How we just argued a few days ago this generation of consoles and in particular this 2015 videogame are characterized by the large number of titles with a large game world that can be freely explored. Between a Fallout 4, a The Witcher 3 and a Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain, the largest, most fascinating and engaging open world, however, risks being that of another title, however, released on a console at first sight less suitable for this type of games, Wii U. We are talking about Xenoblade Chronicles X, the new JRPG from Monolith Soft, a spiritual sequel to the Xenoblade Chronicles that first on Wii and then on 3DS had already shocked Nintendo gamers with its scope and ambition.
Brave New World
Xenoblade Chronicles X takes the gameplay of its predecessor to immerse it in a completely different setting, expanding its gameplay and depth in an unexpected way. We are in the future. An apocalyptic conflict between two alien powers takes place against the backdrop of our planet, the Earth, which inevitably gets caught up in the crossfire. Humanity has no choice but to leave the planet devastated by the bombing of gigantic colony ships, in the hope of finding a new place to be able to colonize and to be able to call "home". We will then find ourselves following the stories of the survivors of the crew of one of these colonial ships, which was wrecked on the planet Mira. The story begins when, two months after the shipwreck, the stasis capsule in which the protagonist rests is found by Elma, one of the members of the military organization BLADE and one of the most important characters in the game. In short, the real protagonist freely customizable player avatar, will be introduced to the new life that survivors spend in New Los Angeles, the city being built from the remains of the shipwreck. The planet Mira is unknown, largely populated by gigantic and hostile creatures, who do not look kindly on the invasion of their habitat by human beings. The scarcity of resources and raw materials is another fundamental problem, while the search for the "vital center" remains imperative, the portion of the ship that houses millions of other humans sleeping in the stasis pods, separated from the rest of the colony during the sinking and crashed into a place still unknown. To meet these challenges, humans have created theBLADE organization, divided into 8 divisions, each with its own specializations, which for gameplay purposes will behave like real guilds. The 8 divisions are:
- Pathfinder: promotes the installation of data probes and the discovery of new sectors
- Interceptor: Promotes monster hunting and mission completion
- Harrier: promotes the hunt for monsters and Tyrants
- Reclaimer: Promotes the discovery of treasures and the installation of data probes
- Curator: Promotes the collection of collectibles and the hunt for Tyrants
- Prospector: promotes the collection of resources and the discovery of new sectors
- Outfitter: promotes Miranium's investment in weapons production and the earning of R&D points
- Mediator: promotes the success of missions and the building of solid relationships between survivors
We will immediately be required to join one of these divisions, which will partly affect the development of our character. Each division will in fact bring specific bonuses to some characteristics of the avatar and while not limiting access to the missions of the others, by completing those of your own you will receive a greater amount of division points. Who comes from the experience of Xenoblade Chronicles you will immediately notice a different approach to the narrative and the development of the plot. While in the previous title, the exploration of the large game world was guided by a more or less pressing plot, here the story takes a back seat and remains there for most of the adventure, returning to be felt especially in the final stages. . The game is divided into a dozen chapters, to proceed in which you will need to complete the main missions. However, these will only be accessible when certain conditions are reached, ranging from the completion of some secondary missions, to having explored a certain percentage of the game world, to having reached a certain level. It is not so much the story that is the main driver of the player's actions, but the variety of quests and things to do. Soon we find ourselves totally immersed in the world of Mira, and one feels truly motivated to carry out BLADE missions, almost as if contributing to the salvation of mankind really depended on the small and large businesses that NLA citizens, BLADE colleagues and high hierarchies assign to us. A relationship diagram will help us keep track of all the characters we have encountered, whether they are related to the story, potential party members, or even just normal NPCs grappling with their daily problems. The variety of objectives, the amount of things to do, the vastness of the continents targeted and, why not, the beauty of the settings, will continually lead us astray and even when we have decided to proceed in history maybe we will allow ourselves to be distracted by personal problems. of a barmaid in the commercial sector of NLA, or from the requests for materials made by engineers of the military industries. It is clear that this is a different type of progression from the standard of many JRPGs and in many ways closer to that of a Western RPG or MMORPG, but what is sacrificed in regards to narrative involvement is completely paid off by total immersion. in the setting.
I've always dreamed of piloting a Gundam
The combat system takes over and expands that of Xenoblade Chronicle. The familiar pseudo-MMO setting with automatic basic attacks and special techniques with cooldown times returns, but with some substantial changes. Each BLADE fighter carries a firearm and a melee weapon, interchangeable in real time with the push of a button. Here is that one's positioning with respect to enemies takes on an even more fundamental role, granting bonuses for melee attacks, ranged attacks, rear attacks, and so on from time to time. The various techniques, in addition to inflicting a greater amount of damage than normal attacks, also have specific effects, often able to chain together. If in the old title the combination unbalance-land-stun was the master for most of the game, here things get much more complex and interesting, with effects that go to recall specific techniques and so on. The player will therefore be forced to study the effects of their techniques well to choose the most advantageous to deploy at any time. Characters can learn a large number of techniques, depending on which class they belong to. Reached level 10 in the initial class it will in fact be possible to choose between three types of main classes: the one specialized in melee combat, the one in support and the one in ranged attacks. Each of these classes will feature two further development branches, each with its own peculiarities and unique techniques. As you progress through the game and unlock new classes, the player will be able to obtain more and more techniques, to be able to choose and combine with each other in an increasingly creative and devastating way. Another novelty of the game are the Skell. It is transformable robots piloted by BLADE. In the game they will be obtainable only in a very advanced phase, after the completion of a specific quest and at a very high cost. However, the effort will be rewarded by the ability to face colossal opponents first totally out of reach of the characters and to reach some remote locations more easily. Fighting dinosaur-sized bosses aboard a Skell or speeding through the sky of Mira at sunset are literally exhilarating experiences and one of the high points of the entire gaming experience. It's a shame that the Skells only appear very late in the adventure, but the satisfaction of getting one, of earning it through effort and hard work is literally unmatched.
The player's duties will also include leading the human expansion on Mira. FrontierNav is the network of probes that collect data on the Mira terrain. The huge game map is divided for convenience into hexagonal sectors, and at regular intervals it will be possible to install probes on some of them. These will provide us with data on surrounding sectors, extract resources, and allow us to use the express transport function from Wii U GamePad. The entire network management takes place via GamePad and will consist in choosing and managing the appropriate probes for each sector, perhaps creating combinations of probes in adjacent sectors to obtain bonuses in the extraction of resources. These, together with those collected manually by us during the exploration and those dropped by defeated enemies, will be used for the completion of quests, the upgrading of weapons, armor and Skell, or the financing of new research. Among the managerial aspects there is in fact also the possibility of financing particular arms manufacturers rather than others, unlocking some categories of equipment or improvements rather than others. Xenoblade Chronicles X also has some online features that are "lightly" integrated into the gameplay. Inside the BLADE barracks it is possible to participate in missions involving other players registered in the same division. For the most part these are asynchronous instances with collective objectives such as: "hunt x monsters of type y", but there are also some Boss missions in which players will actually fight together to defeat enemies of extraordinary strength. A constantly updated ranking will keep track of the online activities of each division and each night will be awarded to each member a particular bonus for the work done. For the purposes of the story and the general enjoyment of the title, these are in any case superfluous and completely non-essential features: those who do not like multiplayer games can safely avoid these sections without any consequences, while some types of players may find them much more interesting. (especially group bosses, where the experience approaches that of a Monster Hunter).
An extraordinary world
It is useless to go around it: one of the most extraordinary aspects of Xenoblade Chronicles X is the graphics. Avoiding mundane talk like “the graphics are good for a Wii U game”, the graphics in Xenoblade Chronicles X are beautiful in a broad sense. True, the polygonal models of the characters have a rather "old-gen" look, some animations are more woody than the others and some textures here and there are not exactly beautiful. But in the face of the vastness and the crazy scale of the game world, every objection falls. And this is not an empty, flat world. Practically in every sector of the map there are peculiarities, oddities. With almost every camera movement there is a breathtaking view and most impressive of all is that the game makes no promises it cannot deliver. If you see it on the screen, it means you can reach it. Invisible walls? They do not exist. Purely scenographic elements? They do not exist. There is only Mira, with its endless sea and its five continents, which without the help of Skell or rapid transport would take hours and hours to cross. They are various worlds, studded with atmospheric agents and teeming with life. They are lush and menacing worlds. They are fascinating worlds. A special mention for the mechanical design of the Skell, meticulous and cared for to the point of getting even the worst Japanese robotic animation fans wet. In all this, the design chosen for the characters contrasts a bit, perhaps too “manga” for graphics that otherwise have a realistic imprint. From the point of view of the music we find a good work by the composer Hiroyuki sawano, borrowed from the world of Japanese animation (among his works the soundtracks of La Kill Kill ed Attack on Titan), even if the comparison with the previous Xenoblade dream team (Yoko Shimomura, ACE +, Yasunori Mitsuda) is not entirely favorable. The soundtrack settles on an excellent level, but it never reaches the heights touched with the old title. Dubbing is only available in English. As with the 3DS re-release of Xenoblade Chronicles, the Japanese track has been sacrificed on the altar of disc space, even if the work of the English voice actors is more than decent. The texts on the screen are fortunately all in Spanish.
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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Verdict 9/10 Aim for "Miracle" Comment While coming from Xenoblade Chronicles it's easy to get blown away by Xenoblade Chronicles X. True, despite retaining the same core DNA, Monolith Soft's new work aspires to something other than previous title and once again pushes the boundary between western and eastern RPGs. By deliberately putting the story in the background, the development team considered letting the world of Mira speak for itself. The exploration, the joy of discovery, that of getting lost and finding oneself, the thrill of feeling at the forefront of a fundamental undertaking, the sense of progression that one has in helping to rebuild a semblance of civilization. These are the elements that make Xenoblade Chronicles X great. To this must be added a literally immense setting made with great care and skill and an even deeper and more engaging combat system. It's hard to find fault with a game like Xenoblade Chronicles X: when dealing with a job of this magnitude, you leave the realm of the objective and enter that of the subjective. We could mention the music sector, perhaps not up to the level of its predecessor. One could mention the sacrifices and tricks made to have such an overall graphic rendering. One could criticize the choice of penalizing the development of history in the face of exploration. But the truth is that none of these elements can really be considered a flaw. For this and a thousand other reasons, Xenoblade Chronicles X is The Wii U Game to have in 2015. Pros and Cons ✓ Immense and varied world
✓ Multi-faceted and deep gameplay
✓ Lots of things to do
✓ Graphic impact of all respect x Not everyone might like the non-narrative approach
x Lower soundtrack than its predecessor
x Small graphic sacrifices in some areas