Infinite Undiscovery

Great Combat Mechanics Overcome a Formulaic RPG Plot
by Joe Juba on Sep 22, 2009 at 01:59 PM
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Tri-Ace
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: Xbox 360

Tri-Ace is one of my personal favorite developers. It has made a name for itself by creating intricate role-playing experiences for hardcore RPG fans, utilizing unconventional battle systems and unique stories. Infinite Undiscovery nails the combat, but the story is disappointingly well-worn...especially for the developer behind games like Valkyrie Profile and Radiata Stories. Fortunately, Infinite Undiscovery's inventive mechanics elevate the familiar tale and distinguish it from the rank-and-file of role-playing games.

You'll take up the flute of a minstrel named Capell, who happens to look exactly like the world's greatest hero (coincidence, right? Wrong!). Of course, he gets swept up in a quest to save humanity and joins forces with a group of freedom fighters. In the company of these peers, Infinite Undiscovery has its best moments. Your allies are unusually intelligent -- or at least competent -- in combat, which helps emulate the sensation of fighting alongside capable warriors. Capell is still the driving force of any battle, but I never felt I had to do everything myself. If one of your guys is fighting a group of soldiers, you can count on him to get the job done.

Amid your actions and the flashy moves of your party, battle is a gorgeous sight to behold. Explosions, sword slashes, and various particle effects go off in all directions, but the carnage never extends beyond your control. Even though you primarily use Capell, you can link to your other party members (including a giant bear!) and direct them to perform certain abilities. They'll use special attacks on their own as well, but you need to monitor them so they don't drain their entire mana pool. This could have been prevented by more ways to adjust ally AI behavior when you aren't linked, but your options are limited.

The depth of combat, along with the character's skill development, mainly drives your progression. In other words, don't count on the plot to keep you enthralled. You could take a checklist of genre cliches and fill it out by the end of the first disc. Surprise princess? Check. Spell-casting children? Check -- plus they're twins to boot. There are a few surprises, one of which I had spoiled for me because I paused the game, which displayed the too-revealing title of that chapter. I guess I should be thankful that most events are fairly ­predictable.

Despite the formulaic plot, some of the characters are endearing (a giant bear!), and several dungeons make excellent use of a multi-party mechanic that lets you put all of your ­accumulated warriors to good use. Along with its thoroughly entertaining combat mechanics, these elements help Infinite Undiscovery recover from its lack of surprises. It may not be the best game on Tri-Ace's resume, but it's still one of the best RPGs available for the 360.

Game Informer's Review System
Concept A good game manages to grow from the average story at its roots
Graphics The excellent visuals stand in contrast to missteps like poor lip-synching and repetitive dungeon design
Sound Some of the voice acting is downright painful, but a nice score evens out the audio
Playability The ally AI is more than capable, so you're never babysitting
Entertainment Shorter than your average RPG, but it's time well spent
Replay Moderate