Throw off the chains

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 October, 2008, 12:00am

A case of mistaken identity thrusts the hero of a new role-playing game (RPG), Infinite Undiscovery, into a battle for his world's survival.

This nonsensically titled single-player game was created by Japanese developer tri-Ace and published exclusively for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console by Square Enix, best known for the popular Final Fantasy series. The story follows a deadly conflict that pits the menacing Order of Chains and its leader the Dreadknight - who locked up the moon in chains and fastened it to the world's surface, bleeding the life of the planet - against the side of Sigmund the Liberator, who wants to sever those ties and free the world from the iron grip of this sinister force.

Capell, a young musician with an uncanny resemblance to Sigmund, is rescued from prison by Aya, the emissary of Fayel's princess, who mistakes him for the renegade freedom fighter.

After reluctantly joining her small band of warriors, tasked to cut the chains binding the moon, Capell transforms steadily along the way from a whiny doppelganger to true hero.

A player faces a variety of episodic, real-time situational battles intertwined with the world map, as the hero travels to different places on different missions. This means there is no pausing for five minutes while you figure out what strategy to employ against enemies. The most obvious solution is rarely the right move.

Capell can assemble parties from a pool of 18 characters, choosing those with the best abilities for the job. Besides controlling Capell, a player can make use of another character's skill. For example, you can target distant enemies with the help of a bow-wielding ally or a crafty magician.

Commands are given to a party member via the console's D-pad to fulfil their roles in battle, whether attacking, defending, or healing.

The game's perception sensor setting allows a player to make decisions based on the hero's surroundings or locations of enemies. Inside a labyrinth, for example, the dimly lit environment can be used to help conceal an ambush.

Despite the game's impressive graphics and enjoyable combat gameplay, RPG enthusiasts might find the real-time action limits their ability to carefully review battle tactics. The game, saddled with dull side quests, is ultimately too short (about 30 hours worth) and wastes the large cast of characters it has assembled.

Pros: Superb graphics, good story and exciting action.

Cons: The game could have given more, but it runs too short.