I was sort of late to the party for the original Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. I had purchased it at launch back in 2010 and played about three hours of it. For some reason the battle system didn’t click with me and although the music and graphics were superb, especially for a Wii game, I had plenty of other software vying for my attention. Fast forward to the summer of 2013 and I had an itch to play a lengthy Japanese role-playing game (JRPG). I had a number of choices, but ultimately decided to give Xenoblade another chance. I started over, this time paying extra special attention to the tutorials the game provides. Before I knew it, I had sunk over twenty hours into the game and loved every minute. The vast, colorful world was mesmerizing, as was the soundtrack, which still remains one of my favorites of all time. Really the only thing holding it back was its standard definition graphics. I ached for an HD version and hoped Nintendo would remake the game for the Wii U. That has yet to happen, but we’re getting something even better: a full-blown sequel.
First up, it should be noted that Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U does not feature the same characters or story from the original game, so don’t worry if you’ve not had a chance to play it (although you definitely should, either on the Wii or the New 3DS version). With that out of the way, the game is pretty dramatic from the get-go. Two alien races are battling it out and unfortunately make their way to Earth, where we get stuck in the middle. Long story short, one of our ships successfully escapes with an entire city on board, but the planet is destroyed. The spaceship eventually crash-lands on Planet Mira, which is where the game begins.
Much of the story unravels as you explore the vast land filled with strange creatures and alien races. Some are friendly, many are eager for battle. If you played the first game, you’ll instantly recognize the battle system, although it’s been slightly tweaked. Along the bottom of the screen is a bar filled with different arts that can be performed. Each has a particular purpose. For example, one might be better used as an attack from the side of an enemy, or a sneak attack from behind. Other characters in your party will yell out certain attacks, and you can deal extra damage if you select the correct art that’s required. Each attack has a cool down timer before it can be utilized again. If you allow it to fully regenerate it can become even more powerful the next time it’s used.
The original game featured a huge world to explore and this one’s even bigger, which could be a fantastic thing since I loved getting lost in caves and discovering out-of-the-way secret areas to find special treasures. Plus, the game rewards experience points for taking the time to explore. Although it’s become a gaming trope at this point, pretty much anything you can see in the distance is a place you can eventually visit. The world truly is a massive place, and according to Nintendo World Report it’s much bigger than games like Skyrim, and even larger than The Witcher 3. Now, bigger isn’t always better unless there’s plenty of stuff to do in those areas. Let’s hope that’s the case.
At this point, Xenoblade Chronicles X is my most anticipated game of the year. I’m excited to dig in and experience this vast world and discover what waits. It arrives in under a month, on December 4 for the Wii U. Until then, take a look at some videos that Nintendo has released. These will get you primed and ready for the game before it arrives.