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Xenoblade Chronicles X ReviewReview


Xenoblade Chronicles X
Game review on Wii U
Kris Godwin / Thu 24th Mar 2016
396 views / 4 bites

Nintendo unleashes a Monolithic game!

OVERVIEW The highly anticipated sequel to Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles X is one of the biggest games to ever hit a Nintendo console. A massive JRPG than can last players for nearly 500 hours, this is one game that will have your Wii U in use for a long time.

STORYLINE Starting in the year 2056, Xenoblade Chronicles X begins with an alien invasion on Earth; with two warring intergalactic factions using our blue marble as a final battlefield. Realising their impending doom, humankind decides to flee to the stars, using massive vessels known as 'arks'. Unfortunately, most are destroyed by alien fire - with only one known to escape; the American 'White Whale'.

Cut forward two moths later, and the White Whale is besieged once more as it floats in space, before it crashes on to the nearby planet of Mira. It's here where the game begins.

You play as a custom created character; a survivor who is awakened in their stasis pod by a soldier named Elma. She tells you that the White Whale broke apart during its crash landing, with the remaining vestiges of humankind forming 'New LA' within the ship's leftover living sector. Here, civilisation is busy trying to rebuild, and its very way of life is protected by the military organisation BLADE ('Builders of the Legacy After the Destruction of Earth'). After a lengthy introduction, you then join BLADE, and are tasked with exploring Mira and helping humans thrive in their new habitat, all the while fighting off alien forces hell-bent on your destruction.

The premise is certainly interesting; though I can't say the story was as good as the game's Wii predecessor. I wasn't a big fan of the move to sci-fi from fantasy, with some of the plot's more absurd elements jarring with the supposed 'real world' setting. Also, the main 12 chapters need to have certain conditions met in order to be accessed, which will undoubtedly annoy some - though as a completionist, I personally didn't mind.

GAMEPLAY p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120%;Make no mistake, Xenoblade Chronicles X is a huge game.

Playing very similarly to the first title, you and a party of three traverse the world and engage in semi real-time battles that echo MMOs. Combat is very slick, with streamlined features like automatic healing between battles and a de-emphasis on items in favour of aid via QTE 'Soul Voices'.

Exploration, too, is superb. Finding special landmarks create warp points for easy travel, and dying in battle simply respawns you to the nearest one - with all experience and items intact. This encourages unabashed adventuring, which is a huge step-up from JRPGs of yore.

Upon joining BLADE, you choose from one of 10 different jobs - though this doesn't really change much in the way of missions. Regardless, you are tasked with installing data probes throughout Mira in order to expand BLADE's 'Frontier Net', and these will help you generate money, crafting materials, and the special ore called 'Miranium'. this takes a long time to accomplish, and finding treasures in Mira is dependent on the level of your mechanical, biological and archaeological skills (raised with every BLADE level).

About 50 hours in, you'll eventually obtain a 'Skell'. These are mechs that will open new areas to explore, and will help in battling the worst of Xenoblade's foes. Another 20 hors will net you the power of flight, which really opens the game to its full potential.

There is so much in this package, I have scant space to talk about it. Passive online multiplayer is also present, which lets you rack up kills with other players in exchange for reward tickets that can be used to buy items, instead of going out and finding them - though this all can be ignored.

I do have quite a few criticisms, unfortunately. Quite frankly, there are a lot of baffling and lazy design decisions that really bring everything down. Fetch quests are incredibly obnoxious, with vague, useless instructions that had me using Google far more than I wanted. The fact that these make up a majority of the game's content is ridiculous. I also had major issues with levelling-up my crew, which has to be done individually, rather than the way it was done in the first game. Many affinity quests require members to be highly ranked in order to start, and these are incredibly tiring to accomplish. By the time I was done, I was happy to see the end of it all.

GRAPHICS Visuals too are strangely inconsistent. Character models are quite basic, though enemies are beautifully designed. Pop-in is particularly sever, even with all the optional 'Data Packs' installed from the eShop. NPCs load into existence way too slowly, with waits as long as four seconds at times. Still, considering the size of the game, I can look past it.

Thankfully, Mira itself is utterly breathtaking. It's one of the best looking game worlds I've even seen, and it all loads seamlessly - despite being arounf five times bigger than Fallout 4, and with virtually no glitches. Taking into account this immense performance on Wii U, I can forgive some of the ugliness.

AUDIO Sound is a mixed bag. Some themes like New LA or combat are blighted by bad rapping and singing, though I eventually got used to it. Other scores fare much better, with Mira themes being quite wonderful.

Voice acting is okay. Some performances are dull (Elma) or aggravating (Tatsu), but others are much better, such as the dyslexic alien L, or the arrogant H.B. Text translation is quite excellent in comparison, with some genuinely hilarious dialogue that almost made me wish voices were ditched entirely!

VERDICT To sum up, Xenoblade Chronicles X is most definitely an acquired taste. A vast change from the user-friendly Nintendo fare, this is a videogame that requites patience and dedication. It's as hardcore as hardcore gets, and this gave me a love/hate relationship with it. Ultimately, I don't think it's as good as the previous Xenoblade Chronicles, but if you're a JRPG addict, then this is definitely for you.


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What's This?