It's Coming Our Way!
"Will it arrive?" Gamers have not been accustomed to this question. Usually, quality titles from Japan are localized with great swiftness. However, in Xenoblade's case, the Western world had to deal with setback after setback. The game had to go through a "test release" in Europe and a fan movement to make its journey to America, but finally, Wii owners in North America will get a taste of this great JRPG.
Xenoblade Chronicles follows the story of Shulk, an orphan living in Colony 9. As with every JRPG tale, he has the power to save the world. Shulk wields the power of the legendary sword, Monado, and leads his merry band to "score phat lewts" and defeat enemies along the way.
The world of Xenoblade Chronicles is fairly open-ended. Unlike the linear design of Final Fantasy XIII, players are given the chance to explore what the world has to offer. In fact, players will be more focused on exploring and combat rather than cutscenes and story development. This is a departure from Monolith Soft's modus operandi. One of their previous titles, Xenosaga, is the complete opposite.
The further players dwell into the world of Xenoblade, the more they will see the Western influence on this RPG. For instance, players are able to save anywhere. Unlike Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, there are no save points. Another aspect of Western influence is the plethora of side quests. In addition to side quests, developers added even more side quests! This way players can complete quests while they go on quests. Finally, customization is a big part of Xenoblade Chronicles. Players can gain shiny new equipment and develop their party through the "Affinity" system. Character development can be initiated when there is enough affinity to trigger an event.
When players arrive on the field, JRPG veterans will find something strange. Combat is different compared to other Japanese titles. Turn-based battles are taken out in favor of real-time combat. Similarly to Final Fantasy XII, party members will attack enemies that get into their range. Special abilities can be initiated by the player, but when they are used, a cooldown is incurred.
Fighting does not end at auto attacks and skills. When enough attacks are made, party members are able to use extra abilties. Another added feature to Xenoblade's combat is the "Vision" system. Shulk has the ability to see into the future and predict an enemy's moves. This is useful for avoiding attacks or preparing for a surprise.
With all these change-ups to the JRPG formula, it's no wonder why American Wii owners were starving for this game, but finally, the time to taste Xenoblade is around the corner. While our Japanese and European counterparts have feasted upon this dish, next year will be the time to dine. From the Western RPG influence to the profound story, Xenoblade Chronicles promises to be quite the treat. But be warned, this delicious dish is not going to be found just anywhere. GameStop and Nintendo.com will be the only places to pick up this great title. Look for Xenoblade Chronicles to arrive April 2, 2012.
Chris started playing games at the tender age of 5. Since then, he sees mushrooms, hearts, aliens, and spikey-haired blondes in his sleep.
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