Nintendo’s 2013 E3 Presentation helped reassure many Wii U purchasers of their decision to buy the console. The heavy hitters, like Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda were all present, and if past experience is any indication, all of these titles should be of excellent quality. Fans should no longer feel worried about the future in terms of content. But some seem to be forgetting another major title that was announced during the press conference and that game may, in fact, be the greatest reason of all to own a Wii U right now.
Here is this writer’s opinion on why X, the brand new title by Monolith Soft, may deserve even more attention from fans than Nintendo’s familiar faces. Since Iwata closed the show last June, my excitement has concentrated on the new Smash Bros. game. However, even Sakurai’s wonderful synergy of Nintendo giants can no longer compete with the excitement I share for X. And there is one reason why: because I just finished Xenoblade Chronicles.
Is that a chain attack symbol?
There are numerous pieces of evidence to suggest that X is a sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles. The geography of the game — featured in both trailers showcased so far — bears resemblance to that of Bionis, the fictional setting of Chronicles. The game’s main HUD also matches much of Chronicles and the inclusion of mechs in the gameplay is also a major similarity. Finally, the character shown at the end of the second X trailer mirrors that of Shulk, Chronicles‘ main protagonist. All of this could confirm X is indeed the continuing story of Shulk, Dunban, Reyn, and the people of Bionis. It’s far from the final conclusion, though. X could simply be a standalone game developed by the same team – and that is not a bad thing.
In fact, X has yet to be confirmed as an official sequel to Xenoblade — and the name is almost certainly a tentative title — but the fact that it seems to resemble Chronicles at all is enough to warrant excitement for players who enjoy the RPG genre. Many regard Xenoblade Chronicles as one of the best roleplaying games of the last decade. It hearkens back to the old-school design of the genre while also fixing long-residing problems.
The amazing environments are just one reason to play Xenoblade Chronicles.
Regardless of whether or not X is a sequel to Chronicles, it looks to feature many of the elements of the Wii game that make it such an exceptional experience. Chronicles implemented drastic improvements to the genre that I didn’t know I desired until I experienced them. For starters, Xenoblade Chronicles uses no perishable items. That means that players are not required to heal after a major battle. Instead, healing occurs automatically after every single bout. Instead of having to exhaust an item such as a Phoenix Down to revive party members, the player can instead approach them in battle and bring them up on their feet. The beauty of this easier system is that it eliminates many of the archaic tropes of the RPG genre, but also does not make the game any easier.
Xenoblade also features a unique and intuitive leveling system and an interesting mechanic known as the affinity chart, which records the social status one character will have with another. It’s a beautiful method by which the player can expand the universe of the game and discover more about the characters if they choose. If not, the story is always present, and it moves along with exceptional pacing.
I was also heavily impressed with the way the game handles side quests, fixing an issue I never even considered existed. After completing any sort of quest that deviates from Chronicles’ story, the player does not have to return to the quest giver for their reward. Instead, the reward is given instantly upon completion, right there on the spot. This is important, given that Chronicles features such a gigantic world
And what a beauty it is. Perhaps the strongest reason why any Wii U owner should be excited for X is to possibly witness the gorgeous vistas of Xenoblade Chronicles in HD. The two brief trailers we’ve seen for the new game seem to follow suit. A wondrously grand field of dinosaurs is prominent and strikes a resemblance to the Bionis leg area of Xenoblade. Meanwhile, massive and action-packed set pieces seem to play a major role in the game – again much like the Wii outing. Truthfully, this is the greatest reason I am so excited to play X. Xenoblade Chronicles has some of the most fantastic environments in a video game. From the whimsical, dream-like Eryth Sea to the steampunker’s wet dream of an area, Central Factory, the game never stops surprising with its artistic mastery. The only drawback that it faced was the standard definition component of the Wii. It led to many jagged edges and poor textures.
And now, the barriers have been shattered. Consider the fact that Xenoblade was already an incredibly ambitious game for its system: every area could be explored and there were no backgrounds. The game was a massive 70+ hour game with an intriguing story and hundreds of quests to partake in. Needless to say, it pushed the Wii to its limit.
That is the primary reason anyone should be excited for X – there are no longer any limitations. Xenoblade was already a massive game, but the scope of X can be so much greater with nothing to hold it back. If Monolith Soft aims as high as they did for their first Wii outing, X is certainly something to keep eyes on. Judging only by the snippets of footage we’ve seen, the game looks to be even grander in scale and, with the addition of flying mechs, it is possible the entire world could be explored without any load times whatsoever.
Its open world may not rival the size of one such as Grand Theft Auto, but X offers players an entirely different possible experience: that of a fantastic world with no artistic boundaries. It’s easy to conclude at this point that this won’t be a linear game like recent RPGs. The environments we’ve seen are already a sight to behold. If it follows Xenoblade’s path, it could be absolutely breathtaking.
Games such as Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze will most likely be stellar, but they’re smaller ventures in terms of size. X is the title coming to Wii U that looks as if it could really show us what this console is made of. If a technically limited game such as Xenoblade Chronicles can be a masterpiece, the prospect of a sequel on an exceptionally more powerful console is incredibly exciting. Keep this one on your radar and from one fan of RPGs to another: play Xenoblade Chronicles.