Xenoblades Chronicles X is a GIGANTIC game with beautiful vast lands to explore, fascinating people to meet and wondrous creatures to encounter; there are also evil aliens to fights and some peaceful aliens that seek your aid. I went in expecting a normal JRPG but what I got was so much more.
The story is simple enough, the year is 2054 there’s war between two alien races and somehow we got dragged into it, but their technology was too powerful for us to defend ourselves or fight. Our earth’s governments saw the escalating problem and decided to take precautions and build giant ships to evacuate all of human life and find a new home. Many of the ships did not make it out of the warzone, however our ship the “White Whale” did. Two years later, on our long trek through space, we were found by some of the enemy and shot down. Our ship crash landed on planet called Mira and now we have to survive as well as coexist with life that are already present on the planet. This is just a summary of information that is given to you very early on in the game, but once you begin to explore you quickly find out that there is much more to the story and the planet.
Mira is huge. It’s bigger than Fallout 4, bigger than Skyrim and bigger than The Witcher 3… it is bigger than those 3 COMBINED, which means you get the joy of exploring the beautiful lush jungles, barren desserts and other mystical areas. You could run around in this map the whole day and still have more areas unexplored than explored. Developer Monolith Soft didn’t just create a map where you have what feels like a limited boundary, they created a living world. It reminds me of the first time you watch Avatar in IMAX and get completely enveloped in the prefect creation that was made. The flora and fauna feel natural in their elements and your being feels alien on this planet. This game does an outstanding job of making you feel small. While exploring the jungles/marshes/plains/desserts you will encounter giant creatures bigger than your car, house, or even a hotel. However, even the smallest creatures can bring about the greatest changes.
It seems hard to believe but as large as this world is, there are no loading screens throughout the whole outside world (other than story/quest cut scenes or zoning in to buildings in town). The main town is your crashed ship which is home to multiple districts and where you get quests, buy, sell and gather information. The multiple districts themselves are quite large and offer plenty of quests and people to interact with. A tip would be to accept all quests you can, either from people or the mission board, it will greatly cut down the time spent grinding.
Let’s talk about gameplay. Most of the time you are exploring the new lands and finding new creatures that you can fight to level up, but if you stick to strictly fighting creatures the game can feel somewhat grindy, likewise if you spend too much time exploring your xp will be lacking. This is where divisions play a particular role to help curb certain aspects of the game to your play style. There are 8 divisions which range from helping townsfolk, exploring, fighting new big creatures, mining and resolving issues between new friends you might find on the planet. All the features in this game have A LOT to learn so the key to figuring out which division best suits you is to try them all and see if it is beneficial towards you. Each division offers its own form of reward in terms of stat bonuses so try them all!
Time for talk about classes. You start out a lowly drifter with basic skills and abilities and no bonus to abilities. Moving up the tree we reach 3 main branches which include Striker, Commando and Enforcer. Each class offers different arts (skills and buffs). Striker is the typical fighter of the bunch with a specialty in hp and melee stats this class will lead you down the road of heavy melee hitter or tanky melee warrior. The commando is the damaging debuff applying high accuracy, evasive type which you can go to either high accuracy, high evasion or the ranged damage, and accuracy path. Finally the enforcer is somewhat of the support class specialties with a wide array of buffs and bonuses to ranged attack and potential (used to calculate special attack). From here you can go down the buffer/debuffer assaulter or the buffer/debuffer/healer. Again there is no penalty in choosing classes and you are able to change from one to another at any time once you unlock them.
Also there are MMO qualities in this game which lets you form a squad to accomplish missions in the form of squad challenges that you experience during the main game. You can also team up with people and take on specific set challenges that take place outside of the main game, which makes perfect sense seeing as how the game was littered with people it would directly have affected the way the world is viewed.
SKELLS! Skells are beast looking mech suits that are completely customizable, from weapons to armor to colors. The weapons you choose will affect the skills that your skell has at his disposal. Skells are the best way to get around the map and reach those areas that you are unable to get to on foot. Sometimes fighting creatures the size of houses is difficult but once you and your team get skells, those once giant pests do not seem so big anymore. As eager as you may be to climb into one of these bad boys, let me warn you that it could take anywhere between 25 and 35 hours of gameplay before your able to get your license (time may vary depending how dedicated you are to xp grinding). The skell models are spectacular and truly give an empowering feeling to the player, and once you are able to fly you feel unstoppable.
There is so much more to this game experience that I cannot explain them all to you here, the only way is to try it for yourself. Xenoblades Chronicles X is an impeccable rpg if you are a fan of the series, a fan of rpgs or just a fan of great games. The rich environments and majestic creatures make this a triumph and the excellent combat mechanics and play style keep you engaged. If you have a Wii U there is no reason not to check this game out, you will be hooked, I know I am.