a guide/introduction to the xeno trilogy!
created by @rockruff
the xeno trilogy, is a sci-fi jrpg series revolving around 3 games, xenogears, xenosaga, and xenoblade.
the xeno series is loosely connected, there is an implied overarching timeline but nothing has yet been confirmed. due to that, you can mostly play the games in any order.
!! PLAY ORDER
it will depend on what is most accessible to you, as of right now, xenoblade is the most accessible, with two of the games being available on the nintendo switch.
i personally recommend starting with xenoblade chronicles definitive edition, as it is the most recently released and accessible (and just a general good starting point).
the xenosaga trilogy has unfortunately not been rereleased and emulating it can be tough due to the sheer resources the games require, however, the cutscenes for xenosaga (as well as the entirety of the rest of the xeno series) have been uploaded onto youtube by helsionium.
as mentioned previously, this order can change depending on how you interpret things mentioned in the perfect works or if you'd prefer to play based on release order.
xenoblade chronicles ➡ xenoblade chronicles 2 ➡ torna: the golden country (prequel to xenoblade 2) ➡ xenosaga eps i + ii ➡ xenosaga pied piper & a missing year ➡ xenosaga ep iii ➡ xenoblade chronicles x ➡ xenogears
you can also start xenogears after xbcde, and then start xenosaga, as there are many callbacks to gears referenced in saga (plot, music, concepts, etc) that can be better understood if you play xenogears first. xenogears is available to emulate or buy from the ps3 store.
another notable way to play the series is to group the blade games (1 ➡ x ➡ 2) together and then start gears, but once again, there's no "wrong" way to play the series (save playing saga out of order).
also, be sure to read perfect works after finishing xenogears, regardless of what order you choose.
> anything i should be warned about?
> cool! what's a summary of each game?
!? TRIGGER WARNINGS
the series covers some heavy themes, but notably the following are what i will warn for:
- body horror
- psychological & physical abuse
- depersonalization & themes of mental illness
- drug use
- self harm
- flashing lights
- human + animal experimentation
- suggestive themes
> but where do i start?
> awesome, let's move on.
?? ABOUT THE GAMES
> finished with everything?
xenogears is the first game in the series, and it is often considered a classic ps1-era game. not many stories come close to telling the tale that gears harbours. the protagonist, fei, is suffering from amnesia but works his hardest with citan to live as normal a life as possible. a series of unfortunate circumstances lead to fei destroying the village he was staying in, and he sets off to figure out more about himself and the world surrounding him.
xenogears is the most sci-fi of the xeno series, the setting involves mechs and other plot devices that fuel the theming. originally, xenogears was proposed to be an idea for final fantasy vii, and later a sequel to chrono trigger (although both ideas obviously fell through). it truly does have the vibes of chrono trigger, so if you are a fan of that i recommend xenogears for sure.
xenosaga follows the story of shion uzuki, a scientist working on an android known as kos-mos. the setting involves the future of humanity and our technological advances. humans have branched out into space and live within star systems at this point. the game heavily references judaism, gnosticism, and zoroastrianism.
the party is lovable but also very tragic, everyone has heavy baggage and the story often revolves around one party member's backstory at a time. but it turns out everyone is more connected than they think, with some protagonists' stories overlapping with another's.
its gameplay is the most similar to xenogears and can be considered a spiritual successor, although there are other implications about the games' connections that you will just have to figure out yourself!
due to the nature of xenoblade, this section will be divided into three parts.
xbc1 is about shulk - our nerdy and beloved protagonist - and his friends setting off on a journey to defeat robots known as mechon. it gets tragic pretty fast, and soon they even realise that fighting the mechon... might not be the best option. there's themes of gnosticism throughout the game, and it's really cool to see how it plays out. in 2020, the game was remastered for the switch under the title xenoblade chronicles definitive edition.
xbcx is about how the inhabitants of earth were forced to leave and find life elsewhere due to alien forces having a war right next to the planet. long story short, the survivors are pulled into a planet's gravitational field and stuck there. as time goes on, they find out the aliens that had a battle are also there, and they're less than happy to see humans. it's really a great game for exploration and while its story is a little weak, you'll find out there's a ton of storytelling done via sidequests. currently it is not connected to 1 or 2.
xbc2 is about a boy named rex. he starts off as a normal kid but then awakens a legendary blade known as the aegis. blades are artificial lifeforms that have elemental powers. the story is about rex trying to get pyra to elysium, her home. the game focuses a lot on the power of friendship, and its theme is "finding your purpose in life". unfortunately, it has fanservice and not the good kind either.
also there's dlc (torna: the golden country) and it goes into the backstory of some things referenced in the story. it can be played before or after, but i recommend playing it after.
and you're done! hopefully this mini guide was helpful to you and your quest to play through the xeno series. or perhaps you were just looking around for now. if anything is unclear feel free to inbox me.
> return home
hello! my name is calico, and xeno has been an interest of mine since 2014. there are still a lot of things i could learn about the series, but i consider myself pretty well-versed in its lore and mechanics. my favourite game of all time is xenosaga (especially episode ii + iii)! but i am fond of the entire xeno series.