I got XSIII a few days ago (yay I’m a happy XS geek) and got to playing it.
Now, if you heard any news about the game then you probably know there was censored scenes in the NA version. No big deal, right? There was censored stuff in the first two episodes too.
However it seems the censoring goes a bit farther in this release. Maybe due to the recent Hot Coffee fiasco and with characters like Jack Thompson willing to make a big deal over ANYTHING for attention, Namco probably decided to be cautious.
The censoring made a particular scene at the end of the first disc a bit confusing, and if I didn’t KNOW that stuff was censored I would have been left scratching my head:
The scene takes place in Shion’s mother’s hospital room. Young Shion is kneeling by her mother’s bed after the realians stabbified her. In the NA version she’s looking at her empty hands saying she ‘has to put it back, or else mommy won’t wake up’. It took me a few moments to realize that there was SUPPOSED to be blood on her hands (and probably all over the bed). They took the blood out, but didn’t really do anything to clarify things.
There’s a few other, minor, instances of censoring around that I can live with. They don’t impact the interpretation of what’s going on like the above did, though there IS one case of censoring that, while it wasn’t major, did make me ‘wtf’: Near the end of the game, after some certain events, Allen gets a black eye (among other injuries). However the NA version pretty much erases the black eye off his face. I mean, what the hell, it’s just a BLACK EYE. God.
There is one other big issue of censoring I’m aware of, in the ending. Note this is an ENDING SPOILER so only highlight the ENDING SPOILER if you want to know something from the ENDING that you will SPOIL.
After Jin stays behind to hold off the Gnosis he starts getting cut up pretty bad. In the JP version there’s quite a lot of blood coming out of him. His clothes are stained and there’s pools of it in the floor. But guess what, NA version, no blood. Anywhere. So I guess it’s just going to look like he’ll be flailing around randomly. Oh, and there was a trickle of blood coming out of his mouth as he died. They removed that too. Gah.
So, there you have it. I’m normally not one to get up in arms about censoring. I was fine with Albedo ripping his own head off instead of cutting it off in Episode 1, I had no problem with him blasting his head off with a random-as-hell energy ball instead of a gun in Episode 2. But the censorship in Episode 3 just seems excessive, and I can only blame recent stinks in the media about violent videogames that have come up in the past year.
As for the game itself, I’m enjoying it. Though I feel they changed the system too much to be a bit too ‘Final Fantasy’, I miss the attack combos from the first two episodes. But, battles are much, MUCH, faster. There’s no more battle loading lag either. In fact battles load so fast now it was damn distracting the first time. The pace of battles is much faster. The whole system feels more like a standard RPG than Episode II did, which could be good or bad depending on what you thought of Episode II. I rather liked some of the innovations Episode II tried, but it made the battle system too sluggish.
Also, you can re-watch any cutscene in the game after you’ve seen it once. It’s a neat feature.