For the past bit, JRPGs have really been lackluster for me. Whether it be blockbuster titles, or even independent games it just seemed like the initial spark I had for them had faded. But along comes a brand new title from Nintendo, Xenoblade Chronicles, which promises to change things up. Does Xenoblade deliver or does this game fail to ignite the spark?
Xenoblade chronicles has an interesting universe in which the continents were created by two giant titans, Bionis and Mechonis, fighting, meeting each other in a stalemate. The result was them being frozen in time, but spawning life on both of their remains. On Bionis there are Homs and the Nopon ( basically humans), and on Mechonis is the Mechon, a robotic race determined to wipe out the humans. The only hope the people of Bionis have is the mysterious weapon called the Monado, a sword of untold power and the bane of the Mechon. You control Shulk, a researcher trying to unlock the power of the sword to save the people of Bionis, but is set on his quest when the Mechons try to steal the blade.
I was pretty impressed with how XC managed to push the limits of the graphics of the Wii while also almost reinventing the way you play PRG games. The game is a wonderful mix between Japanese and Western RPGs, something that Square-Enix had attempted to do with the Final Fantasy series since 12, but made the game feel more like something new. Battles feel like you are playing something akin to Dragon Age and make you feel more caught up in the action that tradional RPGs allow you to. Also the menu system is so fluid so you can access moves and options on the fly without taking your eyes off the action or freezing the gameplay.
The is some interested gameplay mechanics that allow you to build and destroy your armory to craft augmentations and powerups to fine tune the way you play. This means that you can create or modify armour to your specifications. Not many RPGs give you this many options, and it is a pleasant and welcomed change to the genre. The game also wins points for having the equipment changing the actual avatar of the characters. Not many games do that and you get to see your characters transform into amazing badasses.
Now, back to the story. The characters of this game are more developed than most RPG characters I’ve seen in the past with key points in areas where you can unlock backgrounds on relationships and whatnot. This development not only gets you attached to characters, but bonuses from doing so will have you tracking these story elements out.
Gameplay 9 /10
It’s immersive and addictive. Battles aren’t tedious and instead keep you in the fray of battle. Not to mention the additional modifications are pretty badass.
Graphics 9.5 / 10
This game really pushes what the Wii is capable of, and it is a shame to see this amount of progress as the console is on its way out. Maybe we might get another graphic intense games before it meets its demise?
Controls 8 / 10
While the game allows you to use the Wiimote and nunchuck, let’s be honest and say you’re going to use the actual controller option because no part of this game requires motion controls. And for that we thank you.
Replayability 8 / 10
This is such an intense story, you’ll find yourself giving this game another go or at least treading around new areas to find resources or different elements of the story.
Overall 9 / 10
Xenoblade Chronicles is a must own for any person who has a Wii and a justification to buy a Wii if you don’t already have one. It’s nice to see the RPG genre evolve so well into such an amazing game. Let’s hope that upcoming games take a page of what Xenoblade Chronicles showed.