Xenoblade Chronicles X Review – Too Big for it’s Own Good

Xenoblade Chronicles X is a mixed bag, and is certainly not for everyone. There are points where the game does shine, and there are others where the game just fails completely, but I felt these failures really brought the overall experience down for me. From things like questionable design choices to a poorly delivered story, it’s hard to not consider this one a disappointment. On the other hand, this game has one of the most beautifully crafted worlds I’ve ever seen, and despite where the game lacks, it still managed to make an impact on the open world scene. Here is my in depth review on what I loved and what just drove me up the wall about Xenoblade Chronicles X.

To give some background, I was stoked when I first saw trailers for this game. Especially after playing the popular Xenoblade Chronicles released back in 2012. The original game offered at the time, unique JRPG combat, very likeable characters, an emotional story that hits your hard early on, music that is pleasing to the ears, and a lush beautifully crafted world. It was hard to not think that Xenoblade Chronicles X was going to at least live up to what it’s predecessor did, it was ultimately the reason I decided I needed to get a Wii U, and fast. The trailers didn’t give much towards what the story would be, but did a brilliant job of showing off the games huge open world, and of course the Skells, man they looked so cool. The thought of being able to freely fly anywhere at anytime in the world was something out of a dream. I can’t think of many open world games that dare explore vertical traversal. That alone had me sold, I was expecting the rest of the game would simply fall into place.

To get the basics out of the way, humanity as we know it has been wiped away on Earth as collateral damage from an alien war that took place nearby. A vessel know as the White Whale was able to breach the line of alien defenses and escape with the last of humanity on board. This ship later on crashed onto the alien world of Mira, and humanity elected to start their civilization there and at that point, New L.A. was born. You are awoken several months after the crash, have no re-collection of your past life and are quickly recruited into the elite group known as Blade that is sworn to defend New L.A. and explore Mira. Your mission from here on out is to recover the remaining life hold units on Mira. From there the story slowly fleshes out a bit more as you play along.

The White Whale releasing New L.A. above Mira

Combat is generally very similar to Xenoblade Chronicles before it where you battle in real time. Your party members carry out their own actions and you command your main avatar. You can either attack using your melee or ranged weapons and switch between them at any point. Attacks are done automatically and special skills are activated by using Arts which are displayed on the bottom of your screen. Certain Arts have certain benefits, like in Xenoblade Chronicles. You can stagger and topple large enemies as an example. There is not much direct healing Arts, but there is Soul Voices. What this does is during battle, one of your team mates may shout out for certain types of Arts to be used. When this happens, a text box appears over them in a certain colour. You then use an Art of the matching colour to trigger soul voice which heals you and your team mate, and has some other added benefits. Later on you obtain the Skells which add a whole other element of battle to the game. As you battle certain larger monster, you have the ability to target weak points and appendages. You can for example target an enemies thrusters, and once they are destroyed, the enemy can no longer fly. Or you can target an enemies stinger and they can no longer attack using that. It adds a very nice element to the battles, which has you strategically dissecting your enemy.

I do find the combat in the game however is not very well explained. The game seems to have a notion that you must read the manual to learn what you need to know. Talking about soul voices, I kept seeing the prompts come up, but I had no idea what it did until I made the connection based on my actions. After discovering I had control over this, and that I consider it an integral part of the combat, I was a bit peeved that the game didn’t even indicate that this was a mechanic that was at least worth reading up on. I just stumbled on it by chance.

Although combat can be fun, it is hard keeping track of everything happening on screen

The combat is generally fun, but can be frustrating at times. For one, when battling multiple enemies, it’s really hard to get a sense of what’s going on. Often times I’m not really seeing what my team mates are doing. I also find it very hard to balance between shifting my camera around, move my character, target enemies and select Arts. Targeting enemies is also a real pain. I can never seem to target the enemy I initially want, and if I want to switch targets outside or during battle, you need to do this by pressing a combination of buttons. The target doesn’t switch right away, and when it does, there’s no guarantee it will land on the desired foe, it’s seems random, it’s very frustrating. Also, the use of soul voices, although at first it seems fun and unique, eventually just starts feeling like something out of a DDR game. Once you get used to it, I found myself just watching the soul voices prompts and effectively playing Simon says. It makes your eyes focus on something that really shouldn’t be the center of attention. I also find it very hard to gauge what enemies are doing and how effective attacks are actually against them. This make it very hard for me to effectively plan fighting certain enemies or bosses as I find the game doesn’t give much feed back as to how effective attacks are. As you fight, there are an absurd amount of numbers popping up everywhere indicating damage taken and given and it’s just so damn hard to keep a track of. This ends up also making it feel like my characters aren’t really growing. When I upgrade gear or arts, I am rarely convinced that it made a huge difference in battle.

This is not to say however that the game plays bad. There is just a lot to keep track of and it’s not for the fainted heart. It can be a challenge, and without the game hand holding you through how the combat works, it’s very daunting. But if you take the time to learn how everything works, it can be pretty fun. Despite the frustrations, it’s fun to take on big bad enemies to test your teams strength. There are times however where the combat really comes together, especially in certain boss fights. One of the bosses you fight after you obtain your Skell is a massive goliath who starts out as a ship more or less, and transforms into a menacing four legged mechanical beast and just towers over all the surround landscapes. It’s a site to see and a blast to fight against as you have to fly around, dsicovering all the weak points and fending off reinforcements. I found moments like this in the game were spread too far apart and generally fighting certain enemies felt underwhelming and just didn’t get my heart racing. But near the end of the game, the boss fights do pick up and are generally more enjoyable and more challenging.

One of the coolest bosses not only in Xenoblade Chronicles X, but any game I’ve played

The games inventory is a mess. Trying to sift through hordes of items you’ve looted is difficult, and using the in games store is another mess. There is no sense of separate shops in this game. You access the games items all through one or two terminals for EVERYTHING! So any item your character can wear is presented to you in this shop, whether it’s level 1 or 100. This makes for massive lists of items you need to sift through to find something that’s better. Similarly, Skell management is also a pain. If I want to buy a Skell, I go to the shop and purchase a Skell. But before purchasing, because Skells are very expensive, I want to know what I can get by selling my existing Skell. I can’t do that at the terminal I buy Skells from. I need to fast travel to my barracks, wait for the screen to load, and then open up the menu there and only then can I sell the Skell and know the funds I would receive. What makes matters worse, when you want to sell a Skell, it will only give you the option to sell the Skell with all the gear equipped. It does  not provide the option to un-equip all the gear and then sell the Skell. Sometimes I want to review those items separately before selling them as some of them may be for Arts I wish to keep. But I don’t have that option, so I need to go to my Party screen, and un-equip the Skell gear there, and then sell the Skell. The interface is not streamlined by any means which is a shame, because as I get into it later on, Skells are one of the most sought after luxuries in the game, and managing them is just a pain.

The inventory screens can be daunting at times

Moving on, as you get into the “meat” of the story, it’s quite obvious one of the biggest short comings is that the story simply fails to deliver. It’s not a bad story by any means. On paper, the premise sounds great, playing through it, the challenges and obstacles mostly seem like good ideas, but man is it ever executed poorly. The game really failed to draw me in at any emotional level, and the end was result was me not really caring and giving a damn about the characters. The story is told throughout various cutscenes. Majority of these cutscenes however are very poorly animated and the characters appear very stiff and awkward. Overall, the choreography is done poorly. A lot of times when they are simply standing and talking, the way the characters sway back and forth seems very unnatural and looks like everyone is suspended under water. To make things worse, the lip syncing is pretty much non-existent. Characters mouths simply move up and down when they talk, nothing more. To make matters worse, there is a certain type of cutscene used, which is primarily done to deliver dialogue. This has your entire party plus a few additional characters standing around in a circle and talking, nothing more. You have control over the camera and nothing else. The dialogue spoken is more than often monotone and poorly delivered, so this just leads to my mind wandering off until the cutscene is done. I don’t see why they chose to do the story telling this way. I thought a much better approach as we’ve seen in many other games, is if all you want to do is deliver dialogue and nothing else, then wouldn’t giving you control over your character and just have them talk be a much better option? As a result, I neglected to level pretty much all my characters outside of four that I could keep in my party at all times.

Bulk of the dialogue is told through “cutscenes” like this where you simply rotate the camera around your team while they talk

A big problem I find with the story missions is what you hear. Not only is voice acting just plain out boring and monotone, but the music that accompanies 90% of the game is downright lack luster. The music that plays while exploring Mira and it’s many regions is overall pretty nice, but the music really falls apart when you are in New L.A. The themes that play just get very repetitive. On top of that, the music that plays in affinity missions, dialogue cutscenes are repeated over and over again. Sometimes it’s just pure silence. There was not much of an effort to diversify the sound track which is a shame. Considering Xenoblade Chronicles before it, one of my favourite aspects was exploring new regions and having so many themes catered for each of those regions, but also having the night and day time music variants. It really gave you the sense of your journey and how it progresses, but in Xenoblade Chronicles X, it’s totally lost. A big problem in cutscenes to, if the game decides to play some music, it’s often way too loud and I can’t hear dialogue most of the time. This is also apparent in battle. Your team is constantly calling out things to do and it’s hard to pick up on these queues outside of the visuals hints they give. In Xenoblade Chronicles, I found being able to hear your party in battle easier made this aspect of the team play much more enjoyable and organic as a team mate can call for a move and it’s easier to assist by using certain Arts to compliment their strategy. The music also at times does not suit the mood of key moments in the game. For example, the final chapter has you roaring to the enemy, music is exciting during the cutscene and is getting you pumped. As soon as it’s over and you are in control, the music reverts to your cheery Skell flight music and the pressure to save the world has been killed because of this.

When done right, although it’s not very common, cut scenes look great

There are times however where the story delivery really come together. Not only is the dialogue delivered much better, but the choreography is impressive, the animations are top notch, the soundtrack picks up and there is a much pleasing in those scenarios. Some of them even include some really cool action sequences and are actually fun to watch. The problem is these moments are not very common in Xenoblade Chronicles X. I think the story delivery could have highly benefited from quite a bit more effort on this front if it was presented with more quality, since the story is not bad by any means, just executed poorly.

As you start the game, it becomes clear very early on that your character is effectively a voiceless avatar that really has no impact or say in the story. A mute puppet might be a better way to describe this character, as they barely have convincing opinions, and any interaction this character does outside of combat is simple texts pop ups that prompt you for a response to something another character said. These responses you give are vague as it is, and the delivery of the mute response is simple hand motions or some head nods. Basically, this character that you have to play as utterly sucks! He feels useless and has no importance what so ever in the big picture of the game besides combat it seems. He doesn’t feel like the main character or that he’s even important to anything in the story, and to be fair, it is entirely possible and intentional. As many have speculated online that the real main character is Elma, not your avatar. I’m open to that, but the problem is Elma suffers from a lot of problems I have with other characters. I find very little reason to care for her and cannot connect to her on any level.

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You will have tough choices to make as the avatar… just kidding

Moving on from your main character, the rest of your party is not much better. For the most part, they are just as boring and bland as your avatar, but in fact may be worse. Often times I find a few of them deliver outrageously corny dialogue that makes me cringe when I hear it. Outside of your main crew, there are way too many playable characters to keep track of and they are very easy to not give a damn about. Outside of them just being plain out boring and uninteresting, the games party system is horribly implemented. If you at any point want to swap party members, you can’t just open up your menu and swap at any point, but you are required to find your party member in their designated place in new L.A. It doesn’t make sense why they went with this decision, because it simply leads to way too much back and forth between locations. New L.A. is difficult to navigate and learn so it’s not easy finding your party members, even if you are using the map. On top of that, there was one instance where I needed one of the side characters Doug. I went to his designated spot to not be able to find him. I thought it was so weird, anytime I wanted him in my group, he was always there, but this time nothing. I checked my map and it said “Doug can usually be found here”. He was nowhere to be seen. Fast travelling to the same location nearby again forced him to spawn, but man, what an annoyance to something that is already so damn tedious to do. I would assume the designers thought with fast travel, this wouldn’t be a problem, but in practice, it is, and they should never do it this way again. Even if they decide to make it so you have to physically walk to a character to recruit them to your party, make them easy to find and keep them all relatively close together, say, in the barracks where you go for the bulk of your main story missions anyways. In Xenoblade Chronicles X, the members are scattered in all sorts of different sections of the city, and you have to rely on your map to find them most of them time. They are NOT easy to spot without it and it’s hard to remember where each of them are.

Tatsu, one of the characters you will absolutely grow to hate… with a strong burning passion

The enemies are no better. There is never a main antagonist presented to you. The few that are presented throughout the story only are only around for a few chapters before they are discarded. They don’t leave a lasting impression after they are defeated, and you’re never really sure who they are really sided with or why. They are just there and are in your way and never feel threatening from a story perspective. There are a few that stand out, and some cool enemy designs are used. But they lack soul, so they are effectively an empty shell to me, that lack to strike fear when I come face to face with them.

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One of the many enemies you face in Xenoblade Chronicles X

Quests in Xenoblade Chronicles X, known as missions are broken down into three categories. There are Basic Missions, Normal Missions, Affinity Missions and Story Misions. Basic missions are obtained through a mission console are are primarily fetch and kills quests. Pretty standard, nothing special here. Normal Missions are obtained throughout the world and are more or less the same I find, some require you to buy things, they are overall boring and not worth completing unless you need XP.

Problems start however once we get into Affinity missions. These are character specific missions that boost the relationship between you and other characters and delve deeper into the lives and stories of your characters. This sounded kind of like the thing the story needed to make it more interesting, but playing through many of the affinity missions, they are once again boring, and plagued with very boring dialogue. They are also a pain to find. Affinity missions are scattered throughout the map and for the most part, are heavily gated. Some require you to be very high levels and have high affinity with many of the characters. Building affinity takes a lot of time in this game, so I find these missions for the most part are not accessible and as a result. Majority of people playing will miss out on this content because I’m sure there are many people like myself that simply don’t have all the time in the world to spend on this game just to hear some boring dialogue about problems I really don’t give a damn about. Don’t get me wrong, I love side missions that tell me more about characters. I brag about doing all the character missions in all the Mass Effect games. If they are easy to access and don’t require absurd time investments, I’m all for it, but Xenoblade Chronicles X purposefully gates these quests for casual players. I made a conscience effort to do as many as these as I could to give them a fair chance. I never felt the experience was rewarding and was pretty boring in my opinion. So I find the trade off for having to invest the time and effort not worth it.

Lastly the Story Missions are where the games main story is told. These are obtained from the main mission console in your barracks. Like the affinity missions, I found these rarely deliver anything interesting, and feel very disconnected. Again, the main story premise and ideas are great, but very poorly executed. What makes the Story Missions tough is that they are sometimes gated as well with requirements. The level requirements aren’t so daunting but what does get me is there are requirement to sometimes complete certain affinity quests. When you walk up to the console, it says that you need to do affinity missions 1 and 2 for example. My huge gripe about this is the game fails to tell you if you’ve actually completed these quests. So you are forced to go to your map, and sift through the countless icons until you’ve found the quest. On top of that, you can go to the affinity quest if you haven’t completed that, and find that you are lacking requirements for that as well. So now you are forced to level grind, or grind to increase affinity with other characters that you have neglected until now. Another requirement that comes up is needing to survey a certain percentage of a region. Basically you need to map out a certain percentage of a given region to move forward. Both these ways of qualifying you for the story quests are not only annoying and force players to level grind in a day and age when this should not happen, but also takes out the natural flow a main story should take. When I play through the game, I do not get a sense for the journey that JRPG’s usually do so well. On top of that, because Story Missions are obtained from the central console in the barracks, I am constantly fast travelling back and forth and this also takes away any of the fluidity I would expect when transitioning through different story elements. It ends up making the Story Missions feel no better than doing any other side quest. It feels as though Xenoblade Chronicles X seems to care more for having players drive up stats and numbers to progress in the story. What I felt would have been way better is why couldn’t the affinity missions just be part of the main story mission? In the end, you have to complete that mission, so why is it cryptically hidden as part of a requirement. Just make that chapter longer and include elements of that affinity mission.

Good luck sifting through a map like this to find affinity missions

I also stumbled into a really bad predicament end game that I’ve heard others mention in reviews. Should you choose to forgo a bulk of the side missions, then chances are you will be under level. I would think that players should have an option to only do story missions with a minimal need to complete side quests. However that is not the case, players are forced to level grind. Okay, so I come to terms with that, and proceed to obtain some quests. The quests are ranked using a 5 star ranking system. What I find odd, is at this point, my character is level 47, I pick up a quest that is ranked at a high difficulty thinking this will reap the most reward. I get to the monster I am to kill and find it is a whopping 33 levels higher than me! The quest system is so inconsistent and really feels like the games goes out of it’s way to gate you from doing story and affinity quests, yet when it comes time to dedicating and taking a lot of time to now meet those requirements, the game lazily throws quests that are leagues beyond your current level. It doesn’t make sense and is just plain out poor quest design. So what I ended up doing end game is guess which quests I can actually do and reap rewards. I found that either the quests were too high level, or were 10 levels below, so I couldn’t reap much reward. So sadly I am forced to level grind by killing many many monsters. Which is disappointing to say the least considering at the time, I was so close to the end and I had hit a big road block at no fault of my own. Considering the story mission before it I was able to beat no problem, I don’t see why the next missions it miles beyond the previous chapter.

At a point I was making a huge effort to do many side quests and affinity missions but was constantly let down as those quests are again merely fetch and kill quests that didn’t provide anything meaningful. I made a huge effort to try and find something interesting outside of the general story but never found it, so I eventually decided I’d go through the main story. At this point despite all my efforts and being a good 70 hours into this game, I can’t believe the game is punishing me for being under leveled. Story missions don’t indicate what level you should be, so I blindly accept the mission, show up and have the boss destroy all my Skells, which becomes a huge cost later on as I’ll explain in more detail shortly. What makes matters worse, and this applies to affinity missions as well, you cannot abandon Story or Affinity missions! This is a huge problem because you think if I am 4-5 levels away from being able to complete the next story mission, I’ll look for an affinity mission that I can do to see something remotely interesting and also get some XP, but sadly you cannot abandon your current mission, and you cannot accept any affinity mission while you are attempting to complete a story mission. The same happens in the middle of an affinity mission, you cannot abandon or accept other affinity missions, so you can easily be trapped in a situation where you are under leveled, or worse, need to retrieve some ultra rare item by just randomly roaming and collecting items. To have these mechanics dictate the way regular side missions normally work in such games normally wouldn’t be a huge problem, but these problems trickle into the main story.

One instance where I have no idea if I’ve completed the pre-requisites or not

My last big gripe about this game, bear with me I’m almost done my endless rant is about Skells. What the game really fails to convey is the downsides to Skell combat and losing Skells. When you lose a Skell, it blows up and life goes on, the character of that Skell ejects and continue fighting on foot. So a problem that arises is how do you get back your lost Skell. You must go back to your barracks, and enter the barracks hangar menu, and there the Skell is automatically replaced through your insurance. How insurance is determined is beyond me as it was never explained. It appears you can do this so many times unless it runs out. At that point you now have to pay to get that Skell back, which comes at a huge cost since Skells along with all their upgrades are not cheap. I don’t have anything against the game for punishing me for carelessly losing Skells, but the problem is I have no idea when my insurance runs out, and I have no idea how it’s re-generated. Having to constantly look for things in the manual or googling things online becomes very annoying. The game fails to convey key information to you in so many ways and the player really suffers for it. Which is a shame because outside of this problem, Skells are f****n rad!

From the start, Skells are the most sought after item in the game, they are just so damn cool!

Despite all the negatives I have primarily said about the game, there are moments where you forget about these problems. It’s moments like taking on a mission, hopping in your Skell and flying out of New L.A. and greeted by the beautiful world that is Mira. It’s quite a re-markable transition. Mira is absolutely beautiful. It’s one of the most well designed worlds from a visual standpoint I’ve ever seen. The amount of detail and creativity the designs put into crafting this world is what saves this game. It’s not your typical flat horizontal surfaces that as far as I can tell, all other open world games are usually built from. There are many vertical segments introduced in this game. It’s apparent even from day one. As you explore Primordia, Mira’s first explorable area, it’s very evident that there are areas way high up that you’ll only be able to access later game once you can get the ability to fly your Skell. It also helps you set some goals early on, which is one thing the game does extremely well. It really entices you just explore Mira. I found myself for a bulk of the game running around the finding way points and mapping out the world. The story from the get go tells you that one of Blades main objectives is exploration, and it’s outright fun to do. It’s easy to explore most of the game without needing to constantly fight as well. So those wanting to do some leisurely sight seeing can do so without much resistance. You’ll encounter monsters that are way out of your league and sometimes feel like they can kill you just but glancing at you, but with some careful planning, you can get around these obstacles and continue exploring.

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The views that Skell flight can accomplish…

Despite the limitation the game imposes for doing story and affinity missions, those limitations are not forced upon you when it comes to exploring mostly. Even before setting out on your first story mission, with careful planning you can traverse to many of the other regions in the world outside of Primodia. Of course you’ll probably find the monsters are way out of your league, but fighting is not mandatory in most cases so you can continue mapping out these areas. There are many beautiful and awe-inspiring things to see throughout these regions, so I highly implore most players to keep exploring. The game is only opened up further once you obtain Skells, as now you can take on bigger monsters opening up even more areas and you can jump way higher. The game ultimately opens up once you achieve the gift of flight. Flying up to the highest point possible for the first time in a Skell is one of the games shining moments and gives you an amazing sense of excitement for what you will find next. At this point, there is nothing that can stop you. See those floating rocks there? Sure, well now you can see what’s up there.

I think one thing that really speaks for itself about Mira is the impulse to explore and cruise through the world. It’s not often that in huge open world games that take a long time to traverse lands am I forgoing the need for fast travel and choose to fly to my destination and observe the lands along the way. Xenoblade Chronicles X makes me want to do this, even though it takes longer and wastes my precious Skell fuel, there’s just something about flying out of New L.A. and setting the Skell to auto-pilot until you get to your next destination.

A fraction of what Mira has to offer, yes you can go to any place you see here, it’s incredible

This is where the games strengths shine for those willing to invest in them. One of my big criticisms of Xenoblade Chronicles X is the game is not accessible. It’s very hard to learn, and even harder to master, which is ironic because anything I relate to Nintendo and Monolith Software being as close as they are with Nintendo, is a game that I consider being very accessible and easy to pick up and play, but challenging to master. If you are looking for a game you can spend endless hours in outside of a main story mode, and just want to ability to level up your team, deck out your Skells, and take on some of the menacing world bosses, this game is for you. If you are willing to delve into the complex cryptic menus and take the time to truly learn the games mechanics and how stats work and benefit your party and their Skells, this game is for you. There is a plethora of quests to be done outside of the main missions to upgrade and level up, and there is more than enough upgrades to entice completionists to strive for the best team they can get. There is a wide variety of upgrades and ways to invest your funds and harvested minerals into upgrading factions to provide strong and down right cool looking gear. Some of the Skell weapons you can obtain are just downright awesome.

The customization is very deep. You can deck out all sorts of different pieces on your Skell. Giving it large guns, swords, or absurdly huge canons. It’s all very Japanese and from an artistic point of view, and all looks very cool. Being able to customize arts and gear for your regular party it also fun. What’s fun is being able to equip your parties gear for stats, but on top of that, assign fashion gear. So you can properly assign stats to your characters, but provide the coolest looking gear and keep the better stats. It leads to some fun and quirky party fashion sense, that I delved into a tad bit.

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All enemies will fear me!

Who is Xenoblade Chronicles X for really? Without being directly one of those games itself, are MMO fans. The game is not a true MMO by any means, but shares many similar traits, so I’d consider it a hybrid almost. Also, the inclusion of some of the multiplayer aspects lead me to believe should Monolith Software have gotten the time and resources needed, they could have fleshed this out into some even more massive in terms of a player base. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have been included, because there is a multiplayer aspect to the game which I found was lacking. At least for me, it’s hard to get into multiplayer, but also, the missions didn’t seem to last long enough either given how long it took me to form parties sometimes. Also, these parties are formed and limited to a certain instance within the games world, so it’s not like I can add a friend and freely explore any corner of Mira with them. Even though it’s probably outside of the scope of what this game wanted to achieve, it’s hard not to have this come to mind given the MMO-esque design of the game. Another thing that really takes away from the online multiplayer aspect of things, this game disconnects from it’s servers all the time. In most cases, within 10 minutes of loading your game. Unfortunately, the only way to re-connect is to exit and reload the game. To me it seems like Monolith software went through all the efforts to setup and pave way to what could have truly been fun multiplayer experience, but after the game launched, totally neglected this aspect and failed to tend to technical issues like this. Even now, over a year after it’s release, I am still being disconnected from the games servers, which is upsetting to see, and a let down to fans who would otherwise enjoy multiplayer.

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You’ll be able to take on more daunting enemies as you level up and upgrade your Skells

Final Thoughts

All in all, my conclusion of this game, if you are a fan of previous titles of the series and looking for more of the same, you will not find it here. This game being called Xenoblade Chronicles games really sets up the expectation that you will get a deep, meaningful and very well told story, but that’s nowhere to be found. For me, it is a disappointment, simply because of the amount of time I’ve invested trying to look for things to do that expand the story during. As Takahashi stated already about this game, he wishes this game could have had a more fleshed out story, but their priorities where set elsewhere, which Monolith software has acknowledged in during the games development. Ultimately what the game feels like to me is Monolith had this amazing ambition to make a game, that would have one of the biggest and baddest open worlds ever created, but ultimately falls short. It feels that the resources where spread thin across several parts of development for this game. They focused on the world, and did it perfectly, but at the expense of the story, inventory management, quest design and several other aspects, which is a letdown. However, for those simply looking for a game they can pour hours and hours into and not care so much about a good story and more for things to do and kill, should you have the time, this game will ultimately reward you. I cannot blindly recommend Xenoblade Chronicles X to anyone however given the very niche genre this falls into, being a hybrid MMO JRPG. Again, if you are counting on a well delivered story, you probably want to pass this one up. However if your goal is to explore a huge and beautiful world, be able to customize your party’s gear and Skells to take on some of the end game content, this one will be right up your ally. For me personally, given that I’ve invested more than 80 hours to simply be let down by lack of narrative and story telling I desperately wanted to find, I can’t help but feel disappointed and that my time could have been spent better elsewhere.

6 thoughts on “Xenoblade Chronicles X Review – Too Big for it’s Own Good

  1. Those HUDs, though… 😉

    That’s too bad. I heard such wonderful things about Xenoblade Chronicles, but it seems like X was just too sprawling. Hopefully we’ll start to see “open world” games be scaled back a bit. There is such a thing as creating an illusion of space if you don’t know how to execute an enormous, living, breathing world.

    It’s funny, I’m actually writing an article about avatars and characters, but it seems like this game doesn’t do either too well, as even the blank-slate playable character comes across as dull. Ah… too bad. That’s a horrible feeling to get to the end of a game and think your time has been wasted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea for me certain things didn’t click. There do seem to be many who love XCX and prefer it over it’s predesor though when I read around the internet, and the things I listen don’t bother them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review! I thought the story was okay, but since this game was one of my first truly open-world experiences (obviously before the greatness that is Breath of the Wild), I had a lot of fun with it. It was addicting for me to put all the probes in and explore the map. Hopefully, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will return to a rich storytelling structure, though I still wouldn’t mind a huge world to play in.

    Liked by 1 person

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