Nintendo fans never thought they’d see the day, but Xenoblade Chronicles has finally arrived in North America. The game came out in Japan back in 2010 and hit Europe and Australia in 2011, and since then, North American fans have been begging for the game to be released stateside. Now that it’s finally here, was it worth the wait?
Xenoblade Chronicles is an open world RPG made exclusively for the Wii. The game was developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo.
Thousands of years ago in the world of Xenoblade Chronicles, two gigantic titans, the Bionis and Mechonis, were in an endless battle. One day the battle ceased as the titans struck one another with critical blows. Over time, life sprung up and the inhabitants began to live on these two giant gods.
Now, it appears as though the life found on these two worlds are endlessly continuing to battle one another as the titans once did. The Homs, a race of humans, live on the Bionis. The Homs are almost always on the defense against the Mechons from the Mechonis.
The race of Homs have only had one way of easily defeating the Mechons, and that is through the use of an ancient and mystical blade known as the Monado. The Monado, for reasons unknown to the Homs, has the ability to easily slice down Mechon like they are nothing, while standard weapons do minimal damage.
One boy, Shulk, from a defensive colony known as Colony 9, has been studying the Monado for years trying to understand its secrets. However the Mechon eventually lead a devastating attack against this colony, and Shulk and his friends have had enough. They set out on an epic quest for revenge and to stop the Mechon once and for all.
The story ends up being told mostly in the form of cut scenes. They rarely overshadow the game play, as they are almost always paced nicely. The story remains interesting throughout Xenoblade Chronicles and is full of more questions than answers for a majority of the title. I found the narrative to be compelling and was one of several forms of enjoyment found within the game.
One of the biggest features of Xenoblade Chronicles is its use of gigantic open worlds where the player can choose to go almost anywhere. See that waterfall in the distance? It’s probably possible to get there. There are several varied environments to explore, and each one is beautiful despite a lack of overwhelming graphical power.
Xenoblade Chronicles will reward players for exploring in the form of experience for discovering new areas. Additionally, scattered randomly over the terrain, are little glowing orbs. Running over these items will allow the player to obtain a random collectable for that area that can be used for quests. These also serve a fun, optional purpose in the form of the Collectopaedia. Each area has a list of possible items to obtain, and finishing off each category in a zone, or getting every item in an area, will earn the player special rewards.
Also found in the world are various enemies, and each zone has a plethora of special creatures to kill. These special enemies are usually elite versions of existing foes and tend to be leaders of their race (intelligent or otherwise). Killing these strong creatures will reward the player with an item known as an Affinity Coin (more on these later), which have a special use. Most players will want to go out of their way to get them.
Traveling throughout previously explored areas is also very easy in Xenoblade Chronicles thanks to the fast travel system. There are many landmarks to be found in each area, and the player has the option to pull up a map at almost anytime to travel to any of the previously discovered landmarks in the game. Load times are fairly quick when jumping around, and it makes things so much easier and faster than walking.
As previously mentioned, the landscape is extremely vast and there are many hidden areas to find. Finding these was a ton of fun, and I think many players will enjoy the exploration element found within the game. For those that wouldn’t, much of it is optional. You can pass these up, but you will likely miss out on some rewards.