Xenoblade Chronicles X Check-In: Week 6

A combination of weird work shifts and Mother’s Day resulted in this post being a day late and it’ll be kind of short. Sorry about that! As always, I’m going to start with some numbers. My total play time is 35 hours and 15 minutes, my main character is level 28, and I’ve completed chapter 7 of the story. So that’s about three hours this week, two levels, but no story progress. Continue reading

Xenoblade Chronicles X Check-in: Week 5

For the third week in a row, I’m going to start off the Xenoblade check in by complaining about how little time I had this week. It turns out, when you work a full time job, help out and your dad’s house, and try to play enough Star Fox Zero to make something resembling a coherent review, you don’t leave yourself a lot of time to play a giant open-world RPG. I actually considered skipping the Check-in this week, but it wouldn’t be Sunday if I wasn’t telling you about my week’s experiences with playing Xenoblade Chronicles X. So, as always, let’s start with numbers. My total play time is 32 hours and ten minutes, my main character is level 26, and I’ve currently completed chapter 7 of the story. So yeah, that’s about an hour and a half of time, no new levels, no story progress. Yeesh. Continue reading

Xenoblade Chronicles X Check In: Week 4

Much like last week, I simply haven’t had much time to play Xenoblade this week. I had a lot of extra things to deal with at my full-time job, plus Star Fox Zero released and I’m working on a review of it. But I did still manage to play a little bit, so let’s take a look at some numbers. My current play time is 30 hours and forty minutes, my main character is level 26, and I’ve completed chapter 7 of the story. Continue reading

Xenoblade Chronicles X Check In: Week 2

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster week for my Xenoblade Chronicles X play-through. Although I’m still really enjoying the game, a lot of it’s problems are becoming much more apparent. But as I was preparing to write a largely negative blog post this week, I got to a story section that really surprised me and made me excited all over again. I know I gave this warning last week, but just to be clear, there will be spoilers in these posts, so read at your own risk.

Like I did with last week, let’s start with some numbers. I have 22 hours of play time, I’m level 23, and I just finished chapter 5. This means I played for about ten hours this week, but I’ve only completed one story mission. So, what was I doing the rest of the time? Continue reading

Xenoblade Chronicles X Check In: Week 1

Welcome to the first entry in my new weekly series, Xenoblade Chronices X Check In. If you missed the announcement post I made, the basic gist of it is that I’m playing through Xenoblade Chronicles X and every week I’ll write about how I feel about it. Honestly, it’s rare for me to get through games of this scale do to lack of time (I do work full time) and wanting to play many games. But, by doing this series, I’m incentivizing myself to keep going with it, as it’ll help me put up regular content on the blog. Plus, a friend of mine has been bugging me to play it, so this’ll finally get him off my back. It’s wins all around!

I’m going to start each week with some numbers, just to give you an idea of how much I’ve played. I’m currently sitting at twelve hours and forty minutes of play time. My main character is level 17. Finally, I’ve currently played through chapter 4 of the story.

I should probably warn you that there will be spoilers ahead. Although the game does not seem to be particularly plot-heavy, I’m not going to hold back when talking about anything story-specific.

Still with me? The game opens with the Earth caught in the middle of an unrelated war between two advanced alien races. Earth is caught in the crossfire and destroyed. I actually really like this setup. So often in sci-fi, humanity is put on a pedestal. I love the idea that we were simply caught in the middle of something much bigger than us. Anyway, humans attempt to escape the planet in ships, but most are destroyed. One ship ends up crashing onto a planet called Mira.

Potato quality shot of the character creator because I forgot to make a real screenshot

Your first action as the player is to create your character. This is a huge departure from the previous Xenoblade Chronicles game. The editor is fairly robust and let’s you make a wide variety of different characters. I made a grizzled old dude, because that’s just what I always do. Don’t ask me why! Because the main character is a create-a-character, he or she doesn’t have a whole lot of personality. That’s ok though, as it’s easier to imprint yourself on a charter that’s a bit of a blank slate.

Your character is found in a lifepod and woken up by a woman named Elma. You tell Elma that you don’t remember anything, which is kind of frustrating. Amnesia is a pretty common trope in RPGs, and it’s a fairly lazy way to explain to a character the rules of the world they’re inhabiting when they should already know them. But it is what is. Elma explains how the Earth was destroyed and how you’ve come to live on planet Mira. Part of the ship you arrived on, the White Whale, has been converted into the first human city on Mira, New Las Angeles.

Elma hands you a weapon and tells you that you need to get back to New LA. And thus begins the prologue of the game. It’s very straight forward, but is mostly there to teach you the basics of combat. If you played the first Xenoblade Chronicles, you have a pretty good idea of how the combat will work. You move around in real time, doing auto-attacks every few seconds. You also have moves called “arts” which run on cool down timers. Some arts are more effective if you meet certain conditions, such as attacking the enemy from the side or while they’re suffering a status effect. It’s a fast paced and very active combat system, which makes it stand out from other Japanese RPGs.

The game looks fantastic, especially for a Wii U game

When you arrive in New Las Angeles, you begin chapter 1 of the story. It’s basically just a bunch of tutorials and can get pretty long-winded, but the information is very useful. You learn that Elma is what’s called a Blade, which are basically the people who explore and map out Mira as well as defend what’s left of humanity. By the end of the chapter, you’re being asked to become a Blade. I kind of wish I had selected “no” just to see what would happen, but I said “yes” and progressed the game.

Now that you’re a full-fledged Blade, you can start running missions. This seems to be the bulk of what you’re doing in Xenoblade Chronicles X. All story missions have prerequisites, such as being a certain level, having done certain side quests, and having a certain amount of Mira probed. Most of these tasks you’ll complete from just running missions that you get from the mission counter.

I mentioned probing Mira just a bit ago. This is very important task that you need to do. It’s only been two months since the White Whale crashed on Mira, and that means most of the planet is still largely unknown. But, you can find points out in the world where you can plant a probe. This serves multiple functions. In the story, it’s helping to get data on the planet. As a gameplay function, it serves as a means of collecting money since you get paid from the probes periodically, and also as your fast travel system.

One of the shops in New LA

The side quests you pick up all seem to be variations on just a couple different themes. You’re either gathering items or slaying monsters. Sometimes the monsters will be a group of small monsters or they’ll be one large monster with special properties, referred to as a “tyrant”. The gathering quests are kind of annoying, as they don’t tend to do a very good job of explaining where you can find the items you’re looking for. A lot of times though, you’ll luck out and already have the items from your previous quests.

Eventually, you’ll reach a story mission where you meet another alien race called the Ganglion. It turns out the Ganglion are one of the races that was responsible for destroying the Earth. They view humanity as a cancer on the universe and are trying to wipe it out. This frustrates me, because it’s suddenly putting humanity on a pedestal again. It’s a real bummer, but what are you going to do?

Combat is exciting and some of the monsters are massive

And that’s about where I am in the game so far. The game is definitely not perfect, however I’m really enjoying my time with it. It’s been a long time since a large scale, open world RPG was really able to hold my attention like this. Fallout 4 was close, but that game, while still good, was too buggy and too similar to it’s predecessors to keep me going. But Xenoblade Chronicles X is taking up all of my spare time, and when I’m not playing it, I’m thinking about it.

Announcing Quarter Circle Forward’s first weekly feature

A friend of mine has been bothering me to play through a certain video game for a long time. It’s a big game, and one that’ll take a decent commitment for me to get through. But, it is one that I want to play and one that I now own. So, I’m going to start playing through Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Starting next week, you can expect check-in posts from me talking about my progress in the game and how I’m currently feeling about it. Think of it as a really long review that you get a section of every week. I imagine the first week will be a pretty long post, but depending on how much happens and how much opinions change over time, future posts might be much shorter.

Anyway, I hope to have fun playing this game and I hope you have fun seeing how I feel about it. Check back next week for the first installment.