For a few months, rabid Nintendo owners across the globe were petitioning the publisher to release a series of “hardcore” RPGs in the United States. Xenoblade Chronicles was one of the central titles in this effort known as “Operation Rainfall”, but it failed to influence Nintendo’s decision to exclude North America from this game’s release. This behemoth of a game did not make it Stateside, but thanks to being translated into English for the European Union release ,and the ingenuity of internet hackers, I have had the pleasure of playing this game.
Quite simply put, Xenoblade Chronicles is a BEAST. The developers have pulled gameplay mechanics in from other other major RPG and MMORPG franchises and refined them to work perfectly on a home console. Never before have I had to manage monster aggro, layout skills and talent trees, scavenge materials to craft items, affect changes in the time line, and keep up with relationships between characters all in one console-based RPG. The combat is of the free-roaming, hybrid turn-based variety where you can move around while the action queue is being executed, but if you are out of range of your target attacks won’t make contact.
This game also has one of the largest worlds I’ve seen to date, and at about 6 hours in I’d wager I’ve only seen a small fraction of it. Environments are pretty and as photo-realistic as the Wii can manage. The art style brings to mind Monster Hunter Tri which could easily be one of the best looking games on Nintendo’s underdog console. Music in the game effectively portrays the large and epic scale of the world you are playing in, but the voice acting is a little off. All of the characters have British accents, which sounds a little weird as they’re yelling out the names of their attacks during battle.
After playing what I assume to only be about 10% of Xenoblade Chronicles, it is safe to say this is the biggest, prettiest, and most intricate JRPG to have ever hit the Wii. It’s a shame Nintendo hasn’t made a North American port, because as of now I’d say this would be an easy sell for long-time Wii owners that are starved for something more “hardcore”. In a few more days we’ll have a full and in-depth review, so stop back by to see if we’re still enamored with it or if things took a turn for the worse. In the meantime, you can always stop by our forum to talk about Xenoblade Chronicles or give us your two cents in the comments!
This is all actual game engine, not pre-rendered. I recommend clicking up to HD if your connection supports it.