Xenoblade Chronicles (Early Thoughts)

This has to be one of the most unusual RPGs I’ve played in quite a while. I don’t mean that in a positive way, if in any way at all. There are glowing flames all over the map that appear to represent items you can pick up. Where previous games might have had you pick up items with “a” or what have you, this one just has you pick it up as you walk over it. It’s convenient but it also means I’m not entirely clear about the tangibility of these items. When I go to sell things I’m not seeing these items I’m picking up. Also the tutorial (bleh) that exists makes it sound like these items are really just for some kind of encyclopedia.

Then I’ve got to wonder about the “junk” that I’m selling otherwise. Do I ever need any of this for creating things? Is this the kind of game where selling things adds them to some kind of stock (I believe that was how FF12 worked, but I can’t recall the specific RPG). Another thing the game does is give you an arrow pointing to your next location. This is good but I don’t like having it automatic. What I’d have preferred was a waypoint system that I can activate myself. On a quest to find a chicken behind ambiguous house #3 in region you-don’t-yet-know-well? Well, slap a waypoint to point you there.

But when I’m just playing the game I don’t want a yellow arrow constantly nagging me to move on. I want to try and learn the map, enjoy all the nuances, not rush to the end of the game.

Combat is pretty slick. You can run around the area in real time while fighting things and swap between them with the shoulder buttons. You are given a fair number of skills you can activate which then refill over time. You can even fight multiple monsters at once, in areas where the monsters are weak you can basically farm them all at one time. This is especially true if you have buddies with you (they’ll fight with you automatically).

The story thus far has already got me interested. Even if they say “Monado” about 90 times a minute. If you drank once each time it was said you’d be dead before you finished the first story quest.

That’s that for now, I’m gonna try and complete this game in between other titles. It has me intrigued and I’d love to rant about the land mass that everyone is on. It’s a really interesting take on myth tales, usually they are less literal than this one.

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