Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U) Review

By Luna Eriksson 12.01.2016 8

Review for Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U

Announced early on in the Wii U's lifecycle, fans of Xenoblade Chronicles have waited far longer than anticipated for the next game in the franchise, and, for a while, it felt like the hype had died. Now, at long last, they can rejoice, as Xenoblade Chronicles X is here. Hype is alive again, but is it justified, or did everyone wait so long for nothing? Cubed3 takes a look to find out.

The result of the long wait for Xenoblade Chronicles X is a truly massive adventure that will keep gamers occupied far into 2016, and likely beyond - even with the sometimes weird localisation changes made, such as the removal of the breast size slider that allowed female avatars to have a massive chest (shame on NoA/NoE!).

The first thing that will catch anyone's attention when starting to explore Mira, humanity's last resort, is how massive the world truly is. Miles and miles of mountains, forests, lakes, seas, beaches, and all kinds of terrain that could possibly be imagined, are all fully visible from the get-go…to the point of perhaps even being overwhelmed. The scale of the world isn't the only thing that risks leaving players feeling like this, though.

Xenoblade Chronicles X picks up where Xenoblade Chronicles finished, and does its best to be the ultimate Western RPG (WRPG)-inspired Japanese RPG (JRPG), offering the best of both styles to satisfy any fan's dreams of the ideal role-playing game. With the personal customisation options and openness of WPRGs, mixed with complex systems and the sometimes extremely difficult and strategy-demanding combat that modern JRPGs are well-known for, it results in an experience that requires a lot of attention.

It is shocking how many different things there are to do in Mira, and the ability to tackle almost anything in any order will leave its visitors overjoyed. There are a huge number of side-quests to delve into that bring everyone into the world itself, rather than being isolated events, and there is the overarching main story that explains the setting on a wider level, plus fetch quests that take adventurers all across the land, choosing even to play online with friends or strangers, fighting epic battles together.

Screenshot for Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U

This creates an extremely nuanced adventure that is truly the ultimate RPG experience, but, indeed, some might have trouble getting their heads around it at times. If the size of the world alone was enough to cause nausea for some, the plethora of things to do within will not help. Also, the combat system in itself is one of the more complex ones ever designed. Thankfully, the way that some attacks in the first game needed another class in the party to work at full force has been removed; instead, each class is given all the tools necessary to utilise their own abilities. More focus has been put on traditional MMO party setups, and this is mixed with the unforgiving (and sometimes unfair) difficulty of JRPGs.

Side-quests are intriguing, but seemingly randomly ranked in terms of difficulty, especially the fetch quests, which never quite match their supposed difficulty level. It is not rare to bring a team to areas where the members are under-levelled by a good 40-50 levels…just to collect items. In addition, there are not even any hints as to where the items are, except which one of the five continents they are at (and keep in mind that these continents can be of a size equal to entire worlds in most titles).

Words can't explain the frustration of finding out that a quest item is located in an area where everything is able to cause insta-death in near enough one hit, while it is also a hard to reach area, with the items in question having a rarity of about 1% gathering rate. Hours can be spent just doing one of these quests, and without the help of the Internet, it could likely take that time multiplied by at least five having to look through each and every area of the entire continent the item is said to be in.

All of this frustration aside, once past the initial issues and annoyances, the game opens up and starts to improve considerably. Behind all the complexity and massive world rests one of the best made RPGs of all time. When starting to adapt to the complex systems, it is possible to make them work to the advantage of the team. Nothing feels greater than after hours and hours of fleeing from things that kill the avatar in one hit, being able to use the game's very own systems against itself to be able to kill things far stronger than the entire party with one fell swoop.

Screenshot for Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U

The world also keeps growing and improving the more it is explored. Every single part of Mira / New Los Angeles is well designed and extremely well utilised in the main quest and, especially, the side-quests, and every single character comes to life, and eventually it will be impossible to remember why the game felt so daunting in the first place. This is due to the fact that beneath everything else, the biggest strength of Xenoblade Chronicles X is, ironically, also it's biggest weakness: the focus on details. The team at Monolith Soft has put its all into every single inch of the map, as well as each and every side-quest, side character, main mission, alien race… pretty much everything.

One of the most memorable parts that reflect this focus on detail, and how much it adds to the experience, is the other intelligent alien races and how they separate themselves from humanity and, most importantly, how they are, at the same time, quite similar. The well-known Nopon, for instance, makes a comeback… again, showing some highly human traits in how they act and think, but they also have very distinguishing qualities by way of their sheer cattiness and merchant attitude towards life. It is hard to not laugh when making an ally of a Nopon caravan and they demand a massive sum of money to agree to the terms. It is a clever implementation of something that is not completely unfamiliar in real life, yet not something that is seen overall as the logical way to go, but that is common to that specific race. Familiar, yet foreign.

One of the most definite traits presented of humanity is its hatred towards things different from themselves, yet their willingness to survive by adapting to the situation. This is wonderfully demonstrated throughout as the borders that separate humankind at large has been torn down by the need of survival from a greater threat. Men and women from all walks of life and socio-economical backgrounds work side by side as true equals in a beautiful, almost surreal way that most could almost only be dreamed about in this situation of utmost crisis, but underneath all of this, the darker sides of humanity still rest, which comes to life in short bursts mostly during side stories.

Screenshot for Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U

This is especially shown in how some humans react to the discovery of the Man-on race, which is very different both mentally and visually. People who have their help in everyday life - such as technicians - love and embrace them due to their usefulness to their own survival when the xenophobia of others seeing them as a threat (or at least not exactly as an improvement) to humanity's chance at survival shines extremely strong in its illogicality and disgrace, beautifully showing the conflict between humanity's inborn lust for survival versus its hatred towards the unknown. Many of the game's stronger parts are when these dark sides are displayed at their worst in this, on the surface, Utopian society where gender and socio-economic barriers are almost completely torn down. In this setting, the xenophobia, sexism, greed, and sometimes pure hatred shine in a beautifully eerie way thanks to the contrast given by the overall openness and acceptance people at large show one another.

Where the side-stories go into depth about the individuals living on Mira, the main tale puts more focus on the main conflict and issues faced on Mira. Not far into the adventure, it is revealed that the destruction of planet Earth wasn't a mere coincidence and that there is far more reason than to just learn about their new habitat; leaders are so eager to explore all of Mira's surface as quickly as possible, adding more urgency and backstory to the situation on Mira wonderfully, weaving a tale that might not be the deepest ever written, but is still an epic and unforgettable one, in contrast to the small, yet deeper, side-quests.

After playing a mere 100 hours of Xenoblade Chronicles X, with several hundred more to go, it is very clear that this is a game where the details are greater than the entire picture; where the beauty rests within how everything becomes connected, rather than what is being connected. It is clear why it took this long to develop considering the mass and quality of the final product. While this might very well be one of the very best RPGs ever made, it is also one of the most difficult ones to get into. The game is very punishing at the start and the complete openness into a world this massive will simply leave players overwhelmed for too long.

For those who are able to get through this, though, one of the most beautiful games ever made will unfold before their very eyes and everything seen as an annoyance at first will reveals its true beauty. Every system has its place, every character has its own backstory, and every rock has a treasure to be found underneath. It is a game that will last far into 2016 and likely beyond. A true gem that requires some work to get out.

Screenshot for Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Ironically, the thing that can initially be seen as Xenoblade Chronicles X's biggest weakness will eventually turn out to be its greatest strength. While all of the details and the massive world will frighten people off at first because of its sheer complexity and depth, once adapted, it will embrace them and become an addictive and beautiful experience offering hundreds of hours of wonderful game time. It might, actually, be worthy of the title of being the ultimate RPG game for RPG fans, mixing the dearest elements of both JRPGs and WRPGs into the same package. By doing so, though, it opens itself up to being a game that will fail to catch the attention of people looking for a more easily accessible source of entertainment. The developer has put so much focus and love into each and every aspect. The sheer amount of content does also justify the wait fans have had to endure to finally experience this extremely anticipated Wii U title. Breast-size slider or not, Xenoblade Chronicles X is a game worthy of every RPG fan's attention.

Developer

Monolith

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

Guest 13.01.2016#1

Seriously good rpg, the best since Lost Odyssey in my opinion. Complexity shouldn't be a negative unless it presents a barrier to progression. Xenoblade doesn't force you to use any of its complexities until about thirty or so hours in. It rewards experimentation and exploration and doesn't drop you into a fifteen hour tutorial which is refreshing now a days. Finding items can be annoying but by talking to certain folks in NLA will give you a hint as to where the rarer ones are.

It is a seriously good RPG. Smilie For hard-core RPG fans this is certainly the game to play this year!

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

Honestly, i find this to be a near perfect rpg experience.

I'm doing the right thing, when no one else wanted to.

Yes, it certainly is. Smilie Despite its flaws I know for a fact that this is a game I have on my personal favorites top 10 of all time list. Which is a difficult list to make...

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.
Guest 15.01.2016#5

Can i ask a quick question why an 8 and not a 10? It seems to be one of the best games in the genre?

Coming off the back of my own experience, and this is from someone that awarded the Wii game 10/10, I totally agree with the 8/10 score. Whilst it does indeed open up so much the further into the adventure you get, I spent a good couple of hours really hating this new version before it finally *clicked* and the enjoyment factor shot up.

If I'd been coming to this completely cold, it would have been returned to the store VERY quickly. For that fact alone, it deserves to drop a mark. As for the when things do pick up, it's still not quite as fantastic as its predecessor, so it would get a 9 if it wasn't for the painful start...so yeah, 8/10 sounds spot on for me.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Just as Adam said, and as I said in the review multiple times, the game has a rough start. This is a very big issue as the beginning of a game is meant to hook, not repel, a new player as that is basically the very point when they are most likely to drop down the game to never play it again. It is very sad as underneath all of that it is a truly wonderful game. However, flaws can't be overseen, especially when it will literally be the first thing a new player gets to see.

An eight is also not a bad score by any means. It basically means that the game has some flawed areas that it would've served to give a little more polish, but still is a must-have if it is the kind of game you'll like.

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

I gave up on this game after two hours of play. After the really interesting an fun xenoblade Chronicles, X was a huge let down.

Sandy Wilson said:
I gave up on this game after two hours of play. After the really interesting an fun xenoblade Chronicles, X was a huge let down.

Exactly how I felt...but...I have to admit that if you get to the point where you can take on Level 7-12 monsters, you'll start to get that positive feeling back. If you already did that and didn't get the feeling, then I can't help you Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Umm... Two hours into the game I wasn't even done with my character yet...... D:

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

Adam Riley said:

Sandy Wilson said:
I gave up on this game after two hours of play. After the really interesting an fun xenoblade Chronicles, X was a huge let down.

Exactly how I felt...but...I have to admit that if you get to the point where you can take on Level 7-12 monsters, you'll start to get that positive feeling back. If you already did that and didn't get the feeling, then I can't help you Smilie

Andre Eriksson said:
Umm... Two hours into the game I wasn't even done with my character yet...... D:

Yeah the character creation was good. Smilie

I'll definitely give it another shot but the soundtrack was unenjoyable and loud which put me off a bit. I think if a game can't captivate you within the first 30mins to an hour then it's failed at something... XD

I do want to get as far as unlocking the Skels...

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