Review: Infinite Undiscovery

The best thing about playing Infinite Undiscovery is that it convinced me to buy a HDTV.  See, I had my 360 hooked up to a TV that was at least 12 years old.  I could tell what my characters were doing, but when it came to text, especially in the menus, I just couldn’t make it out.  So I bought my new tv.  But then I was distracted by all of the new games that were coming out, and kept putting off going back to Infinite Undiscovery, until I recently forced myself to play it. 

Which is why I’m reviewing a game that’s over a year old. 

Infinite Undiscovery is the story of Capell, a lazy, cowardly musician.  When the game begins, Capell is in prison, haven been mistaken for the Liberator, a great hero named Sigmund.  After being rescued by a beautiful girl, Capell joins up with Sigmund’s Liberation force, and the adventure to unchain the moon begins.  Yeah, that’s right.  The enemy forces have chained the moon to the ground.  This has caused natural disasters, violent monster attacks, and….you know…huge chains marring the landscape. 

Once you wrap your head around that craziness, you realize the rest of the plot starts out fitting a pretty standard format.  Your team moves from chain to chain, smashing them and gaining support.  When you hit the second disc, you finally come across a few twists that make the story worth following.  At that point, though, the game has a deep hole to dig itself out of.  Far too much of the plot is forgettable, which serves to bring the interesting moments down. 

There are plenty of characters in Infinite Undiscovery, and some of them manage to be interesting despite their clichéd trappings.  Sadly, because of the sheer number of characters, there’s just not enough time to flesh them all out, and the ones I found most interesting seemed to suffer the most.  Another negative is that half of your team is comprised of “secondary” characters.  They can’t be used in your main fighting force, and are only brought in to play when setting up side parties to help you explore large dungeons.  You never control them, and they tend to copy the skills of other party members, so in the end they seem little more than padding.  I feel the number of characters could have been reduced without losing anything.  Instead, it would have allowed for a greater focus on the more interesting characters, which would have really strengthened the game. 

The combat in the game is largely familiar, with a few twists to try and liven it up.  You control only Capell during the free-roaming, real time battles.  You chain together regular attacks and skills, knocking enemies into the air or down on the ground.  The good twist is that you can “link” to another party member, and call on them to use certain skills.  These skills can help you keep your hit chain going, or it can help you open treasures chests you find in the field.  The bad twist is that combat doesn’t pause when you open your menu.  That means that while you change equipment or try to use a healing item, enemies can continue bashing on you.  To get around this, a simple button press calls on your allies to do the healing for you.  It took some time to get used to it, but it did help combat flow a little easier. 

A major positive for this game is how pretty it is.  I thought it looked nice on my old TV, but as soon as the opening movie started playing on my HDTV, I was blown away.  Everything looks so detailed.  The character designs were unique, and spell animations were flashy without being too distracting.  The environment design really helped sell the mood of the story.  The biggest example of this is when you’re deep in an enemy fortress.  The building is dark and falling apart, and creates an oppressive atmosphere.  To be honest, I found the graphics to be the best part of this game. 

I wanted to like this game so much.  RPGs on the 360 are still few and far between, so I had high hopes for this one.  There were moments when it managed to live up to my expectations, but overall, Infinite Undiscovery was a bit of a disappointment.  The clichéd characters, including a secret princess, the child-like strongman, and precocious twin children are never really given a chance to shine.  The interesting plot developments come far too late in the story to have much merit…they seem more like last minute additions, when someone realized the story actually had to go somewhere.  The combat works, and actually manages to be fun to play once you get the hang of it, and the graphics are really eye-catching, and help keep you moving forward.  There was just so much potential for this game, but it fell flat.  Still, it’s worth checking out if you’re an RPG fan.  It’s a relatively quick play through the main story, and worth your time to see what’s happening with the genre on the current consoles. 

Score:  3 out of 5

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