Xenoblade Chronicles X
Let’s start by talking about something useless. That’s interesting: who and why took it into his head to add the word Chronicles to the English title of the Xenoblade game? Well, there was a clear series: Xenosaga, Xenogears, Xenoblade. Beautiful, catchy titles, by which it is immediately clear: we have another creation of a particular author. And here you are, Chronicles. A word that is clearly associated with protracted projects of several episodes. In a series, the second part of which is actually not connected with the first.
And yes, Xenoblade Chronicles X is an absolutely self-sufficient story that has no obvious relation to a world that lives on the corpses of two gods. Instead, players are greeted with a “positive”: evil aliens casually destroy the Earth, and then rush in pursuit of ships with refugees and shoot down one of them over Mira, the planet that the heroes of the game will have to inhabit.
Xenoblade Chronicles X, as is often the case with the Japanese, does not even try to maintain a single mood: silly comic scenes and absurd sidelines side by side with serious stories about racism and fanaticism, philosophical dilemmas and emo-whiners. But this, for the most part, is not critical (except for the emo whiner, who, in addition, was allowed to be one of the main plot drivers). A good dose of contrast has never harmed anyone, and the numerous inhabitants of Mira are written well enough to make it interesting to follow their lives.
After all, the game has a whole menu item for a reason, demonstrating the relationship between hundreds of inhabitants of New Los Angeles, the city where humanity settles after the crash. As you complete the main and side quests, you meet more and more new acquaintances, and their fates begin to intertwine. Alien races settle in with people one after another, the city is slowly changing, residents begin to learn to coexist with individuals of fundamentally different species …
In parallel, you stumble upon more and more potential team members – there are about two dozen of them in the game, and everyone has not only their own characters and styles battle, but also, what is much more interesting, their quests (moreover, the indicated tasks, unlike other side effects, are fully voiced). And to follow additional stories is often almost more interesting than the main plot.
This is, however, a compliment with a catch. No, Xenoblade Chronicles X has a very good central story that raises interesting questions and doesn’t shy away from the twists and turns. The problem is that almost the entire plot is concentrated at the very end – during the battle with the final boss, before the final credits and even after them. The authors of trailers for the game did not just resist spoilers showing pieces from the final splash screen – before that, almost nothing happens here. People are exploring the World in search of a fragment of the ship, where millions of survivors from Earth lie in freezers, and evil aliens are doing the same, but with the goal of utterly destroying humanity. Moreover, the villains even have reasons for that! .. but they explain them, again, at the very end.
Plus, for some reason, the authors made a playable character a mute, devoid of personality, something that most of the time participates in the narrative only as an observer and brute force. Characters, experiences and stories are the lot of his environment. What happens in Xenoblade Chronicles X is their story, not yours, you should be grateful that your avatar was taken with them.
In general, making the central narrative such a secondary element of a traditional jRPG is a strange decision, but it’s what it is. Xenoblade Chronicles X doesn’t hide the fact that its main theme is the exploration of a new world, and whether you like it or not, it doesn’t really care. Moreover, the game has every reason to be proud of its world and consider it the main feature: Mira is a beautiful, amazing place with breathtaking landscapes, five hefty continents and various creatures inhabiting them. It’s not a sin to kill a dozen or two hours to explore such a world … the only pity is that not all elements of the study are implemented equally well.
You see, there are three main types of quests in Xenoblade Chronicles X: kill X monsters of a certain type, collect X monster limbs of a specific type, or collect X resources scattered around the planet. The first type is simple and clear: the game carefully puts a marker on the map, you immediately teleport somewhere closer to it using the touchscreen of the gamepad, kill monsters and enjoy success.
The second option is much more complicated: no one puts markers pointing to monsters, and you have to look for them yourself. Moreover, finding and killing the right monster is not enough: different parts of the body remain after the battle with different probabilities, and some cannot fall out at all, unless a specific limb is amputated in battle, so the found animals now and then have to be farmed for a long time. But at least you can see them with your own eyes.
With the third type of tasks, everything is really bad: either because of the lack of resources on the Wii U, or for some other reason, but in the world of Xenoblade Chronicles X, shells, berries, and internal combustion engines look the same – like floating in blue crystals in the air. And when you are given the task “Collect X vines on continent Y”, you have to not look for vines, but mindlessly rush around the continent, grabbing all the crystals that catch your eye, and hope that one of them will randomly generate what you need. This, frankly, is not the most exciting activity. And it gets even more frustrating when you realize that quests in Xenoblade Chronicles X regularly consist of not one but a series of different types of quests going one after another, so taking an interesting quest to hunt a rare monster,
By the way, we have already said that by taking a personal quest of one of the heroes, you block your access to other such quests, and to the central plot until you complete the selected task to the end? And that you can’t refuse it either? Well, we’re warning you.
However, although this truly unbearable situation with some quests is a serious problem and more than deserving of criticism, it is important to understand that you will be much less worried about it than the reviewers. In less than a month from the English release, special sites will be filled to capacity with details about quests and accurate information about which zones to look for certain items and monsters in. Xenoblade Chronicles X, like the Souls series, is clearly designed for players to share knowledge with each other, and as soon as the community of dedicated fans that has already formed around the project inevitably bears fruit, it will become quite comfortable to play.
Again, wikis and other fan guides will be of great help to casual players in understanding local gameplay mechanics. However, this is not so necessary: from the outside, the combat system of Xenoblade Chronicles X seems imposing to the casual, and the plot can be completely brute-forced. The final boss is not without reason left at level 50, despite the fact that the heroes can be pumped up to the 60th: with such a difference in the development of the villain, it is possible, if not without tension, but still to crush with the dumbest enumeration of available attacks.
But this is one way. For those who like to seriously understand the mechanics and create the most effective characters and teams, Xenoblade Chronicles X will give a lot of opportunities. Different classes, different techniques, different perks, different types of attacks, the ability to instantly reset “cooldowns” from all your abilities if you use the right technique at the right time, pieces of armor with a variety of pumped characteristics and additional slots, the ability to independently create both armor and weapons , and parts for their slots, special action points that can be used for cool attacks, or you can save to resurrect fallen brothers or activate an enhanced state, leveling stores, giving orders to team members in battle, hiring avatars of other players to help with accelerated leveling, MMO elements… And even that seems to just the tip of the iceberg: for example, in research probes that you will place around the World, you can build in special systems that strengthen characters in battle in nearby areas, and enemies can be cut off limbs, depriving them of some attacks. Moreover, the game does not really explain anything about this, leaving those interested alone with an interactive instruction for several dozen pages – sit yourself and figure it out. It is reasonable, in fact: whoever does not need it will ignore it. Whoever wants to sit, read and benefit greatly. leaving those who are interested alone with an interactive instruction for several dozen pages – sit yourself and figure it out. It is reasonable, in fact: whoever does not need it will ignore it. Whoever wants to sit, read and benefit greatly. leaving those who are interested alone with an interactive instruction for several dozen pages – sit yourself and figure it out. It is reasonable, in fact: whoever does not need it will ignore it. Whoever wants to sit, read and benefit greatly.
In general, you need to understand: it will be interesting to play for both. This is because Xenoblade Chronicles X can not only promise some cool rewards for your efforts, but also give them. Almost at the very beginning, they show you giant transformer robots and say: “If you behave well, you will get the same!” And yes, by the middle of the story, the command really fulfills its promise, giving the player a personal Skell. It’s worth it, no joke: dozens of hours of waiting, and a series of terrible tasks that you have to endure in order to obtain a pilot’s license. It is very pleasant to trample monsters several levels higher than you into the mud with iron feet and take revenge on all those giants that mocked you, a little man, before.
However, Xenoblade Chronicles X doesn’t stop there. Through the next quarter of missions, robots are taught to fly, giving the player an unforgettable feeling of freedom. Well, after another quarter, as already mentioned, you are sent to the final boss and tell the story – also quite a worthy reward for your efforts.
This, perhaps, is the main strength of Xenoblade Chronicles X: it knows how to reward those who decide to spend their time on it. Yes, sometimes it does not cause anything but dull hatred, but if you want to throw away and forget another game after this, then in the case of Xenoblade Chronicles X you just grit your teeth tighter, break through another miserable farm quest and get several hours of pure pleasure as a reward interesting stories, a memorable world, cool music and giant robots.