It seems Great RPGs are becoming more and more scarce, so when I heard the hype surrounding xenoblade chronicles, I just had to try it for myself. And I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t think I was going to like it at first. I often heard it compared to final fantasy xii and MMO’s, neither of which I care too much for. But from the moment the opening cutscene started, I was hooked.
The main character of the story is Shulk, a young man with a fascination for engineering and technology. Along the way you’ll meet plenty of other character’s each with their own unique personalities like the rambunctious Reyn and caring but feisty Fiora. Shulk is charged with researching the monado, a mysterious sword that’s the only thing in the world capable of harming humanity’s sworn enemies, the mechon. The monado plays a key role in battles as well. When an enemy is getting ready to deliver a devastating attack, the game will give you a vision of the future of what will happen when the attack hits. You then have a small time limit to either use a skill to negate the attack or mitigate the damage. This ability of the monado plays a key role in the story as Shulk has the ability to see the future. And he’ll need it to help save the world.
Speaking of the world, those two giant titans in the game’s intro ARE the world. You spend the game scouring these two colossal giants. And boy is the game massive. There’s easily over 100 hours of content. I’m shocked they could fit all the game’s content on one disc. It’s really THAT big. The game’s battle system is a mixture of real time action and mmo-esque skill selection. You stand next to the enemy and your character will automatically attack as you manually input the skills that are executed such as healing. On the surface it might seem plain, but this system is actually pretty deep, with customizable gems that affect your weapons and skills in various ways and the chain attack system that can be downright broken if you really know how to use it.
As I mentioned earlier, xenoblade is similar in ways to mmo’s or final fantasy xii. You fight enemies on the map in real time, you farm loot, and go on quests. Lots and lots of quests. By the time I beat the game, I was around 70 hours and I’m pretty sure I only had about half of the quests finished. They’re easy to get sucked into, but the main story itself is more than enough reason to play. You start out in colony 9, and work your up the leg of the bionis and beyond its whole body as you uncover the secrets of the mechon, the monado, and the world itself. I can’t remember the last time a story enthralled me so much and made me want to keep playing just to see what happened next. The action sequences are epic and keep you on the edge of your seat, there’s a few touching moments, a bit of mystery, and even a funny moment here and there. This is all topped by one of the greatest soundtracks I’ve ever heard.
All the music is memorable, from the normal battle theme, to the boss music, to the individual themes of each area. One of my personal favorites is Satorl Marsh’s theme. *music* As good as xenoblade is, every game has its flaws. And I’ll admit xenoblade’s aren’t extremely overbearing, but they are noticeable after a while. The first flaw being the AI of your partner’s in battle. I can’t tell you how many times I felt the impulse to yell at my tv for Riki to heal, since you can’t tell your allies to use skills without a monado vision. My ally’s AI was the sole reason for quite of few of my deaths in battle. The only other complaint I had with the game is that battles can feel like a chore after over 60 hours of the same thing. But to a degree, that can be said of all action games. Some will complain about the outdated graphics, but to be honest they didn’t bother me at all. The lush and vibrant environments more than make up for the slightly dull textures.
Xenoblade Chronicles is the RPG experience I was waiting all last generation for. Epic story, amazing musical score, likeable characters, and a fun battle system. And I didn’t even touch on other aspects like skill trees, gem crafting, and trading. If you like RPGs at all, you owe it to yourself to play Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s just that good. Xenoblade Chronicles for the wii gets a well deserved 10/10.