Date Completed: September 24th, 2016
Holy Long Game Batman! I was one of the few who owned the original version of the game when it was released on the Wii console. I had started the game a few times but I never made it very far in and eventually I traded my Wii in for a Wii U and lost my save. I tried the game again on the Wii U but I never made it very far there either. Eventually it came out for the ‘New’ 3DS and the portable form factor finally made it possible for me to sink the hundred hours into the game that were needed to beat it.
The ‘universe’ in Xenoblade consists of two massive titans (The Bionis and the Mechonis) who killed (or did they?) each other after some sort of timeless battle. Several races of beings live on the bodies of these titans and naturally the beings on the Mechonis are at war with the beings on the Bionis. Without giving too much away, the game will take you on an epic journey across the body of the Bionis.
The size of the game world is absolutely massive. The scenery is breathtaking. There are rivers, mountains, valleys, forests and swaps all magnificently realized with some amazing views. The design teams plays fast and loose with gravity and there are tons of spots where it is possible to step right off the Bionis. In fact, there is even an achievement for doing so. This is the only game I can think of where I frequently found myself accidentally jumping off the world.
The true test of the quality of an RPG is of course the story. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the story and it reminded me of back in the day when Final Fantasy games used to be good. It was a wild and insane ride, but it all made enough sense that I didn’t have to hunt down a Wiki that explained anything. The main characters were all interesting, realistic and likable. Overall I’d say this game is a job well done.
Like many other RPGs this game has way too many things to fiddle with. There are weapons, armor, gems, skills, abilities, affinities and bonuses that make the whole system a little overwhelming. The tutorials are vast but I always felt lost in the menus. The FAQS I read online didn’t really help either. I HATE paying for strategy guides but this certainly seems to be the type of game that needs one.
If you are the type of player who expects RPG characters to wear body armor that isn’t likely to protect you from a butter knife then Xenoblade may be the game for you. While some of the armor available looked functional quite a bit of it could have doubled as swimwear. The game isn’t sexist though! The gents and the ladies both get the swimwear treatment. In fact, I’ve seen the male character ‘Dunban’ referred to as the ‘Nekkid Ninja’ in forum posts.
Xenoblade Chronicles features a bazillion little side-quests in each area that took most of play time. The completionist in me hates missing anything but I found questing to get old quickly so I’d often push forward with the main story quest early. It was always clear where the main story quest objectives were located, unfortunately I often found myself out classes when I arrived in a new area. I found that if I took the time to complete all of the quests in an area I was usually ready to go when I moved on. So much for speed runs.
The graphics seem a little dated on the Wii, but they were more than passable on the ‘New’ 3DS. It sucks that it’s not compatible with the older 3DS consoles but there were some occasions when the frame rate dropped and I doubt the older model would have been able to push as good an experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has the means to play it.
- Is it fun: Yes
- Score: 8/10
- Length: ~100 hours
- System: Nintendo 3DS
- Genre: RPG