Open world adventure games are a pretty normal occurrence in the current gaming environment on the Xbox One and the Ps4. Open world adventure games on Nintendo systems however are not and man in Xenoblade Chronicles X , they put all the others to shame. Minus a few non-dealbreaker issues, and I do mean a very small few, this game is stellar so allow me to tell you a few points as to what this game has to offer and be real with you about it’s flaws also.
6.) Non –typical JRPG story
JRPG’s (Japanese Role Playing Game) have a history of having a lot of elements of fantasy, drama, humor, adventure, complex plots with unforeseen twists and turns, and characters with unrealistically large and or powerful equipment. Xenoblade having all of these elements takes them and then brings them into world that comes more out of a sci-fi style Armageddon adventure starring Earth’s last Human refugee’s who are have escaped the destruction of Earth via being caught in between a tremendous battle between two highly advanced alien races. (This is saying a lot seeing how the humans had giant Mechs (called Skells in this game) and vessels capable of deep space travel.) After being attacked again in their flight away from the now Alderaan-esque Earth the part of their ship in which most day to day living occurred crash lands on the planet Mira and our survivors are forced to find their way on a huge new world where they must fight for survival against literally only God knows what with absolutely ZERO information about what could be on Mira. It’s here where you begin as a survivor who was found in a lone stasis pod on the planet by one of the members of an organization called BLADE. Now I personally do not like spoilers so let’s move on and talk about the planet for a second
5.) MIRA IS TREMENDOUSLY LARGE
Minus Daggerfall, I don’t think there has ever been a game whose map was ever as large as this one and as seamless as this one is. When Nintendo set out to give us an exploration of a new planet, they really did give you an entire planet to explore where you can go literally anywhere that you can see. You can even the floating islands after you get the flight modification for your Skell! This is worth particular note given the originally low critical reception of the Wii U in comparison to the capabilities of the PS4 and Xbox One and the fact that the Mira is at least three or four times the size of both the Witcher 3 and Skyrim. (Here’s a Skyrim size comparison video.) The game also does lots to ensure that the experience of this new planet is augmented by giving you a feeling of there being a genuine ecosystem between the various creatures living on the planet. Seeing a flock of level 11 apes with a gargantuan level 81 ape who will attack you on sight roaming amidst them is an entirely normal experience in this game. (Level 60 is the cap for your character mind you so have fun with that one.) My friend and I were playing yesterday and he was blown away by the fact that there was a level 54 dinosaur drinking out of a lake in which four or five other level 6 creatures are playing in the water. Monolith has created a fantastic gaming experience in giving you more than aimlessly roaming or scavenging creatures but creatures who genuinely have a home on the planet and have learned to live in harmony with each other but have not quite decided how to handle its new human extra-terrestrials. The time to explore the beautiful landscape of Mira is not time wasted either seeing as to how you gain experience and other rewards for scouring your way across Mira’s continents. (There are five of them by the way.) Speaking of Mira’s Beautiful landscape
4.) Mira Is Beautiful
The scenery of this planet is gorgeous and the fact that you can explore each and every part of it only adds to the beauty. But it doesn’t stop there! The attention to detail of even the creatures and equipment of each of the characters is impressive as well. None of the various creatures you run across feel shoddily designed and are as intimidating as they ought to be for the various occasions you run into them. Each of your pieces of equipment for both you and your Skells look absolutely as cool as they should for a futuristic sci-fi fantasy adventure into uncharted territory instead of looking like a cheesy re hash of some anime with just generic armor being used for both you and your Skell, given how all of your Skell equipment is customizable thus leading to each player having Skells that are specifically unique to them. This is of a special note because the Wii U was not orignailly designed with its focus being on graphics ability but has always been known for being a console that was focused more on family fun and pushing gaming boundaries with its control pad screen, another aspect which plays out in the favor of Nintendo’s under-rated console.
Xenoblade Chronicles X has some of the most innovative controls I have ever seen for a JRPG and are truly an essential in creating such an immersive experience for the tale of humanity’s struggle for survival. This game’s controls for battle seem to be nothing more than choosing a few Arts, this games version of spells, and watching the characters auto attack while you wait for your cooldowns on your Arts to reload, however this would be a grossly incorrect viewpoint of how the system actually works. Battles are far more complex, fun, strategic, and involved than a passing glance would assume. Auto-attacks are a part of the combat as are choosing your Arts well but there is even an immense amount of strategy involved in just those two aspects. In combat as you do those two actions you can lock on to various enemy appendages, attack, and cripple or even sever those appendages from the enemy thus infliciting various detrimental debuff’s to the enemy. The timing of your Arts is also important as well due to the Soul Voice system, a system of combat that branches out of various commands you and your party members will shout out during battle and, if used in conjunction with your Arts, will grant various buffs and healing to your team. These become essential to winning various battles as does your location on the batteflield, which will grant a higher chance to both accuracy and chance of critically hitting. All of this is also augmented by the Control Pad game screen that adds even more information to the already informative UI and allows for management of your various probes and gives you detailed map information or the option to play soley from the control screen. However it is entirely likely that someone could miss out on all of this intricacy and involved gameplay due to what was the flaw that stood out most to me in Xenoblade.
2.) Tutorial Lacking
This is less detailed than my other explanations but simply put the tutorial that Xenoblade gives you in game is certainly is lacking to say the least. There is a large girth of the depth of gameplay that the game tutorial simply just doesn’t give to you in game. However, the game does allow you an instruction manual that is SUPERBLY HELPFUL but it is, in fact, 50 pages long yet still worth the read due to how helpful every piece of information is. I recommend doing this either before you begin the game or directly after you first learn about combat. It’s a minor complaint given that with most other things in life we would actually do the work of actually reading the instructions first so we properly understand the item we are working with, like, you know, cooking stuff so we don’t set our houses or apartments or whatever on fire.
The characters in the game are more interesting than I would have originally thought they would be and also less annoying than some of the other ones in various other JRPGs that I have been playing recently. I originally thought I was going to hate a couple of them but as time has passed have found them more and more charming and even to become one of the more endearing factors to the game, which I guess is how some actual friendships in real life function sometimes as well! The voice acting is also stellar and really does a huge part of the work of fleshing out who these various people are at their core and does lots to give you information about their personalities and helps sell us on these people who have been pushed to the most dire moments of humanity’s history (fictionally of course) and still have fought for life without losing hope, joy, and light in the midst of it. Your own character is even so customizable beyond asthetics that even you can have your own custom voice from a selection of several (With a nod to the original by including the voice actors for Shulk and Fiora, Adam Howden and Carina Reeves, as options.)
Nintendo and Monolith have created a unique fantasy adventure unlike almost anything I have ever played before and fits right with Nintendo’s desires to both make fun games and bring something game changing and new to the table.
Xenoblade Chronicles X 8.5/10
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