Xenoblade Chronicles 3D review
Forge your own destiny
Amazing scenarios and views.
Diversity of characters.
Diversity of Quests
Too many sidequests and the lack of NPC teleporting power hurts it badly.
Poor method of handling the sidequest by the game turn them from intresting to tedious.
People by now have taken notice I have reviewed The Last Story and Pandora's Tower but I had not touched the review section of Xenoblade. That is because I find it difficult to review such a game. Not because it is bad or good, but for how deep these three games are.
To start the review properly you start controlling Shulk, a variation of main characters and one that is quite rare. While Fei of Xenogears is a close quarters martial artist and Shirou of Fate/Stay Night is a black smith who is ranged, both are mostly offensive main characters. However, as soon as you get to control Shulk you notice that he is inclined more to support, as his role in the party is to aid and pass warnings and boost while being an anti mechon unit. This is quite rare to see on a JRPG (not counting Hoshigami, just don't *shudders*).
The battle mechanics are the new auto attack that are shared by two of the three Rainfall Operation titles, and an attack wheel of sorts. Each character has a particular "Art" or skill that they can use. You select and use the power in question, for example moving to the center of the rectangle in battle while controlling Shulk and pressing a certain button will switch his abilities from standard to anti mechon.
But the fun will not end there, as not every enemy can be killed by sheer force like in many WRPG's and JRPG's where you could just level up to 99 and you can kill everything on your way. In Xenoblade this is enforced and subverted.
It is subverted due to a reason where some enemies have a high defense and not even the best skill will put a dent on the enemy. So what you do? You use the chain mechanic presented in this game. You can selected a number of skills and you companions will proceed to use the selected arts after you start the chain, but this won't help either on killing them, so what will you do now? The chain system also has a 100% status effect side effect, so you need to inflict a chain of status effects in order to defeat some enemies. This has not been touched ever since Final Fantasy VII since otherwise status effects have a rare use since bosses in most RPGs are immune to them. Xenoblade takes this forgotten mechanic and makes you use it, which is refreshing.
A completley new mechanic related to the Monado is the Future Sight (no, not the pokemon skill). Some times Shulk in the middle of battle will see what an enemy will do, before it even moves. This gives you the chance to warn your companions of what is to come. Said mechanic also applies to sidequests, where sometimes picking that random item will trigger a vision that the item will play a role with someone else futher on.
Friendship has never been so important for a game, raising the friendship on your allies will allow them to spread their talent trees. Why is this important? You get all sort of passive bonuses from it, from being able to equip heavy armor to get status bonuses, the stronger the bonds the easier the battles become.
Speaking of bonds, these are not only limited to your party. Doing sidequests for the places you visit will increase the citizens love for you, and so merchants will be able to get better goods to sell to you.
For the story all I have to say is it's an amazing piece of work. Every character has been designed to leave a particular mark on their game, even dead characters still have a lingering influence on how the events play. There is also a nice touch of elitism on part of one of the race as it is to be expected, and even then all you feel is that in a sense they are children that have not learnt how to live with the other races of the world.
Shulk character development needs a special mention as he goes from a nice mechanic who not always will react in time to a very hasty guy who will put his feet in action when needed. Same goes for other characters of the game, one learns that being impulsive is bad and another learns to trust in the friends that made other learns to put the ego down for a bit and finally the last learns to see past revenge and grief to open to new posibilities.
For the story itself the narrative is decently paced, as it does not feels forced and the situations and surprises are actually well planned and given plenty of foreshadowing so smart players can start assembling the puzzle. Those who are not that smart will catch up, this speak great lengths of how the developers put an effort to make a game that can be aimed to an audience of any kind. It also tries and does very well to keep things fresh and new from start to finish.
In the end no matter how hard you try Xenoblade will pull you in. You will want to keep exploring every corner of the Bionis, of the Mechonis, you will want to see over and over that scene that made you laugh or that made you cry. Few games suceed on having this kind of pull and even less suceed on making the characters be so close to reality. It will become addicting for a good while.
About the author