I've been putting off giving this a chance. Why? I've been having a hard time finding RPGs I can get into since FFX and TWEWY. Risen, The Last Remnant are the two main ones that got close, but never really took the cake. So what gave me the reason to play this was /v/ promoting it, because they hate every game. And yeah, my wii was hacked to run this game, and in all honesty, I'm glad it is.
Console: Wii || Region: PAL
Xenoblade Chronicles does something incredibly well for an RPG that not many do well enough, it launches you straight into the action. As soon as you start, your launched into a war of people versus the Mechon, an evil breed of machines bent on killing humans. You start off taking control of the only warrior who can wield the Monado, the legendary energy blade used to fight off the mechon (That red sword you see everywhere in the game pictures). And after a bit of an introduction, you meet Shulk, the real main character who is exploring the powers of the Monado in his Weapon Research/Development Lab. To prevent any spoilers of the actual game, I will cut off any more about the story. If you want to know more, buy it.
The Battle system is much like Final Fantasy XII's in how it's real time combat and there's the auto attack and all you really do is use the actual “arts” (Skills). Through your fights you get AP and SP, AP helps power up your arts and SP helps you learn them. The nifty thing with SP is that it's automatically distributed to how you want your basic character set up, and you can change the automation of it all. There's 3 sets of SP distribution for each party member and they all revolve around different things. For example, of the sets of SP is always teamwork oriented and towards the left of the screen. If you set the SP to that, as you fight, you automatically learn SP arts (Sometimes passive, sometimes not). But you'll only unlock the SP's for the teamwork, and you can change it at any time. It's a bit confusing to explain it, so I apologize for that.
There are enemies who will appear after you fight off so many of the smaller versions of them. For example, you might start off fighting a slug where there are bunches of other slugs. As you fight them off, eventually a “mini-boss” will appear, who is a lot stronger than the rest and they'll come after you for fighting their friends. It's really nifty, but sometimes a bit overpowering.
Sidequests are a massive part of the game compared to a lot of other RPGs. As soon as you start the game, you'll see how there's so many side quests to go after and how everything revolves around what time it is in game. You can easily change the time in game, so there's no real problem, and it just makes it a bit more realistic. Going on sidequests helps your affinity with other characters, or in others words, your friendship. It sounds dumb at first (I thought so too), but then it actually comes in handy when you perform combo attacks. Combo attacks are your form of a special, and it can be lengthened with a strong enough affinity with each of your party members.
The voice acting is strangely...amazing, well, to me anyways. They all have a very, VERY thick Australian (I think that's what it is) accent. And it kinda leads into humor in a way, kind of how like Killing Floor's british voices were hilariously amazing.
You are actually rewarded for exploration in this game, which is always something I love to see in RPGs. When you discover a landmark, you get a bit of EXP for it and you can “quick travel” to it (Opening the menu to automatically teleport to a specific point). The problem here though is how the game doesn't really tell you that you should explore, it just says do sidequests. For example, the beginning of the game, I was fighting off level 1-5 monsters which were pieces of cake. I got a quest to go to a cave and crap, and as soon as I entered the cave, there was a lvl 10 boss there (I was only level 7 at the time, and when all of my members were level 13, we still had trouble fighting it.) Turns out there was a beach right beside the entrance to the cave where enemies ranged from lvl 5-10 where I had plenty of opportunity to grind for a bit.
Another thing I love about Xenoblade is the fact that you can equip new weapons/armor and it actually show up differently than others. I wasn't expecting that from this game, but here it is. You can get crystals from dead monsters and convert them into gems which can be placed in your weapons and armor to give you new stat bonuses, and some weapons/armor you find already have gems in them.
The only real flaws of Xenoblade Chronicles lies within the Wii itself. If the wii had the power of the ps3 or PC, it would be more mind-blowing than it is right now. The problem is that NPCs only appear when you get close to them, same with the enemies. The graphics are very sub par, and they look like a weak Ps2 game. However, Xenoblade Chronicles shows us that making an amazing RPG is still possible, and it is the epitome of a good modern RPG. This, TWEWY, FFX, and Rogue Galaxy are the only RPGs to this day that I can get SERIOUSLY into.
You should seriously be mad that North America is getting this, and you should import it.
Grade: A++ (Dtoid's flawless victory)
Loads of Sidequests
New RPG Elements (Things not present in other RPGs)
Sub-par Graphics read