Also sprach Zarathustra, German for "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", is the title to Friedrich Nietzsche's most famous novel, which introduced the Übermensch (superhuman) and popularized the phrase "God is dead". It questions what humanity will do and how humanity will cope in a world without "god" and religion.
A year after the Pope's assassination and the war in Miltian space, a new pope has taken his place. The amount of Gnosis terrorism has increased but Vector Industries has denied involvement. Suspecting corruption in the church and religion and Vector, Shion Uzuki decides to investigate Ormus and the Zohar to discover Ormus' origins and find some truth about the Miltian Conflict.
It is recommended to read fan-translations of Xenosaga: A Missing Year and Xenosaga: Pied Piper before playing Episode III, as Episode III contains a few references to both. It also helps to read the entire Bible because the game is full of religious references.
Episode III begins with a memory of Michtam's destruction. When Kevin Winnicot was about 8 years old in 4747, his people and family were threatened by the Gnosis that were unleashed when the Zohar went out of control by the Galaxy Federation. The rest of his family were killed in the process, and only him and his mother managed to get to the spaceport to escape. However, his mother stayed behind and gave him her pendent. Confused and scared, his mother locked him in the escape pod, and he didn't want to lose her. His mother placed her hand on the glass, and she began to transform into a Gnosis, much to Kevin's horror. His mother smiled to him in fear and sadness, and the escape pod shot him into space to avoid the destruction of Michtam.
In 4768 T.C., a year after Abel's Ark's first appearance, which had swallowed the Zohar before disappearing from normal space, the various parties had went about their lives; Jin Uzuki continues to work with Jr. and gang behind the scenes to investigate Ormus while Shion Uzuki returned to Vector Industries with KOS-MOS.
Approximately 6 months after that event, Gnosis attacks began to happen more frequently, targeting cities around the star cluster. Due to the precision of these attacks, many believed that someone was controlling the location of the attacks that were happening. These attacks are termed Gnosis Terrorism.
Due to the acceleration of the Gnosis phenomenon, the Galaxy Federation government has issued an evacuation order to planetary governments in the outlying areas of Gnosis activities. The Federation government has issued a statement that the Gnosis phenomenon that occurred in Ogdoas space has resulted in the disappearance of over 100 planetary governments in that region. The Galaxy Federation government has established an emergency task force and deployed A.G.W.S. to the regions in question, but it is believed that it has not resulted in the reduction of the phenomenon.
Commodore Jose Xavier, commander of the Andras fleet assigned to the Gedalya region, declared that his fleet had engaged with the Ormus fleet in the region. It appears that upon receiving this information, the Ormus fleet occupying planet Michtam commenced military action towards the Federation fleet in the region. The Andras fleet was sent to investigate an asteroid that was recently discovered in the Gedalya region. The Andras fleet has been locked in a stalemate with the Ormus fleet, which claims ownership of the asteroid. It is unclear why Ormus has dispatched a fleet to Gedalya space, which is under Federation control. A spokesman for Ormus has stated that they have no desire for combat. It is believed that the Ormus fleet commenced military action after several of its requests to the Andras fleet to leave the region were ignored.
During one of the investigations by Jin's group on the Gnosis terrorism, Shion discovers a link between her father and the U-TIC Organization (which is connected to Ormus), and Shion suspects Vector and the U.M.N. are involved in these terror attacks. Shion resigned her job as Chief of First R&D of Vector and joined the underground organization Scientia, an anti-U.M.N. rebel group. Enlisting the help of Miyuki Itsumi (her assistant from Vector), Canaan and Doctus (a prominent member of Scientia), Shion broke into Vector's secret facility to obtain valuable information that was originally only accessible to high level members of Vector. The information led to the discovery of Project Canaan, of which its true purpose was unknown at this point.
Meanwhile, Vector transferred the KOS-MOS project to the Galaxy Federation military. Allen Ridgeley (the new Chief) was sent together with KOS-MOS to the Federation capital, Fifth Jerusalem. Six months after Shion resigned, Allen invited her to visit him at Fifth Jerusalem. Shion arrived to discover that KOS-MOS was scheduled to face off against the Federation's newest weapon in a public demonstration.
At the CAT Testing Grounds, Shion meets Abel, a boy who is involved with the Zohar Project. With the help of Juli Mizrahi and Allen, Shion was able to witness the Federation's weapons, T-elos and Omega Res Novae. T-elos is a humanoid android that looks similar to KOS-MOS. Her capabilities far exceeds those of KOS-MOS. Omega Res Novae was the Proto Omega that was salvaged by the Federation after the last battle in Episode II. With the help of Sellers (who had joined up with Dmitri Yuriev), they managed to power the machine with the help of a fake Zohar Emulator (not the ones that was built by Joachim Mizrahi). KOS-MOS was badly beaten by Omega Res Novae, which resulted in the termination of the KOS-MOS project.
It was at this moment that a huge mysterious asteroid/landmass appeared in space. Jr. together with MOMO and the Elsa departs to investigate it. When they arrived at the area, they were attacked by Margulis in his E.S. Levi. During the battle, the Elsa was damaged and crash-landed on the asteroid, which Margulis refers to as Rennes-le-Château. A hypersphere of energy erupted from the landmass. Jr. and gang barely managed to escape to the Durandal. The hypersphere wraps around the landmass, trapping the Elsa in it.
Juli deduced that only KOS-MOS has the ability to break open the hypersphere for them to rescue the Elsa. The team made their way to Fifth Jerusalem and met up with Shion. Together, they broke into the Federation compound to salvage KOS-MOS, which had been dumped at the scrap yard.
With KOS-MOS's help, they managed to break into Rennes-le-Château and made contact with the Elsa. While investigating the area, they were attacked by the Blue Testament, who revealed himself as Lieutenant Luis Virgil, who was killed by KOS-MOS in Episode I. After fighting him off, the team came upon an old tomb. T-elos appeared and fought with KOS-MOS. In a one-sided affair, KOS-MOS was destroyed by T-elos. Roth Mantel also appears and reveals himself as the Red Testament. Suddenly, Shion's pendant began to emit a bright light, engulfing all of Rennes-le-Château.
When the party came to, they found themselves back on Old Miltia, exactly 15 years ago, days before the disappearance of Old Miltia. With no sign of both T-elos and KOS-MOS, the group proceed to look for the Elsa. During the journey, they rescued a young Federation soldier from U-TIC soldiers, who was revealed as the young Virgil. They brought him to an old church, where he was treated by Febronia. Febronia donated parts of her organs to him to save his life and the organ transplant was successful. It was there that they met the young Shion, who was just a child 15 years ago.
When they found the Elsa, they discovered that KOS-MOS's core module was damaged and she may never wake again. Also, the Vessels of Anima that powered their E.S. machines were missing. They also met Mai Magus and her grandfather Aizen Magus. Determined to investigate her father's involvement with U-TIC, Shion infiltrated Labyrinthos with Allen. When she was there, she met up with her father, Suou Uzuki, and discovered that her mother, Aoi Uzuki, was one of the patients housed in the facility and confined his involvement with U-TIC. She also met the young Kevin Winnicot (her deceased lover and KOS-MOS's creator), who was serving as Joachim Mizrahi's assistant and caretaker of Febronia. She found KOS-MOS's basic theory on Kevin's computer and hastily copied it in hopes of saving KOS-MOS.
Shion and Allen returned to the team with the information that they obtained. With the data from Kevin and the help of the Professor, they rebuilt KOS-MOS into version 4. The Black Testament, Voyager, attacked the Elsa and attempted to steal the un-activated KOS-MOS. When the Black Testament was about to kill Shion, KOS-MOS awoke and rescued her. With her help, the team fought off the Black Testament.
In a bid to attempt to change history and prevent the Miltian Conflict from happening, the team returned to Labyrinthos in hopes of stopping U-TIC's experiments. Shion also theorized that if they obtained the Vessels of Anima, they might have the energy necessary for them to return to their original world, and they may also discover what Joachim Mizrahi was trying to do. In Labyrinthos, they found the Vessels of Anima in the base and stole them. When they were escaping from the place with their E.S., Shion heard her mother's name, Aoi, being called over the public announcement system, and returned to Labyrinthos to find her. She was caught in her attempt and was questioned by the younger Margulis, Kevin and her father.
Hours away from the Federation's third descent operation (which triggered the full-scale battles), the team decides to return to Labyrinthos to rescue Shion. While held captive, Shion realizes that her father (who does not know she is the older Shion) was secretly aiding her. In the battle between the U-TIC soldiers and the Federation forces, he asked Shion to go look for the young Shion at the church and bring her to safety. Unfortunately, the Miltian Conflict had already began.
When the team reached the church, they realized that it was attacked by Realian troops that went berserk due to the Song of Nephilim. Febronia was killed in her attempt to save the recuperating Virgil and the young Shion. Virgil, who developed a relationship with Febronia during her care, fought the Realian troops to help the rest escape. It was during this moment that the Blue Testament (Virgil) appeared. Just as he was about to attack the team, Febronia appeared and convinced him to abandon this Testament duty and together, they disappeared into the twilight, or Collective Unconscious.
Young Shion had returned to Labyrinthos to look for her parents. The team returned to Labyrinthos and found the place to be a mess. Berserk Realians had overran the facility. In a bid to save the young Shion, Shion's father sacrificed himself. The Realians had also brutally murdered Shion's mother in her ward. Filled with grief and anger after witnessing her parents' death, young Shion cried out to the heavens, summoning Gnosis in Old Miltia. Shocked by the realization that it was her who had caused the Gnosis to appear, Shion began to glow as well. Abel's Ark appeared in normal space and Wilhelm proclaims the first awakening.
The Red Testament appeared with T-elos and revealed himself as Kevin Winnicot. Kevin began to explain how Shion, like her mother, has the ability to "talk" with U-DO. Therefore, by staying with KOS-MOS (who draws power from the Zohar), she is slowly and surely losing her life. Filled with love and misery, Shion attempted to leave with Kevin, but was stopped by the team. The team escaped to the Elsa and returned back to normal time. It was later that they realized that they had made a dive into Shion's subconscious, not the past. Due to the trauma of her parents' death, Shion has suppressed those memories deep inside her. Thus the goal of the Testaments was to re-awake her conscious and bring the Abel's Ark back into normal space.
Meanwhile, Dmitri Yuriev, who had took over Gaignun Kukai's body, set off with Merkabah and his Federation fleet for Abel's Ark. To stop him, the team infiltrated Merkabah in the Elsa during the chaotic battle between the Gnosis, the Federation as well as the Ormus fleet led by Margulis. The team met Sellers, who revealed that Yuriev needed the Zohar Emulators to unite with Abel's Ark.
At this moment, the Federation forces attacked and boarded the Durandal. All the crew were killed except for Mary Godwin and Shelley Godwin, who both held the Arbiter code that seals off the Zohar emulators on board the Durandal. The team returned to the Durandal but was too late to stop Yuriev, who succeed in activating the Zohar emulators. The team were also forced to kill Citrine. The team just about managed to escape from the Durandal before it was rammed into Abel's Ark, transforming the Ark.
Determined to stop his father, Jr. led the team into the Ark and defeated Yuriev. At the final moment, the White Testament appeared and revealed himself as Albedo. Albedo draws out the Zohar and Abel and sent them away. Together with Jr., they linked up to try to absorb Gaignun (Nigredo)'s will into Jr.'s mind to save him. However, sensing Albedo's wish (that is to kill Nigredo, who was created to kill the Red Dragon, Rubedo aka Jr.), Nigredo forced himself into Albedo's body and transferred Albedo's mind into Jr. Nigredo sacrificed himself and perished together with Dmitri Yuriev. Albedo finally fulfill his wish of psychically linking with Jr. and disappeared into Jr.'s consciousness. Just before Albedo disappeared, he informed Jr. that the Zohar and Abel was sent to the planet Michtam. The team left for Michtam in the Elsa, in which its space was currently engulfed in a fierce battle by the Ormus fleet and the Gnosis.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Heinlein revealed himself to Margulis. Heinlein is actually Wilhelm in disguise. Wilhelm revealed that he created the Ormus, Vector and Hyam industries for his own purposes. Shattered by their blind faith, Margulis and Pellegri descended into Michtam and fought Jin's group to the death.
In the main Archon cathedral of Michtam, the group fought against the Black Testament. Voyager, as Ziggy calls him, fought with Ziggy but Ziggy was no match for him. Voyager was the man who murdered his wife and child. Voyager revealed that he had tried to convince Ziggy to be a Testament together with him, and that many of the group's members are also suitable candidates to be a Testament. Canaan revealed himself as Lactis, and explained the true purpose of Project Canaan. He was created by Wilhelm to observe for suitable traits in the team as candidates to be a Testament. Sensing Voyager's greed for power, Canaan tricked him into attempting to link with Wilhelm's Compass of Order and Chaos. However Voyager could not absorb that power and both of them vanished into another dimension.
The team continues to breach the facility, and fought with T-elos again. T-elos revealed that she has the body of Mary Magdalene, while KOS-MOS had her will stored in her. Thus she needs to destroy KOS-MOS to absorb that will into her body for her full awakening. T-elos also calls Shion as the Maiden of Magdalene, who holds the key to her will. KOS-MOS defeated T-elos and fully awakens.
Kevin appeared and tried to convince KOS-MOS and Shion to his side. Shion was blinded by her love and joined him, but realized that she could not be with him after he tortured Allen, and that the happiness she will receive will not be true happiness if she cannot share it with her friends. Kevin, disappointed by Shion's resolve, was called back by Wilhelm.
The team proceeded to Zarathustra and along with it, Wilhelm. He revealed that the universe is on the verge of being destroyed. To save the world, he will need to use the power of Anima, as well as the Zohar and Zarathustra to remake the world, and bring it back to the origins again so that they can live this life over and over again, through the process of "Eternal Recurrence". But to do that, he needs the desire of Shion, as she holds the key to Mary Magdalene's will. It was also revealed that chaos originally had the power of Anima, but was deemed too dangerous and sealed away by Mary Magdalene. The process had caused Mary's death and those power became the Vessels of Anima. Only Mary can unseal that power and only Shion can make Mary do it.
Wilhelm tortures Shion to force her to will it. Unable to bear his love from the sufferings, Kevin attacked Wilhelm which halted Shion's torture. Wilhelm reveals that he had anticipated that Kevin would betray him, as he became a Testament only to save Shion. Wilhelm then presumed torturing Shion, and Kevin along with her.
Zarathustra is then later unleashed, and seizing his opportunity, Kevin lunges his arm through Wilhelm, in an attempt to control and suppress Zarathustra through Wilhelm (who is the self proclaimed "operator" of Zarathustra), although the end result would end in both Wilhelm's and Kevin's death. Before this, chaos told Wilhelm that he believes mankind has the will to change that future and prevent the universe from destruction. The party then attacks Zarathustra, and maintains it. Later, Wilhelm acknowledges chaos's will and disappeared together with Kevin.
In order to fully stop Zarathustra, which had gone out of control due to the collective minds that was gathered by Wilhelm previously, Mary releases the seal to chaos's power and together with Nephilim Verum, KOS-MOS and Abel, chaos attempts to bring those wills back to Lost Jerusalem, back to the origin of time. He urges the rest to escape, that they have a mission to change this world.
In their escape, they noticed a lot of Gnosis gathering around the area. Those Gnosis did not want to leave the world and thus were going to stop chaos and Nephilim from completing their ritual. After alighting the team, Jin bade farewell as he departs in Asher to return to assist chaos in fending off the Gnosis. A battle erupted as Jin and KOS-MOS fought against the Gnosis to shield chaos. Jin lost his life and KOS-MOS sacrificed herself in an explosion. At this moment, space and time warped and all U.M.N. networks disappeared. The Elsa had escaped from the space warp and met up with the Dämmerung.
Jr., Shion and Allen, together with the Elsa, set off to look for Lost Jerusalem, the land where Jin's, chaos's and Mary Magdalene's consciousness sleep, and also the land where the key to saving the universe sleeps.
KOS-MOS floats in space. Her right arm and both her legs are gone, and what remains of her body is badly damaged. As she drifts she hears chaos' voice in her head telling her that apparently the universe still needs them. He then tells KOS-MOS to sleep until they are needed again. KOS-MOS closes her eyes as she drifts through space toward the sun rising over Lost Jerusalem.
Enemies are sorted into three types: biological (like humans), Gnosis, and mechanical (robots).
Battles are completely different from those in the previous two installments. It is no longer a matter of pressing // to hit Zones to make Breaks. Now there is simply only one command for attack and a list filled with skills called Techniques (Tech), as well as a list full of acquired Ether.
The Boost gauge returns and is similar to Episode II in that it is shared with the team instead of each individual member in Episode I. The Stock system from Episode II, as well as the "event slot" system from Episode I and Episode II are absent.
Techs are centered around doing mainly one of two things: dealing larger damage than normal attacks, or dealing moderate damage with larger Break damage.
When a player or enemy has Break status, they will kneel with two spinning stars over their head and be unable to act for a few turns. There are Tech attacks which specifically target Break, as well as healing Ether which can decrease Break damage.
E.S. battles Edit
E.S. battles return. Now, the player can control three at once instead of two like in Episode II.
Episode III has a mini-game called HaKox. It can be accessed in the G.F.G. Showroom on Fifth Jerusalem, or the diner in the Elsa. It is basically a timing-based game where the characters are in a 3D space on blocks, and the player must press certain buttons to safely transport the characters to a certain destination.
HaKox is divided into 6 worlds. Upon completing a world, the player unlocks:
- Beginner - Decoder 2 and Skill Upgrade A
- Medium - Skill Upgrade B
- Advanced - Skill Upgrade C
- Expert - Ziggy's Swimsuit
- Extreme - Vaquero (Jr.'s final weapon)
- Master - Brave Heart (a necklace which can be worn by anyone which gives Max Boost +3)
- Main article: Xenosaga Episode III Original Soundtrack
Yuki Kajiura (Xenosaga Episode II, .hack//SIGN, Noir, and Madlax) became the sole composer in Episode III. Various remixes, arrangements and reappearances of tracks from the "Xenosaga Episode II: Movie Scene Soundtrack" appear in the game. The soundtrack follows the style of Kajiura's Episode II soundtrack with several key themes from Episode II, chief among them KOS-MOS' theme, appearing throughout the game.
The game soundtrack, "Xenosaga Episode III: Original Sound Best Tracks (Yuki Kajiura selection)" was released on July 12, 2006. It consists of 40 tracks selected by Yuki Kajiura from the game, though it is not a complete release of all the tracks.
The ending theme is "Maybe Tomorrow" sung by Emily Curtis. The soundtrack also contains vocals by Eri Itoh.
The English version of the game was censored. The majority of these edits were for scenes of violence and blood that would have elevated the game beyond the "Teen" rating given by the ESRB to the "Mature" level, even though the first two installments contained blood. The storyline remains identical.
There is a way to uncensor the game via a fan mod (see External Links).
- Shion's shower scene was edited so that less of her lower body is seen during the shower.
- When Shion's parents are killed, their corpses lack blood. When Shion sees her mother in the Japanese version, she notices the blood on her mother's bedsheets. When Shion sees her mother in the English version, there is nothing to confirm that Shion realizes her mother is dead.
- A noticeable instance of the editing is a scene in which a horrified young Shion reacts to the death of her mother, Aoi, by wanting to put the blood back in her mother's bleeding body. In the Japanese version, her hands are holding her mother's blood which is dripping from the bed. In the English version, Shion has nothing in her hands, even though she says and acts like she does. Also removed was the sound effects of the blood dripping and splashing on the floor. This censorship was criticized for confusing players and turning an emotional scene into a confusing one, and making Shion seem unnecessarily mentally unstable with hallucinations.
- During the Miltian Conflict, corpses, including U.R.T.V.s, lack blood.
- During the occupation of the Durandal, a Durandal crew member is seen begging for her life and pleading for mercy. She is seen being kicked to the floor and receiving a gunshot to the face with blood pouring from the back of her head. The English version fades-to-black before the gun is shot, but still has the sound effect of her head being shot.
- During the assault on the Durandal, all of the corpses lack blood.
- Margulis's death is censored. In the Japanese version, Margulis kills himself with his sword.
- When Allen is attacked by Kevin, the blood and bruises on his face is removed.
- When Shion is being tortured by Wilhelm, her screaming is much more intense as if she is being literally tortured to death. In the English version, her screaming is less intense. It is unknown if this was an intentional censorship, or merely a fault of Shion's English voice actor.
- In the ending, while fighting Gnosis, a Gnosis' sword falls from the air and pierces Jin's back, causing him to bleed profusely. Jin removes it and uses his last strength to fight the Gnosis, which pierces him from the front. Jin removes it, causing him to bleed even more from his chest and mouth. In the English version, all the blood is removed.
Xenosaga was a very ambitious project, intended to be about 6 episodes long. Unfortunately, due to budget and time constraints and other factors, Episode III was forced to condense the rest of the story into a single game.
Episode III received generally positive reviews and many Xenosaga fans feel Episode III is the best game of the trilogy.
Regarding Episode II, the majority of media and fan outlets felt that the game improved upon Episode II, which many considered a disappointing sequel to the first installment. Specifically, many felt that the new battle system, although typical RPG fare, was an improvement over the complicated "zone break" system used in Episode II, and that the voice acting was improved with the return of several popular voice actors which were inexplicably recast for Episode II, notably Lia Sargent as Shion and Bridget Hoffman as KOS-MOS.
X-Play gave Episode III an extremely average review, giving it a 3 out of 5. Morgan Webb claimed the plot of the series is "so twisted and convoluted", "insufferably pretentious" and "makes absolutely no sense". She noted that the cutscenes alternate between "kick-ass high speed combat" and "boring dialog", but noted that gameplay is "pretty fun" when available and noted the better graphics.
The notoriously long cutscenes of Xenosaga return, with Episode III having almost 9 hours of cutscenes, a record in the series. They are also slightly different, with many cutscenes in the form of textboxes. The player can press select to auto-advance them.
Some surprise was expressed at the amount of "deaths". In chronological order, this includes everyone in the Miltian Conflict (such as Virgil and Febronia), the Durandal crew and Citrine, Albedo and Nigredo and Yuriev, Richard and Hermann, Pellegri, Voyager and Canaan, Margulis, T-elos, Wilhelm, Jin and Kevin.
Some criticism was also directed at the censorship, and the removal of blood made certain potentially powerful and emotional scenes into confusing scenes, such as the removal of Shion holding her mother's blood.
Some criticism stemmed from the oversexualization of KOS-MOS and T-elos, which some fans felt it undermines the tone of the game.
Like Xenogears before it, Xenosaga Episode III offended some fundamentalist Christians. In Xenosaga, the version of "Christianity" that humanity believes in (the Christianity created by Ormus and Wilhelm who may be Lucifer/Satan) is a complete lie and portrayed as a religious cult, which is suppressing truths about Jesus and Mary Magdalene. It is revealed Mary Magdalene's consciousness is part of KOS-MOS, Shion is Mary's maiden, and T-elos is essentially Mary Magdalene's reanimated walking corpse turned into a robot. Mary Magdalene is portrayed as not one, but two sexualized robots who fire laser beams from their breasts. There is also an idea that one of the main party members, chaos ("Yeshua"), is literally Jesus himself, but this is simply a theory and could be a misconception. In the Xenosaga universe, Jesus also had no supernatural miracle powers which may offend Christians who believe he did, although this is only revealed in a supplementary guidebook.
- Japanese website
- Cutscenes (Part 1) (English)
- Cutscenes (Part 2) (English)
- Cutscenes (Part 1) (Japanese)
- Cutscenes (Part 2) (Japanese)
- Cutscenes (Chapter 1) (Uncensored Mod)
- Cutscenes (Chapter 2) (Uncensored Mod)
- Cutscenes (Chapter 3) (Uncensored Mod)
- Cutscenes (Chapter 4) (Uncensored Mod
- Cutscenes (Chapter 5) (Uncensored Mod)
- Cutscenes (Chapter 6) (Uncensored Mod)
- Movie version
- Uncensored game download
- Music of Xenosaga Episode III Game Rip