If you read my Xenoblade Chronicles review, you’ll know that that game is very special to me. It’s in my top three games of all time, constantly wrestling with Persona 5 for the #2 spot and even arguing for the #1 at times! When the announced the Definitive Edition, I was so happy that I actually cried! I love Xenoblade Chronicles more than I love some people in my life!
And today, it finally happened. The Definitive Edition is out! Unfortunately, I can’t talk about the original to celebrate, seeing as I kinda… already did that (damn you, younger Jonah). I can, however, talk about the other Xenoblade Chronicles game I’ve played!
Because I still haven’t touched Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I know. And I call myself a fan.
I’m gonna come out and say it: the Wii U was great. It didn’t sell for shit and it didn’t have many games on it, yes. But I’ll be damned if those few games weren’t fantastic! Nintendo Land, Wii Party U, Super Mario 3D World, and of course: all the games that have abandoned ship and made their way to the Switch.
And then there’s the subject of today’s review: Xenoblade Chronicles X. AKA: the best Xenoblade Chronicles sequel.
Or maybe it is. I still haven’t played XC2. I know, I need to, get off my back.
This game was my shit back in the day! I mean, it had everything! The Xenoblade combat, a built-in city-building simulator, giant robots and aliens, and anime?! And it lasts nearly a hundred hours?! Sign me up! I need a reason to justify this Wii U I got for Christmas, let’s have some fun! I don’t need to try and keep up with high school, I’m too busy grinding to get a bigger robot!
Story: Independence Day, But We Lost
That just about sums it up.
After Earth was caught in the cross-fire of an alien war, humanity fled into the stars. One ship, the White Whale, crashed on planet Mira, a dangerous world home to many a hostile lifeform. You play as *insert name here*, a survivor of the crash. After being rescued, you join up with BLADE, a special force meant to help expand the human colony of New Los Angeles (because no matter the era, humanity is always so good at naming places) and defend the survivors. Together with your friends in BLADE, it’s up to you to defend the city and make this hostile world home.
I’m gonna be completely honest: this story is just okay. The setting is cool as hell, featuring some awesome alien designs and interesting environments. Unfortunately, while the characters are decent, the plot itself is convoluted and confusing, and the villain is about as interesting as a white wall. Compare all that to Xenoblade Chronicles, which excelled in (most) of those regards, and I think you can see why I’m a bit disappointed.
Picking on a created character for not being a character is too easy a move, so I won’t bother. The rest of the cast, however, is a very mixed bag. Some of them, like Elma and Lin, are full to the brim with personality and play off of each other super well! The dialogue is… less than stellar… at times. But their chemistry is infectious, making the team a joy to play with.
You know. When you aren’t playing with an entirely different squad because the game told you to. But the other party members are okay! Just… not as good.
The side characters and antagonists, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as likable. They either boil down to ‘greedy and evil’ or just ‘kill humans’. If you put a gun to my head and demanded I name one, I wouldn’t even bother. I’d take the bullet.
The plot isn’t something to write home about. It’s full of ‘and-then’ storytelling, which makes it feel disjointed and kills the pacing. The plot twists are decent, with some nice foreshadowing and plenty of impact in the moment of the reveal. While Mira is a cool planet, the city itself is horribly uninteresting and bland.
It also has the worst music in the entire game. Which is what some people would call a transition!
Presentation: tHe wIiU IsN”T a pOweRfUl cONsoLe!1!!
That took longer to write than I’d like to admit. Do people seriously write like that unintentionally?
This game looks phenomenal! All the environments are distinct, colorful, and extremely detailed! The character models, from your party members to the biggest monsters, are all incredible! And the music!! Oh my god, this soundtrack is great!
All of that applies to the entire game. At least, the majority of the game. There is one area where literally everything I just said doesn’t apply. And that’s the game’s central hub: New Los Angeles, NLA.
I fucking hate this city more than anything! It looks like shit, with some truly terrible textures and bland areas. The music sucks, making all the time spent there completely unbearable! Every time I have to go back there, I find myself rushing to do whatever needs doing just so I can leave quickly! And it’s the central hub of the whole fucking game!!
Aside from that, it’s all A’s. All balanced out by a big, big F.
Gameplay: Never Equip a Gun
Seriously, they fucking suck. Don’t bother. Find the biggest sword you can and use that.
Gameplay-wise, this game’s core mechanics are nigh identical to Xenoblade Chronicles. Combat is all about properly positioning yourself and using arts in various combinations with your party members to gain the advantage. You can’t see the future anymore, sure. But you can customize your moveset to an insane degree!
Your player character has several skill trees you can use to upgrade your abilities. These make each weapon stronger and unlock new Arts. They get progressively harder to unlock as the game goes on, though, so don’t waste any points unless you are absolutely certain you’ll need it. Trust me; you’ll want to make sure your stats are properly set up by the end.
Because make no mistake. Some of these monsters will fuck you up. But you do unlock a giant robot, so that helps.
Your not-Gundam is basically an extra health bar and move set. An extremely powerful one, at that. They gain new Arts depending on what you equip them with, which will actually show up on the model itself. Be warned though: should it be blown up, you’ll be put at a major disadvantage. Plus, the repair fees are an absolute bitch.
Once again, art mimics reality. Only instead of wasting a fortune on something dumb, like a car, it’s a giant fucking robot. So it’s significantly cooler!
Oh, and yes. You can give one to each member of your party. So you can fly around with a whole squad of killer robots armed with rail cannons, rocket launchers, and Gatling guns. Have I convinced you that this is the best game ever yet?
There’s also plenty you can do to gather resources for the city, which you’ll do with the Wii U gamepad (yeah, remember that huge motherfucker?). By setting up various sites around Mira, you can mine resources to help you build robots, make money, complete quests, so on and so forth. You won’t be spending much time with this, thankfully, But it’s a nice addition that adds an extra bit of strategy.
To wrap things up, let’s talk about exploration. This is what you’ll spend the majority of the game doing, whether it’s on foot or in a robot. Luckily, it’s pretty fun! There’s a ton of stuff to find! Mira is a huge world with a ton of hidden paths, tall mountains, huge drops, gorgeous vistas, and so on! It’s so easy to get lost in that I sometimes found myself just running around like a headless chicken, ignoring my objective!
Granted, that might be because of my short attention span. But still.
Unfortunately, it’s far from a perfect game. Not all Arts are created equal, making some of them completely worthless. The side quests are about as interesting and fun as watching paint dry; they boil down to the typical ‘go kill this many monsters’ or ‘get me this many resources’, like an MMO without other players. Some of the monsters are ridiculously powerful, which forces you to undergo a stupid amount of preparation and grinding just to stand a chance, which can deflate the fun super quickly!
Not to win, mind you. Just to have a chance at winning. And note: a good number of these are tied to side quests. So… good luck. I hope you have some time on your hands.
Still, while it isn’t a perfect game, it’s certainly a fun one! It takes everything I liked about Xenoblade Chronicles and adds giant robots! It’s a game that’s super easy to get hooked on! And once it has its hooks in you, it refuses to let go!
Until it murders your favorite robot four times and bleeds your wallet dry because you’ve been trying to kill one fucking monster MOTHER FUCKER JUST ROLL OVER AND DIE ALREADY YOU FAT SACK OF SHIT!!
If you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose between Xenoblade Chronicles and XCX, I’d break out into a sweat. XC has the better story, setting, and characters. But Chronicles X has mother fucking robots!! That can fly and shoot lasers and shit!! AND THEY STOMP AROUND LIKE THE FUCKING MEGAZORD!!
I’m a simple man, okay? Leave me alone.
Unfortunately, recommending this game is kind of impossible. It’s on the Wii U. You know; that thing no one fucking bought and isn’t carried by stores anymore. And much to my great dismay, it is the only Xenoblade game that isn’t making its way to the Switch anytime soon. Or at all.
If you’ll excuse me, I need to go cradle my dusty Wii U and cry in the corner.
It isn’t worth the effort to buy the hardware just to play this game. But if you’re one of the only other two people in the world who still has one, this is definitely a good game to have on there! It’s a ton of fun and it will last you more than enough time to be worth the price! This is one of my favorite RPGs and I honestly think it doesn’t get the love it deserves.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. I need to go play the Definitive Edition of XC1. I’ll see you guys in a year.