Being a huge fan of Xenoblade Chornicles, I was pretty excited when this game was first announced back in 2013 during the year’s first Nintendo Direct. I knew that a Wii U purchase was in order soon if I wanted to enjoy the sequel of one of my favorite games of last generation.
With every new piece of information or trailer released, the more excited I was for this title. While there are plenty of other great titles on the Wii U, I believe this game alone is enough reason to own the system.
Xenoblade Chronicles X‘s story is a little different than the first game. Humanity is forcibly involved in a war between two alien races fighting a massive battle over Earth in July 2054. As a result, the planet is left devastated and humanity must seek out new worlds in massive Ark Ships.
Sadly, since the game was in Japanese, I couldn’t understand the dialogue and the overall story of the game, so I can’t comment whether it’s good or not.
However, from the bit I understood and from what I inferenced through the cutscenes, the story seemed quite thrilling and made me wish I could fully comprehend what was going on.
Unlike the first game, you’ll be able to create your own character, male or female. To my surprise, while the character customization isn’t huge, the game gives you a variety of options for your character’s skin color, eyes, hairstyles, hair color, make up, voice and, for female characters, their breast size.
I really enjoyed that the game features many different skin colors, even colors that gives your character an extraterrestrial look, which fits perfectly with the theme of the game.
In case you missed it, we showed all the options for both male and female character creations, with the male character accidentally ended up looking like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII with a goatee.
Overall, I believe that Chronicles X gives you enough options to encourage you to spend a great deal of time creating a character that best suits you.
The game has a variety of quests aside from Story Quests, including Normal Quests, Simple Quests, and Kizuna Quests. These quests will consist of simple things like talking to other NPCs around New Los Angeles, collecting items and defeating a certain amount of enemies.
However, this time around in order to proceed onto the next chapter, you will have to meet certain requirements such as explore a certain percentage of an area or complete certain Kizuna Quests. Additionally, all Kizuna Quests require you to be a certain level to be able to accept, so grinding is mandatory.
At first, I was a little annoyed that I was forced to do other tasks before proceeding to the next chapter of the game, but the more time I invested into the game, the more the feeling of annoyance faded, especially when I realized the necessity of these tasks.
If you plan to play the game for the sake of the story without completing any additional quests or requirements that aren’t needed to complete the story then you are taking the wrong approach. The more you play, the more you realize how significant your role is as a member of BLADE.
As you delve deeper, the feeling to contribute meaningfully and fight for humanity on this new and dangerous planet intensifies. Players will grow to understand the importance of seemingly menial labor such as placing data probes and motivation to keep playing will expand from simply uncovering more plot to protecting humanity itself.
As a serious fan of the JRPG genre, the game has provided me with an experience that recent RPGs have lacked. Sadly, the game isn’t as easy as the first title Xenoblade Chronicles, in which if you level up by completing the side quests, the game could actually become too easy.
In Chronicles X, even if you’re completely leveled up there’s still the high possibly of you being annihilated by the enemy since success also depends on the gear that you currently have. It is also vital that you learn about each class and master them.
Controls support both the Wii U Gamepad and the Wii U Controller Pro — I personally prefer the latter, considering I played Xenoblade Chronicles with the Classic Controller Pro. It just felt more natural and a lot more comfortable. Lucikly, the Gamepad has other uses.
If you enjoy using the Off-TV Play Mode with other Wii U titles, then you will be pleased that this game supports the feature as well. However, I’m not much a fan of it as it feels a bit unnatural to me in terms of actually controlling the game, plus it removes the incredibly useful map feature.
When not using Off-TV Play, the Gamepad will serve as a map in which you can zoom in and out of, as well as check over a variety of locations in greater detail. To avoid long travel times, you will be able to fast-travel to areas that you previously discovered.
Considering you can play the game online with others, communication is important. Luckily Chronicles X delivers on this front, as it features in-game text chat as well as supports USB Keyboards, making it that much easier for me to communicate with friends who also purchased the game.
Similarly to Xenoblade Chronicles, you will have the freedom to explore the world, the ability to run to virtually anywhere you can see in the distance, and the return of the Arts battle system that involves both auto-attacks and a cooldown timer for each Art.
Your character will be wielding two weapons in battle, which consists of a gun for long range attacks and a knife for close-quarters combat; switching between the two can be done immediately and as frequently as necessary by simply pressing “X.”
The game offers a variety of classes including Assault, Command, Forcer, Long Lancer and much more. Depending on the class you choose, your character will specialize in different arts and weapons. As you complete leveling up a class, you’ll have the option to choose the next class within that branch.
The sheer variety of different classes to master is an enjoyable and fulfilling mechanic as it really adds more to the game. This multiple class system may seem complicated at first, but as long as you grind and put in the effort and dedication, you’ll eventually learn how to use it to your advantage in creating a character best suited to your needs.
The world of Xenoblade Chronicles X is absolutely massive. There are five continents to explore, in which the many Story and side quests take place in. I really enjoyed exploring through the game’s beautiful world, especially at night where you get to see the moon. When traveling by foot, you will also be able to swim your way to the next island.
Once you’ve completed Chapter 6, you’ll able to earn your Doll License by completing eight different quests assigned by Van Damme, the commanding officer of BLADE.
Dolls, or “Skells” as known in the localized version, are this title’s giant mechs and are a huge part of both combat and exploration. You won’t be able to ride or buy dolls without owning a Doll License, so it’s necessary to fulfill the required quests as soon as possible.
When using a Doll, you will be able to travel faster and avoid strong enemies, even as far as going undetected by them. Your Doll will also be able to turn into a vehicle for even faster traveling, and it also enables you to travel faster through water and even traverse through lava.
Sadly, even with a Doll, you aren’t invincible to enemies since stronger foes still have a chance to destroy you in one shot; it’s important that you upgrade your equipped Doll or purchase stronger ones.
Using Dolls comes with its disadvantages, however. When your Doll is destroyed, you have to pay a pretty penny to fix them, which can be annoying. Insurance will cover these costs three times, then after that you’ll need to pay for repairs.
In the moment when it’s about to be destroyed, however, a QTE will appear and depending on the results, different outcomes can occur.
If you get a Perfect ranking, your Doll is sent back to the hanger intact but your avatar remains to fight the rest of the battle. As a bonus, insurance won’t be applied so no repair costs. If you receive a Good ranking, your Doll is destroyed but your avatar escapes with full HP with insurance applied. If you fail the QTE, your Doll is destroyed and you will escape with 1 HP.
Just like Xenoblade Chronicles, the character models and graphics in this title aren’t too visually appealing, which is a shame because Chronicles X‘s world itself is really beautiful. Despite the graphical downside, I really enjoyed navigating through the planet and discovering new lands.
As a huge fan of Xenoblade Chronicles’ original soundtrack, Chronicles X’s original soundtrack was a bit disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong, the game still has a great soundtrack and I will definitely be importing it once it’s available, though it’s simply not on the same level as the first game. Most of the instrumental tracks were well-composed and very much enjoyable, I wasn’t much a fan of any of the tracks containing vocals.
Xenoblade Chronicles X was absolutely worth the import, despite my struggles to progress through the game due to the language barrier. Despite that and my few misgivings, I was still able to completely enjoy the rest of the content: combat, exploration, quests and Dolls, which truly speaks to the quality of the game.
I’ll definitely be picking up Xenoblade Chronicles X when it releases in English so I can fully experience every aspect of this title as it was meant to be enjoyed.