Cliche – (1) cliche is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel.
The above description sums up Infinite Undiscovery to a tee. The story of Infinite Undiscovery is so cliched that even before I put the disc in I guessed how the story would play out. Young boy, discovers he’s the saviour of the world, finds a gang of stereotypical JRPG characters and sets out across several discs worth of generic dungeons and towns in search of a laughable villain. Okay, Lost Odyssey wasn’t much better on the story front; that was extremely cliched too, but the characters were pretty engaging, had some nice twists to the genre and was genuinely fun to play, but Infinite Undiscovery just takes the worst parts of most JRPGs and puts them into one poorly made game.
In Infinite Undiscovery, you play Capell, a flute playing young boy who just happens to look like the real saviour of the world, Sigmund. Capell is arrested by The Order Of Chains, an evil organisation who has chained the moon to the Earth causing all sorts of mayhem to occur. Sigmund is definitely not on their Christmas card list since he has the ability to shatter the chains, which are placed throughout the land, so Capell is mistakenly arrested since they think he is Sigmund. Rescued by one of the rebels, you must help Sigmund in destroying the chains and freeing the moon.
And so begins the cliched story, featuring a bunch of cliched characters, which include a jealous right hand man, a burly hammer swinging man, two relatively annoying twins and a woman that is so obviously in love with Capell it’s ridiculous even by a JRPG standard. The problem with said characters is that their stories just aren’t engaging enough. Even with Capell, you barely know anything about him to actually give a damn about what’s going on. With characters in a game, that have some sort of backstory, I find it more of an enjoyable experience learning about the characters whilst playing through. But without knowing anything about them, the story just seems very bland and monotonous.
The story is mainly an excuse to roam the huge landscapes looking for something that you haven’t got a clue where it is. In one instance, I found myself running around and around for a good hour because I was told my next destination was “in the West” with West not being very well pointed out on the map or explained at all. You will find yourself going in the completely wrong direction, with no idea that you are, to discover after 20 minutes of roaming through a forest, you have to go all the way back because the path ahead is blocked. At this point, I actually switched the game off and did something else to calm myself down. The lands themselves are quite sparse and there isn’t much in-between each area. Towns are few and far between, as are dungeons, meaning you need to traverse a very empty field with a few enemies in it.
The combat is a big part of the game. It is, essentially, a hack and slash, which is rather surprising for a JRPG. Honestly, I would have prefered it to have stuck with the turn based combat most JRPGs implement. I’m not a fan of hack and slashers, as made evident by my hate for Too Human, and this is no different. All you have to do is keep smashing the face buttons in hope that you’ll deal enough damage to take down whatever it is you’re trying to kill. But frustration sets in when you notice the targeting is awful and the hit detection is pretty shocking too. If Capell is surrounded, he seems to get confused and just flails his sword in the air, not really hitting anything.
Luckily for you, your companions AI is pretty good and they are able to fend for themselves. They can heal you and attack enemies well, but outside of battle they can be a bit erratic, especially when trying to sneak up on someone. But the companions do have to fend for themselves because there is no real way to look after or control them. You can “Connect” with them, which let’s you use some of their special abilities, but you can’t choose who will be a healer and who will defend the group etc. Speaking of defending, there is no real way to defend yourself either. There is no form of block button, just a useless parry button which does very little to help you, especially with the poor hit detection. In a trend with games of today, the attacks themselves have ridiculous names, which the characters insist on shouting out at all times which, with the flashing of spells and crashing of swords, can get a little irritating.
The game basically revolves around potion finding, wandering for hours and hammering buttons, which isn’t really fun, but luckily… the graphics are quite nice. Yeah, that’s all I could really think of. Not as pretty as past 360 JRPGs, but it’s passable. One thing that isn’t, however, is the lip synching. It’s absolutely appalling. The characters mouth moves completely different to the words being spoken. Sometimes they don’t even move at all. And other times, there is no vocal dialogue, instead just some text at the bottom of the screen which I really though didn’t make much sense at all to do. It’s like tri-Ace didn’t really bother to synch up the characters voices to the lips and just kept the lip synching from the Japense version to save time.
The audio is also passable. The score is pretty good and probably one of the shining moments for the game. The vocal work is taken straight from the generic JRPG character voices bank and pasted in, which just makes it seem that much more bland and average.
Infinite Undiscovery has a pretty strange name, with “Undiscovery” not even appearing in any dictionary. Personally, I think Generic Japanese Role Playing Game # 23 would be more suitable for it. It’s average at best and one that should be avoided. Let’s hope some of the future Square Enix produced titles turn out much better.