Review: Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade is one of the most amazing games I’ve played in the past 10 years that I can remember, and it’s a shame most people in North America won’t have the chance to play it. Even though it’s been fully localized into British English.

I must admit the game was something I dismissed when I first heard the name of it a year ago, but it wasn’t until a few months ago it piqued my interest. See, Nintendo of America announced it would not release the game, even though Nintendo of Europe had the localization just about finished, and a group of people got together and started a letter-writing campaign to NoA begging for its release. Well, Xenoblade and two other games–The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower. This was called Operation Rainfall.

Well, I picked up Xenoblade Chronicles from an online store (Amazon UK doesn’t ship games outside of Europe, ugh) and fell in love with the game. 70+ hrs in and I’m not finished with the game. There’s just so much to do.

The main story is about Shulk, the hero hailing from the land of Bionis, who is on a quest to avenge his almost-girlfriend’s death by the Mechon, an army of mechanical beings hailing from the land of Mechonis, with the aid of the Monado. Bionis, Mechonis, Monadis? Whatsis?

See, a long time ago, two gods, Bionis and Mechonis were in battle with each other. It became a stalemate when both incapacitated the other, leaving them both in slumber. Since them, life has sprouted. Organic beings, such as humans and other races, developed on the lush, green land of Bionis. Life has formed on this god. On the other side, we have Mechonis, a place assumed to be evil and lack of life. The Mechon hail from there.

The story in the game is well told, with characters each with strong, unique personalities and quirks. Along the journey, Shulk and his best friend Reyn encounter many different companions and foes, each with a fleshed out background. Landscapes are amazingly huge and detailed.

I have to stop here and let you know, this is probably the most beautiful looking Wii game I’ve played, and it looks better than several PS3 and Xbox 360 RPGs games I’ve seen. That said, it’s a shame the game won’t be released on either of those systems.

The music is wonderful, each theme fits the mood wonderfully. The game allows you to choose between Japanese or English audio, of which I chose the former. Voices match well with the characters, though the lip-syncing is off about half the time.

Battles are fast and highly interactive. They’re real-time with the player controlling only the primary character in a group (which can be changed at will outside of battle). Various arts, or special moves, can be used throughout battle, with each able to upgrade about 10 levels.

My words just aren’t doing it justice. If you have a European Wii or a modded Wii, BUY THIS GAME. If you don’t, then go mod it. HackMii has instructions on modding your Wii (without having to physically take the system apart). After that, it’s up to you to find the software on how to play imports (not really too hard). It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not, and the game is worth it.

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