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Xenoblade Chronicles Review

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Xenoblade Chronicles Review

Ellen Heitmann, Staff Writer

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Plot and Overview

Xenoblade Chronicles is an action role-playing game for the Nintendo Wii, Wii U, and 3DS developed by Monolith Soft. The game contains many inspirations and themes revolving around philosophy and takes place within a world literally made up of two massive titans: the Bionis, and the Mechonis. Outside of the two titans, the world is nothing more than an endless sea. Eons ago, The titans used to live, but after they died, life began to spring up on their corpses. The Bionis is displayed as more natural and biological while the Mechonis is full of machines and advanced technology. Mechonis is also home to a race of mechanical beings known as the Mechon, which present a major threat to the opposing titan. They constantly invade the colonies on Bionis and kill countless numbers of people. The threat of the Mechon is amplified by the fact that there’s only one weapon with the ability to actually harm their armor: a sword known as the Monado. Not very many people can control the Monado however, and due to its extreme amount of power, it can have terrible effects on its wielder.

The story is told from the perspective of Shulk, a young boy living in Colony 9, which was a small town residing on the lower region of the Bionis. He works in a lab and spends most of his time studying the Monado until a Mechon attack results in the death of a very close friend of his. During this attack, Shulk begins to wield the Monado. Driven by his desire for revenge, Shulk sets off with his best friend Reyn to seek out the Mechon and fight back. Along with this, they share a goal of discovering the reason for all of this fighting, and why the two titans were locked in this eternal war. Rather than just wanting to set off and destroy them all, the characters also try to understand or even sympathize with them. The Monado also grants another mysterious ability known as “visions” and shortly before a devastating event would occur, Shulk would be shown a vision of the future. He soon realizes the future he’s shown isn’t set in stone and uses this as a means of saving others from harm if possible.

The plot is very engaging and it definitely has no shortage of unexpected twists although it does start out a bit generic. The characters are all extremely well-written, containing very logical and complex motives which develop throughout the game at a great pace. It also displays the perspectives of many different characters, including the villains, which can often make them very sympathetic.

Gameplay

You travel in parties of up to three characters, each having their own unique attacks and playstyles. There are seven total playable characters that you recruit throughout the game. In battle, a small menu of eight different “arts” is shown at the bottom of the screen. Arts consist of basic actions: they can be attacks, they can heal you, and a variety of other things. You can pick which arts you want to equip to each character, then they will appear on the menu. In the center of the menu there is a Talent Art, which is essentially a more powerful art that you can use, but not as often as normal ones.

The game contains over four hundred side quests, and there are six superbosses you can take on (superbosses are powerful enemies above the max level you can reach). Often times you can make different choices in your side quests, which impact the later events that occur in them. This adds to the replayability of the game, as you can have new experiences by picking different options in later playthroughs. The more side quests you complete, and enemies you defeat, the more you level up.

There are around twenty different areas you can explore in the game, each complete with their own civilizations and races. All the areas look very unique from each other in terms of color and architecture, so the scenery never felt boring. You may also skip travel between areas for easy transportation.

Music and Visuals

Thanks to being on a console with less power than present-day systems, the graphics are a bit lacking. It’s the only area this game kind of lacks in, but the variety and creativity in all the visuals and designs made up for this in my opinion.

The soundtrack is composed by Yoko Shimomura, who also wrote the music for games like Kingdom Hearts and the Mario and Luigi RPG series. There are just around ninety songs, and the game is very well known for its soundtrack. Every song adds so much tension and drama to the unfolding cutscenes, they never felt out of place.

Most of the voice actors have British accents, which actually fit them rather well. Each voice actor displays emotion excellently, you can always feel emotion in their voices. Each character sounds genuinely realistic.

Should You Play It?

While the game is nothing short of a masterpiece, it’s not for everyone. It’s extremely different from most popular gameplay focused games and takes around seventy hours to complete. Plus this number only grows with the number of side quests and extra content. It’s a huge commitment to play this game, and it can also be extremely dark and very tragic at times. If you’re interested in a complex and well-written story, or are a fan of JRPGs, definitely give it a go. It’s without question my favorite game of all time, so I would rate it a full 10/10.

 

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Xenoblade Chronicles Review