Xenoblade Chronicles X Video Review (Second Opinion)

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Xenoblade Chronicles is widely seen within its genre as one of the finest and most epic of its kind.  While it was no doubt limited by the power of the Wii, Monolith Soft is now working with a far more powerful piece of hardware.  Is Xenoblade Chronicles X the epic, dream JRPG we always wanted?

Gameplay

Let’s start with the most important thing about JRPGs: combat.  While its core takes influence from Xenoblade Chronicles, it goes far deeper.  The diversity of classes, arts, and soul voices can be a little intimidating, but the depth is welcome.  On the flipside for the less inclined, if you are unable to understand it all, I found that fiddling with it provided nominal benefit in battle that could fortunately be overcome by simply leveling up.  It’s deep for those looking to maximize efficiency, but accessible enough for less focused players.  Things go up a notch once you obtain Skells, but largely follow the same format.  So what about outside of combat?  Exploring: LOTS of it.  And this game does things a bit differently: exploring is a part of your core duty and a requirement for many missions and quests.  Ah, yes, missions and quests.  This is where some less positive tropes of older RPGs appear.  You will grind, and it will become more and more apparent as you approach the late game.  And along the way, you’ll fetch… and fetch… and fetch.  It is unfortunate that while most other modern games have found ways around grinding and fetch quests, this game does not.  While a retro or older gamer might be more accustomed to it, the words “grind” and “fetch” are not used in a positive light.

Content

Tons.  Like, a literal s**t ton.  A large portion of these are, as aforementioned, fetch quests.  Some of them have a little more flavor to them, particularly affinity missions, but in the end, you fetch.  Whether you kill something to fetch it off the dead body, or ram into it sprinting at full speed, side quests are not as engaging as they could be.  Quite simply, I’d rather there be less side quests with each one more fleshed out and integrated into the main missions rather than littered into a sundry list.  Fortunately, I get to end this section on a more positive note: Mira.  Mira is HUGE, and it is unlike anything in any other open-world game I’ve ever played.  I never thought I’d feel so gripped by a landscape, and after completing the main story 55 hours later (and no, I didn’t rush, I completed dozens upon dozens of side quests for money), I felt like I was at home on Mira.

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Presentation

This is one of the most technologically adept games you’re going to find on the Wii U.  It easily ranks up there among the best looking on the system, and the scenery found on Mira contains the most diverse landscape I’ve EVER seen in an open world.  When you’re going from this… to this… all seamlessly on one big chunk of landscape, it’s almost impossible to fathom until you’re actually flying your Skell through all of this.  It’s so large, in fact, that the Gamepad ends up showing its worth in a surprisingly efficient map fast travel system.  Simply click a fast travel point, and voila.  It also operates more administrative functions as well, like swapping probes.  In short, words are the best I can do: no other open-world game out right now can compare with what has been accomplished here.  Zooming in a little, or actually a lot, we do find some flaws, though.  Ranking among the worst offenders is pop-in, and it’s to a degree that is unacceptable in 2015.  No matter what you think you can do in terms of physical or digital, you will notice it because sometimes it occurs RIGHT in your face.  Speaking of faces, it’s also rather unacceptable in 2015 to have faces that barely animate.  These things may not hamper the experience, nor do the occasional framerate dips that occur particularly during cinematics, but I cannot simply ignore these flaws in light of the beautifully and masterfully crafted land of Mira.  Oh, and I hope you have an open mind to music genres because its range is just as diverse as its landscape.  And the story?  It’s got your twists and turns, ones I am neither allowed nor wish to spoil, and it’s all in good JRPG form.

Conclusion

If I was to score this game purely on the merit of Mira’s creation, it’d get a higher score.  But I am reviewing this game, which means I have to look at it as a whole, and cannot simply ignore its flaws.  It’s not perfect, nor is it even near-perfect.  There’s plenty of grinding in the late game, and a whole lot of mind-numbing missions and quests.  Furthermore, underneath its beautiful world are some unacceptable modern-day issues, particularly the pop-in.  Despite those flaws, however, I will say now that this is one of the finest JRPGs money can buy.  If you’re a JRPG fan, and you’re wondering if you should buy a Wii U just for this game, the answer is “yes”.

I give Xenoblade Chronicles X… an 8.5/10.

Check out ZyroXZ2 on YouTube for more gaming videos layered with sarcasm, and sometimes humor.  Mostly sarcasm.

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About The Author

Jason (ZyroXZ2) created a gaming channel on YouTube centered around Nintendo to show his love and support for them and their latest console... And also because he's sarcastic and loves to make people laugh while in deep thought. People can do both, right?