Xenoblade Chronicles X Review (Wii U)

Xenoblade Chronicles X Wii U Review

The next massive sci-fi role-playing game from Monolith Soft, the creators of Baten Kaitos and Xenoblade Chronicles, comes exclusively to Wii U. A terrible intergalactic war leaves just a handful of Earth survivors trying to live in a beautiful yet hostile environment. Players engage in battles against powerful creatures of all forms and sizes using the deep battle system that builds on the triumphs of Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii.

The story of Xenoblade Chronicles X begins with earth caught in the middle of a war between two alien forces. Earth was destroyed but luckily, ships were able to make it to a new planet known as Mira. On this beautiful planet, you’ll be living in New Los Angeles and discovering all of its secrets and discovering all that the game’s atmosphere (no pun intended) has to offer.

Xenoblade Chronicles X Battle System

Yep, you get to battle this!

Unlike Xenoblade Chronicles (the original game in the series), the protagonist of Xenoblade Chronicles X is an Avatar customized by you. You’ll not only have the ability to customize their appearance but you’ll also choose their name and voice. Voice acting in the game does not disappoint at all but sadly, this game doesn’t have dual audio for fans of the Japanese voices.

As the game progresses, you’ll be able to buy, craft, and equip cool new gear which also changes your character’s look. Like the way the gear looks on your character but don’t like the stats? No problem. You’re also given the ability to wear it as “Fashion Gear” which will only change your appearance while you wear gear with better stats underneath. This is a nice touch to the game even though it might not interest everyone. Your main character will also be able to join a division which will add a unique trait to your character such increased drop rate for rare items or increased defence.

You’ll be able to change your avatar’s division in exchange for in-game funds if you dislike the decision you made. During some cutscenes, you’ll even be able to choose a response in a conversation or a certain event. This help give off the feel of you being the protagonist of the game but the fact that your character only nods their head or make facial expressions when you make a choice makes the conversations a bit awkward.

Another cool feature that was brought back into Xenoblade Chronicles X was the relationships mechanic. The choices you make can also affect the relationship between you and the members of your party which you can look over using the affinity chart. This isn’t just for show, however, as you’ll get more support in battles as your relationships with team members become stronger.

There are many ways to describe the world of Xenoblade Chronicles X but if I had to choose one, that word would be beautiful. Everything in the game is wonderfully detailed and the world is incredibly immersive. Traveling across Planet Mira is seamless as there are no loading screens until you fast travel. There’s also a weather system implemented which not only has a wonderful effect on the scenery but also affects your stats in battle as well. As the game progresses, you’ll be introduced to new continents and each have their own styles and traits. If you were hoping to rush through the story missions, you won’t be able to do that as the game forces you to do certain side missions or install data probes across continents to ensure maximum exploration. This can be annoying for the player interested in the plot but the detailed world more than makes up for it. There’s plenty to do when you’re not doing the main story missions. There’s caves to explore, treasure to find, and secret areas to roam.

Note: If you’re planning on getting the Disc Version of Xenoblade Chronicles X, It’s recommended that you download the data packs found on the eshop. Without them, textures will take a while to load while you’re playing the game and might interfere with the immersion. These data packs will take up more than 10GB of storage space but it’s worth it. If you don’t enough space for all the packs, the Basic Data Pack is the most important as it speeds up loading times for the world and fast travel. If you plan on getting the downloadable version of the game, the data packs are already integrated.

When you’re not battling monsters, exploring planet mira, or doing missions, You’ll be hanging out in New Los Angeles, your new home (and hub world) away from earth. New Los Angeles is split up into 4 districts, Administrative, Commercial, Residential and Industrial. You’ll find yourself in the Administrative district as it holds facilities that you’ll need throughout the game. These facilities include BLADE Barracks and Armory Alley. Inside BLADE Barracks, you’ll find the BLADE Concourse which  is where you’ll be recruiting avatars online and starting up your story missions. You can also check out the console to redecorate the design of the Barracks or check out your currently-owned Skells (main robots). Armoury Alley is where you’ll be checking out new gear and Skells that are available for purchase. You can also invest in your favourite gear manufacturers. Doing so will allow them to make more gear that will be available for purchase in the future. If you’re not here to do anything of these things, you’re here because you want to collect side missions to complete. There’s many things to see and interact with in the hub world of New Los Angeles.

Xenoblade Chronicles X Skells

Get ready for some hardcore customization!

The gamepad is key to Xenoblade Chronicles X as it has the entire world map on the touch screen. You’ll see yourself using the gamepad a lot as a method for fast travelling (if you choose to) and for planting data probes across the continents which are needed for fast traveling. Xenoblade Chronicles X does have Off-TV play, however, but players won’t be able to see the full map without constantly switching this mode on and off. For those that dislike using the gamepad, the game also features Wii U Pro Controller support.

Skells are one of the best things featured in Xenoblade Chronicles X. If you were hoping to have a Skell as soon as you start the game, you’re out of luck. Skells will be available to the player later in the game. Once you do get a Skell, they’ll give you a new perspective on exploring the world of Mira. When you start using Skells, you’ll notice that you’re stronger than you were on foot and you’ll be able to explore new areas that you normally wouldn’t be able to reach without one. Skells run on fuel which will limit you on how/how much you can use them. Moving, attacking and flying will use up Skell fuel so it’s recommended that you pay close attention to your movement and efficiency when he comes to controlling these powerful mechs. If you like customizability, there are different types of Skells you can use as well. Some will use less fuel compared to the others with a few limitations of course.

Fans of Xenoblade Chronicles will definitely feel right at home with X’s battle system with a few new additions, but for newcomers to the series it might take some getting used to. The battle system is a mixture of real time and turn based. Players are able to move around freely during the battles whilst attacking enemies is automatic. Many new players will feel a bit awkward adjusting to this more passive role, but activating abilities and “Arts” mid-battle alleviate this issue. You’ll also be able to seamlessly switch between melee and ranged weapons. A new feature that’s new to the Xenoblade series is the Soul Voice system. As the battle goes on, party members will suggest what you should do during battle. If you were to listen to them and perform the right type of skill, you’ll receive benefits for you and your team which ranges from healing buffs to damage buffs.

Xenoblade Chronicles X Battles

Another new feature added to the battle system is called Overdrive. Once the player activates overdrive, cooldowns time for the arts will decrease and party members will receive buffs. every time you successfully hit an enemy with an art, it extends overdrive and the buffs will increase each time.  The battle system will be a bit complicated at first but as the game progresses, players will grow to understand its quirks. As the main character’s class rank levels up, different classes will be unlocked. Each class comes with a new selection of arts and weapons. sadly, each weapon is restricted to a certain class so you can’t mix and match weapons of your choice, but you’re able to change your class at any time except during battle.

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the online features of Xenoblade Chronicles X. to start things off, every time you boot the game up, you’ll be asked to join one of the three squads available before entering the game’s “loosely connected world”. Lifehold Squads are for those that want to focus on the main game, Conquest Squads are for players focusing on online play, and Friends’ Squads focuses on those that want to play with their friends. Once you join a squad, you’ll be given squad missions such as defeating a number of monsters or collecting certain materials. You’ll also notice other player’s’ avatars in the field when you’re connected to the internet. You can request these avatars to join your party to help you out on whatever you’re doing but they’ll only be in your party for a little bit. Players will also be able to team up with their friend real time and go on special missions together. The online functionality of Xenoblade Chronicles X will be enjoyable for all players, whether their friends have the game or not.

Conclusion

Xenoblade Chronicles X is nothing short of an amazing experience. It will appeal to both hardcore JRPG fans and casual players alike. With a plethora of sidequests and general content to boot, this 300+ hour adventure leaves little to be desired. Xenoblade Chronicles X launches on December 4 for the price of $59.99. What a steal!

I proudly award Xenoblade Chronicles X a 9.5/10.

Review copy provided by Nintendo of Canada / Cohn & Wolfe.

Xenoblade Chronicles X Review (Wii U)
Xenoblade Chronicles X is nothing short of an amazing experience. It will appeal to both hardcore JRPG fans and casual players alike. With a plethora of sidequests and general content to boot, this 300+ hour adventure leaves little to be desired. Xenoblade Chronicles X launches on December 4 for the price of $59.99. What a steal! I proudly award Xenoblade Chronicles X a 9.5/10.
Pros
  • Huge campaign
  • Gigantic world
  • Exhilarating gameplay
Cons
  • Avatar can sometimes be awkward
  • Don't unlock Skells until late-game
  • Sidequests can get in the way of main quests
9.5Overall Score
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