Is Xenoblade Chronicles as good as everyone says?

I want a new 3DS game. This one seems to be a top recommend but it's 40 f**king quid on digital download - I'm not paying that unless it's brilliant. I trust your judgement on this forum more than many internet reviews.

Bit of background -

1. I've not played any other game in the series so I don't know what to expect.
2. RPGs I like include Final Fantasy series, Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, Zelda Series etc
3. RPGs I dislike include skyrim, Ni No Kuni, pillars of eternity, dragon age etc

Can any of you tell me their experiences with this game, what type of game it is, why you enjoyed it / disliked it and/or what I might think of it?

Cheers everyone... :)

Well, I'd heartily reccomend it. Per your points:

1: It's part of the Xeno series, but it's self-contained. Same way as Final Fantasy for instance. Plot-wise, you won't miss out anything.

2: Zelda's an RPG? Well, anyway, Xenoblade is close to those series in it's very much a JRPG, at least in as much as its style of characters, art, and setting go. Key difference is that it has real-time combat rather than turn-based. That aside, you could honestly call it a Final Fantasy game, and in terms of story/setting/style, very little would be out of place.

3: Depends what you dislike about them. It's far removed from WRPG setting tropes (e.g. no elves or dwarves), and its combat is real-time rather than turn-based. There is heavy exploration, but it isn't open world. As in, from what I understand, in Skyrim, you can anywhere at any point. Here, there's a strong plot-focus and you go into each geographic region sequentially, but each region is absolutely huge. Luckily there's fast travel.

Hawki:
Key difference is that it has real-time combat rather than turn-based.

Actually, given that OP apparently disliked Dragon Age it's very relevant to mention that the combat is pseudo-real-time and plays fairly similarly to Dragon Age: Origins, just minus the active pausing. You have the same auto-attacking hot-bar-ability driven combat, though Xenoblade emphasizes different things.

If the combat system is the reason OP didn't like Dragon Age, they likely will have a tough time with Xenoblade as well (not a given, obviously, but still something to keep in mind). Another parallel I'd make is to Final Fantasy XII.

I recommend the game as well, for the record. It's a really solid JRPG set in a very interesting science-fantasy location, and I'm personally quite a fan of the style of combat it uses at least as far as "active time battle" systems go.

shrekfan246:

Hawki:
Key difference is that it has real-time combat rather than turn-based.

Actually, given that OP apparently disliked Dragon Age it's very relevant to mention that the combat is pseudo-real-time and plays fairly similarly to Dragon Age: Origins, just minus the active pausing. You have the same auto-attacking hot-bar-ability driven combat, though Xenoblade emphasizes different things.

If the combat system is the reason OP didn't like Dragon Age, they likely will have a tough time with Xenoblade as well (not a given, obviously, but still something to keep in mind). Another parallel I'd make is to Final Fantasy XII.

I recommend the game as well, for the record. It's a really solid JRPG set in a very interesting science-fantasy location, and I'm personally quite a fan of the style of combat it uses at least as far as "active time battle" systems go.

Is it active battle like ff15 or secret of mana sort of thing? (I like those games). The battle system isn't necessarily the be all and end all, but it's a factor depending on how it's implemented.

dscross:

shrekfan246:

Hawki:
Key difference is that it has real-time combat rather than turn-based.

Actually, given that OP apparently disliked Dragon Age it's very relevant to mention that the combat is pseudo-real-time and plays fairly similarly to Dragon Age: Origins, just minus the active pausing. You have the same auto-attacking hot-bar-ability driven combat, though Xenoblade emphasizes different things.

If the combat system is the reason OP didn't like Dragon Age, they likely will have a tough time with Xenoblade as well (not a given, obviously, but still something to keep in mind). Another parallel I'd make is to Final Fantasy XII.

I recommend the game as well, for the record. It's a really solid JRPG set in a very interesting science-fantasy location, and I'm personally quite a fan of the style of combat it uses at least as far as "active time battle" systems go.

Is it active battle like ff15 or secret of mana sort of thing? (I like those games). The battle system isn't necessarily the be all and end all, but it's a factor depending on how it's implemented.

Not quite, again I'd probably use Final Fantasy XII as the closest parallel, except that Xenoblade puts some amount of emphasis on positioning as well, with certain abilities being stronger or best used from specific positions, characters having abilities that make them better at drawing attention, etc.

You don't have to manually mash any attack buttons, your job is more to maneuver around and decide when to use special attacks.

Xenoblade Chronicles is one of my favourite games of all time. you can skip Xenoblade Chronicles X though. that game was meh.

Hawki:

1: It's part of the Xeno series

it's part of the XenoBLADE series. saying Xenosaga and Xenogears are part of the same series is very debatable and depends on personal opinion.

Yoshi178:
Xenoblade Chronicles is one of my favourite games of all time.

What makes it so good, in your opinion?

The best indication of whether or not you'll like it is whether or not you liked FF12. There essentially the same type of game, sorta offline mmorpg, lots of generic quest, large semi open area, shaky story.

Meiam:
The best indication of whether or not you'll like it is whether or not you liked FF12. There essentially the same type of game, sorta offline mmorpg, lots of generic quest, large semi open area, shaky story.

Hmmm, I wasn't mad on 12. It's quite low down on my final fantasy rankings. It was alright, but not amazing. Do you think I'd have a similar feeling here?

dscross:
Hmmm, I wasn't being mad on 12. It's quite low down on my final fantasy rankings. It was alright, but not amazing. Do you think I'd have a similar feeling here?

Honestly, your best bet is to look at some gameplay. I've found some combat gameplay from a no-commentary walkthrough. Obviously don't look at the recommended videos or skip ahead for spoiler reasons, but this might help you understand what you're getting into: https://youtu.be/1Ibxg-Yd75s?t=390

As for myself on how I like this game, it is one of my fave RPGs as well. I love the design, characters, the soundtrack is AMAZING, and it's fairly lengthy too. Considering it was on the Wii at first, you'd never guess given how good it looks for the system, and just how much content there is.

It's like an offline MMO complete with quest driven gameplay. Also, don't play it on a 3DS screen. If you are going to play it, play it on the Wii or the Wii U.

Yes, it's as good as people say.

If it wasn't for a sudden difficulty spike at the end of the game (Which screwed me over as I was doing a low level run to keep the challenge really tight, forcing me to grind for like 2 weeks), and the last two dungeons having a few too many roadblocks, I would say it was the best JRPG since crono trigger.

It's got great characters, a very fun story, lots of mystery, and the combat is basically a fantastically designed single-player MMO, where they made every character fun to use. Yes, even the main healer and the tanks.

I've been replaying it over the past month and it's still fantastic. Right now my only complaint is how rare some of the materials are if you're trying to rank up the optional townbuilding quest. Goddamn ice cabbages.

dscross:

Yoshi178:
Xenoblade Chronicles is one of my favourite games of all time.

What makes it so good, in your opinion?

a combination of things. every area is huge, beautiful and has it's own unique flavour to it. the combat system is tricky to first come to grips with as a newcomer, but once you "get it" the combat system becomes simple, yet complex at the same time. the more you play the more you realise how differently each character plays and how you can take on battles in so many different ways. and speaking of characters, the characters are all fantastic in they're own unique ways, it's also amazing how much screen time and personality the developers even gave to the side characters in this game that can make some of the side characters just as important as some of the main protagonists.

and the music. <3 the music. definitely one of my most favourite OST's of all time.

While I enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles, the combat was probably the weakest point to me.

The combat system felt to me like Dragon Age, but with a lot less control. You can only use the one member you've selected throughout the fight - something you decide before the fight. You can't switch on the fly. You can't just freely command your units around the place. The only way to issue commands is through a special bar that fills up - you can then use it to issue commands as to what skill to use and potentially set up some skill combos. It can be frustrating sometimes. You run into issues where you just wish you could order your units around more so they don't stand around and get exploded by some AOE attack. Since it's not a true action game, with lock ons and attack cooldowns - being in direct control of a character isn't always the most interesting of affairs.

The main character has a skill Backslash which does a shit load more damage from behind. If you want to use anybody else, he basically becomes kinda useless in the AI's hands as they do not know how to position. There's also a combo mage character which is totally amazing in the player's hands but kinda garbage in the AI's. Probably the most fun character to use in my opinion.

Setting that aside, the story and characters are good. The English voice acting is amazing... at least for the European version. One of the rare times I picked English over Japanese voiceovers. Haven't checked out the NA version so no comment there. There's a massive expansive world to explore. And sidequests that don't need turning in!

The Bad

1. There's a lot of busy work. You'll be picking up potentially 100+ of multiple types of items each between vendor visits, and that's not accounting for the gift-giving to help raise each pair's affinity. There were times I'd spend 30-60 minutes just managing my inventory, getting rid of junk, and giving gifts.

2. There's a few interesting side quests, but of the hundreds of them, I've really only managed to remember a handful in the long run. (On that note, I'd advise doing a lot of side quests regardless, for reasons I'll go into later.)

3. There's a difficulty spike towards the end that is absolutely painful to endure until you've spent enough time grinding to deal with it. The fact that you're high level at that point just means that the grinding takes longer.

4. The story, while good for about 90% of the game, really takes a nosedive during the final moments. Basically, everything after a certain major plot twist will just devolve into seemingly way-too-long cutscenes that cover seemingly endless conversations that circle around the same 2-3 topics ad nauseam.

5. Some items necessary for certain side quests are a real pain in the ass to find!

The Good

1. The world is absolutely stunning, especially for a Wii title. It is a complete contrast to the side quest, with multiple interesting locations that each have wonderful sights to behold, set against one of the best video game soundtracks ever. The world alone is why you should do side quests, because they'll keep you exploring it with purpose (however minor that might be) for hours.

2. The characters are fantastic. The main party is among my favorites of any RPG, having a lot of personality and character development. This is really helped by the heart-to-heart moments, which are tied to affinity. (Which gives a good reward to all that gift giving.)

3. There's a long-spanning side mission where you rebuild a destroyed colony. Seeing it go from a crater to a major city complete with citizens of all the major races is probably the best "base building" side mission I've seen in a game. Wanting to see it complete is why I know some items are such a pain in the ass to find!

5. Combat is really fun, and each character is enjoyable to control and fine-tune to work with the other party members. It's simple but surprisingly deep.

Overall, I'd say that Xenoblade Chronicles can be summarized as a lot of really bad design decisions that are worthy dealing with because the core focus of the game, it's world and characters, is so strong. That's why people, including myself, praise it so much: No one is saying it is a perfect game, but it has a fantastic enough core that any flaws are easy to bear.

MysticSlayer:
The Bad

1. There's a lot of busy work. You'll be picking up potentially 100+ of multiple types of items each between vendor visits, and that's not accounting for the gift-giving to help raise each pair's affinity. There were times I'd spend 30-60 minutes just managing my inventory, getting rid of junk, and giving gifts.

I just can't take unneeded inventory management in RPGs anymore. It doesn't add depth at all nor does it increase enjoyment in the game whatsoever. This is something that should've been streamlined out of RPGs long ago but it seems like it actually gets worse. There's hardly any inventory management in DnD yet video games feel the need to make it 100x worse, for what reason? I'm planning on getting a WiiU at some point for Platinum's games and the Xenoblades were on my list to try out.

I recommend it. It's a fantastic, beautiful game with a solid story and well-written characters (and the voice acting isn't bad, so long as you don't hate British accents), but far from a flawless game. The game is absurdly titanic, to the point that 50-60 hours just gets you through the main story without any side quests, there are hundreds of side-quests (many of which you outlevel), enemies have a bad habit of suddenly spiking 10 levels on you so you're forced to grind (and there's often zones in the area you're in where enemies are inexplicably in the 70s-80s, even if the area you're in is barely in its 20s) and rare-elite enemies occasionally appear and kick your arse even if you outlevel them by 20. Also if you want to unlock the 4th and 5th Skill Trees for characters then you'd better bust out that Gamefaqs walkthrough, you are in for some convoluted bullshit.

That all said, the combat is actually pretty fun, with each character having their own unique mechanic and abilities, and it's one of the rare few games where quick time events aren't detrimental to your experience (basically you get a prompt occasionally in combat, it's got a pretty generous timer on it and you get some solid boosts for doing it, but there's no downside to missing 'em). And again, cannot stress the beauty of the game world, and the soundtrack is magnificently immersive as well.

Yoshi178:

it's part of the XenoBLADE series. saying Xenosaga and Xenogears are part of the same series is very debatable and depends on personal opinion.

And yet you give your opinion as fact...

Fine, but saying "Xenoblade" is part of the "Xenoblade" series is more or less a "no shit Sherlock" moment. Calling it part of the "Xeno" series is a bit more informative if the OP's played the other games. For

Phoenixmgs:

MysticSlayer:
The Bad

1. There's a lot of busy work. You'll be picking up potentially 100+ of multiple types of items each between vendor visits, and that's not accounting for the gift-giving to help raise each pair's affinity. There were times I'd spend 30-60 minutes just managing my inventory, getting rid of junk, and giving gifts.

I just can't take unneeded inventory management in RPGs anymore. It doesn't add depth at all nor does it increase enjoyment in the game whatsoever. This is something that should've been streamlined out of RPGs long ago but it seems like it actually gets worse. There's hardly any inventory management in DnD yet video games feel the need to make it 100x worse, for what reason? I'm planning on getting a WiiU at some point for Platinum's games and the Xenoblades were on my list to try out.

Yeah, unfortunately, Xenoblade is the worst offender of this I've seen. I was willing to endure it because it didn't get bad, let alone the 30-60 minute time sinks, until after the characters and world had already hooked me in, but I can easily see the inventory system putting a lot of people off before they even get halfway into the game.

And to make matters worse, there's some very easy fixes. Adding a "Sell All" button to the store or properly ordering items within the inventory screen so that you don't have to dig down to find the best item would have helped tremendously.

I really liked Xenoblade Chronicles and totally worth dipping your toe in if you can find it on the Wii or if you have a New 3DS, but for me X was far better (sorry Yoshi).

Ellux:
I really liked Xenoblade Chronicles and totally worth dipping your toe in if you can find it on the Wii or if you have a New 3DS, but for me X was far better (sorry Yoshi).

X was crap. literally just the same stupid potato joke over and over.

Yoshi178:

Ellux:
I really liked Xenoblade Chronicles and totally worth dipping your toe in if you can find it on the Wii or if you have a New 3DS, but for me X was far better (sorry Yoshi).

X was crap. literally just the same stupid potato joke over and over.

Forgetting the Lame potatoe jokes, you really think it was a crap game?
Damn I must have shit taste because its by far and away my game of the Wii U/Xbone/PS4 genaration. I loved the (huge)world, story(by number but servicable), Enemy variety, combat (in and out of Skells) and the Affinity missions were great too. Also I never got bored of flying/running around looking for items.

Ellux:

Forgetting the Lame potatoe jokes, you really think it was a crap game?

no but the original Xenoblade Chronicles makes X look like a massive steaming turd.

also, there are also just much better Nintendo games i would rather play than XCX. XCX was good, but it wasn't XC good or Metroid Prime good or Pikmin 2 good etc.

Frankly, I liked FFXV way more. Xenoblade Chronicles was too similar to a MMORPG for my liking: attacks are automatic, special attacks use a cooldown system and it's full of side-quests and materials for crafting. My recommendation would be probably not to be obsessed on getting everything done before moving to the next area.

I know graphics aren't suppose to matter but that game is extremely difficult to look at. If can get a wii, mod it or get a Wii U and get the E-shop Verizon.

kilenem:
I know graphics aren't suppose to matter but that game is extremely difficult to look at.

i don't know what you're talking about. Xenoblade Chronicles is beautiful. sure the character models don't look the best but it's the scenery that's beautiful.

it's fucking impressive that Monolith was even able to get a World as large and as pretty Xenoblade Chronicles running on a system like the Wii in the first place.

Yoshi178:

Ellux:

Forgetting the Lame potatoe jokes, you really think it was a crap game?

no but the original Xenoblade Chronicles makes X look like a massive steaming turd.

also, there are also just much better Nintendo games i would rather play than XCX. XCX was good, but it wasn't XC good or Metroid Prime good or Pikmin 2 good etc.

I disagree, I loved XC but I found the world of X to be so much more interesting I would put it on Par with a lot of Nintendo's back catalog for me personally (probably not with Metroid prime trilogy or Mario Sunshine though). And while I am super hyped for XC2 I would love a X2 more.

Yoshi178:

kilenem:
I know graphics aren't suppose to matter but that game is extremely difficult to look at.

i don't know what you're talking about. Xenoblade Chronicles is beautiful. sure the character models don't look the best but it's the scenery that's beautiful.

it's fucking impressive that Monolith was even able to get a World as large and as pretty Xenoblade Chronicles running on a system like the Wii in the first place.

I was talking about the NEW 3DS Version

In my humble opinion, it is one of the best games ever made. It makes Final fantasy look like a cheap knockoff.

- story makes you care
- characters are highly developed
- voice acting is legendary
- cute art style, despite graphical limits
- music is the best game soundtrack you will ever hear, like Megaman X, Nier Automata levels of quality
- combat is dynamic and diverse
- customization is deep without being impenetrable
- and so much more

Wrex Brogan:
enemies have a bad habit of suddenly spiking 10 levels on you so you're forced to grind (and there's often zones in the area you're in where enemies are inexplicably in the 70s-80s, even if the area you're in is barely in its 20s) and rare-elite enemies occasionally appear and kick your arse even if you outlevel them by 20.

Oh, I rather enjoyed that aspect of the game, at least during the late game. Taking down a lv90+ beastie with an 'underleveled' party at only lv80 or so by using the right tactics can be amazingly satisfying.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here