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"[GAME] Xenoblade Chronicles"

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Thu 18/12/14 at 14:11
Regular
Posts: 261
Are you playing Smash Brothers on the Wii U and wondering “who the hell is Shulk?” Then you probably missed Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. You might be thinking of playing it on the “new” 3DS or the Wii U, so here are my thoughts on Monolith Soft’s JRPG

The story starts with a conflict between two colossal titans: the biological Bionis and the mechanical Mechonis. After a long age of battling, the glowing blade of the Bionis chops off the left hand of the Mechonis and then they both strike each other simultaneously, leaving them both motionless. Eons pass and we see conflict occurring between Homs and the Mechon; those being the life forms that live on these two titans. The first conflict, known as “The Battle of Sword Valley”, is won by the Homs with most of the thanks going to Dunban who uses the Monado, a mysterious blade that is highly effective against the metallic Mechon. However, after prolonged use of the Monado, Dunban loses use of his right arm and ends up in critical condition. We are then introduced to the main protagonist Shulk a weapons engineer who has a keen interest in the Monado. Unsurprisingly, we eventually find that he is the chosen one to wield the blade, so he suffers no drawbacks from using it. More importantly, the Monado also gives Shulk visions of the future. In Colony 9 the relationships are built up between Shulk, his best friend Reyn, Dunban and his sister Fiora before it gets attacked by Mechon. The story begins here, before moving to other parts of the Bionis and eventually the Mechonis; meeting new characters on the way and answering the big questions: Are his visions of the future unchangeable? Why is Shulk the chosen one? Why are the Mechon attacking? What was the conflict between the titans about?

There is quite a bit of exposition in Xenoblade Chronicles with 8 hours of cut scenes including text dialogue between the characters, so Hideo Kojima eat your heart out. Eight hours isn’t much relative the amount of time you’ll be playing the game though. I feel the story climaxes at the mid-late point when you understand why the titans were fighting which made me feel empathetic as you see an enemy become a friend. I think the story is decent; some of the characters and quotes seem a bit cliché though.

Most of the quests seem to be of the generic MMO variety and the only positive is that you don’t have to go back to a quest giver.

Environments are open and non-linear, but combat is all there is. You won’t find yourself bumping into minigames or things out of the ordinary. There are collectables scattered around the environment to pick up. I feel that cutscenes are the only break from the action, apart from the time you spend equipping your characters and gem crafting.

Combat is in real time and it is similar to tab targeting and in some ways it reminds me of Final Fantasy 12, but unlike FF12 you have very limited control over what your AI partners do. You can only ask them to focus fire, call them to you or do as you wish. I did like FF12’s Gambit system to program the AI to use abilities under certain conditions as it felt tactical. Combat has MMO features such as aggro and many abilities are conditional sometimes attacks have bonuses based on whether you attack from the back or side and other attacks will trigger if they suffer from existing status effects such as Break, Topple & Daze. These conditions always made me time attacks and move constantly, which helped keep the combat engaging.

Eventually you should have 7 playable characters to choose from. You have a maximum active party of 3 characters and you can choose the one character you play as and the other two are controlled by the AI which is interesting because the differences in how the characters play mean that some characters are completely useless when controlled by the AI and very strong when controlled by the player. The character Melia has the ability to summon a variety of elementals, but the AI doesn’t know how or when to use them optimally. I’m sure some players would be tempted to play as Shulk for nearly the whole game but I thought trying out the characters and different parties helped keep the combat interesting. There is a party affinity system which increases the odds of attacking more when performing a chain attack when using the same group, so you could argue that you are discouraged from doing so though.

I think that there is good enough reason to not recommend this game for someone who isn’t a fan of RPGs. I spent a significant amount of time checking which armour was optimal for each character which made me miss the auto-optimise option that was present in The Last Story. I also spent quite a lot of time crafting gems to slot into equipment. I also felt like I was grinding on enemies to get strong enough to move on in the story on quite a few occasions, although that maybe because I didn’t always finish quests. I would pick up all quests I could and then hope I completed them automatically. Considering you are likely to spend at least 50+ hours playing (took me 74) you need to know what you are getting into. Those who want a short concise game which is straight to the point won’t find it here. Those who like RPGs might say that Xenoblade’s duration is average or even short, but I doubt someone more casual would agree.

However, if you are into RPGs I can recommend it. The combat is enjoyable and tactical with the later boss fights where you are tested to make sure you understand the combat system; to save your Monado dodge or block abilities to counter what you see in your Monado visions and when to use your chain attack bar or save it to revive party members. The story has its few enjoyable twists and I liked it overall.

8.0
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Thu 18/12/14 at 14:11
Regular
Posts: 261
Are you playing Smash Brothers on the Wii U and wondering “who the hell is Shulk?” Then you probably missed Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. You might be thinking of playing it on the “new” 3DS or the Wii U, so here are my thoughts on Monolith Soft’s JRPG

The story starts with a conflict between two colossal titans: the biological Bionis and the mechanical Mechonis. After a long age of battling, the glowing blade of the Bionis chops off the left hand of the Mechonis and then they both strike each other simultaneously, leaving them both motionless. Eons pass and we see conflict occurring between Homs and the Mechon; those being the life forms that live on these two titans. The first conflict, known as “The Battle of Sword Valley”, is won by the Homs with most of the thanks going to Dunban who uses the Monado, a mysterious blade that is highly effective against the metallic Mechon. However, after prolonged use of the Monado, Dunban loses use of his right arm and ends up in critical condition. We are then introduced to the main protagonist Shulk a weapons engineer who has a keen interest in the Monado. Unsurprisingly, we eventually find that he is the chosen one to wield the blade, so he suffers no drawbacks from using it. More importantly, the Monado also gives Shulk visions of the future. In Colony 9 the relationships are built up between Shulk, his best friend Reyn, Dunban and his sister Fiora before it gets attacked by Mechon. The story begins here, before moving to other parts of the Bionis and eventually the Mechonis; meeting new characters on the way and answering the big questions: Are his visions of the future unchangeable? Why is Shulk the chosen one? Why are the Mechon attacking? What was the conflict between the titans about?

There is quite a bit of exposition in Xenoblade Chronicles with 8 hours of cut scenes including text dialogue between the characters, so Hideo Kojima eat your heart out. Eight hours isn’t much relative the amount of time you’ll be playing the game though. I feel the story climaxes at the mid-late point when you understand why the titans were fighting which made me feel empathetic as you see an enemy become a friend. I think the story is decent; some of the characters and quotes seem a bit cliché though.

Most of the quests seem to be of the generic MMO variety and the only positive is that you don’t have to go back to a quest giver.

Environments are open and non-linear, but combat is all there is. You won’t find yourself bumping into minigames or things out of the ordinary. There are collectables scattered around the environment to pick up. I feel that cutscenes are the only break from the action, apart from the time you spend equipping your characters and gem crafting.

Combat is in real time and it is similar to tab targeting and in some ways it reminds me of Final Fantasy 12, but unlike FF12 you have very limited control over what your AI partners do. You can only ask them to focus fire, call them to you or do as you wish. I did like FF12’s Gambit system to program the AI to use abilities under certain conditions as it felt tactical. Combat has MMO features such as aggro and many abilities are conditional sometimes attacks have bonuses based on whether you attack from the back or side and other attacks will trigger if they suffer from existing status effects such as Break, Topple & Daze. These conditions always made me time attacks and move constantly, which helped keep the combat engaging.

Eventually you should have 7 playable characters to choose from. You have a maximum active party of 3 characters and you can choose the one character you play as and the other two are controlled by the AI which is interesting because the differences in how the characters play mean that some characters are completely useless when controlled by the AI and very strong when controlled by the player. The character Melia has the ability to summon a variety of elementals, but the AI doesn’t know how or when to use them optimally. I’m sure some players would be tempted to play as Shulk for nearly the whole game but I thought trying out the characters and different parties helped keep the combat interesting. There is a party affinity system which increases the odds of attacking more when performing a chain attack when using the same group, so you could argue that you are discouraged from doing so though.

I think that there is good enough reason to not recommend this game for someone who isn’t a fan of RPGs. I spent a significant amount of time checking which armour was optimal for each character which made me miss the auto-optimise option that was present in The Last Story. I also spent quite a lot of time crafting gems to slot into equipment. I also felt like I was grinding on enemies to get strong enough to move on in the story on quite a few occasions, although that maybe because I didn’t always finish quests. I would pick up all quests I could and then hope I completed them automatically. Considering you are likely to spend at least 50+ hours playing (took me 74) you need to know what you are getting into. Those who want a short concise game which is straight to the point won’t find it here. Those who like RPGs might say that Xenoblade’s duration is average or even short, but I doubt someone more casual would agree.

However, if you are into RPGs I can recommend it. The combat is enjoyable and tactical with the later boss fights where you are tested to make sure you understand the combat system; to save your Monado dodge or block abilities to counter what you see in your Monado visions and when to use your chain attack bar or save it to revive party members. The story has its few enjoyable twists and I liked it overall.

8.0

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