Xenosaga Episode II - Jenseits von Gut und Bose [SLUS 20892] (U)
PC Specs:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U (8 cores, 8 threads, released mid-2020ish, it’s an APU for ultrabooks)
GPU: Radeon Integrated Graphics (actually Vega, but whatever)
Laptop Model: 14ARE05 (Lenovo Flex 5)
RAM: 16GB soldered
Build Description: Nightly Build v1.7.2246, 64bit AVX2 version
Operating System: Windows 11
BIOS Used: USA v1.06
EE/VU Clamp modes: Full and Normal, respectively
EE/VU Rounding: Chop/Chop
GSdx Settings: Vulkan Hardware Renderer, 3x Native, Interlacing (Automatic), Bilinear (PS2) Texture Filtering (works the best).

Amount of testing done (little/medium/much/completed-game): Medium, I’m a little ways into the game, almost to the end of the section where the party dives into MOMO’s/Sakura’s mind. So I’ve been able to see multiple pre-rendered and in-game rendered cutscenes and test out a variety of situations. So far so good, Vulkan works really well with Xenosaga 2 for some reason. I tested OpenGL as well, but they work much the same, except Vulkan is faster.

Speedhacks Used: I checked every option. Didn’t seem to cause any problems. I did not increase the cycle rate or do any cycle skipping.
Gamefixes Used: None

Hardware Options:
I tripled the resolution to 1080p. I checked every available box, as when I was testing Xenosaga 3, it needed every option. I didn’t do any extra testing without the checked boxes to see what would happen as I had a smooth experience with those boxes checked. I used the Aggressive CRC hack, which the other Xenosaga games need. Again, didn’t seem to do any harm. I did no testing using the Software Renderer. Typically I’d choose that as the last option in case the Hardware Renderer had severe issues, but everything worked so swimmingly well, I didn’t even bother.

“Hacks” Tab:
Renderer Hacks:
I checked “Disable Safe Features”, “Preload Frame Data”, and “Fast Texture Invalidation”. The first two are necessary for the other Xenosaga games, and again, everything worked well enough with those settings that I didn’t bother testing anything else. I “Force-Disabled” the Half-Screen Fix, and I used Trilinear Filtering below that.
Upscale Hacks:
I checked “Align Sprite” and “Merge Sprite”, set “Half Pixel Offset” to “Special (Texture)”, and “Round Sprite” to “Full”.

Glitches to Report:
Surprisingly, there are almost none! The game ran really well under Vulkan with only the most minor of graphical problems. I think I might have noticed a dark outline on a character in a cutscene a few times, which just made them look cel-shaded. I wouldn’t have noticed unless I was looking for it. And there was the barest texture doubling on some distant characters in cutscenes, which again, I wouldn’t have noticed unless I was looking for it. And when you get to a save point, a miniature of the last frame appears in the top-left corner. I think the save points do a screen capture the moment you click on them, rather than when you decide to save.
I was especially impressed with how much faster Vulkan was compared to OpenGL. I couldn’t run OpenGL stably at 1080p on my laptop, but I could with Vulkan. I could even boost all the way up to 200% most of the time. Very impressive. And this is just the beta. There was one room at the URTV center in Momo’s mind where there was significant slowdown, but only there. It’s the room with the URTV pods. I think the game struggles to render all the pods at 1080p. Worked just fine at 720p.
The most egregious glitch was not with the graphics, but with the audio. I noticed that certain notes were being skipped. I wondered if I was perhaps remembering the songs incorrectly. But then I played the OST on YouTube, and nope, it was an audio glitch. The soundtrack was supposed to play certain parts in each ear, but that wasn’t happening consistently every time, so certain notes weren’t playing.
Thankfully, there is an in-game menu that allows you to alter the sound options. I switched from “Stereo” to “Mono”, and that solved the glitch. I fiddled around with some other options as well to make the audio sound better to my liking.

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