In 2015, I had imported Tokyo Xanadu and while I didn’t actually finish the game due to the fact now that I have lost my save data, I had made it far enough to let the game appear on my Top 10 List for that year. Later the next year it was confirmed that the West would see the game localized. The initial Vita release is for the summer followed by the PlayStation 4 and PC (as eX+, which is the enhanced version of the Vita game originally released in Japan last September) in the fall, so I thought I would give some thoughts and things to look forward to in Tokyo Xanadu.
1.) The visuals and music
The one thing that drew me to Tokyo Xanadu at all besides the fact it was a new Nihon Falcom game was the art. The character designs are really nice and I like the 3D models a lot. Before deciding to import the game I had looked at the opening movie sequence which included a quite catchy song (as most Falcom games do) and it was animated beautifully. The game’s interface is clean, neat, and easy to navigate in.
Music is a given because Falcom Sound Team jdk obviously.
2.) Beautiful backgrounds and environments
Falcom games are known for not only in elaborate story telling but environments and attention to detail. While many of the Ys and Trails titles take place in a fantasy world either connected or otherwise, Tokyo Xanadu is based in a fictional city called Morimiya City, basically a modern day Tokyo like setting. There are in-game locations based on real-world locations, such as the Morimiya Plaza and the bookstores. If you are walking around in the plaza, you can see the giant screens with rotating ads. Just like real life.
Dungeons are unique. They’re not real life. Probably.
3.) Yay easter eggs!
Hey, do you want to find out why Towa is in this game and how did she even get into this world? I do even though I know I won’t get any answers. How about checking out the bookstore for that damn bastard from Trails of Cold Steel? Actually the bookstore has a lot of things hiding about. There are all sorts of Trails cameos hidden throughout the game. When I started the game I had taken many screenshots not knowing what some of the cameos are other than “if they have a face or it is in color, it must be important”. It is only now I’m noticing some of the Trails of Cold Steel II references and they make me sad. Or angry. Whatever.
4.) The battle system
Tokyo Xanadu plays much like a Ys game. You run around killing monsters, in the dungeons (because I don’t think the high school is going to look well on you running around wielding a weapon you can make appear at will), collecting items as they drop and smashing open treasure chests. Though you only control one person on the field, you can swap between controlling two fighters and later you gain a support partner. Battles are quick as there are a set amount of enemies set for each dungeon. Each playable character have their own unique weapon, element type, and play style so it’s always nice to switch between everyone.
5.) Dungeons re-playable and quick access
Not until a few chapters in, the ability to access old dungeons will be open to you whenever you have free time. At the end of the map you get a grade and if you’re not happy with your result you are always open to try again, or try to collect sepith and materials because…. well money is a hard thing to come by.
While I do enjoy games with the overworld aspect and exploring the map, I appreciate the option to quick jump over to wherever needed because I’m lazy.
6.) Asanuma Shintarou: Kuramochi’s seiyuu
The main character Tokisaka Kou is voiced by Asanuma Shintarou.
Look, this is really important to me okay. By the time I started playing this game I didn’t know Kou’s Japanese voice actor, in fact I didn’t even look up the cast list at all. Fast forward to a year later, I was forced and conned into watching some baseball anime called Daiya no Ace* where everything went to hell, I mean, and I then find out one of the voice actors was in Tokyo Xanadu. I love Kuramochi okay. Asanuma is awesome.
7.) The Persona aspects
You mainly control the actions of the protagonist, Kou, as he goes to school and save the world, just how Persona intended it to be. I compare it to 3 and 4 because of the characteristics stats. There are three characteristics all with five levels of ranks to gain: Wisdom, Courage, and Virtue. The social link, which is called the soul link this time around, is also still present but unlike in Trails where you can link anyone with everyone, Tokyo Xanadu shows only Kou’s soul levels, kind of like in Persona when you only see the protagonist’s.
In Persona 4 you are always getting calls and texts. In Tokyo Xanadu Kou has a smartphone, you can receive mail and voice mails from friends. Isn’t being popular fun?
8.) The Trails of Cold Steel I/II aspects
Guess what’s back? Cooking is back! When I get more ingredients and recipes I’m going to make everyone try to fail at cooking dishes to see what they say because these are the important things. There are other features in Tokyo Xanadu that crossed over from the Trails games. Free Time has returned, where Kou can either do sidequests for NPCs or friends in order to gain money or raise your soul levels. The NiAR, which is like Trails‘ Notebook feature where all the information and facts about everyone are kept and updated if you either talk to someone on a different day or complete something for them. There are also books for Kou to collect which he can read at anytime.
9.) Mini games along with special appearances
Do you feel like procrastinating on saving the world? Rean did with his fishing, and now you can too! There’s an arcade that gets unlocked where you can play mini games from Trails of Cold Steel and brand new games. The Unspeakable DLC costumes that Rean and Alisa have in Cold Steel II? They’re back.
The fishing game however, which you control Rean to fish, is about ten times worse in Tokyo Xanadu than the original. I don’t know why I tried. The whack-a-Mishy game plays the same, only Alisa is a magical girl with a squishy yellow mascot hanging around her arm. Why? Well, why not. I didn’t try the other games because I couldn’t read the instructions.
10.) Finding out what on earth is this thing
I just what to know what the hell this is because this was where I basically left off in my Japanese game. And well, it looks dangerous?
* it’s not really a lie. But I will continue to claim I don’t know why I got into the Daiya no Ace series.