Every console should have a game that defines it. Xenoblade Chronicles X is the reason why you should go out and buy a Wii U.
I’ve never played Xenoblade in my life. Even though I have a Wii I never bothered to play the first title for some reason and I regret that because this game is fantastic. It’s literally filled with content from beginning to end and it never once got stale to me.
When you consider what console this game released on you’ll be blown away by how beautiful this game is. Every environment has a different feel to it because of different it looks. Primordia is the starting area, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk. I’ve died from plenty of level 60 creatures while attempting to kill something in their vicinity.
The world isn’t the only thing that’s done really well in this game. The character models also look really good, but they are a bit dated. You can tell they’re on old hardware, but it’s just a minor complaint and it wasn’t enough for me to take the graphics out of the great section of this review.
Xenoblade Chronicles X’s gameplay kind of reminds me of White Knight Chronicles. You have your actions listed side by side from each other and you move the D-padd left or right to get to them. You have various different actions to choose from as you level up and as you level up your character you’ll eventually unlock a lot more. There is a steep learning curve in this game.
A lot of the features, like how to unlock level 50 Skells, aren’t told to us. I had to look the answer up online and it turned out that my most ignored weapon manufacturer was the one that gave me high level Skells. It’s best to read the instruction manual before you start playing the game. It’ll save you a lot of headaches and you’ll be a little more prepared for what you’re about to walk into.
Fighting isn’t just what Xenoblade is about though. It’s also about exploration. As soon as the game starts you’re free to go wherever you want and do whatever you want. There are no invisible walls in this game. You can literally traverse any type of terrain I Skyrimed, yes I know that’s not a word, myself up a mountain, got into a fight with a big ass bird, and fell 100 feet down into a lake and got killed by another monster. It was awesome and I promised myself that I would get my revenge when I got my first Skell.
Exploring is rewarded in this game. Not only is it a requirement to progress in the main story it also gives us valuable rewards like probes. If you can track down valuable treasure, and if your mechanical skill is high enough, you’ll be able to break it down and get something in return for it. Most of the time the things that I got were pretty worthless, but some times I was rewarded with a new probe and that’s always a good thing. You use probes to make more miranium, another type of currency in the game that’s used for purchasing special items, and credits. Every 15-20 minutes you’ll get your miranium, and credits, delivered to you so you don’t have to manually extract them.
It’s a very important feature in the game and it can be managed right from your touchpad on the Wii U. I must have spent just as much time managing my Frontier Nav as I did in the actual game itself because I wanted to make a lot of money and laying down the right probes in the right areas can really help with that process.
Miranium is also the resource that powers your Skells so make sure you use it wisely in the beginning of the game.
I haven’t had a good boss fight since I played Dark Souls II over a year ago. The boss fights in this game are fantastic. The cat dude really stands out to me simply because he used a lightsaber for half of the fight and switched to his skell for the other half. It was all kinds of awesome and when he made fire rain from the sky I was sold on this game and it’s boss fights.
I was pleasantly surprised on how often I got to use my Skell in boss fights. You actually need a good Skell for boss fights because they’re huge and can be a real challenge if you fight them on foot.
Skells are by far the most awesome thing about this game. When I unlocked my first Skell it was the best thing that had happened to me by far in gaming this year. I made the mistake of thinking that I could steamroll anything in my skell… that didn’t last very long when I lost it 15 minutes later because I tried fucking with a level 40 mofo.
When I got to level 30 and saw all the different kinds of Skells there are in the game I started saving up my credits to buy my favorite looking one and I don’t regret it because that big guy lasted me until the end game. Skells are awesome and I couldn’t help, but sing Go, Go Power Rangers when it switched to the cockpit view in combat. I even named my Skell Megazord.
Huge Open World:
This game is huge and I mean huge. You can fit Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and Fallout 4 in this game. You would think that would be pretty intimidating, and it is at first, but as I learned the game things got a little less confusing for me. This isn’t your average open world game though. You can’t find everything on foot. You can only get to some places by flying in your Skell. Getting a Skell opens up a whole new way to explore the world and I’ve never experienced anything like it in an open world game.
There is a lot of different armor sets, weapons, and epic gear to collect in this game. Some items can only be gotten by collecting materials from across Mira and building them. It takes a awhile to get everything, but once I did I didn’t regret it. I’m still using my level 20 sword because I keep upgrading it. It does more damage then most level 40+ weapons that I find in the field.
In order to unlock new armor, or more customized armor, you have to level up your weapon manufacturers by using the miranium you collect from Frontier Nav.
The story is the weak point of Xenoblade Chronicles X. Heartfelt moments fall a little flat because of the voice acting and awkward pacing of everything. The music that plays during these moments is good and does a good job setting up the mood, but the delivery is weak. There is some really intense moments though. When the giant sized cat prince and his bodyguard invaded our city, and killed our guards it was awesome and I really wanted to know what happened next because I was looking forward to fighting that guy.
The main villain is a joke to be honest. I rarely saw him and when I did I thought the lines he spoke were pretty cheesy. The boss fight with him was… good, but he’s outclassed by other bosses that I fought building up to that final showdown. The story is good enough for JRPG enthusiast, but for the rest of us… not so much.
Most of the songs that play in the background while I’m out exploring Mira is really good. Even some of the songs that have lyrics are good, but when I walk into New L.A it’s a different story. I can’t focus on cutscenes when loud music is playing in the background and it’s the worst type of music in my opinion. I don’t want to hear club music when I’m trying to buy new weapons, and armor for my party.
When I’m out exploring Primordia, or Noctilum the music is fantastic. Noctilum has my favorite tunes by far. I went to Youtube and listened to the Noctilum theme repeatably. It’s that good to me. When you’re fighting tyrants, big ass monsters/boss fights, the music that plays in the back is all kinds of awesome.
Drawn Out Dialogue:
Many JRPGs suffer from this in my opinion. Instead of ending the conversation and letting us go on our way it’s drawn out and things are often repeated. Most of the dialogue is done this way and it irritates me. I found myself skipping dialogue after I got the general idea of what I was supposed to be doing in sidequest. I didn’t skip any story dialogue, but I was tempted at times.
Who thought it would be a good idea to give us a talking potato as a companion? I loathed almost every second of his character in the game. I just don’t like him and he did nothing to make me change my mind as the game progressed. He’s just there as a comedic relief, but I only found one or two moments genuinely funny with him. He’s just a badly written character.
There Is No Character Building:
Most games have character building. In The Witcher 3 Ciri started off as a woman afraid of the Wild Hunt, but in the end she stood up to them and eventually defeated them with Geralt. This game doesn’t have moments like that. Elma was the exact same character that I met in the beginning of the game. She did not change or grow into a better character as time went on. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like her character, I really did, but I wish most of the characters weren’t so predictable.
When I learned that this game had multiplayer I thought I would be able to travel around the world with friends. That’s not the case here. Multiplayer is disappointing. When you accept a multiplayer mission you’re restricted to a tiny area on one of the maps and once you kill the monsters you’re transported back to the main hub. It’s very disappointing and I didn’t bother giving it more then a few tries before I completely ignored it and continued with the single player experience.
There isn’t a lot wrong in Xenoblade Chronicles X. It does a lot right and very little wrong in my opinion. The main story is predictable, the characters never really grew on me like most characters do in other RPGs, and the story can be considered the weak point of the game, but the gameplay, and huge open world makes up for every shortcoming that this game has. Flying around in my Skell and discovering new locations was fun. It was an experience I’ve never had in gaming. There has never been an open world quite like this one and it’s one of many reasons why you should get a Wii U. Xenoblade Chronicles X is the best RPG that’s released this year and I can’t wait to get back to it and grind my character up to level 60 and unlock all of the other Skells that I want.
Despite it’s shortcomings this is the Skyrim of JRPGs. I haven’t had this much in an RPG since Skyrim and the huge open world adds to the experience rather then subtract from it like other open world games did these last few years. This is how you make a open world game.