When a cultural item of great magnitude arrives, people sit down and pay attention.

In the case of Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles X, you’ll abandon goals to lose a few pounds, slob out, and gaze in awe at the boundless energy of the athletic avatars on screen and the beautiful world which surrounds them.

Xenoblade Chronicles XGameplay

X isn’t quite on the grand magnitude of an MMORPG such as World of Warcraft, but it gets really close to it! The positives are immediately obvious for RPG fans: A huge open world, customisable avatars, online play options, massive monsters, Manga qualities, and some amusing voice acting. It all adds up to another excellent Wii U exclusive and, by ‘eck, it’s a JRPG for the ages.

I don’t like to add plot spoilers in reviews, so let’s say that in classic narrative fashion, equilibrium is shattered and a group of heroes must head out to do battle to restore balance. This all plays out on the planet Mira, a gloriously realised world which drops plenty of reminders of that bit in Jurassic Park where Dr. Grant has collapsed on the grass and looks up to see loads of dinosaurs emerging from a swamp. There’s that sort of stuff going on, except no Jeff Goldblum because he’s in Independence Day 2.

Xenoblade Chronicles XCharacters

Xenoblade Chronicles X WiiU RPG Characters
Upon starting the game you’re given the opportunity to craft your character, which includes the option of choosing your voice (I mention this again as the available options are hilarious – proper “Tally, bally ho!” stuff) a comical, yet nice touch that allows the user to set the tone before getting into the game.

Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii was one of the best games of the last generation but, unfortunately, it slipped under the radar as it was late in the Wii’s life. With an unfair reputation as a “casual” console many missed out a real Wii gem. This time around Xenoblade Chronicles X had a big marketing campaign so no one has been able to ignore the X Factor! Respecting the original, Shulk, Fiona, and the gang are back—Exploring new landscapes with skells that amaze and a familiar theme all too known to RPG enthusiasts.

Xenoblade Chronicles XShulk

Shulk is back and not as an amiibo or on 3DS screen. In Xenoblade Chronicles X his protagonist journey continues, as the methodically-investigative researcher persona has captured the crowds. Visually reminiscent of Cloud and Tidus from the iconic Final Fantasy series, It seems Tetsuya Takahashi and Hirohide Sugiura took a few pages out of the “what works” book from Square when they left to work on Monolith Soft. In addition to the hero of the story, they’ve followed the gold standard of what the public enjoys in a plot.

Xenoblade Chronicles XTheme

It’s the RPG formula, you know what you’re doing. You’re tasked with completing missions and developing your experience, taking on a team which you have to skill up and attribute new weaponry to. One of the serious boons to playing X is the skells, they are large and in charge. Dynamic, aesthetically pleasing, and obviously cool—Skells calls out to the classic gamer who enjoys seeing the evolution of Magitek armor from Final Fantasy III.

Xenoblade Chronicles XTrailer

Xenoblade Chronicles XBattles

You want to fight as the detailed information about the type of creatures you’re up against is realtime, just like the engaging combat system. Grinding for all your worth and wracking up those XP points is cool, but the missions are your best option. They’ll introduce you to the aesthetically pleasing world of Mira, which is one of the many reasons to buy this game.

Which brings us to a key element of X, exploration. There’s a great deal of seeing the sights, with the ultimate goal being to earn a Skell to transport yourself around the world. This is incredible fun, when you do get one… eventually. We’re talking 30 hours or so of gameplay before acquiring one, but this time does encourage plenty of exploration of your new world.

Xenoblade Chronicles XMultiplayer

There are online multiplayer options available for those interested. You can find good players and join in on missions, and the headset interaction online (not often available on the Wii U) is available. Personally, that’s always been something I steer well clear of, but if you want to call strangers “Noobie scum!”, “Poohead!”, or a “Fuddy duddy!” you’re more than welcome.

Xenoblade Chronicles XDS

If you want that same experience of mobile jRPG you had on your DS, X’s dedicated developer Monolith Soft has built in strong GamePad integration. There are plenty of features here but, as with the Wii U’s Pikmin 3, it’s extremely helpful as a multi-layered map. However, you can play the game on the GamePad with headphones plugged in for the ultimate JRPG experience. Glorious.

Xenoblade Chronicles XExploration

Even as a big RPG fan I found this one confusing. As with WoW, you’re entering a complex, living, breathing world and you’ve got to get your head around a lot. My advice – read the manual. Several times, if necessary, and make notes for when you’re playing. If you’ve got the special edition, maybe even consider nailing (or blu-tacking) the game map to a nearby wall to help you along.

The narrative leads you towards a “career” in the human colony on Mira, which is essentially like choosing your particular character in WoW, and you can choose to be a belligerent lunatic, a sociable do-gooder, an explorer, or several others (such as a Kebab shop owner). It essentially opens up the game and allows you to take multiple paths on different occasions. This means a LOT of game playing.

So! This isn’t a game for the faint-hearted as it’s enormous and complex. It’s the latter element which will confuse or infuriate the more casual gamer. I don’t go in for the “hardcore”, “casual”, “true gamer” nonsense arguments as I’ve not been 12 since 1996, but if you prefer a bit of chilled out escapist fun, X isn’t going to deliver. To reiterate, it takes at least 30 hours to get a Skell, and that means a lot of running. Think rolling across Hyrule field as young Link multiplied many, many, many, many times over. Hey, listen!

Xenoblade Chronicles XGraphics

Xenoblade Chronicles X WiiU Mira Graphics
There’s been a lot of fuss amongst gamers (my judgement here being based on experiences I’ve had in games forums across the internet) about the Wii U’s lack of graphical prowess compared to the PS4 and Xbox One.

As graphics have become increasingly advanced over the last 10 years, I’ve found them increasingly irrelevant. The good news is the success of the Indie scene displays there’s a massive audience out there which respects gameplay over hyper-realistic graphics.

Graphics complement the gaming experience, they don’t make it.

X is, however, one beautiful game, replete with sweeping landscapes, sunsets, thunderstorms, and all sorts of other visual splendour. Complementing the experience is exactly what those pixels do rather well, sir, and this is bolstered by a quite fantastic soundtrack. The two work in tandem to make an immersive experience, which is thankfully matched by the engaging gameplay.

Xenoblade Chronicles XReview & Rating

Having not completed the game I can’t state I’ve tested every nook and cranny, but it’s been out for over a week and I claim it’s genuinely excellent. It’s guaranteed to make any RPG fan swoon in wonder; the game knows its target audience and, heck, does it deliver something vast and conquerable.

Whether you want to go running by the water’s edge with utterly enormous dinosaur-esque beasts, scale a huge mountain and watch an intergalactic sunset, indulge in online multiplayer action, or just doss around at the base pretending you’re on a distant world, Xenoblade Chronicles X delivers glorious JRPG escapist fun.

game rating
4.5/5
Alex Morris

Buy Xenoblade Chronicles X

Editors Notes: If you’re interested in picking up Xenoblade Chronicles X, you can get it to your doorstep in 3 days or less via Amazon Prime, clicking the image below will take you there.

Buy Xenoblade Chronicles X

 

If you would like to read more of Alex’s work, he’s the professional at Professional Moron a place where you can read about everything from Sensational Sardine Ice Cream or things about Hamsters and enjoy solid copy.