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Xenoblade Chronicles Review: The Beginning of the New World for JRPG's,
This review is from: XenoBlade Chronicles (Video Game)
I have finally finished the latest epic for the Nintendo Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles after 120 hours of gameplay. Safe to say, it is a fantastic game. It has its ups and downs like all other games, but it is a satisfying experience nonetheless.
Setting: The idea of living on the body of a god has long existed in human literature. Perhaps the most famous is the Enuma Elish from Babylon. The setting in Xenoblade appears to take inspiration from many of the ancient religions of the Middle East and runs with it, especially the Babylon one mentioned. The result is a very interesting background that we often don't see. The makers of the game also did a fantastic job with the landscape. I have not been as in awe of the area to explore as this one for a long time. I heard some people compare it to be the size of Japan. I don't know about that, but it is very vast and beautiful. It may not be in HD, but it is difficult to not enjoy it.
Sound: The music is a blessing to the ears. The title theme is so peaceful and epic that I almost wish to learn how to play it on the piano. The implementation with the title screen is also perfect and looks great. Even after playing it for 120 hours, I haven't gotten tired of the background music in the many areas to explore. The big problem with sound is the voice acting. The British voices are good but since this is a Japanese game, they don't lipsynch (but it's good enough to not really care, especially if you are reading the subtitles). The part that you end up hating is the in-battle voice acting or rather the after-battle voices. After maybe 30 battles, you would have heard the same thing about 20.
Story: If you don't like long cutscenes, then you might not like JRPGs. However, I found the story and cutscenes to be interesting to watch. The makers also added a nice feature which allows you to pause the cutscene from where you can skip it if you want. This is especially nice if you need to use the restroom or answer a phone call in the middle of one.
Camera: Probably the worst part about the game. At first, it's not too bad. but when you get to slopes it is horrendous. The camera on the steep hills later on is a nuisance. I will argue though that since you are exploring areas, you will want to control the camera alot. Unfortunately, you need to do it more often then you should. This might be dealt with the use of a classic controller, which I will attempt on my next playthrough. Looking at the control scheme, this appears to be the case.
Gameplay: This is definitely an action RPG. You need to pay attention to what's going on. The little palet that opens up during battles is actually quite simple to use. The use of visions is also quite interesting to play with. It's nice to know what items you pick up that might be needed for a quest, but that happens maybe a quarter of the time if lucky. It's also nice that a lot of quests are finished as soon as the requirements are fulfilled and do not always require returning to the questgiver, but that too disapears towards the later quests. This being an RPG, it also suffers from what I call the "RPG bug." Once you level up high enough, most enemies are too easy. Xenoblade however, accounts for that by placing more difficult monsters to find within old areas to fight when you are strong enough. This gameplay, though I would like some improvments, I would not mind seeing again in the future, and this comes froma guy who doesn't really care so much for JRPGs.
Replayability: With an interesting story and gameplay, I am tempted to play through again. The implementation of a New Game+ makes it even more tempting as many things carry over.
Overall Rating: 8.75/10