Xenoblade Chronicles Review
Nearly all Japanese developed games get their western launches in the US. But with a rather sparse year for Nintendo Wii games, what we have today is the first launch of a highly anticipated game in Europe under the PAL TV systems. Launched by Monolith in the Japanese markets back in June 2010, Xenoblade Chronicles is just so good, it has raised a howl of protest from game geeks on the other side of the Atlantic. And why not? Xenoblade Chronicles is one JRPG adventure game on an outstanding game console worth fighting for.
Set in a thoroughly escapist fantasy world, the game is about two colossal giants, Mechonis and Bionis, frozen to become territorial worlds after an epic battle. The name of the regions already betrays the kind of warring inhabitants in each. You have the hero Shulk and his people Hom inhabiting Bionis whose enemies are the Mechons who reside in the Mechonis region. And the only way for Shulk to defeat the menacing Mechons is using a mysterious weapon he has inherited, the Monado. As you play through the game, additional characters pop up, like his more sympathetic friend Reyn. The nice thing about the story is that it has a good repeat value due to the unpredictability of events that can defy your expectations.
The Good News About Xenoblade Chronicles
Monolith proves they have the unmatched creativity to create a world that can rival anything Hollywood makes. While close ups reveal some graphical imperfections, the artistry is simply astounding, to say the least, easily the best on the Wii platform. You can even customize your characters with outfits you’ve assigned that carry throughout the game. Even the aural experience, from start to finish, perfect complements the visual treat for a unified whole that has few pears in the gaming world.
Xenoblade Chronicles uses its plot line not just as a medium to stage the combats but to make an impressive delivery that draws you into the fantasy world where the impressively detailed landscapes and engaging characters become part of the combat actions. The rich content is a pioneering effort that has, as yet, no parallel on the Wii platform. The game encourages you to interact with the setting and converse with the characters while completing side-game quests that further enrich the gaming experience and your abilities. You collect items along the way, battle creatures and help characters to accumulate money, win skills and critical items along the way. Just enhancing your abilities can be rewarding sight. Winning battles require you to buy gear while boosting abilities and gaining affinities with other characters. You can initiate the fight or the war comes to you. The combats are straightforward where you only need to bring your comrade to within striking distance of an enemy.
The Not so Good News about Xenoblade Chronicles
There is hardly any disappointing aspect to the game. We can nitpick on a few like the battles which can get complicated. For instance, you need to bring down a foe before inflicting fatal damage. In addition, you will need to revive fallen comrades to go into combo attacks required to defeat some enemies. Your campaign goes from one checkpoint to the next and a lost battle brings you back to your last checkpoint but with accumulated experience intact so you learn your lesson. While this gives a high repeat value for the game, it creates a trial and error approach where anything goes and can be frustrating after a while.
The Bottom Line
Fantastic in setting and epic in scale, the game will consume more than 50 hours to get through the entire story. It confirms that such superb gaming experience can be achieved on the JRPG on the Nintendo Wii platform. For sure, this is not a game you can rush through but like a gourmet meal, is something you will want to savor every minute and every daunting detail. Xenoblade Chronicles is not an easy game that casual gamers prefer, but if you have the passion and the diligence to get yourself through, this is one gaming experience you should not miss. And if you live in North America, its time to join the protest voice to get the NTSC version.