If you are a video game fan, you probably know about “Xenoblade Chronicles 2” coming out this December. This game is a direct sequel to the first one, but what warranted this sequel in the first place?
The original “Xenoblade Chronicles,” which was almost never released in North America, has been revered as one of the best games ever created. If you were to find any flaws with it, they would be merely nitpicking. What makes this game stand out is its lack of flaws. Everything works together like a well oiled machine. However, if one part of that machine were to break, the whole thing would come crashing down.
“Xenoblade”, as I’ll call it from here forward, is considered by many to be a masterpiece, the absolute best of what gaming has to offer. It’s a JRPG, meaning Japanese RPG, which comes with certain design conventions such as dialogue options, exploration and a semi-open world, at least. “Xenoblade” took all these concepts and ran with them. There are as many as 480 quests in-game. For reference, Skyrim had 450 quests at the most. The main idea of the story starts out as a revenge story on the main enemy, the Mechon. However, it is impossible to summarize the incredible story without ruining it, or me running out of space, so play it for yourself or watch a playthrough.
There’s a lot of quests, they are probably all generic, right? Most of these quests have deep meanings to them, and one could easily draw parallels to their own life. One of my favorites, without spoiling too much, involves you breaking up a drug-trading ring. Most of the game’s side-quests are lighthearted to detract from the game’s heavy story; which is also perfectly done. “Xenoblade” has a few plot twists, you might be lucky to see one coming.
“Xenoblade” covers topics in its story that some other games cover, such as racism, being shunned by others, and losing loved ones. “Xenoblade” also incorporates the ideas of creationism, atheism and evolution, through both story and gameplay mechanics. My absolute favorite line from any video game, TV show or movie goes to Shulk, the main character. At the end of the game when asked how he wants to move forward with the world, he says, “I don’t know what the future holds. But that means I can imagine the possibilities. We can achieve anything we put our minds to.” “Xenoblade’s” story revolves around seeing the future and changing the outcome. In a battle, if you were to get a “vision” you would see a dangerous attack coming and be able to react to it before it kills you or your party.
The game also has what I would describe as a perfectly huge world. “Xenoblade” encourages exploration by levelling your characters up and making movement around areas faster. The world is massive, but it is not intimidatingly huge. It should not take you an hour to run from one place to the next, but it will because you stopped at everything along the way.
The music in “Xenoblade” is probably some of the best music I have ever heard. To any non-gamers, this might sound strange, but gamers love video game music; and “Xenoblade Chronicles” does not slouch at all in this department. I enjoyed every single song I heard in this game. They all fit their areas well; nothing dragged, nothing was repetitive and I remember all of them. I could name any song from the game by heart if you played one for me. My three personal favorites are the songs “Mechonis Field,” “Zanza the Divine” and the song that plays before the credits, “Beyond the Sky”. Each of these songs are beautiful, and I recommend a listen to anyone who has not heard them.
I simply cannot cover everything this game does well, but the gameplay is also amazing. The player controls a party of three out of the seven characters, and can mix, match and customize the party however they want. They are not required to have specific characters in their party like other games in the same genre do. This is one of my favorite decisions, because the characters are also fantastic. They all have so much depth, and interactions you would miss if you only played with a specific party the whole game. Certain voice lines would never be heard, and certain combos would never be found.
Conclusively, I cannot find many faults with the original “Xenoblade Chronicles” worth talking about. Other games may have higher “highs” than “Xenoblade” when compared, but its strength lies in its consistency. There is not a part of this game that I dislike, but there’s plenty of parts in other games that I like that I despise. In my first 120 hour experience with this game, I was tearing up at the final cutscene; partially because it was over, and partially because it was the best thing I ever experienced. My best advice is to play it for yourself. I don’t need to see the future to know you’ll love this game.