10 years have passed since a gruesome earthquake destroyed most of the Tokyo suburb named Moriyima. The city has been rebuilt and peace has seemingly been restored, but nothing is as it seems. Kou Tokisaka, a high school student who spends his days doing odd jobs, has a fated encounter with a mysterious transfer student named Asuka Hiiragi and everything changes. He discovers a world existing alongside our own called the Eclipse, and horrifying monsters known as Greeds are seeping into reality. Awakening to a Soul Device, he works with Asuka to combat the new threat and uncover the truth of the Eclipse. Sound familiar? Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is the expanded port to the original Vita game Tokyo Xanadu, seeking to improve the original’s flaws. Featuring new chapters, well needed gameplay adjustments, new music, and improved visuals; this the definitive version for fans and newcomers alike. In my review of the original, I fell in love with the charming town of Moriyima and the story Tokyo Xanadu had to tell. Those feelings still remain, so this review will focus on the new content of eX+ and how it adds to the experience. If you want to hear my original thoughts and learn more about Tokyo Xanadu, you can check that out here.
The story from the Vita version remains, but takes a Persona 4 Golden approach to remaking by adding even more content. The previously mentioned new chapters are Side Stories taking place after regular chapters to flesh out the characters more and give the player more dungeons and challenges. One of the first ones happens to be the most interesting, establishing the now playable White Shroud. There isn’t really much to talk about without going into spoilers, but the side chapters and a new post game give fans more than enough reason to jump back into the addicting world of Tokyo Xanadu. The game still might not have writing on par with Falcom’s flagship Trails series, but it’s incredibly charming and well told in it’s own right.
Gameplay is easily the biggest area of improvement, as eX+ adds and tweaks so much it almost feels like an entirely new game. My biggest issue with the original was the Normal Mode’s insultingly low difficulty, but now it’s fixed to meet the company’s standard. Playing on Normal is now completely recommended, and offers an exciting amount of difficulty the original could only achieve when bumped up to hard. However, for those who aren’t action game savvy, this setting might be a bit too challenging. Two other notable additions are perfect dodges and EX moves. Perfect dodges are probably my favorite, and basically changes everything about the feel of combat. If a player hits dodge just before an attack is supposed to land, they become invincible for a second. This encourages split second decisions the original lacked, giving players the choice to back up or go in and counter. My play style actually became more offensive while fighting enemies, and change the entire dynamic of combat. The extra buttons the PS4 controller offers has lead to the introduction of eX moves, which are mapped to R2. They function as mini super moves, and can be chained into combos easily. Also, in addition to the new chapters, the game features brand new dungeons, bosses, and monsters to give players even more of a reason to come back. Unfortunately, the only thing that wasn’t addressed was the lock on, which still can unlock during intense boss fights. Aside a few remaining flaws, combat has been improved significantly, and the jump to better hardware is to thank for this.
The power of the PS4 has lead to an upgrade in visuals and performance. The resolution has been bumped up to 1080p, and the framerate has increased from the original, unstable 30 fps to a solid 60 fps. The game has perfect performance, and I never once felt any dips in framerate. This makes combat feel fluid, allowing the developers to make things more challenging since the player can react quicker. One downside to the transition to PS4 is that the 3D models don’t seem to have been touched up too much since their use on the Vita. Compared to the PS4 version of Ys 8, another Vita port, this might look visually lacking. Does it look better than the Vita version? Of course, but compared to many PS4 JRPGs it’s a bit lacking. Besides visuals, there 16 new music tracks exclusive to eX+, and they fit the original OST’s tone perfectly. The music can get exciting as any song in an Ys game but is all tinged with a modern vibe that gives the game a wonderful sense of personality.
Tokyo Xanadu eX+ adds to everything that worked so well in the original and fixes nearly everything that didn’t. While it can be challenging for people not used how difficult Falcom games can be, and the visuals look a tad budgeted, Tokyo Xanadu is a great game and the perfect game for those looking to start playing Falcom games. Fans of social sims, action RPGs that can last up to 50 hours, and a modern day setting can get a lot out of Tokyo Xanadu eX+.
- Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is better than Akiba’s Beat, but not as good as Trails of Cold Steel.
- If you get addicted to this game, you should check out Ys 8 or any Trails game.
- A better name for this game would be Super Trails of Cold YS: Arcade Edition
- Buy/Wait/Avoid: Steam or PS4, this is a must buy.
- Gold medal to Falcom for making the most handsome male main characters in all of gaming.