You have to admit the Japanese have done great deeds for the world with their amazing creativity. Just look at the whole Final Fantasy Series or pick any anime of your choice (Pokemon, Naruto, there are a zillion of great anime shows to watch), and as you go through it you realize one thing; they are excellent at creating a whole new world that has very little in common with the real world. And even if you do not understand it completely, you cannot help but be quite in awe of its sheer beauty, quirks and all. Xenoblade Chronicles X is one of that kind of universes. I will explore every aspect of the game I have thoroughly enjoyed.
First off, the open world in Xenoblade Chronicles X is massive and breathtakingly beautiful. The graphics in a game that includes alien races, mech suits, awesome monsters and anime-style humans has to be good enough to deliver the desired effect, and Xenoblade Chronicles does not disappoint. There is a huge number of indigenous flora and fauna that roam across the five continents of Mira, and each continent is painstakingly designed to be unique.
Many of the cutscenes in Xenoblade Chronicles X show stylish, anime-inspired fight sequences, while some others seem bland in comparison, regardless of the dramatic importance of the scene. The dialogue delivery is strictly adequate and borderline awkward, but it is absolutely fine for a game that is so vast. The in-game graphics, on the other hand, are absolutely flawless. You will find yourself going in search of the cinematic sunset when you really should be focused on the main story but because the game is insanely beautiful and huge you will often find yourself getting distracted from viewing the scenery.
Like many other JRPGs, there are many elements that contribute to the gameplay. Xenoblade Chronicles X, in fact, has so many things to do that I spent a lot of time simply wandering around in the massive world. Regardless of the variety in activity, combat is the primary element, and although you can directly control only one character out of the group of four, the experience is still very satisfying. You can mix your cooldown abilities and basic attacks to fight off an indigenous animal, and your AI controlled teammates do a great job of coordinating with you, complimenting your moves to heal, assist or attack. This system gives you the opportunity to explore the whole set of moves instead of settling into a repetitive pattern that works all the time.
Simply exploring the vast continents of Mira in itself, whether on foot or in giant, mechanical “Skells”, is a very satisfying experience, not only because of the changes in the environment and the variety of indigenous animals but also because of the almost limitless amount of loot and collectibles you can find. Most of the times when I faced a quest, I found that the game does not really explain what was needed in order to complete it. It can get a little vexing as I found myself spending way too much time on simple tasks when I could be doing other stuff but all in all I do admire the complexity that it contributes to. Do not expect this game to be a walk in the park but I would not recommend watching any walk-throughs as it does spoil too much of the fun! There is much this game has to offer and exploration is key!
The storyline of Xenoblade Chronicles X is not exactly memorable, and the twists are too few and far between. At the beginning of the game, you find yourself in a life pod of a spaceship that has crashed on Planet Mira. Having recently survived being caught in the cross-fire between two alien races, the last few remnants of the human race are left to carry the human species forward. You play as a member of a military organization named BLADE which is responsible for defending humanity, and your primary objective is to locate the Lifehold Core. Honestly, I feel that there should have been more effort with regard to the storyline because the game has so much to offer, it is a pity that everything is tied together by a string of events that do not exactly inspire emotion.
Another downside would be the soundtrack. Surely when there is an entire planet to explore, filled with dangerous indigenous beings, and tons of things to do, we can expect an equally epic soundtrack, right? Well Xenoblade Chronicles X does not think so. The soundtrack is probably the one area that let me down the most because of how shoddily it was done. The music during combat sequences, emotional cutscenes or any other time in the game, really, does not quite work well with the content to deliver the right effect. No matter how good the graphics and how engaging the gameplay, a good soundtrack helps present the content much more effectively and it should at least be on par with the graphics to offer a balanced experience. Xenoblade’s incredible graphics are not met with an equally alluring companion and is left to charm the audience all by its lonesome.
Despite its flaws the game is really good, but it could be better. The planet of Mira is spectacular, just as it is treacherous, the gameplay is engaging and sometimes a little frustrating, the storyline is forgivably weak and the soundtrack simply does not fit. But the experience? Inexplicable. It took me almost 15 hours just to get comfortable with how everything fits together, but once I was nice and comfortable the feeling was intoxicating.
This was, by far, the most ambitious and the most enjoyable JRPG of 2015 that I have played, and I am thankful to Monolith Soft and Nintendo SPD for developing it. I sincerely hope that you, like myself, take the trouble of understanding the dynamics of Xenoblade Chronicles X. It may take a while, but you will soon fall in love with the vast, untamed planet and find reality quite a letdown in comparison!
• Beautiful open world
• Creative monster designs
• Huge amounts of quests
• Basic story
• Soundtrack could be better