hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Xenoblade

Xenoblade photo
Xenoblade

GameStop taking heat amid Xenoblade controversy


Gamers accuse retailer of scamming customers
Aug 13
// Tim Sheehy
Over the past few days, GameStop has found itself in the midst of a controversy surrounding the used sales of Xenoblade Chronicles, a fan-favorite and a game which the retailer had negotiated an exclusive contract to distribu...
Localized Wii U games photo
Localized Wii U games

SMT X Fire Emblem, Monolith Soft's X reconfirmed for West


Confirmed before, EXTRA confrmed now
Apr 25
// Tony Ponce
[Awkward Zombie by Katie Tiedrich] Two of the more mind-blowing Wii U announcements in the past few months have been Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem and Monolith Soft's "X," the spiritual successor to Xenoblade. For the soft...
Xeno-something for Wii U photo
Monolithsoft is at it again
Nintendo and Monolithsoft are working on something for Wii U, and I want whatever it is. The team behind Xenoblade Chronicles have something beautiful lined up, but all we got this morning from this morning's Wii U Direct br...

Why Xenoblade Chronicles HAD to look like shit

Apr 26 // Jim Sterling
Let's face it -- games are ridiculously expensive to make. Expensive to the point where the entire business model looks pretty damn broken. We have developers decimating their workforces or even closing down before or after releasing a major "AAA" title. We have games costing millions of dollars to make, and publishers expecting success on par with Call of Duty in exchange for their investments. Games are big business, throwing big money around, and graphics are a huge part of that system.  As games get prettier, they tend to get more expensive. Building new engines to take advantage of graphically insane consoles and computers takes time, effort, and lots of cash. It also tends to require some restrictions on what you can do with your game. For example, Gears of War still looks pretty damn lovely, but its action takes place within very tight and linear corridors. Had the game opened up, it would have had to have taken a graphical hit. The only game that has managed to look amazing and retain large environments has been Crysis, but it is still an anomaly in this industry. There are few studios capable of what Crytek is capable of. Certainly, there are few makers of traditional RPGs with the cash and the resources for that kind of craziness.  Huge games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim can look pretty thanks to good art direction, but they're also damn glitchy, and have to cut corners by reusing textures and environments. They're almost pieced together like LEGO constructs, with pre-made building blocks pieced together, and you can clearly see the proverbial puppet strings if you look at it long enough. It gets the job done, but it's a very Western thing. It's not the long, huge, open, varied, handcrafted kind of chicanery we're used to from Japanese role-playing games.  For an example of what the high definition generation has done for the genre, one need look no further than Final Fantasy XIII. The game took over half a decade to make, and whether you like it or not, there's no denying that it still lacks the scale of past Final Fantasy games. I got a lot more out of the comparatively ugly Final Fantasy VII than I'll ever get from XIII. A greater sense of freedom, a longer time spent playing, and a far deeper sense that I was part of a large, fully realized world.  By its own admission, Square Enix has struggled to get everything it wants in a Final Fantasy while also providing the kind of visuals we expect this generation. No less than an entire game's worth of content was cut from Final Fantasy XIII, because the size had to be kept down. Square has also said in the past that HD technology is too demanding to make the kind of big JRPGs we used to enjoy, and this demand is also the reason why we haven't had any confirmation of an HD remake for Final Fantasy VII.  Final Fantasy VII took up to four years to produce, but Yoshinori Kitase suggested that it would take over a decade to get VII looking as good as XIII. It makes sense -- VII is simply a far bigger game, far more ambitious than XIII in every way (outside of graphics). There's a reason why so many good JRPGs have found homes on portable systems like the DS and PSP, rather than home consoles. You can actually make traditional experiences there, without the crippling graphical expectations holding them back.  This is why I am saddened when I see someone complain about Xenoblade Chronicles being on the Wii. I feel that if we'd had it on any other system, it wouldn't be Xenoblade Chronicles anymore. Yes, the graphics are muddy and jaggy (I started playing it without glasses to make it look smoother!) but I don't think I'd have had it any other way. To get those sprawling open fields full of monsters, to get that wonderful level of variety and intricate world design. To get that huge experience and the sense of a world that truly was alive, I think Xenoblade needed to be on a system where there was no pressure to produce visuals on par with Crysis or Final Fantasy XIII. You can keep your prettier graphics -- I want a better game!  The Wii was a great place for mid-sized developers, and while the system never quite realized its potential as an oasis of creativity, I nonetheless appreciate the titles we've seen on it. I think games like Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story have only been possible because the Wii "holds them back" in the visual department. The precious visual department holds games back in every other way. As much criticism as the Wii has had (and I've shared mine over the years), I will be grateful for it standing as the last bastion of the term, "gameplay over graphics."  The Wii lacking HD output has, in my opinion, been a good thing in the long run. Without that expectation for high definition visuals, it's allowed developers without Square-levels of money to focus on creating good games first, and worrying about the juicy eye candy later. It's the kind of focus that few games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 could dream of getting away with. Yes, when you upscale a Wii game to HD it tends to look much better, but the fact that the upscaled version isn't the expected version eliminates the consumer's demand for ridiculously pretty games and allows the developer to focus on what really matters. When we play a PS3 game, we expect it to look very good, unless it's a budget game (which carries its own stigma). When we play a Wii game, we're expecting something far less flashy. I can't imagine the relief such reduced expectations must be for some studios.  I am a little worried about the Wii going away, replaced as it inevitably shall be by the high definition Wii U. I'm worried that the makers of Japanese RPGs with modest budgets will no longer have anywhere to go if they want to make an ambitious game on a home console without getting snubbed. The handheld market will truly become their only sanctuary. At least until game development gets significantly cheaper, and I don't see that happening anytime soon. Not with modern technology consistently pushing the goal posts back.  Games like Xenoblade Chronicles have to look like shit. They have to make Game Informer editors want to punch kittens. If they didn't, they wouldn't be the same games anymore. Yes, they'd look nice -- and I love a gorgeous game as much as the next person -- but they wouldn't be all they could have been. To think that a game's potential is only unlocked when it reaches a certain graphical quality is a little blinkered, if you ask me. As far as I am concerned, Xenoblade Chronicles reached its potential, and it did so because it was focused on being a game, as opposed to an art department's masturbation session.  Soon, those who have spent years complaining about Wii games not being in HD will get their wish, and we'll have HD games forevermore.  I hope they like the imprisoned, neutered, but oh-so pretty games they were asking for.
 photo

This week, Game Informer guest editor Chris "Warcraft" Kluwe confessed that Xenoblade Chronicles wanted to make him punch a kitten. However, it wasn't due to the game being bad, it was due to him loving it, and the resul...

 photo

Live show: Xenoblade Chronicles on Mash Tactics


Apr 10
// Bill Zoeker
King Foom is back from PAX East and, with his batteries recharged, he's ready for a "New Release Showcase" today on Mash Tactics. The game this time is Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. This highly rated JRPG almost didn't se...
 photo

Jimquisition: Cutscenes aren't a failure state


Apr 09
// Jim Sterling
It's become increasingly popular to disparage cutscenes and the games that use them in the past few years. It is argued that interactive art should never force a player to watch a movie and, while there's merit in that, that...
 photo

So ... who's buying Xenoblade Chronicles today?


Apr 06
// Jim Sterling
The day has finally arrived. After months of campaigning, the fruits of Operation Rainfall's efforts have become ripe for the plucking, as Xenoblade Chronicles releases across North America. So ... who's going to get it? ...

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles

Apr 04 // Jim Sterling
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)Developer: Monolith SoftPublisher: Nintendo of AmericaRelease: April 6, 2012MSRP: $49.99 (GameStop exclusive) Xenoblade Chronicles may bear many hallmarks of a traditional RPG, but from the outset Monolith Soft has worked to craft something quite different from the norm. Its premise is one of the more inventive I've seen in years, telling the story of two ancient Gods who remain eternally locked in combat, now frozen like statues, and serving as glorified planets for the lifeforms that live on them. The Mechonis is home to a race of robotic constructs called The Mechon, who strike out to attack the varied creatures of Bionis -- chiefly the Homs (humans), Nopon (Pokémon), and High Entia (bird-elves). The Mechon can only be killed with a magical sword, The Monado, which finds itself wielded by a man named Shulk in his quest to take vengeance upon the metal-faced robot that destroyed his colony.  Xenoblade's story of vengeance and cast of upbeat characters is a far cry from the usual save-the-world tales with their brooding protagonists. While the narrative does expand to something a bit more dramatic, the theme of revenge serves as its backbone, while the Monado's ability to show its wielder glimpses of the future delivers regular musings on the subject of destiny. As far as JRPG plots go, Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the best in years, avoiding the self-indulgent misery and trite love triangles that have dutifully served as lazy crutches for the uninspired game writer.  [embed]225166:43262[/embed] That said, many major protagonists, especially Shulk, come across as a little plain at times, with only a handful of heroes -- Reyn and Riki, mostly -- showing any defined personality. It's hard to tell the likes of Shulk, Sharla or Dunban apart, since they serve more as vanilla reactionaries with only vague snatches of individuality. Yes, Shulk is out for revenge, but I'm hard pressed to say much more about him. The same cannot be said for the villains, whose London gangster accents and sincere love of being evil make them memorable and hilarious. An army of oversized robots who sound like the cast of Eastenders? I can safely say that's a first for role-playing games of any kind.   It would be impossible to describe Xenoblade Chronicles without heavily emphasizing its similarity to MMOs, for its quests, combat, and loot systems are directly ripped from the likes of World of Warcraft or The Old Republic. Combat is in real-time, with the player initiating battle against monsters on the map (or vice versa), and characters attacking automatically once in range. Each member of your three-person party has a range of special abilities, known as arts, that must cool down every time they are used, while characters fulfill distinct battlefield roles that MMO players will easily recognize -- from tanks to healers to DPS specialists, all the traditional playstyles are catered to. You can choose which member of your party to control, and the others will perform their tasks independently.  Xenoblade encourages players to think tactically and work together with your team. Some arts work in conjunction with arts from other characters which, when used together, can severely cripple the opposition. For example, Shulk has a number of arts that inflict a "break" status on an enemy, and a broken enemy can be "toppled" by certain other arts, rendering it helpless and unable to fight back. There are also arts that deal extra damage or inflict debuffs when used on the back or side of an opponent, and characters with such arts are best teamed with a tank like Reyn, who can draw aggro and distract monsters. In between, you'll be pressing the "B" button at timed moments to encourage allies and recover from missed attacks, lending a very light "QTE" element to the melee. It's impressive how well Monolith Soft has made battles feel as strategic as they are chaotic -- and they can certainly get chaotic. There's an interesting revival system in place, since players lack the ability to use healing items or spells to bring characters back to life. There's a special gauge that fills up every time an art is successfully performed, comprised of three smaller gauges. When totally filled, this gauge allows the party to perform a chain attack, where special abilities can be fired off without interruption. However, there's a risk-and-reward element at play, as one of the three smaller gauges can also be spent to revive a fallen party member. Should the player's character get taken out while no bars are filled, it's game over, so players must choose wisely between spending the resources on chain attacks, or saving them to keep the party alive.  As well as allowing the team to damage Mechon, the Monado's ability to predict the future plays a crucial gameplay role. When a monster is preparing a particularly devastating attack, Shulk will have a premonition, allowing players to see who will suffer the blow and how much damage it'll deal (usually enough to kill). Armed with the knowledge, players can quickly fire off arts that counteract the attack or warn teammates to select an appropriate response from their arsenal. Although certain arts specifically counter enemy abilities, it's more enjoyable (and sometimes more practical) to find alternate ways of altering the future. For instance, you could get Reyn (the tank) to draw the monster's fire, changing its intended target to someone who can easily take the hit. You could topple or even kill the attacker, or you could get a character like Sharla to fire a shielding bullet that absorbs the impact. Changing or even destroying the future is surprisingly satisfying and really lends an extra edge of excitement. However, this is a massively lengthy RPG, and having gameplay repetitively broken by Shulk's intrusive visions can get incredibly tiring, especially toward the end. When you're fighting a particularly tough boss or if you're just trying to run away from one, the last thing you need is to be forced to watch all the ways in which you get to die. I know I'd rather be able to concentrate on fighting at times.  Combat is a heap of fun, though it gets repetitive once you've worked out a suitable party and get used to all your abilities. Battles, even against bottom feeding opponents, feel a bit too lengthy, with each fight proving to be a time commitment. A.I. allies can be a little unreliable, sometimes blatantly ignoring the player's combat orders and rushing off to attack enemies that are far into the distance. Controls can prove surprisingly unresponsive, with instances where you'll select an art, even hearing the confirmation sound effect, yet the ability won't be performed. Switching targets suffers from this same issue, which can be a real pain in the backside.  Characters level their stats automatically, but each of the arts can be manually trained using "AP" gained in battle. As arts grow stronger, you'll need to purchase more advanced levels from merchants, in order to further increase their effectiveness while reducing their cooldown timers. There are multiple skill trees for every hero, each one granting a number of passive bonuses. Trees can be selected at will, even if you're halfway through learning a skill, and every skill can be gained during the course of the game, so choosing trees is more a case of what you'd like to learn first, rather than worrying about losing certain abilities forever. Your progress on each tree is recorded, so you can switch around without sacrificing any progress.  Every map is filled with a mixture of low-level monsters and terrifyingly powerful creatures that you won't be able to defeat until much later. This can prove a problem, one that I've noticed in a number of MMOs, where you'll accidentally initiate a fight with some regular monsters and not realize you were in the set patrol route of something ten times your level. Having a level 75 behemoth invite itself to a level 14 fight is a regular occurrence, and not exactly a welcome one. Since this isn't an MMO, it's not like you can team up with others and take down these creatures early, either. Still, the game is kind enough to change the music to a "You're going to die," theme giving the player ample warning to pack up and get the Hell out of there.  There's an absolutely huge amount of content in Xenoblade Chronicles, with a massive world full of hidden areas, secret subquests, and tons of NPCs who want you to slay certain monsters and collect an arbitrary number of items. As with MMOs, most of the optional missions are comprised of assassinations and fetch quests, which can be completed or ignored at leisure. Maps are dotted with "heart to heart" areas that can be activated when certain characters have grown to like each other (accepting missions and fighting together raises the affinity between party members), and there's a full-fledged crafting system, where raw materials are combined to create gems which slot into weaponry and armor. The most expansive sidequest, Rebuild Colony 6, is tacked onto an already huge story campaign, for a ton of gameplay that will keep hungry gamers fed for weeks.  With all this content, it seems a shame that Xenoblade Chronicles would resort to a shameless amount of padding in the latter half. There are whole chunks of the game that could be deemed totally unnecessary, even in a genre famous for fatiguing its players. Once on Mechonis, progress devolves into a weary cocktail of lever-pulling and backtracking through poorly designed, sprawling maps that are painted in a dismal shade of rusty brown and lack any of the inspiring sights seen in earlier portions of the adventure. Huge walkways full of nothing and monsters positioned over chasms, designed to knock players into oblivion, drench the latter portions of the journey, and all seem to be desperately, shamelessly, playing for time. The game's already bursting at the seams without these areas, and they run the risk of ruining all the good that has been delivered up until then. At one point, I wanted to throw my controller in frustration, just due to the insulting busywork that was being inflicted upon me. I was begging Xenoblade to do its business or get off the lavatory.  That said, the game had delivered hours upon hours of genuinely engrossing entertainment up until that point, and it would be unfair to judge Xenoblade solely by one forgivable misstep. Although the game is graphically poor, even by Wii standards, Monolith Soft has been able to craft inspiring maps, taking us across plains, forests, jungles, and snow-capped mountains, all corresponding to different bodyparts of the game's intriguing God-worlds. The cutscenes are some of the most thrilling I've seen in years, and work together with an absolutely gorgeous soundtrack to create some unforgettable moments. Xenoblade Chronicles does what I feel JRPGs have failed to do for years -- truly make players feel like they were taken on a real adventure. The voice acting may put some players off, as the game has not been localized beyond what was done for the British release. As a result, the cast is entirely made up of English actors, some of whom are enjoyable to listen to, while others aren't quite so affable. Reyn, in particular, sounds like the kind of person I want to punch, and his repetitious stock phrases in battle ("It's Reyn time!" "Let's not lose our 'eads, though!") can really crawl under the skin. Still, it's worth putting up with the heroes just to listen to the bad guys. The Mechon leaders Xord and Metal-Face steal every scene they're in with their gleeful nastiness, and it will be a crime if they're not hailed among gaming's greatest baddies in years to come. At any rate, it's refreshing to not listen to the same stock voice actors that American publishers seem to have on speed dial.  I am incredibly grateful to Xenoblade Chronicles, for it has rekindled my love for console JRPGs, a love that had been systematically throttled by the likes of Square Enix and tri-Ace for the past few years. Not since Lost Odyssey have I been so thoroughly entranced by a Japanese role-player. As I type this, the beautifully sweeping music from the Bionis' Leg area is washing through my head, accompanied by fond memories of successful chain attacks and expertly crafted gems. There's no denying that Xenoblade has its low points, but those high points are some of the highest of the genre. If you own a Wii, there's very little room to question -- this is a must-have game for Nintendo's humble little system. Now if only I could forget the word "Monado" after hearing it twelve million times over the past month. 
 photo

Xenoblade Chronicles will be remembered for its controversial release history more than what it does with its story, its gameplay, or anything else. It has had a long and tumultuous past, released as it was in Japan, then in ...

 photo

Nintendo of America seems to be knocking news out of the park today in an effort to draw attention away from the PS Vita. If you're an RPG fan, it might just be working! Alongside announcing The Last Story for 2012, the publi...

 photo

Fans get to choose Xenoblade's alternate cover art


Feb 06
// Jordan Devore
For as much as some of us passionately argue over minor issues, game companies sure do like having us vote on things. Nintendo is allowing you to decide what the reversible box art for Xenoblade Chronicles' North American rel...

Destructoid's most wanted Wii / Wii U games of 2012

Jan 11 // Jonathan Holmes
Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii) Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No. 1, TNXPublisher: NintendoRelease: February 13, 2012 Minna no Rhythm Tengoku (renamed Rhythm Heaven Fever for the US) was one of my favorite games of 2011; it's the only game of 2011 that I'm sure I'll be playing over and over for the rest of my life. I brought the game to several parties over the winter holidays, and despite the fact that I was playing to generally non-gamer crowds, the game still went over like gangbusters. It's instantly fun, endlessly replayable, and packed with content, and it plays upon gaming's greatest strength -- the ability to use controls, visuals, and sound to create a seamless bond between the player and the game. That's something that a lot of rhythm games do well, but I think Rhythm Heaven Fever does it better than almost all the rest. At its budget price, you would have to be a true hater of goodness and light to pass it up. If you think it looks too "weird" or "casual," do yourself a favor by ignoring your own perception and relinquishing your judgment to me. Buy this game as soon as you can. You won't regret it (unless they screw up the English localization again, in which case just import it). The Last Story (Wii) Developer: Mistwalker, AQ InteractivePublisher: NintendoRelease: February 24, 2012 (EU) Speaking of imports, I've already imported The Last Story, and I can say that it stands alongside Super Mario Galaxy and Skyward Sword as one of the best-looking, most painstakingly crafted games in the Wii's library. Sadly, my Japanese is crap, so I'll be importing this game from Europe or, hopefully, picking it up in the US later this year. I need to know what the hell is going on! Fans of Hironobu Sakaguchi's prior games (Final Fantasy I-IX, Lost Odyssey, etc.) or anyone who loves inventive third-person action-RPGs owes it to themselves to check this one out. It's not everyday that you get to witness one of the most influential developers in the history of the medium reinvent the genre that they helped create. Dragon Quest X (Wii, Wii U) Developer: Square Enix, Armor ProjectPublisher: Square EnixRelease: 2012 (Wii) / TBA (Wii U) We still don't know a ton about Dragon Quest X other than the fact that Square Enix has been working on it forever, as well as how it aims to combine the strengths of MMOs with the traditional single-player RPG experience for something that will please both audiences. The game is about one of two twins who is magically transformed into one of the game's other races, sort of like the Melvin Van Peebles classic Watermelon Man, only less racist. That's all well and good, but what I really want out of Dragon Quest X is the opportunity to explore a huge, Akira Toriyama-created world alone or with friends, experiencing all its fine details and, in doing so, creating my own story.  Honorable Mentions: Kiki Trick, Pandora's Tower, Retro City Rampage Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) Developer: Monolith SoftPublisher: NintendoRelease: April 2012 See what happens when a company digs out its ears and listens to the fans? It was pretty much like pulling teeth with Nintendo, but now Xenoblade Chronicles is on its way to the US. Sure, I could have imported the European version, but having a cheaper option is always nice. I'm stoked, and I'm not even that big of an RPG guy! I've played several Final Fantasy titles, tried and failed to get into the Tales series, enjoyed Golden Sun, and dabbled lightly elsewhere. Still, all the positive word of mouth from our friends across the Atlantic is making it really hard to not get overly excited. La-Mulana (WiiWare) Developer: Nigoro, NicalisPublisher: NicalisRelease: 2012 Speaking of games that have been out in Japan forever, here's indie platformer La-Mulana. The game is finished, having gone through some last-minute bug fixes following the Japanese release, and now is waiting on Nintendo of America to give the go-ahead. Who knows how long that will take. There is non-console port on the way (PC, though a likely platform, isn't actually specified), and it would be a laugh riot if it came out before the WiiWare version. It's no secret that my poison of choice is a nice, juicy 2D platformer with wonderful pixel art and a hefty amount of challenge. A game that tosses Castlevania, Metroid, and Indiana Jones into a blender and hits "frappé"? Obviously, it's going to be a winner. If you want to play the game right now, the original has been available online for free since 2005. However, as with Cave Story, I'm curious as to the extent of the changes and upgrades in the remake. Retro City Rampage (WiiWare, Xbox Live Arcade) Developer: Vblank EntertainmentPublisher: Vblank EntertainmentRelease: 2012 I feel bad for Vblank's Brian Provinciano. I like to joke about Retro City Rampage's lengthy development, and I enjoy hitting Brian up on Facebook with such constructive comments as, "What are you doing right now? BREATHING!? When you should be WORKING!?" In all honesty, I don't envy his situation. The game has been in the works for nearly a decade, back when it was known as Grand Theftendo. Since then, Brian has had to jump through so many hoops just to see his baby through. Next time I see the man, I have to treat him to a steak dinner or at least some froyo. At one point, Retro City Rampage was a Grand Theft Auto parody. I don't know what it is anymore -- it defies classification. It's a love letter to 80s, an homage to videogames throughout the ages, and the debut of many Destructoid editors as game characters. You ask Brian to include something in the game, and the guy will probably find a way to squeeze in that reference. If nothing else, Retro City Rampage is going to be huge. Honorable Mentions: Rhythm Heaven Fever, The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, Rodea the Sky Soldier As for the Wii U, no real exclusives have been firmly announced for the thing yet, though we'll be keeping a close eye for more news on Pikmin 3, Smash Bros. Wii U / 3DS, and Miyamoto's new secret project. Then there is the promise of an enhanced Wii U version of Dragon Quest X, Batman: Arkham City, Darksiders II, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and many others. I'd also be highly surprised if we didn't get a compilation of some of the Wii U "experiences" that were on display at E3 2010. I'd love to see that Metroid-themed multiplayer shooter, Mario-themed hide-and-seek, Rhyhm Heaven-style pirate game, and (Shannon's favorite!) Measure Up, all crammed into one Wii Sports-style, minigame collection pack-in. Then there is No More Heroes 3, which Suda51 told me TO MY FACE is still headed to the Wii U. So while there is still a lot left to see confirmed, there is plenty to be excited about in 2012 for the wacky, wonderful world of Wii U.   Additional staff picks for the Wii / Wii U: Chad Concelmo: Rhythm Heaven Fever, Pikmin 3 Sean Daisy: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Dragon Quest X, Darksiders IIAndrew Kauz: Dragon Quest X, Xenoblade ChroniclesTara Long: Retro City RampageKyle MacGregor: Retro City Rampage, Rhythm Heaven Fever, The Last StoryAllistair Pinsof: Xenoblade ChroniclesMax Scoville: Actual Wii U games that aren't tech demos about birds and cherry blossoms Josh Tolentino: Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story 
 photo

There were a few excellent third-party releases on the Wii in 2011 (Bit.Trip Complete immediately comes to mind), but for the most part, last year marked the end of an era for the console. The Wii didn't even get th...

 photo

This rumor seems to be coming out of left field, so don't put too much stock into it.  GoNintendo has some information from an anonymous source that says that GameStop reached out to Nintendo to get Xenoblade Chronicles ...

 photo

The DTOID Show: Xenoblade, Minecraft, and... Tetris?


Dec 02
// Tara Long
If you've ever wondered what it looks like when two sick people host a live show together, then look no further. Technical difficulties be damned, today's live taping of The Destructoid Show has explored the boundaries of wh...
 photo

Xenoblade trailer confirms British voices for NA release


Dec 02
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo of America put the icing on today's news cake by releasing a trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles. The video confirms that the rather nice British voice cast is remaining, which is hardly surprising considering the fact...
 photo

Nintendo of America finally did it! After earlier rumors and teasing, it has finally been announced that the looooong awaited roleplaying game, Xenoblade, will be coming to North American Wiis in April 2012. It'll go by its E...

 photo

Rumor: GameStop to sell Xenoblade in US (Update)


Dec 02
// Jim Sterling
[Update: Nintendo has thrown fuel on the fire, updating its Facebook page with Xenoblade images! The plot thickens] According to a NeoGAF Sherlock, Xenoblade Chronicles will finally come to North America despite Nintendo of A...
 photo

Reggie Fils-Aime gets swamped with Xenoblade Tweets


Oct 24
// Jim Sterling
Before the weekend, Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime appeared on Twitter but didn't quite get the welcome he bargained on. Last Friday, the meat-flavored executive was spammed with Operation Rainfall Tweets as people...
 photo

Xenoblade Chronicles seems to be doing okay in Europe


Aug 23
// Jim Sterling
Xenoblade Chronicles launched in Europe last week, and it seems to have had a pretty solid debut. The RPG that Nintendo of America won't localize debuted at number two on the British Wii Charts. If you're thinking that says v...
 photo

Pandora's Tower, The Last Story coming to Europe in 2012


Aug 17
// Jim Sterling
It has now been confirmed that all three of the three titles Nintendo of America won't publish are coming to Europe, with news with Pandora's Tower and The Last Story will join Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii in 2012.  O...
 photo

Operation Rainfall Phase 2: Buy Final Fantasy on Wii


Aug 12
// Jim Sterling
Operation Rainfall is not finished in its quest to get Xenoblade, Pandora's Tower and The Last Story released in North America, and has begun phase two of operations. As well as encouraging Europeans to buy Xenoblade and show...
 photo

Nintendo of America watching Xenoblade 'very closely'


Aug 11
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has dripfed a bit more hope to JRPG fans like the cruel little sausage that he is, stating that Xenoblade may yet come to North America if "business opportunities" are there. He ...
 photo

Nintendo writes back to Operation Rainfall via snail mail


Jul 18
// Jonathan Holmes
Maybe I'm just desperate for some happy Nintendo news on this bleak Monday night, but I'm actually feeling encouraged by this token gesture of acknowledgment for Nintendo of America. Ms. (or Mr.?) Sissy Barner of Nintendo of ...
 photo

Rumor: Last Story, Xenoblade already localized for NA


Jul 08
// Jim Sterling
Operation Rainfall, a group dedicated to the seemingly impossible task of giving the Wii more than four games this year, has declared potential victory. According to a "source" at Nintendo, both Xenoblade and The Last Story a...
 photo

Xenoblade Chronicles to release early in Europe


Jul 08
// Maurice Tan
After years of having to wait patiently for many Nintendo games to arrive in Europe -- and most Atlus games for that matter -- not only are we getting Xenoblade Chronicles, but we're getting it even sooner than previously tho...
 photo

The Jimquisition: Nintendo of America


Jul 04
// Jim Sterling
Impotent nerd rage from random people on the Internet always gets things done, so I guarantee that my latest Jimquisition will single-handedly convince Nintendo of America to release Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower in North America.  Meanwhile, you could always add your name to the Operation Rainfall movement and see if that does anything.
 photo

The Question: Should Last Story, Xenoblade come to NA?


Jul 01
// Jim Sterling
[Every Friday, Destructoid will pose topical a question to the community. Answer it if you want!] Perhaps the most controversial story this week was the announcement by Nintendo of America that it was not planning to bring Xe...

10+ games to help the Wii go out with a bang

Jun 27 // Jonathan Holmes
Pikmin 2 + Chibi Robo New Play Control Here are two games that that hardcore Nintendo fans love, but failed to gain much mainstream acceptance when they were first released on the Gamecube. Seeing as the translation has already been written for both of them, and Pikmin 2 New Play Control has already been released in Europe, the level of expense to bring these two games stateside is negligible, while the potential gain is bursting with flavor. Releasing these games is both a way to make sad Wii gamers feel better during this gaming drought, and a way to get people ready for Pikmin 3 while gauging interest in a new Chibi Robo game. they could be released as separate budget titles, or a double pack. Either way, Nintendo is sure to at least break even on these two, while working PR for the Pikmin and Chibi Robo (and Nintendo) brands in the process. Best of fan DLC for Super Smash Bros. Brawl With the 3DS eShop and its free apps, Nintendo is reportedly doing everything it can to grow their presence in the online space. So far, not so good. One way they could really blow some minds and defy expectations is to take some notes from Valve, one of the most successful online game developers in the world. When Valve released fan-created Team Fortress 2 content as an official product, it sent a message to their audience that there is no line between the people that create Valve games, and people that play Valve games. That's the kind of unity that Nintendo desperately needs to find with its consumers. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the most heavily modded game in the Wii's library, and also one of the most controversial amongst hardcore Nintendo fans. Releasing the best of Brawl fan-made content (particularly the still in production Project M) would give people a reason to care about Smash Bros. again, a reason to get their Wii's online, and reason to believe that Nintendo truly loves their fans. Fatal Frame 4 The Wii has always had a fan base waiting for a good survival-horror game. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition was one of the consoles first million sellers. Thing is, that audience never really got served.  Sure, the Wii got some great horror based on-rails shooters, some budget produced horror titles, a non-violent Silent Hill, and a goofy, critically panned port of Dead Rising, but none of those games really gave survival horror fans what they wanted. What a lot of them wanted was Fatal Frame 4. In fact, they wanted it so badly that they translated the game themselves. I've played the game with the fan translation, and other than few niggling bugs (something fans are quick to forgive with games from Grasshopper Manufacture), I loved the game. It may have been released in Japan back in 2009, but there is no reason that the game couldn't still make an impact on the Wii in 2011. Release it as a budget title, or pack it in with another unreleased Japanese horror game like Night of the Sacrifice, and you have yourself a deal that any horror-loving Wii owner would have a hard time passing up. Throw in the fact that the game has an unlockable Luigi's Mansion costume, and you have a game that is sure to grab the attention of Nintendo fans, and raise awareness of the upcoming Luigi's Mansion 2. Monado/Xenoblade Chronicles Now here is a real head-scratcher. Nintendo of America showed this game off years ago at E3. Nintendo of Europe has already announced that it's being brought to their territories. Fans have helped the game to reach #1 on Amazon's gaming charts. Yet, Nintendo of America is yet to say anything about the game coming here, other than release a canned customer service response saying "stay tuned for further announcements". Now, I've played Xenoblade. It's good, but it's not that good. That said, the game definitely has an audience here, an audience that has been wanting the game since Nintendo showed it off at E3 all those years ago. It's just bad business to lead your fans into thinking you're going to give them the option to buy a game, then taking that option away without any valid explanation. That's especially true now that Operation Rainfall is making so much noise about the game. At this point, Nintendo has to release the game (preferably without the useless Chronicles surname) if they want their small but dedicated RPG-loving fans to have any faith in them. That goes double for... The Last Story Final Fantasy is one of the most beloved series in gaming history. The creator of Final Fantasy recently made a game called The Last Story. He said that he may retire if the game isn't well received. Luckily for him (and for us), the game is better than just about every other game on this list, not to mention just about every Final Fantasy game released in the past ten years. Nintendo holds the publishing rights to The Last Story, and they may not release it in America, potentially depriving American Wii owners of one of the consoles best games, not to mention putting the career of one of Japan's most legendary developers in peril. In terms of catering to the "hardcore" gamer, it doesn't get much worse than that. It would be one thing if the game was "just too expensive to translate", but according to some sources, The Last Story is coming to Europe, just like Xenoblade. If Nintendo doesn't bring the game to the United States, despite the fact that it's already translated into English, well, they might as well put out billboards with Reggie Fils Aime wearing a devil costume, saying "We hate RPGs, and the people that play them", complete with maniacal laughter. Pandora's Tower + Dynamic Zan/Zangeki no Reginleiv double pack Speaking of action RPGs, here are a pair of budget titles that aren't likely to become huge hits, but are both extremely marketable to a certain brand of gamer. Pandora's Tower is basically a cross between Bionic Commando and Castlevania, but with a beautiful female heroine who needs to eat monster flesh in order to keep from becoming a monster herself, and a creepy old demon thing with a giant skeleton on it's back that cackles a lot. Dynamic Zan is the first game that Nintendo has published to receive the equivalent of an M rating in Japan, and it plays like Earth Defense Force, but instead of teaming up with friends via online co-op to save the Earth and kill giant bugs, you're taking out giant ogres and mythological beasts with swords and magic. Both of these games have the appeal of a weird, action anime from the 90's, and I'm sure they could find their audience in the U.S.  Bundle those two games together, or release them separately as budget titles, and Wii owning action game fans won't be able to resist. Seriously, Nintendo only has one major action/fantasy game coming out this year- Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Compare that to the PS3 and 360's line up for the year, and it's just disgusting. Even if they bring The Last Story here, that's still just two games. That's not OK, Nintendo. Give us a 3rd and 4th game, preferably in the two-for-one deal format, and we'll almost forgive you. Disaster: Day of Crisis + President Cat double pack Wii owners have a long history of showing that they know how to embrace ridiculousness and mini-game collections, and Disaster: Day of Crisis is one of the most ridiculous mini-game collections I've ever played. The game stars a sexy man with tribal tattoos who must cope with every type of disaster ever conceived, ranging from volcanoes and terrorist attacks to earthquakes and wild bears. One second you'll be doing CPR on a dying man, the next you'll be driving a car through falling buildings, and the next you'll be blasting bear cubs with a shotgun. The game wasn't meant to be funny, but from my time with the game's European release, I can confidently state that it's one of my favorite comedy games of this generation. It's also a lot of fun, as long as you approach it with the right attitude. It's not quite the Wii's equivalent to Deadly Premonition, but it's damn close. Then on the other side of the coin, we have President Cat, a mini-game collection about a cat who wears giant cat ears and runs her own publishing company (called CatQueen Inc, of course). She has to climb a rope, vacuume up mystical energy from the trunk of a convertible, play piano, and C'MON PEOPLE THE GAME IS CALLED PRESIDENT CAT! Do you really need for me to explain how insane it is? Packaging this game with Disaster: Day of Crisis would be the perfect way to tell fans "hey, we both know that these games are not triple A, but they're both surreal and hilarious in their own ways, so why don't you just relax and enjoy them?" It certainly worked for WarioWare:Smooth Moves, and it could also work for Disaster: Day of Crisis/President Cat. Trace Memory 2 Trace Memory is one of those games that has a small but highly dedicated cult following in the United States. The game's sequel (entitled Another Code R in Europe) maintains the series mysterious, atmosphere-focused adventure/puzzle formula, but transforms series protagonist Ashley Robbins from a ambitious but restrained little girl to an formidable 16 year old lady. She's one of my favorite characters of this generation of gaming. A lot of that is because her animations and mannerisms of are so surprisingly detailed, and undeniably charming, without reliance on photo-realism. Through her words and behaviors, we learn that Ashley is strong willed, determined, but very human, and highly self analytical person. I believe that if given a chance, she would elicit both empathy and admiration from the American Wii audience, regardless of their gender. Playing the game makes you feel like you're hanging out with Ashley Robbins, but it also makes you feel like you are Ashley Robbins. Despite the game's occasional wonky puzzle, you'll want to play through it from beginning to end, because being (and being with) Ashley makes it worth it. Earth Seeker As for Earth Seeker, I haven't played it yet, so I can't speak to its merits. I can say that, from what I've seen, the game has all the makings of a fantastic exploration focused RPG. More so, whenever someone brings up all the games that Nintendo of America hasn't localized yet, someone in the comments always says "What about Earth Seeker?", so I know the interest is there. The game is about a woman teaming up with a bunch of cute little alien-looking things, exploring a post apocalyptic earth and fighting giant robots with laser swords. That's not such a tough sell, is it? The game also has a cool tie in with a DSiWare game, which would again encourage Nintendo owners to get their damn consoles online. Earth Seeker may not be able to stand on it's own. It may need to be a budget release, or come packaged with another game (the exploration based Trace Memory 2 might be a good choice), but either way, the game definitely deserves a chance here in the US. Captain Rainbow + Mother 3 + Earthbound triple pack budget release Out of all the games on this list, this is the one I'm the most sure will never happen (even more so than the Brawl DLC, which is saying a lot). It's also the one that I'm most sure would sell at retail. There are millions of new Nintendo fans who want to play Earthbound and Mother 3, just to see for themselves who Ness and Lucas from Super Smash Bros. Brawl are. As for Captain Rainbow, it's a game where you finally determine what Birdo's gender is. There are millions of adults who grew up with Super Mario Bros. 2 who have been dying for an answer to that question for most of their lives. I'm sure that $30 would be a small price to pay to have that question answered.   One may argue that charging retail price from a SNES game, a GBA game, and a super-weird Wii game may not be a good business practice. Yet, Nintendo sold Super Mario All-Stars, an un-enhanced SNES game, on a Wii disc last year for $30, and people ate it up. Earthbound fans would do the same for Earthbound and Mother 3, while those who have never played the series before couldn't deny the value of getting three full length games for the price of one. Conclusion The issue with these games, and Nintendo's reluctance to publish them, isn't with value. The issue here is with Nintendo's image. Is the company willing to release these titles and risk "looking weird" in front of the mainstream American market that it's worked so hard to impress? I can't believe we're even asking that question. The answer is so obvious. From a hardware perspective, "looking weird" has saved Nintendo from certain doom. It's the one thing that kept them alive. With the DS and the Wii, Nintendo didn't try to "look normal". They didn't try to follow trends in the Western market, or any trends for that matter. Instead, they chose to try to lead the market, with a portable handheld with two screens, and a modified Gamecube with a bizarre motion-based controller. If they hadn't taken those risks, if they hadn't been willing to "look weird", they'd have been stuck with the Gamecube and the Gameboy Micro, which could have led to the death of the company. With this list, I'm merely suggesting that Nintendo try to take some similar risks with their software. Well, that's not exactly fair. Nintendo is taking risks with their software, but only in Japan. It's Nintendo of America that seems so acutely risk averse. On the eve of the release of the Wii U, Nintendo of America needs to prove to the "core" Wii gamer (who already feels deprived of 3rd party support that the PS3 and the 360 get), that they will do everything they can to give them games that they may want to play. They need to show that they aren't the same predictable, "casual" focused company that their detractors claim that they are. They need to make the gaming world feel that we don't know exactly what to expect from them, that the Nintendo of the Wii era is evolving, and that the "Wii U" might be more than just the "Wii 2". Releasing the games above would help to start that, and in the process, Nintendo would be giving desperate Wii owners something to play other than Kirby, Skyward Sword, and Rhythm Heaven this year. There is nothing more valuable to a successful game developer than maintaining the loyalty of your fans and building credibility and desirability amongst your non-fans . If Nintendo wants to stay on top, they'd do well to go after those two goals, by whatever means (and Earthbound games) necessary.
 photo

The Wii is on it's way out. Sure, with an install base of over 80 million, chances are that smaller developers will be making Wii games for a while, but when it comes to being Nintendo's primary home console, the little white...

 photo

Mistwalker thanks fans for 'Operation Rainfall' movement


Jun 27
// Jim Sterling
The Last Story developer Mistwalker has thanked fans for Operation Rainfall -- a huge effort undertaken by fans who want to see Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower get confirmed release dates in North America. ...
 photo

Fans bring Xenoblade to #1 on Amazon, internet goes wild


Jun 26
// Jonathan Holmes
It looks the vague report from Nintendo customer service that Xenoblade (also known as Monado: Beginning of the World) is still slated for release in the United States isn't confirmation enough for some people. A group of fan...
 photo

Xenoblade reconfirmed for NA, Last Story confirmed for EU


Jun 26
// Jim Sterling
[Mini Update: People seem to think this story is "wrong" because Nintendo is sticking to a story it's spun before. That's as well as may be, but it's on Nintendo's head. The fact is, Nintendo customer support reconfirmed the ...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -