9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Good fun for fans of the genre,
This review is from: Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) (Video Game)Plenty of reviews on here already, and I have little to add, as I agree with the majority of them - Xenoblade is a real treat, and good value, providing over 100 hours of gameplay. That it does this by presenting hundreds of monster-slaying, widget-fetching and talking sidequests is a fair point, and it can feel a bit like an endless set of small tasks at times. But these quests do ensure that you get to explore every nook and cranny of the enormous, gorgeous maps that comprise the game. They also reward you with EXP points, which make your characters stronger - a much more enjoyable alternative to the standard "level grinding" (fighting the same beasts over and over) required in RPGs.
Numerous comparisons have been made to Final Fantasy games - I'll go out on a limb and say that this is actually more fun to play, if not quite as intricate or epic. Enemy encounters never interrupt the flow of the game, and are almost all avoidable, rather than randomly occuring every time you take a few steps. Losing a fight doesn't mean game over - you just go back to the last major landmark you visited, which is never more than a few minutes walk away, and you keep all your experience and loot. Travel is also very quick, as you can instantly warp to any visited landmark, and this feature is available right from the start of the game (although doing it all the time does feel a bit cheap, and earns you the "Lazybones" achievement).
The combat in Xenoblade has come in for some criticism. To be fair, it is a bizarre hybrid of direct control of the action (Zelda, Oblivion) and the classic turn-based RPG system (Final Fantasy), so anyone expecting either will be frustrated. If you're willing to give it a chance, you quickly get used to it. I experienced three types of fight in this game: either the enemies were pathetically easy and I didn't have to do anything; they were way too hard and I couldn't do anything (running away is almost always an option); or the sweet-spot where the battle system comes into its own and becomes frantic, knife-edge stuff. Here, your choices really can make a difference - your choice of characters, which one you're controlling (the other two are AI controlled, á la Mass Effect), and what items and special moves you have equipped. A cleverly executed selection of commands can leave foes on their backsides, leaking thousands of points of poison, burn and freeze damage simultaneously, and chain attacks can potentially rack up six figures. Knowing when to command your team-mates to stop attacking is also quite important to avoid drawing stronger, nearby foes into the fray. So my tip to new players - don't necessarily avoid the hard enemies with red or yellow nametags - unless they're over ten levels tougher than you.
Other things - the soundtrack is outstanding, with several memorable themes, and everything well-written to provide the atmosphere. Voice acting is good enough - the lack of lip sync is a bit annoying and some of the lines are beyond corny. It is annoying, given the quality of the music, that you can't turn down / off the voices, particuarly during battles when everyone starts yelling out the names of the moves they're executing, Street-Fighter style, and hollering compliments to each other. The graphics are obviously going to look dated as it's a Wii game but they've done a great job with the landscapes and colours. And the story is interesting enough (with a fair few plot twists) that you'll want to keep it moving along from time to time, once the quests are complete.
Why not five stars? Because it's not perfect - a bit glitchy in places, the jumping and platforming is clumsy and slippery, named NPCs can be very difficult to find, and some of the later item collection tasks are infuriating. But these are hardly dealbreakers given the outstanding presentation and content. This was, at times, as enjoyable and moving as what I'd regard the best game of its kind, Chrono Trigger. It turns out that a US release is imminent, which is great news as this game deserves to sell well. Fingers crossed for a sequel - or at least HD remake!
Tracked by 1 customer
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Dec 2011 18:10:58 GMT
Mr D.K Lind says:
Well-written, balanced, review. Thanks a lot!
Posted on 25 Jan 2012 13:59:20 GMT
Henry Spencer says:
At least it isn't as glitch ridden as Bethesda games!
‹ Previous 1 Next ›