Without a doubt, Infinite Undiscovery has an excellent pedigree - published by Square Enix and developed by Tri-Ace â€“ 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 thatâ€™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 â€˜courierâ€™ side quests donâ€™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 â€“ but just a tad.
The characters develop well and you get to know them, and their motivations, through their actions and dialogue â€“ of which there is a lot. Because the gameâ€™s eighteen characters join at various times throughout the game youâ€™ll end up knowing some better than others simply because theyâ€™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 â€“ all of it! This means that not only does night and day pass, and thereâ€™s no polite waiting your turn in combat, but opening your menu needs planning and thought - especially during combat. In short, itâ€™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 memberâ€™s actions can be programmed to AI; â€˜act on their own initiativeâ€™, â€˜attack enemies that Capell isnâ€™t targetingâ€™ or â€˜attack without using MPâ€™. Unfortunately there is no defend, strafe or roll. There is, though, a â€˜parryâ€™ that is performed by pressing the left trigger at the exact time that the enemyâ€™s strike will land. While it sounds perfectly good in theory, in practice itâ€™s completely useless because youâ€™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 â€˜hit and runâ€™ 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 canâ€™t see where your attacker is, what heâ€™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 itâ€™s worth Capell must rely on healing to come from other party members. And if Capell dies youâ€™re unable to issue commands, so Capell must just lie there waiting for someone to notice him and then revive him â€“ or not.
On the good side, Infinite Undiscoveryâ€™s â€˜Connectâ€™ facility lets you order a specific party memberâ€™s attack. An archerâ€™s arrow can be directed to hit a barrel of explosives, or a mageâ€™s magic can be directed to charm one enemy in particular and a special move can be used to solve a puzzle. But itâ€™s outside of battle that â€˜Connectâ€™ works especially well. Capell might not be able to get anything useful from an NPC (Non Player Character), but by using â€˜Connectâ€™ 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 â€˜Connectâ€™ 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 youâ€™re going to be teamed up with them. But even if theyâ€™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 momentâ€™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 cityâ€™s architecture varies from place to place itâ€™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 Undiscoveryâ€™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 arenâ€™t voice acted are mixed in with cutscenes that are, and as well as upsetting the flow itâ€™s very disconcerting.
Infinite Undiscovery will not be everyoneâ€™s cup of tea, but itâ€™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 wonâ€™t win any awards, it may win a handful of devoted followers. But itâ€™s doubtful.