I loved the hell out of Xenoblade when I finally got around to playing one of the Wii’s crowning games, in its handheld release on Nintendo’s under-utilised New 3DS. I have, as a result, been quite interested to see how its successor on the Wii U would fare. It’s one of the last big games to be released for the Wii U, not just this year – but likely ever. And once again, it seems like a damned good reason to own a Nintendo machine. Here’s what critics have to say about the Nintendo-exclusive JRPG from the masters at Monolith Soft.
I have enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles X so much that I am planning to start it all over again from the beginning, so I can really take my time with this absolutely gargantuan adventure, and I rarely feel that way about any game, let alone one I’ve been playing almost non-stop for a month. This is an essential purchase for all Wii U owners who love the JRPG genre.
Nevertheless, this is contemporary Japanese RPG-making at its boldest and most imaginative in years. For every cliché – the helium-voiced furry mascot who totters along behind your group, the incongruous, schizophrenic rock-cum-rap soundtrack – there’s an invention that hauls the open-world JRPG into the present, and then another that shunts it breezily into the future. Perhaps the game’s greatest achievement is that, over the course of this journey, you settle into Mira and, in that mystical way of all video game greats, Mira settles into you.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is not so much “deep” as it is complex – a rich spider’s web of interconnected activities that will take hours to fully comprehend. Work is involved in fully grasping this whole show, but once you’ve finally sorted things out and taken advantage of the game’s ginormous virtual manual, there’s a wonderfully absorbing adventure lying in wait.
It’s a game that understands the importance of rewarding players for their personal investment, and it makes sure that, no matter how convoluted its design, no matter how lengthy its tangential content, the payoff is always worth the time and effort.
Xenoblade Chronicles X finds itself in a constant struggle between scale and bloat. When I crested over the game’s first mountaintop and saw a dinosaur drinking from a lake in the valley below, it was amazing — one of those rare video game moments that can be described as “epic” without hyperbole. But the UI is just one example of how X gets in its own way, hiding its beautiful world beneath overly complicated and under-explained systems that just don’t add enough. Monolith Soft has once more created something special under the Xenoblade name; it just happens to have buried that something special under a mountain of annoyances.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a sensational game that will keep gamers busy for hours on end. Going into the game, gamers should be well aware that X does have a few flaws, namely the required side quests between story missions and a few graphical hiccups here and there. While these can be a bit annoying, getting past them is easy thanks to the engaging battle system, fantastic visuals and smartly implemented online system. X has a ton of content, even apart from the story, that will keep players busy for a long time. On my first play through of the game, it took me over 80 hours before I saw the end credits, and that was without delving super deep into any of the optional side quests. X is one of the deepest, most complex games that can be found on Wii U and you owe it to yourself to check it out.
This is one of the more interesting reviews I’ve done as of late because I know Xenoblade Chronicles X will be divisive. But it truly feels like an MMO world I’ve been living in for several weeks now. The more grimdark theme isn’t quite as charming as the original Xenoblade, but everything else makes up for it.
Last Updated: November 30, 2015