Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

Fight for survival while exploring the vast expanses of an unknown planet where anything you see is reachable in Xenoblade Chronicles X. In this epic sci-fi RPG, adventure through a seamless open world, and pilot giant robotic exoskeletons known as Skells to explore the planet and fight against threats of all sizes.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (1)

Pros:

  • Graphics are the best you will probably ever see on the Wii U. From stunning vistas to jaw-dropping locations. The game looks simply amazing in every way. You will need to look at your Wii U game pad periodically just to reassure yourself you are still playing on the Wii U.
  • Controls are all done with the game pad. The game does support a Pro controller but for the true experience you need to play it with the game pad. The controls themselves are surprisingly simple.
  • Opening tutorial area with ongoing support as new mechanics and features become available.
  • Achievements: The game has a huge list of its own in-game achievements.
  • Music: Top notch soundtrack that just screams JRPG in every way from the orchestral heavy ballads to the booming almost techno bass drop. Add in the beautiful singing tunes and you have yourself a masterpiece of music.
  • In-depth deep character creation tool in order to create your perfect character.
  • The game can be played exclusively on the Wii U gamepad without the need for the TV. The one major downside to this is how awkward it is to jump between the game screen and the maps.
  • Story: The story is that of a blockbuster, It starts off slow but you soon find yourself engrossed in the turmoil, Plot twists coming in thick and fast and some of the best action that even Micheal Bay would run scared. You can play the story whenever you meet the requirements to unlock the next chapter.
  • Side missions are plentiful and varied. You can pick up bounties, gathering and social requests from the jobs board. Another way to get them is to speak to members of the team and public out in the game world.
  • Affinity missions are seperate from the story and side missions but are still just as important. You do them for specific characters and finishing them increases your bond with them. This rewards you with better missions and more rewards like gear and weapons.
  • Online board: Here you can do online squad missions which grant rarer rewards. You can play with up to 4 players and it is basically an arena boss fight with certain conditions. You get 3 retries between you and a time limit.
  • Nemesis: Another special online only mode. Here you can team up or go in with your AI team and take on a HUGE boss in an arena. The rewards are far greater than anywhere else but the fight is a tough top tier affair.
  • Game rooms: Everytime you boot the game up you have a choice of 3 “rooms” to join. Solo is self-explanatory as is friends only. The last option is the one you pick if you want to focus on doing more team based activities and nemesis fights.
  • Miiverse integration. You can see and send Miiverse posts to the game and will pop up in the bottom corner. This can be turned off and individualĀ posts can be blocked and favourited quickly.
  • Auto saves regularly and will always save after mission complete screens and changing inventory.
  • Once in game there is no additional loading screens except when entering buildings or cutscenes.
  • Items are diamond shaped itmes scattered absolutely everywhere. They respawn quickly as well. NRG is a huge deal with these but it does make item/resource collecting a bit easier.
  • Planet nodes: Once activated it becomes a fast travel location. Another and more crucial element of these nodes are the fact that you can turn them into different node types. Which ever node you choose you can actually create an income from them. Tether them together to boost their performance. Its almost like a mini-game in itself. All of it can be done from the game pad and when ever you like.
  • The world you explore is absolutely huge! I mean it makes Skyrim look like a car park in comparison. Split into five areas, Each area brings different environments and enemies to the mix.
  • Fast travel: The only way to travel. You can fast travel to any activated node or any othe sub level access points in particular places of interest.
  • Combat is tough to learn at first. You have a bar and can pick and use any ability on it, Each one has a cool down. It is not turn based and you are free to move around as you please. Add in your skills and soul voices and you have a huge arsenal of attacks to use. The trick is to learn combos. You can command your AI team mates to do particular actions.
  • Scouting: You can find other players NPC form in your game world in random locations. Scouting them actually allows them to temporarily join your squad. If they are on your friend list then they will always spawn in the same place outside the Blade HQ. In game NPC will stay with you until you dismiss them.
  • Boss fights are frequent and every bit as epic as you would expect.
  • If you keep dying on a boss or set of enemies in the story the game will actually allow you to lower the difficulty level. You do not get penalised and it is only a temporary buff.
  • Armour Alley is a place you can visit to buy/sell gear and items. You can put money into manufacturers to develop new gear and even just using their weapons will level them up.
  • Skells: Your mech that can transform from a steroid ridden Gundam robot into a vehicle. You have to take a series of test before you are allowed one. Once unlocked you can fully customise it from the colour to the loadout, You can choose between three Skell types: Light, Medium and heavy duty bad ass boss type. If you destroy your Skell or it gets blown up you can get a new one via insurance or buy paying a repair bill.
  • The world is home to many secret areas, Short cuts and so much more. It really rewards you for exploring and going off the beaten path.
  • In game text speak via the game pad.
  • Mini map is powerful showing enemies near by and treasure. If a mission allows it a arrow will show you where to go with a yellow area becoming visible as you get closer to the objective.
  • Treasure: You can find random treasure drops all over the lands. They could be plants, Boxes or even destroyed ships and mechs. Depending on your level depends if you can scan the treasure. Scanning is done via a quick button mashing sequence.
  • Blade level: This goes up with general play and doing nodes. Once leveled up you can choose to upgrade your stats in regards to treasure and node activations/scans.
  • Easy mission management screen. You can have upto 20 missions stacked in your menu screen and can easily flip between them.
  • Hundreds if not thousands of hours of play time contained in this epic game. The main story is only a small part of the game.
  • Classes: These distinguish which weapon types you can use and also gives you a pool of abilities and arts for that particular class. You can go tanky, Long range or a bit of both. You have sub levels of each class and using them levels them up and unlocks the higher tier. You can swap out classes at any point and play around with them.
  • Equipping gear is made some what easier with a “equip strongest gear” option. This of course leaves you open to having new weapons you may not be used to but is a good quick tool nether the less.
  • UI is very well laid out and labelled for the most part.
  • Daily login bonuses.
  • Blade HQ is your home and you can customise it by changing colours. You unlock new options by upgrading your Blade level.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (3)

Cons:

  • Storytelling/Cut scenes feel really slow in places and kind of drag on.
  • Slow starter.
  • The game is completely overwhelming especially at the begininng. You get minimal help and guidance. In fact a lot of the games best parts are not even explained and you can stumble across them.
  • You feel helpless a lot and is common when starting out or when fighting bosses.
  • Item management is a bit clunky as you have to go through this menu to get to this menu to do this then go back to do that.
  • HUD gets very busy.
  • Some cutscene animations look ugly and robotic.
  • Online is confusing and you never feel confident that you know how to join a game and what is expected of you.
  • Mission requirements to unlock the ability to play the next chapter are not marked on the map or even mark themselves when you have finished one of them.
  • Difficulty spikes happen a lot and the biggest one I encountered was actually Chapter 9.
  • Combat still feels alien despite racking up 70 plus hours. I always land up just mashing buttons and abilities. Never really getting any indication or guidance on what I need to learn to improve.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (4)

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!