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Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition: First Impression

Confession time! I’ve never played Xenoblade Chronicles before, I’ve never played any Xenoblade game. The only reason I know who Shulk is, is because of Smash Bros. So I went into this game completely blind, save from the trailers of course. This will just be my Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition first impression.

I will obviously not be able to compare to any of the other versions of this game, or other entries in the series. So this will just be my first impressions of Xenoblade Chronicles as a stand alone game.

Other than the comparisons section being removed, I will follow a similar format to my Final Fantasy 7 Remake first impression. I have played the game for 5 hours so I’ll point out some positives and some negatives in this period. I’ll then give my opinion on the game so far.

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Positives

The first positive comes at the very start of the game, with the initial cut scene. This cut scene looks clean and pretty much just shows 2 giant robot things fighting, always a good start. There is also some decent exposition over this scene to set up the back story. Basically these two giants fought until they basically killed each other. 

Then from each of the corpses came 2 separate “societies”, I guess is the way to explain it. Organics on one and then machines on the other.

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This leads into a very cool opening, this shows some humanoids fighting against the machines. The machines, called Mechon, are crazy cool looking. I think they’ll make for awesome enemies. In this opening you are introduced to the basic combat of Xenoblade Chronicles.

There are a couple scenes in this first period where you see the Mechons and they are brutal. They attack everyone and kill a bunch of people, this is a good way to show them. It really sets the stakes well, these are vicious machines and people will die if you don’t stop them. In particular there is a super sized Mechon that attacks, who has an incredible design. Incredible in the horrific sense.

Xenoblade Chronicles has an interesting take on relationships, it seems quite unlike anything I’ve seen in a game before. They use an Affinity system, this is basically how each person feels about you as well as about other NPCs too. By speaking to people around the world you gain knowledge of the affinity and you might find that they have a relationship with another NPC too. Now I’ve not done much with this but it certainly seems like it has some potential.

Following on from the affinity is the Heart to Hearts. These seem to be mini dialogues between characters that can affect your affinity with them. So far I have only done 2 and both were with the protagonist and his companions. I don’t know how big a roll these will play but so far it seems like a really cool feature.

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This will likely come across as just a list but there are quite a lot of quality of life choices that I really like.

You have a single button that will bring up your current quests. So you can get information on your current story quests, and your active side quest. This doesn’t interrupt gameplay which is the important thing for me. Speaking of single buttons, there are a lot of shortcuts, like getting to the map or the quest log can be done with one click.

You are able to fast travel from the beginning of the game, and it’s a pretty good fast travel system. Going to many locations will unlock a fast travel point, I’ve only been to the first town but there are like 4 points within the town. I really appreciate this, and to have it from the start specifically is perfect for me.

Your enemies are all visible in the over world, so far most have been different kinds of wildlife. They don’t all attack though, only some enemies attack on sight. These ones even have a different indicator above their head so that you know before you get too close. 

Speaking of enemies and battling, Xenoblade Chronicles has a very handy autoheal feature outside of battles. I don’t know if everyone will like this but it helps to keep the action fast paced.

Finally for this little list is the quest completion. I think this might be the most streamlined example of quest completion in any RPG I’ve played. When you meet the criteria to complete a quest, such as picking up an item, it just completes the quest and gives you the reward. This is the perfect way to do it, instead of traveling back and forth to speak to NPC’s.

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There is quite a lot that I like about this game so far but it’s not without its flaws.

Negatives

I think the main criticisms that I have for the game can fall into 2 categories, too much, and cheesy. So let’s go over them.

I’ll actually start with cheesy. The dialogue, at least in english, is a cheesy 90’s Anime dub. That’s not a positive. Voice acting has come a long way in recent years, especially in the gaming industry but Xenoblade Chronicles sounds very dated. It’s a stark difference to other JRPGs on offer like Persona 5 Royal and Fire Emblem Three Houses.

Now let’s talk about too much, this is actually a really broad statement and covers a few areas. These being too much information thrown at you in the beginning of the game. 

The initial town that you are in is way too big, even though there are multiple fast travel points. 

You are given way too many side quests right from the start, it’s nice to get the extra rewards and experience but jeez. 

Finally the Affinity system, whilst having potential, seems like it could easily become way too complicated. I’ve not even paid it much attention to it yet because it’s a little overwhelming at the start of a game.

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Summary

I think that despite the few niggling problems I’ve noticed so far this is a very good start to a game. This seems to have an interesting story, presented pretty well, with some likable characters.

The combat seems pretty cool and intuitive, and there seems to be a lot of room for progression and improvement.

All in all I’m very happy with Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition and I think that I am going to thoroughly enjoy it till the end.

Let me know your opinions on this game so far in the comments below. Or if you would like some more information you can check out the official page.

Also look forward to a full review once I’ve finished the game.

Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition: First Impressions.
Written by Kyle Munn

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