cain the key players in the history of humanity's struggle for survival, purpose/meaning, and a struggle to either make amends with or destroy God.

ALL OF THAT SAID: what other RPG allows for such deep discussion? I can't think of many! That's why the game doesn't suck *in the least*, and people who say it does suck have forgotten (or never learned) what it means to think critically.

2627  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 11, 2006, 02:56:53 PM
Answering as many questions as I can...

Of course they don't give an obvious explanation to WHO Wilhelm is. The fact that he's been around forever, AND that he has some power to control Mary Magdalene's will, seems to make him someone mighty important. Judas is a good guess, but may I suggest --- CAIN? Particularly, Cain in the "wandering Jew" legend that says he lives forever getting to observe things. Cain was a major character in Xenogears and they used that same idea there (Cain as Wandering Jew was ALSO in Evangelion). Also, Cain using/abusing Abel looks pretty good. The only thing it doesn't explain is why Wilhelm had all sorts of crazy knowledge and power... Oh wait, if you've been around since the beginning of time you'd probably know a lot of stuff, and you'd probably have it out for God and his plans too! The eternal recurrence plan was a fine idea too, IMO.

As Cauton said, Abel is described as U-DO in physical form. What you need to wrap your mind around before determining who *any* characters are is...WHO or WHAT is really "God?" For this, I recommend an old and obscure essay found on rpgamer.com about Jewish Mysticism, the Zohar, the "soul of the soul," and the nature of God in Xenogears. I think Abel is a physical manifestation of God's power, but not necessarily God's will. After all, the poor guy could only define himself by however anyone else defined him. He seemed to be a being that lacked his own will.

Nephilim, I understand her to be something like a guardian angel. She's also wearing Elly's cross pendant. Who Nephilim "is" is simple--she's Nephilim. She's an angel, and she does cool stuff.

Shion being "the maiden," eh? Since the moment that Xenosaga 1 was first ANNOUNCED and they gave character details, I immediately thought "Shion" was an Engrish way of saying "Scion." That is, she's a descendant of the line of Joseph and Mary (or...Yeshua and Mary Magdalene?!?). That would explain why both her mother and her could be in contact with U-DO and such.

At the end, most of the universe did get its butt kicked by the pulse through the U.M.N.. Those that survived, survived. And the U.M.N. disappeared (got sucked in with chaos on their path back to Lost Jerusalem). The U.M.N. was just built on top of U-DO waves, which are something like God or God's will (God as a "wave existence" rather than an intelligent sentient being is a major part of Takahashi's story).

The Testament...yeah, I dunno. You don't need a lengthy explanation. It's people who died that got brought back. Chances are, Wilhelm found their consciousness in the U.M.N. and gave them hip new bodies with awesome colorful robes.

The Wilhelm/Kevin ending is DEFINITELY like the Vader/Emperor ending. But that's cool. It's an archetypal story on how to redeem a villain that you want to like.

"How did Yuriev get ahold of Abel? Was that ever explained?"

No one knows when Abel showed up, but thanks to the series having to SKIP some games, we missed out on that. We know that Grimoire Verum was out to get Abel and/or Nephilim, and that the federation saw fit to protect Abel. That's how Juli ended up being the kid's "babysitter." From there, Yuriev just gets to use him since he's in charge of the new Merkabah/Omega project.

"I didn't think chaos was Jesus. During one of the cutscenes you see chaos and mary with the other desciples listening to a man with a beard and long hair....who is obviously supposed to physically represent Jesus. But yes, wilhelm did call chaos jeshua."

chaos = Yeshua. There's no doubt about that. The REAL question is, what's the historical reality? Lots of people think that the orthodox interpretation of the life and death of Jesus Christ is an inaccurate picture. Though I personally disagree, that doesn't mean that the other writings aren't VERY interesting. The Gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Peter, the "Infancy Gospel," and other stories tell different stories. We also know that many "Gnostic" Christians in 100-300 A.D. believed that "Jesus" (Yeshua) and "Christ" (God's son, the savior) were actually two separate entities. Using that interpretation, it may explain why the storytellers of Xenosaga chose to put chaos and Mary Magdalene in the crowd listening to bearded Jesus-looking guy rather than having chaos be the preacher. It's confusing, be we can assume that Yeshua really was "God's son", as Mary Magdalene is refered to as the "Partner to the Messiah." All this planned BEFORE the DaVinci Code. Woot!

Most of the "unanswered questions" don't have obvious answers that you can read about in the database. BUT, a good understanding of the material will give you reasonable explanations...kind of like with Eva, Lain, and other cool stories.

Somewhat-unrelated, I recently saw an episode of X-Play reviewing Xenosaga III. They were such uneducated morons. They didn't understand the depth of the game, so they called it "pretentious" instead of deep. LOL...morons.

2628  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Level 5 announces new game: A... DS Graphic Adventure? on: October 11, 2006, 02:22:52 PM
freaking Level 5. No end to the surprises.

Also, we do cover graphic adventures here at the 'Fan, so you could've posted this in Console RPGs had you pleased. :)

2629  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Recently Viewed Movies on: October 11, 2006, 02:11:19 AM
The Cat Returns - I'm trying to see more of the Ghibli films, and my friend bought a load of them so I'm of course taking advantage

Wait...Cat Returns = Studio Ghibli? O rly?

I thought Cat Returns was directed/written by Hayao Miyazaki but decidedly NOT Studio Ghibli. It's a completely different animation studio, isn't it?

That's what's kept me from watching it up to this point. The animation looks like Hana Yori Dango...character designs make me feel nauseous.

I just saw The Departed today. Holy fuck it was good. The movie is long but I never found myself looking at my watch. There were no draggy parts at all. The acting was great; Leo in particular. He hasn't been this great since Titanic (joking). Actually I hope he gets nominated for an Oscar. Everyone go out and see it.

Just went and saw this one with my wife tonight, based on a friend's recommendation. Agreed, it was freaking fantastic. Quick question cuz I blanked at the end:

who killed Matt Damon in the last scene? It was Wahlberg's character right? The Digman or Digham or whatever his name was...if that was who killed him, how did he have the info about the character to know he ought to be killed...or was it just a personal vendetta? Also, why do we never see the girl open the letter from DiCapprio? We watch her write his name on it, as though it will come up again in the film, and then it doesn't...I guess I'm just not used to Scorcese endings...

Also watched the 3 Sailor Moon movies (R, S, and SuperS) with my wife out of boredom. Made me smile. :P

2630  The Rest / General Discussions / Words fail me on: October 11, 2006, 02:04:54 AM
This is why some people should be forced to have a license to breed. -_-

If only the screening process wouldn't be completely invasive and insensitive to the rest of the population...

yeah, it'd be nice if we could stop certain people from having that basic human right, since they seem so inclined to f*ck up even the tiniest bit of responsibility...or rather, common sense...human dignity...all that good stuff.

I'm still bummed about this news story.

2631  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / FFXI: Worth the money? on: October 11, 2006, 02:00:19 AM
I think FFXI is absolutely worth it! ...if you have 4 months of your life to give away freely...

Seriously, I've loved my experience with the game. The thing that drew me into it, the one thing that made it stand out in the mass of MMOs out there, is a linear storyline woven into the huge open-ended gameplay.

The original title allowed you to ally with one of three nations, and each nation has its own ten-chapter story to follow. In the middle the story is the same, and one can say they've technically "beaten" the core of FFXI when they hit chapter 6.

There are also three expansions, one of which has not yet finished revealing its story-based "mission" line.

The first expansion has a short storyline, but requires that you be an extremely high level before you even begin it.

The second expansion, Chains of Promathia, puts "level caps" on missions as you go through so that you can level up a new character as you progress through the missions. I felt like Chains of Promathia, as a storyline all its own, was a worthy RPG simply on the merits of a great storyline and *EXTREMELY* challenging gameplay.

Like all MMOs, you need good people that aren't stuck-up douchebags to help you along the way. In turn, you must also be a non-douchebag and help others out too. AND, like all MMOs, it'll cost literal months of your life.

But I've loved FFXI, and I plan to complete all of the expansions' storylines before I give it up.

If you're interested, give it a chance. Like Parn said, the game's reached its climax and the populations will go downhill from here...but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it on the way. New people are still signing up for it every day.

2632  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Neverwinter Nights 2 on: October 11, 2006, 01:54:06 AM
my feelings are similar to Daniel's. For starters, I'd like to pick up the Neverwinter Nights "Diamond" pack and catch up on the expansions before I even touch NN2.

But yeah...we'll see. It's also low priority for me...but not as low as most other PC RPGs. :P

2633  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Baten Kaitos Origins on: October 11, 2006, 01:51:08 AM
Though I only experienced the first title secondhand (watched a friend play it...like the rest of you, loved the plot twist, mad they didn't hold out with it to the end...), I decided to purchase the second one today (we have yet to get reviewable GameCube titles...that will hopefully change with the Wii).

I didn't read all the code text of this thread cuz I don't want the game spoiled for me right away...but I am looking forward to it. The general lack of GameCube RPGs gives me the hope that this one won't be terrible. I'm generally a lenient critic, but I have let out some major "trash talk" against certain games in the last year (Metal Saga, Tao's Adventure...)...we'll see if BK2 joins the ranks or can earn a B-ish score. I doubt the game will win my whole-hearted affections, but I won't know until I'm done with it.

Which, thanks to the postponement of my son's birth, should be soon.

Hope everyone that bought the game is enjoying it!

2634  Media / Single-Player RPGs / The "Defense" Command on: October 11, 2006, 01:44:36 AM
I have played at least five console RPGs (off the top of my head) where the defense command was useful enough to be worth having in the game. In some games, such as strategy RPGs, the "defense" option may also allow you to recover some HP, MP, and move/ability points.

But generally, in a turn-based RPG, the defense command is useless. The only time "defend" is useful is if 1) you know the enemy will be attacking that character (if it's one-on-one it may help, or if you've used an ability that draws the target to you...) and 2) you know that defending is the difference between the survival and destruction of that character. It takes an extreme amount of know-how and strategy to properly execute a "defend" command...but it can certainly come in handy.

Recently, playing Xenosaga III, I found that KOS-MOS had a special ether ability that was basically a three-turn "super-defense" that she puts on herself. EXTREMELY useful at the end of the game. It basically cut all damage done to her to like 10%. It was definitely awesomeness in a can.

2635  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 11, 2006, 01:37:07 AM
I only got 93%.

Still many things that don't make sense, but oh well.

Care to name them? (in spoiler quotes). I'd like to believe I have some answers for you.

2636  The Rest / General Discussions / Words fail me on: October 10, 2006, 05:20:38 PM
yeah I'm with Hidoshi too.

Having done social work, trying to help kids whose parents do stupid sh*t like that all the time, it really just makes me sick. Please remember that *that* infant will grow up, and probably have one of the worst childhoods one can possibly imagine.

You'll also note the article says *FOUR OTHER CHILDREN* were taken from the home and placed in Erie Children and Youth Services. There's four more lives that get to be raised by the state. I'm not sure which is more unpleasant...though based on that pic of the mom, they may be SLIGHTLY better off in the system.

2637  The Rest / General Discussions / More copyright fun: Let's attack restaraunts! on: October 10, 2006, 05:13:11 PM
1) local band should be sued...or at least PARTIALLY held responsible...not the bar owner...

2) talk about lawyers being dicks just to make some money. Makes me want to vomit.

2638  The Rest / General Discussions / Pope Gets Rid of Limbo on: October 06, 2006, 06:07:03 PM
That'd be a reasonable reply. Sorry for saying you suck at Catholicism, I appreciate the explanation. ^^

OMFG RPGFan boards are filled with love and understanding and not stupidity (like other boards!).

Back to my pregnant wife...

2639  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 05, 2006, 05:15:50 PM
I personally believe that, regardless of the Takahashi statement (which I believe he made to keep people from attempting to make timelines connecting Gears to Saga), the similarities of Xenogears and Xenosaga FAR outweigh, say, Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore.

Abel and Nephilim strongly resemble Fei and Elly...imagine them as children and there you go.

The Zohar, and its usage, are essentially the same. The only difference is that there are other "Relics of God" in play, such as Zarathustra.

The concept of "anima" and "animus" shows up at the end, and the Anima of the E.S. units functioned exactly the same as in Xenogears.

A big circular space station called Merkabah (Melkava) is a central location for both games.

When you take on Yuriev in Ep. III, the setup for the boss is EXACTLY the same as the end of Xenogears, and for very similar reasons.

Mai = Maria.

The concept of God as a "wave existence" (U-DO) is important...and the fact that the U.M.N. disappears at the end of XS3 suggests that you've taken that wave existence OUT of the universe, much like how God is removed at the end of Xenogears.

The list goes on. Essentially, I think Xenosaga was Takahashi's attempt to take the depth and meaning of Xenogears, put it in a more futuristic realm, and expand. Also, to everyone who whines about Xenosaga being slow-paced and having bad battle systems...since when was Xenogears praised for being well-paced and having an enjoyable battle system? The only thing that kept me going in XG was the story and the music!

Finally, I DO think it's possible that one could still make the connection between XG and XS...that they happen in the same universe. A quick read of Joseph Campbell's take on the nature of history and religion (say, "Hero With a Thousand Faces") could help you see how the two could take place in the same world (over the span of millions of years, possibly).

2640  The Rest / General Discussions / Pope Gets Rid of Limbo on: October 05, 2006, 05:02:55 PM
o_O As a Catholic, I must say that for a transitional pope Benedict is doing his best to screw up everything.

As a Protestant who has a strong respect for and understanding of Catholicism (both historically and in today's time), I think this "transitional" pope is doing a great job at cleaning up much of the mess that was the medieval era.

As the article states, "limbo" was never *officially* part of Catholicism in the first place...so it's not like abolishing it killed off anyone's beliefs.

In fact, since Vatican II accepts "separated brethren" (protestants, other religioius folk) as people that may well make it to heaven (after some time in purgatory, most likely), it would only make sense that unbaptized infants could join the crew.

As for his "making comments that piss off a good 20% of the world" -- no, no, and no. It pissed off extremist Muslims, who generally are on a continual search to FIND things that will piss them off. What Benedictine said in that speech was offensive only to people who didn't take the time to understand what it was he was saying. The man was not at fault.

For being Catholic, you sure do seem to suck at understanding what's going on around you, eh? Unfortunately, that's seemed to be my impression of Catholic folk as a whole. The "elite," the intellectuals, and those who actually care about doctrine and the wellbeing of the world around them, are pretty cool, but they're also few in number. The rest are just nominal Catholics who fear change...I hope you're not one of those!

Now that I've set myself up for flaming, I'll wait for responses.

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