Whenever I think of Nintendo, my first thoughts are Mario, fun 2-D games and more Mario, maybe throw in some Mario Kart. I also think of their handheld systems that usually outlast the actual consoles (I see you there 3DS, keep at what you’re doing).
One of my favorite types of games are RPGs, with my favorite series being Xenosaga. So when I bought my 3DS (3 years ago), one of my first purchases was Xenoblade Chronicles. I was looking forward to the game, but it was different from any other RPG that I previously played. There were no items to heal my characters, no MP. Abilities had loading times so I couldn’t just storm into a battle and beat all the bad guys around me.
I would go into battles unprepared and get my ass kicked.
I also thought the mechanic that a boss would one hit kill you, so you had to use some pre-emptive measures, was a dumb mechanic (figured out I was under-leveled, but more on that later).
I stopped playing because I couldn’t grasp the game mechanics. And it frustrated me because I knew there was a good game waiting under this layer of strange.
I tried playing the game again a year and a half later, but so much stuff was going on around that time and I ended up getting stuck on the same boss (the 4th boss, Mechon M71, also the Arachno Queen wasn’t far behind). Xenoblade was also a very long game and my work situation put me in a depressed state, so I couldn’t put a lot of time into videogames.
So cut to the present day, I decided to have another go at the game and I succeeded (90 hours of gameplay). So what made me persevere? I found out that if you constantly grind and get about 3-4 levels above the boss, then the battles are a tad easier. I took that route and, holy shit, the game became fun (granted, there were some bosses where I fought at their level, get on my level bro).
The plot, what is this game about? If you played Xenosaga, or any JRPG, then some themes will seem very familiar. There are two worlds, Mechon and Bionis and the worlds are on these beasts, pretty cool stuff. They’re inactive (for the time being) and people live on them. There are also other races (Homs or humans, high Entia, Nopon, etc). Our hero is named Shulk, a homs (human), and he has the ability to control this sword called the Monado. The Monado has the ability to fight the bad guys, called the Mechon, who are robots.
One day, the Mechon attack, to no ones surprise. Shulk’s childhood friend dies so now he goes on this adventure to save the world. And along the way he meets future party members and their goals are very similar to his. Also since this is a Xeno series, you have to mix in some crazy religions themes.
My favorite part of the game was exploring the dungeons, even the parts where I ran into enemies that were 30-40 levels higher than I was. They would kill me, but I would return when I was a higher level and kick all of their asses. It made me so happy, it felt like Kill Bill.
I loved the characters and other party members that joined my side. Didn’t use them though. My party consisted of Shulk, Dunban and Sharla-the healer.
Xenoblade has many MANY side quests, including one where you have to rebuild a Colony that was destroyed by the Mechon. One thing I learned from Skyrim is that too many side quests can burn you out, so I did maybe 30% of them. I know if I did them then the final dungeon would get easier, so I decided against it.
Crafting gems to make your characters more powerful was a unique mechanic. When it comes to upgrading characters, I usually go to increase HP, then attack power and then at the very bottom of my priorities is magic defense (which made the game a tad tougher in the end). One other thing I noticed was that I had 1,000,000 of in game currency pretty early on, and I had an over-abundance of inventory which gave me more money then I needed. I never had to buy anything so it was useless in the end.
The final dungeon was a breeze until the final bosses, I tried fighting the boss at Level 82, got killed, leveled up to 86 and won the game with slight ease.
I do want to play the other Xenoblade games (don’t know if I’ll ever play Chronicles X unless they release it on the Switch, which I heard was highly unlikely) so at this point I am looking forward to playing Xenoblade 2 and that expansion.
It was fun to dust off the 3DS, not sure when I’ll play it again next. I have been looking at Bravely Default and Fire Emblem, but the next game I’ll discuss is going to be a game on the Switch and it’s a bartending game, so look forward to it.
Also play Xenoblade Chronicles if you haven’t. It’s on the 3DS, the Wii and WiiU. I recommend the Wii or WiiU version because the graphics look nicer, plus you will likely be playing it on a big ass TV rather than an itty bitty screen with ‘optional’ nauseous gimmicky 3D effects.
Thanks for reading everyone!