Review: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Note: This is my first review of a game, so consider it a work in progress.

Xenoblade Chronicles is a massive game and it’s kind of mind boggling that they fit it all on a New 3DS. The original game came out in 2012 for the Wii in North America and was met with critical acclaim. It was heralded as a new chance for Japanese role playing games to succeed in the current state of games. It seemed to reinvent the stale genre. In 2014, Nintendo announced a port of the game to the “New Nintendo 3DS” which is basically an enhanced version of the 3DS.

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Plot:

Xenoblade Chronicles has a very inspired setting. There are two gods that had a battle eons ago and are now the landmasses that living creatures inhabit. The Bionis is where the Homs live among other sentient beings including the High Entia and Nopon. The Mechonis is where the hated Mechons live, who seem to live to eat and terrorize the Homs. The story follows Shulk and his compatriots who live in Colony 9 on the Bionis. The story picks up a year after a major attack by the Mechons on Bionis.

Much of the story centers around a mysterious sword known as the Monado which is very effective at destroying the Mechons. However this blade seems to be unusable by most who try to use it and one of the major characters in the story, Dunban, nearly lost all movement in his arm after using it in a battle. The plot picks up after it is learned that Shulk can not only use the Monado but also receives visions of future events when he uses it.

The story turns into a revenge plot after a significant attack happens on Shulk’s home. Shulk and his friend Reyn swear to destroy all of the Mechons so the Homs people will stop getting attacked. This leads them to find more compatriots who are sympathetic to their cause.

I want to stress that the game has numerous plot twists that are really well done for the most part. The first major twist is pretty by the books and entirely predictable. However, the last plot point was one of the best I’ve ever seen in the medium of video games.

Review: This is my first review, so I will be introducing you to my highly scientific reviewing method.

The 5 review criteria that I have set are: Gameplay, Presentation, Sound, Performance, Plot/Lasting Appeal.

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Gameplay 4.5/5

Xenoblade has a massive world and has a multitude of things to explore. I beat the 3DS version in 70 hours, but could have done a lot more had I done more sidequests. Sidequests can be very intricate and some are very interesting in the context of the characters of the game.

You will do a lot of collecting in the game, including new equipment and materials. There is also a feature called Collectopedia where you are tasked with collecting all of the materials in a certain area. You then are rewarded for adding them to the Collectopedia with items.

Xenoblade’s combat system is very MMOish in the fact that the combat in the game is based on cooldowns of your abilities. Also, most of your attacks in the game are auto done by the character you control. A lot of the combat in the game involves using buffs and debuffs to overpower the enemies you will be fighting.

A main part of the combat is Shulk’s ability to use the Monado. Shulk receives visions of the future which manifest themselves as viewing some of the attacks  that an enemy will make. You are then given a timer that counts down until the attack will hit. With the time counting down you will be able to change the future with different abilities. It is a very interesting concept and really freshens up the gameplay.

Sound: 5/5

The music in Xenoblade is incredible. Mostly composed by ACE+, the soundtrack covers a whole gamut of emotions. I put this soundtrack up to most any game I’ve played and was crushed when I learned that the sequel did not use the same band for the soundtrack. Here is a live version of my favorite track: Mechanical Rythm. It’s pretty great.

Another thing to note in the Sound category is the charming English dub of the game. The voices were all done in a UK studio, so it lends a charm to the voices. Reyn might be one of the best voiced characters I’ve come across.

 

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Imagine this on a 3DS screen

Presentation: 3/5

The port of the game is very impressive, but has its drawbacks. The game does not look as good as the Wii Version (especially on the Dolphin emulator) and the HUD is really cluttered. Besides that, the game is so colorful it makes up for the drawbacks in presentation.

Performance:3.5/5

The game runs fine for the most part, I had a few slowdowns in some boss fights when a lot of enemies show up on screen. I docked it mostly because the game froze on me in a late game boss battle and cutscene.

Plot/Lasting Appeal:5/5

Like I said before, Xenoblade Chronicles has a great story with a lot of twists and turns. I applaud the audacity of the development team for doing this.

Also when it comes to lasting appeal, Xenoblade Chronicles has a boatload of it. I finished the game at around 70 hours, but did not do most of the sidequests. I intend to play the game again and this time it will probably take me over 100 hours to complete.

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Overall: 4.2/5

Xenoblade Chronicles is a great game, but playing it on a 3DS has some drawbacks. This is not the definitive way to play the game in my opinion. The game is still worth playing wherever you have the capability, however.

 

 

 

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Review: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Quick Import Impressions: Gravity Rush Remastered

So when I heard that one of my favorite Vita games and one of my games of the year in 2012 was being remastered, I was pretty pumped. I “imported” the English version from the Hong Kong PS Store as it comes out more than 2 months before the US version will be released.

If there is one thing that Gravity Rush is known for, it’s having a lot of style. This style only gets bolstered with the way Bluepoint Games handled the remaster. They improved a lot of things with the remastered versions including the IQ which makes a big difference.

Overall, I’m very happy this game got remade and am very excited for the sequel.

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Here’s my gameplay of the 4th mission in the game:

Quick Import Impressions: Gravity Rush Remastered

Reaction: PS2 Games coming to PS4 today

Sony has announced that starting today some of Playstation 2’s impressive back catalog will start coming to the PS4 today.

The selection of games coming to PS4 today are: GTA III, GTA San Andreas, GTA Vice City, Dark Cloud, Rogue Galaxy, Twisted Metal Black , The Mark of Kri, and War of the Monsters.

Every game except War of the Monsters and Twisted Metal Black are priced at $14.99 with the other two being $10. The games have been worked on somewhat, with the resolution being bumped up to 1080p and trophies and other features being added.

The reaction around the internet seems to be that the games are overpriced especially since some have been released on the PS3. For me I am excited to try out a few since surprisingly I have not played any of the games on this list.

 

 

Reaction: PS2 Games coming to PS4 today

2016 in Video Games: My Top 15 most Anticipated Games

2015 was a fantastic year in games, and probably was the best year in the last 2-3 for me personally. Saying that,it looks like 2016 might be a legendary year just for the fact that there are a few games scheduled to release that have been much anticipated  by the gaming community.

Games that just missed the list– No Man’s Sky, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Street Fighter V, Project Setsuna, Dishonored 2, Halo Wars 2, Ni-Oh, Bravely Second, Zero Escape 3, Quantum Break.

15. Attack on Titan (PS4, PS3, PS Vita)

So I’m not a huge fan of this anime, I thought it was passable. I do think it has a lot of potential to be a video game which is what Koei Tecmo is doing with it. I like the style and it seems like the gameplay has potential. Maybe it will make me retroactively like the show too.

14. Scalebound (Xbox One)

Platinum’s next big game is an exclusive for the Xbox One. It looks like an action RPG and being a Platinum fan this excites me. The protagonist’s design is a little off putting, but I think it’ll grow on me.

13. Ratchet and Clank (PS4)

It seems like this will be mostly a remake of the first game rebuilt for the PS4. I am OK with this. Only playing the game for like a minute in a demo machine I could tell this game looks beautiful and plays very well.

12. Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei (Wii U)

I’m not going to lie, this game looks nothing like I’d imagined it would. Somehow fusing the super dark SMT series with the Fire Emblem series gets you a bunch of pop star looking kids in high school in modern day. But whatever, it’s going to be good either way.

11. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PS4, XB1, PC)

Hey maybe another great entry from CC2’s Naruto Storm series will wash the bad taste from the end of the Naruto manga out of my mouth. Doubt it though.

10. Dragon Quest VII and VIII (3DS)

Dragon Quest is just a great JRPG series. I wish it was more popular in the states. With the combination of Akira Toriyama’s(Dragonball, Chrono Tigger) art and time-tested gameplay, these games will be in my 3DS for a long time. Also fantastic music.

9. Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)

If I wasn’t worried about Guerilla Games’s background this would be higher on my list. The game looks breathtaking and the combat is similar to Monster Hunter but in HD which is appealing.

8. Fire Emblem Fates(3DS)

I’m not very happy that Nintendo made this game into 2 versions like Pokemon, but FE:Awakening is one of my favorite 3DS games so it gets a pass.

7. Gravity Rush Remastered and Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)

Despite Gravity Rush’s gameplay faults, I fell in love with its world building and slick presentation. I am also a huge fan of the gravity mechanic and the soundtrack. I’m hoping that the sequel can bring through on the promise that the original had.

6. The Last Guardian (PS4)

The long anticipated spiritual sequel to Ico  and Shadow of the Colussus looks like it will finally make its debut in 2016. There won’t be any dry eyes in the building if it continues in its predecessors wake.

5. The Legend of Zelda Wii U (Wii U)

The artstyle for this game is just  amazing. It’s basically Wind Waker X Skyward Sword. Hopefully the open world is implemented well and this could be fantastic. I would hope the pacing and overall story is better than Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, however.

4. Final Fantasy XV(PS4 and XB1)

Speaking of long awaited FFXV was first announced as FF Versus 13 when I was in 7th grade. So yeah It’s been a long time coming. Let’s hope it lives up to all its promise.

3. Danganronpa 3 (PS4, PS Vita)

In a few short years this series about students having to kill their fellow classmates to get out of forced imprisonment has become one of my favorites series for its humor and twists. I don’t expect any different for the next game in the series. Oh and did I mention that the kids are being held by a killer robot bear principal? It needs to be played to be believed.

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4)

Naughty Dog’s first game since The Last of Us looks to be a fantastic end to the series in March. Uncharted 2 is one of the finest games ever made, and it looks like the 4th will try to follow in Among Thieves’s footsteps. I like that ND is expanding the gameplay a bit, because sometimes Uncharted’s run and gun roots can get dry. We can at least expect a great performance from Nolan North and the rest of the ensemble.

1. Persona 5 (PS4, PS3)

My favorite game of all time is getting a sequel so of course that is 8 years in the making. Of course this is my most anticipated game of next year. The presentation looks close to another one of Atlus’s games Catherine and it of course looks really sharp. I also think they are going for a combination of the styles of Persona 3 and 4 which is a smart move. I personally cannot wait to play this game and was devastated when it was delayed.

2016 in Video Games: My Top 15 most Anticipated Games