Infinite Undiscovery

Without a doubt, Infinite Undiscovery has an excellent pedigree - published by Square Enix and developed by Tri-Ace – so you would expect the best of this game. You would, however, be disappointed. Yes, it looks wonderful and, yes, it sounds pretty good too. But that’s about as far as the praise can be stretched.

The story is simple enough; your character, Capell, a wandering flutist, bears a striking resemblance to Sigmund the Liberator, and because of that he is rounded up and thrown in jail, but soon after Aya, one of the group of Liberators, thinking he is Sigmund, breaks him out. Capell then joins the Liberators and learns that their goal is to sever the chains that bind the moon to the earth. The story is totally linear and the few ‘courier’ side quests don’t add anything to the story. There are a few surprises along the way, and they make what would otherwise be a dull story a tad more interesting – but just a tad.

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The characters develop well and you get to know them, and their motivations, through their actions and dialogue – of which there is a lot. Because the game’s eighteen characters join at various times throughout the game you’ll end up knowing some better than others simply because they’ve been around longer. Of the two main characters Sigmund is a shrewd and capable leader who has gathered together the best men for the job at hand, while Capell is a first-rate moaner who feels completely out of his depth and never ceases telling everyone exactly how he feels.

Infinite Undiscovery takes place in real-time – all of it! This means that not only does night and day pass, and there’s no polite waiting your turn in combat, but opening your menu needs planning and thought - especially during combat. In short, it’s not a good idea to open your menu for a browse when something is trying its best to kill you. Most other RPGs will pause the game while you make your selection of potions and then the animation of healing begins the action again, but not Infinite Undiscovery. And this, I believe, Tri-Ace should have definitely discovered is not a good thing.

On the whole, the action-oriented combat is merely pushing a couple of buttons to perform attacks and combos while the other three party member’s actions can be programmed to AI; ‘act on their own initiative’, ‘attack enemies that Capell isn’t targeting’ or ‘attack without using MP’. Unfortunately there is no defend, strafe or roll. There is, though, a ‘parry’ that is performed by pressing the left trigger at the exact time that the enemy’s strike will land. While it sounds perfectly good in theory, in practice it’s completely useless because you’re rarely attacked by one enemy at a time. And rather than standing toe-to-toe and duking it out, most fights need to be fought in a ‘hit and run’ type of attack.

There are two or three things that can make combat in Infinite Undiscovery a bit of a worry; the most glaring is the camera. Sometimes the camera will zoom in so close that you can’t see where your attacker is, what he’s about to do to you or when he will do it. At other times the surroundings or other enemies block the view. But most often the camera is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Next, if there are a lot of things happening onscreen the frame rate will slow right down. Not good. And lastly, because opening the menu to find a healing potion can be more trouble than it’s worth Capell must rely on healing to come from other party members. And if Capell dies you’re unable to issue commands, so Capell must just lie there waiting for someone to notice him and then revive him – or not.

On the good side, Infinite Undiscovery’s ‘Connect’ facility lets you order a specific party member’s attack. An archer’s arrow can be directed to hit a barrel of explosives, or a mage’s magic can be directed to charm one enemy in particular and a special move can be used to solve a puzzle. But it’s outside of battle that ‘Connect’ works especially well. Capell might not be able to get anything useful from an NPC (Non Player Character), but by using ‘Connect’ another party member can talk to the NPC to gain information and/or an item. Of special note, Rico can talk to animals.

Having 17 other people to choose from to ‘Connect’ with or consider can be a real drain, because not only do you have to keep everyone levelled enough to be able to fight well but you have to outfit and arm them because you never know when you’re going to be teamed up with them. But even if they’re not in your party they can be called upon to perform specific tasks to aid your party, so they must be fighting fit and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Without a doubt Infinite Undiscovery looks spectacular. The rich, vibrant colours and minute details bring the rural areas alive, and while the town and city’s architecture varies from place to place it’s always appropriate and visually stunning. However, while magic spells look spectacular in action, they will often slow your frame rate down. The characters are well designed and animated, and their appearance and costuming marries well with the part they play and their personality.

Infinite Undiscovery’s orchestral soundtrack, while always appropriate, offers nothing particularly memorable, but neither does it distract. The voice acting offers only English, but most of the voice actors rise to the occasion and there are no mismatches. But oddly enough, cutscenes that aren’t voice acted are mixed in with cutscenes that are, and as well as upsetting the flow it’s very disconcerting.

Infinite Undiscovery will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a nice way to fritter away 20-30 hours. And perhaps because of its limited appeal, it may be wiser to rent than to buy without trying it first. But although Infinite Undiscovery won’t win any awards, it may win a handful of devoted followers. But it’s doubtful.

"‘Been there, done that.’ And much better besides."
- Infinite Undiscovery
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments Comments (7)

Posted by itachi
On Tuesday 16 Sep 2008 10:20 AM
The story gets deeper on higher diff levels.
Posted by tim705
On Tuesday 16 Sep 2008 4:06 PM
^ That would make good replay.
Posted by Insanctity
On Tuesday 16 Sep 2008 4:16 PM
Well that's sad. I was looking forward to this game. Hehehe gonna have to abuse the good ol' 7 day right of return at EB for this one i think.
Posted by alienhominid
On Tuesday 16 Sep 2008 6:33 PM
^ might do that too these school holidays when i'm not working
Grunt of God
Posted by Grunt of God
On Tuesday 16 Sep 2008 8:28 PM
Hmmm, shame dat
Posted by Ruptunex
On Wednesday 17 Sep 2008 8:54 PM
I agree it could add some good replay value
Posted by BlackRetina
On Friday 3 Oct 2008 6:27 PM
Another second rate RPG, exclusive to the 360.