Xenoblade Chronicles X is a massive adventure role-playing game developed for the Wii U. It has a massive map and enough content to take up over 200 hours of your time. This has quite a few more things than your basic JRPG armor, weapons, and leveling. There are a few things you should know before going out and picking this game up. So if you’re ready to hop into exploring a massive alien world, let’s get started.
The backstory of Xenoblade is that a war between alien races broke out 2 years ago and planet Earth ended up in the middle of it. Earth tried to defend itself by building Skells (giant robots) to fight off the invasion and protect Earth. They failed however and humanity boarded ships that launched from major cities around Earth to escape. Most ships were destroyed before even leaving the atmosphere but a few made it out. Your ship, the White Whale, was one of the lucky few and drifted for about 2 years before being found by the invaders again. The ship put up a fight but ultimately was destroyed and landed on their new home planet by separating the habitat portion of their ship and putting all their power into landing it safely on Mira.
The current story is a little more complex. You are found by Elma, a member of BLADE, in a cryo sleep pod and have no memories of anything before awakening. She takes you back to the surviving habitat that they have dubbed New L.A., after the city it was modeled from, and there you learn of BLADE. You are soon talked into joining up with Elma after meeting a young girl who is obsessed with Skells and you help plant a probe that monitors the area around New L.A. and keeps it secure from Mira wildlife that threatens it. From there you get into a political-themed story that will force you to really pay attention to the things going on around you. There are also affinity levels you can gain with party members to get extra content from the story and game.
Battle is one thing you will come across quite often. The native life of the planet can become territorial and attack you if you’re close to their level. They also have a bad habit of wandering too close to New L.A. and have to be fought off from time to time. The battle system is very MMORPG-styled and you have to choose attacks and wait for them to charge as well as choose the right types of attack for where you’re positioned. The game is also party-based so you need to select the right party strategy and make sure your members are not going down every few seconds. There will also be time when Soul Voice appears, which if you press B at the right time can give you edges in battle like healing and damage multipliers. There are also Tyrants that wander around which are special monsters who can appear normal but always have a nasty ability to use against you and make a normal battle super tough.
Online play is available in a few forms for this game. You can get select missions by checking the BLADE missions board that can be played with up to 4 player CO-OP online. There will also be indirect CO-OP with 32 random characters that you can trade with and party with but they will not be player controlled. In order to accept some of these missions however you must match the level and for actual human controlled CO-OP you must first add them to your friend list on your Nintendo Network ID.
Skells can be obtained through obtaining a Skell license. You generally can not obtain this though until about 40-60 hours into the game. Skells come in three different main types with customization of parts to fix to your liking. They all have fuel limits you will have to take in to account especially when flying. You can go with Light Skells which give you excellent mobility but have little room for carrying fuel. Medium Skells are well balanced and can carry a decent amount of fuel. Heavy Skells have little mobility but are hard to destroy and carry the most fuel but will consume a lot of it in flight. That being said, they’re fun to drive and do great in battle.
The world is very vibrant, huge, and the soundtrack really pushes it forward. There are continents to explore that are all very big on their on. They all have different ecosystems and terrain and have different creatures inhabiting them. There are of course fast travel points to make getting back and forth rather easy that you can arrange and a huge world map to guide you. There is a night and day cycle as well that changes what enemies come out to play with you as well as the ability to openly jump from cliffs and swim in the ocean or even jump up a cliff. The music is also on a cycle while you play to fit the situations you find yourself in. The soundtrack goes from J-Pop battle music, to urban hip-hop, to normal background instrumentals instantly.
BLADE has several things they want you to do to keep busy. When you join you are asked to pick from a division in BLADE to help maintain order around Mira. Don’t worry about this, as it turns out no matter which one you pick everything can still be done. While you will get rewards from working in your division, you can wander off and do another faction’s work as well. There are 8 of these to choose from that of course mean 8 types of quests you can do.
– Pathfinders: Promotes the installation of data probes and the finding of new locations.
– Interceptors: Promotes defeating the indigenous and completing missions.
– Harriers: Promotes defeating the indigenous and Tyrants.
– Reclaimers: Promotes retrieving treasure boxes and installing data probes.
– Curators: Promotes gathering collectibles and defeating tyrants.
– Prospectors: Promotes collecting resources and discovering new locations.
– Outfitters: Promotes investing miranium in arms manufacturers and gaining R&D points.
– Mediators: Promotes completing missions and building good relationships with other players’ avatars.
These all have perks that are earned through joining, but as I said before it’s nothing game changing so just go with what suits your play style the best!
There is of course the all important character customization. The customization in this game is pretty great especially for Nintendo. There are a lot of different characters you can make using this system and it’pretty fun to use. There are hair, face, eye, tattoo, and height choices to work with. You can make yourself any color you want including blue or make yourself short and look like a loli. There is also a choice for who voices your character and what type of person you are, it even straight out tells you the voice actors’ names. Your character however is generally a silent protagonist aside from grunts from jumps and things of that nature. After you finish making your character and a quick battle you are asked to name them and this is what will show up to other players while playing their games.
So who is this game for? JRPG lovers are of course encouraged to try this as well as MMORPG lovers who don’t mind not always playing online. There are a few things to be warned of before starting. The load times will be a little long unless you download the patches from the Nintendo Eshop. They take up about 10 GBs of space which, if you have a smaller Wii, can be downloaded to a normal USB device. There are also parental settings that can turn off online mode if you worry about your child interacting with strangers online. The graphics for this game are also not that shiny so I do understand some people may not be into it. If you can get past the graphics and download the updates, however, it is a huge beautiful world just waiting for you to explore it.
Let me know how you guys feel about the game in the comments below!