Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X

Published February 8, 2016 by Amanda B. Greene

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Xenoblade Chronicles X (XCX) is one of great potential for sure, but did it succeed in meeting up with the high expectations and hype flowing from Xenoblade Chronicles (XC)? Personally, I mostly enjoyed XC, though it had problems towards the end with the story getting too stretched out and odd. Anyways, I’ll try to cover as much as I can in the review without spoilers, and then later on I’ll be doing another article detailing more on what worked and what didn’t.

** Review **

** 7.5/10 **

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Story

Earth gets destroyed after a war in space breaks out above between two alien forces and humanity has no choice but to flee in multiple ships from the biggest cities. It looks as though the White Whale, made to resemble Los Angeles, was the only one to make it out of there. Two years of searching for a habitable planet to call home past, the aliens eventually catch up, attacking us once again which causes the White Whale to crash upon planet Mira. Two months after those events, you are found by Elma in your sleeping pod with no memories of what happened and that’s where the story begins.

You’re not exactly the “lone hero”, but more of a side character helping all of humanity survive and thrive, which I think is a nice change of pace considering everyone has to work together.

Xenoblade Chronicles X sacrificed a better story for a better exploration, which ultimately turned out to be a mistake. Planet Mira looks beautiful and all, but without enough substance, it falls short no matter how lively it feels. The main story didn’t seem to be long at all with each chapter and just isn’t as well written as some of the side quests are. For example, many chapters start out with stupid food jokes since Tatsu, the not-so-lovable Nopon, apparently looks like a mutated potato. The side missions (Basic, Normal, and Affinity) are what mostly save the day.

You won’t be able to get to know the characters as well unless you do their Affinities and Heart-To-Hearts to see them fleshed out more. And while most players may not like the cast as much as they did in XC, I still mostly enjoyed Elma, Lynlee, and the others. Lynlee is probably one of the best in the group because of her backstory. As a side note, I think the English voice acting is good, with some standing out above the rest.

On another side note, to end things off, I felt like planet Mira didn’t have enough to it to make itself rememberable. In Xenoblade Chronicles, there were some established and cool-looking civilizations and settlements like Alcamoth of the High Entia and Makna Forest of the Nopon. But with planet Mira there are mostly small caravans and enemy outposts. I was hoping for more foundation for the new and old aliens in Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Gameplay

They took what was already confusing for some players in Xenoblade Chronicles and made it even more perplexing in Xenoblade Chronicles X… though you eventually get used to it. I don’t necessarily hate all the changes but I don’t like all of them either. For example, Break>Topple>Daze was changed and re-worded. One of the biggest problems I have with XCX is the Soul Voices – I miss having a medic like Sharla or Melia.

Anyways, Xenoblade Chronicles X is a role-playing, real-time strategy game where you play as one of four in your party, though you can indirectly give the others some commands. In battle, Arts are special moves that have different effects depending on several factors and when you don’t use those your character will auto-attack if within range of the enemy. Outside of battle, you have to keep track of and update your party’s equipment and weapons which you can improve in different ways like adding augments.

Missions range from gathering to hunting down beasts. What is available to accept partly depends on the Blade branch you choose (I don’t know how much it affects the options). I’m currently on Chapter 10 of the main story and I chose to be a Curator. You can change branches anytime if you want, but I’m just rolling with it. In my future second playthrough, I’m definitely becoming something else to see if I get a better list of missions.

Music

The music was overall depressing and not expected at all for fans. Instead of having all orchestral and instrumental tracks, they decided to go with electronic/pop, lyrical songs that didn’t sound as good. There are some that outright sucked (being entirely honest here) and then there were others that turned out alright. You get used to most of the soundtrack as it grows on you the further in you are in the game.

Probably the worst song is the one that plays at night in New L.A. where it gives rappers a bad name and makes you not want to stick around in the alleyways… yeah, that one slaps you right in the face.

Final Note

I recommend Xenoblade Chronicles X if you are already an Wii U owner. If not, then don’t buy the console purely for this game. I’m enjoying the game despite all of its flaws. I feel as though Monolith Soft was trying to shoot for too many broad and challenging concepts at once and fell through on most. People have posted that the characters felt “wooden”, especially for the main story; this kind of problem occurs most of the time when writers have a hard time relating to or imagining themselves in the fictional universe they created. If there is a sequel, whether that be a direct or spiritual one, I hope they focus more on the story than the exploration. Overall, it’s good but not great, but I do appreciate some of the detail they put into some aspects of Xenoblade Chronicles X.

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