March 26, 2013

Xenotastic!

Posted in video games tagged , at 10:22 am by riulyn

On Sunday, I finished up my first run through Xenoblade. It was more like I decided that it was about time to see the ending because I need my Wii for Okami next month. Also, Last Story and Pandora’s Tower will be waiting.

I’ve focused more on gameplay in my last few posts on Xenoblade, but today I will talk about it’s story with as few spoilers as possible. It’s actually kind of hard to say anything about this game without feeling like it’s a spoiler, so if you are a sensitive type, turn away now! I’ve warned you! (And go play the game :D)

Xenoblade is very Xeno and its Xeno goodness is great. But it feels less “Xeno” than Xenosaga or Xenogears in two ways. First, it feels less technology-based. There is technology but it doesn’t feel as advanced. There aren’t many ships for travel or even gear-like Mechon and there’s no space travel. And nope, you don’t get to pilot a gear (but maybe in X you will). Second, the game isn’t as much of a mind-screw. It’s actually a very straight-forward game, not in a predictable sense, but in that you don’t need to consult a Perfect Works guide to figure out what is going on and what terms mean and you don’t need to study philosophy or religion. The game impresses more with the characters and their relationships than with the overarching plot. Even the reveals towards the end feel rather tame compared to previous Xeno games, and the morality actually feels more black and white than grey.

Xenoblade is still great for Xeno fans, I think. There are similar character types, a plot that might actually be more generic than the other Xeno games but still has plenty of “only Testuya Takahashi would do this” flavor to it, and great music. Xenoblade is also more accessible to non Xeno fans not only because it’s the most recent game but also due to it being a rather straightforward game with pretty straightforward characters. I think they are easier to relate to, but it also makes them not as interesting as previous Xeno characters.

Overall I loved (obviously) this game. I can’t wait to new game+ the game just to see the plot again. I think this game slides into my top RPGs that I’ve played at spot #3 behind Xenogears and Suikoden II. I plan to replay Suikoden II in April so I will see whether it truly stands above Xenoblade in my mind.

Edit: I had no idea I actually previously ranked my favorite games as Suikoden 2 at #1 and Xenogears at #2. Those games tend to flip-flop places in my mind all the time, and both are great games for different reasons. Take home message is to play all the games!

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4 Comments »

  1. Joseph said,

    Glad to hear you finally wrapped up Xeno! Congrats:) I really am going to dust it off soon. Playing through the Mass Effect trilogy on my ps3 right now first. Really fun. Question: how would you rate your interest in Pandora’s Tower? I keep going back and forth on whether to pick it up or not.

    • riulyn said,

      Well, I’ve preordered it so I guess it’s pretty high 🙂 I heard there’s a good story between the main character and his girlfriend. Not sure I’ll care that much about the gameplay though.

      And I really, really need to play Mass Effect… It’s just so easy to be distracted by other games.

      • Joseph said,

        I’m surprised it took me this long. It’s a great combo of fps and rpg mechanics, but by far the story telling and character development is what makes it shine. It’s been a long time since I was genuinely curious to see how someone’s backstory was going to flesh out. Really pulling me in. Anything good that comes with the PT pre-order?

      • riulyn said,

        I don’t think so. I just pre-ordered it because I wanted to get it and show support for it.


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