Xenoblade Chronicles is set in a world where people live on the backs of giants: Bionis and Mechonis. These giants once raged war, but now lay dormant. You, Shulk, start off as a goofy kid who is then swept into destiny’s hand when the people of Mechonis attack his town. From evil robots, magic swords, and a large cast of characters, Shulk will uncover the truth about himself and the world around him. There are a lot of twists and turns to keep you intrigued, with good voice acting and mesmerizing set pieces. It’s a great story, but one marred by its slow start and continued pacing issues.
Combat plays out much like a MMO: highlight an enemy to auto-attack it. Normally I’m not a fan of this style, but the ability to spam skills and micromanage your other two teammates made it more engaging. Battles take awhile and the game isn’t exactly easy, so it’ best to grind and use tactics even in the simplest encounters. Leveling up is your standard affair of gaining new stats per level, but you also gain skill points you can allocate into abilities to make them stronger. Multiple sets of armor and weapons can be equipped, allowing you to customize your character to your liking. Aside from the main campaign, there are tons of side quests to conquer that’ll land you some nice loot, but nothing interesting plot wise.
While not the best looking game in terms of graphics, the art style and overall scope is tremendous. The amount of locales, quests, characters, enemies, and everything else is astounding, especially for a Wii game. That said the game tends to chug and slow down because of this, but thankfully not often. The music and voice cast are amazing, making the story and battles all the more epic. And you can save anywhere! This helps with the sadistic difficulty level, but thankfully when you die, you just restart at the beginning of a dungeon with no penalties.
The developers behind Xenoblade Chronicles definitely had a goal: make the biggest game on the Wii. The result? Xenoblade Chronicles pushes the Wii to new boundaries and evolves the genre where others have failed. Sure it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely one of 2012’s best RPGs. This is the Wii’s swan song.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on December 18, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.