Let’s Play #50: Xenoblade Chronicles

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Xenoblade Chronicles made its debut on the Nintendo Wii on 2010 and while it had to work with many limitations of the hardware it still managed to deliver an amazing experience to anyone who played it. It’s a massive 80 hours JRPG with huge focus on a well crafted plot and very big maps to explore.

Set on the dead bodies of two giant titans, Xenoblade Chronicles tells us the story of the humans race of the Homs living on one titan, waging war against the robotic Mechon attacking them from the other titan. While the Mechon’s armour is hard to damage, the Homs have a ace in the hole: the Monado. An ancient sword capable of cutting thorugh the Mechon with ease. But not just anyone can wield it. One year after the last battle of the Homs, the Mechon attack again, and our protagonist Shulk, after learning he can too weid the Monado, will set out on a quest for revenge when a loved one is taken away form him by the Mechon. A quest that will bring him to explore the world he lives in, find new friends and uncover the secrets of the Monado.

Reyn and Shulk engaging in battle with a beast on Bionis’ Leg

Xenoblade’s gameplay is simlar to that of a MMO:big maps with town full of people to talk to and get quests from and fields filled with enemies to battle. The battle themselves seem to belong to that genre: every chracter automatically attacks with the player only using special skills who work on a cooldown system, moving the chracters and issuing orders. It works well and its various mechnics are introduced bit by bit as to not overwhelm new players.

There’s a lot of enfasis on positioning during battle. For example, Shulk’s Backslash deals more damage from the back of the enemy or if you know an enemy is about to use an attack that hits in front of it, you might want to try to position yourself to the side to avoid the blow.

You might ask? How do you know what an enemy is going to do? Well here comes the interesting idea of having vision of the future in battle. The protagoist Shulk gets the ability to forsee attacks pretty early on in the plot. Whenever a strong attack is about to hit your party you get a warning and the chance to deal with it however you see fit. You can chance the target of the attck to another charcter more suited to handle the damage, protect who’s going to get hit, or stun the attacker to fully negate it, the ways to change the future are many and one just need to get creative with the tools they have.

The center of the affinty chart for the locations of the game.

Outside of battle, there is a world of relationships to explore. Every major area of the game is usully composed of a big town and several other locations. People living in the area offer quest which if completed will slowly raise the area affinity which will unlock more quests and will allow to trade better items with the people. Moreover, relationships between the npc will change depending on your actions which can sometimes lead to fun little sidestories.

The relationships between the party members also play an important role. Building the affinity between two of them will help them fight better. You can raise it but just having them fight togheter, by completing quests, watching characters specific scenes called Heart-to-heart, or gifting them object. A better affinity also allows members to do better when crafting the various gems that you will put inside your equipment slots.

Covering every single aspect of this game would require a very very long article which is kind of beyond the point of this website. So i’m just going to leave it at that. I believe Xenoblade doesn’t have the same complexity as Xenogears but it’s also a lot easier to play and aged a lot better. I still believe Xenogears plot is superior (as long as you can understand it) but I rank Xenoblade Chronicles just a bit higher because while pushing the Wii to its limit managed to deliver a powerful game that will stick in the memory of anyone who played it.

Let’s Play’s stats:

-First episode aired on: July 25, 2020
-Last episode aired on: Jan 2, 2021
-Number of episodes: 82
-Total time of Let’s Play: 47 hours and 49 minutes