Xenoblade Chronicles Review: Worth the Wait
Were all the petitions and letters to Nintendo worth all the fuss? A million times, yes.
The story to “Xenoblade Chronicles” takes place eons ago, as two titans-the Bionis and the Mechonis- fought and killed each other. Over time two major races were created on them, the homs (humans) and the mechon) robots) that have been at war with each other for years. Shulk, a young weapons researcher, sets out to destroy the mechon who attacked his home, Colony 9, armed with a mythical weapon known as the Monado.
The general story may sound a tad cliché, but Monolith Soft manages to create one of the most intriguing stories in RPG history. The story’s biggest strength is the characters. They are very well-written, memorable and you develop a strong bond with them as the story progresses. Even the villains are some of the best this genre has seen in years.
Gameplay-wise, there is a lot to do in this game. The battle system is similar to an MMORPG where the characters have many abilities that once you use them they need to “cool down” before you use them again. These abilities can be upgraded as your character gets stronger. One unique mechanic added to the battle system is the Chain Attack, where, as the name applies, you can do chain attacks on enemies. This mechanic may be a must in some boss battles, but it does leave plenty of room for some unique combinations. The only downfall to the battle system is that the game loves to throw a ton of enemies at you- this can get overwhelming and end with a game over.
Outside of the main quest, the game offers up a ton of extra side quests. These range from collecting items for NPCs, developing relationships with main and random characters from around the world, defeating certain monsters in certain areas and a lot more. There’s also a “Collectopaedia” where you can put all the items you collected on the field into. In a way, “Xenoblade Chronicles” can call itself the first Wii titles to have achievements. These aren’t cheap achievements that the developer just wanted to put in. These are actually worth going after.
One thing to note is that it is very easy to get experience points in this game. Simply finding a “landmark” will give your characters XP. Even talking to NPCs with names gives XP.
On the technical side, ‘Xenoblade Chronicles” has a lot of good but some bad elements. The character designs are very nicely done and some of the best on the Wii. The world itself is massive, beautiful and one can easily get lost it. Mix that in with a memorable soundtrack and you’ll have an experience and a half. One of these is walking through “Satorl Marsh” at night and the song chosen for the level. It will leave you breathless.
The bad comes in outside of the cut-scenes. They make the characters’ movements flow fluidly and gracefully while when they’re talking outside them they just look a bit awkward.
At first, one may be tempted to choose the Japanese audio due the genre’s history of bad voice acting. But the second you hear it you’ll stay with the English audio. It also helps that British accents also add a little “flavor” to the characters. It just works in a weird way. Although there are a few hiccups in the voice acting, like the annoying Nopon voices and Otharon’s awkward delivery. Despite those, the voice acting is solid.
Score one victory for Operation Rainfall because “Xenoblade Chronicles” is well worth all the action taken to get it localized to NA. With a great story, great gameplay, a huge world and a ton of things to do this game will keep RPG fanatics busy for a long while.
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