Wednesday, 10 February 2016

(More) First Impressions: Xenoblade Chronicles X

Now then, I have a confession to make... I never played Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii (that probably doesn't sound as bad as it should but as an RPG player, it feels like a bigger deal). I always wanted to, and finally picked it up on the Wii U after Nintendo released it on the eShop but haven't had the chance to play it yet (and a bunch of other games as well... wow am I behind!). But, after seeing Xenoblade Chronicles X's gameplay and getting it for Christmas as well as hearing that they really don't have any link at all, I decided to play this iteration first. And so my adventure began.

I've only been able to play around three hours so far, but have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the planet Mira as one of the last surviving remnants of humanity. The premise is that the Earth, and most of humanity, was destroyed in the crossfire of two opposing alien races as they fought to destroy each other. So as to keep humanity alive, several 'arks' were sent out into space so as to try to find an exoplanet that can be settled by humankind. You were on such an ark, specifically the United States owned The White Whale, and were one of the few to actually make it out of the devastation that befell Earth. However, the alien races also want humanity wiped out, for a so far undisclosed reason, and decide to destroy The White Whale, causing it to crash land onto the planet Mira (thankfully, one that has an environment that humanity can withstand). Your stasis pod, along with many others, are flung across the planet and you are eventually discovered after two months by Elma, a member of the organisation-that-pretty-much-does-everything, the BLADES.

First of all, however, you have the character customization. Now then, I don't know what happens to humanity in the next few years but, apparently, we all get the ability to have blue, green and pink skin colours! So, naturally, our character turned out as being dark purple with blue hair and purple highlights. Oh, and with British Shulk's voice, of course, which is only used for battles, unfortunately, your character instead deciding to only use gestures to communicate normally (which offers some rather amusing options, such as 'Look Geeky'). Oh, and we also called him Xulshk as a nod to both Shulk and Organization XIII (from Kingdom Hearts II) because, why not?

So far, we, Satamer and I, have traveled across a small (and I mean small) area of Mira, to reach the only human city of New Los Angeles (NLA). To get there we had to fight plenty of the game's vast array of enemies, or xenoforms as they are known in the game, and so try our hands at the game's battle system. This involves you targeting an enemy, before your character automatically attacks it with either a gun or a knife (which can be switched at any time) and then dealing more damage with 'Arts'. Arts are basically special abilities and range from higher damage Flame Grenades to shields that can protect you or a party member. While controlling all of this, you can also run and jump (or force jump as you appear to be as acrobatic as a Jedi), and shout things at your party (which, apparently, have a rather large effect on your party's stats). This all adds up to a rather interesting, but rewarding gameplay experience, although it does take some getting used to (especially the fact that you automatically attack but have to manually do everything else).

As well as this, there is an in-depth, properly RPG gear system with loads of stats and aesthetics to keep even the most hardcore player interested. As well as this, there is the aforementioned shouting at your party (or Soul Voice) which adds more stats and the party itself, which includes a rather complicated looking relationship diagram. As for the party itself, we only have two members, excluding ourselves, so far - Elma and 13 year old techie Lin Lee- although we have seen and interacted with plenty of other characters over the course of our playthrough and, so far, I must say that I'm impressed. The characters are varied and interesting and the voice acting is superb, although the dubbing leaves a lot to be desired. As well as normal cutscenes, there are two other ways to interact with characters in the world. Firstly, some characters will just shout information at you and some offer interactions such as 'Discuss' and 'Inquire'. Satamer and I spent about an hour working our way around NLA, just listening to everything the characters had to say and filling in some of the lore.

Anyway, that's about as far as we've gotten so far but, overall, the game seems really interesting and rather stunning, not to mention fun to play! And huge, don't forget huge (and that's before we've even had a chance to play as a Skell).

Goodbye for now, Harry

P.S. I know that Satamer has already done a First Impressions for this game but, due to it's pure size, I decided to do another one for you. And definitely not because I didn't realise before writing over 800 words for it... no, definitely not that.

No comments:

Post a Comment