The original Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii (later ported to the New Nintendo 3DS) is the crowning glory of the three “Operation Rainfall” games and one of the best JRPGs of the past generation.
Although not an open world game, Xenoblade is very large. It features vast areas with tons of collectibles to pick up and secrets to find. If you enjoy exploration, you should check it out. Most of the locations are also beautiful. The first time I saw Satorl Marsh at night, it took my breath away.
Xenoblade is set on the bodies of two fallen gods, the Bionis and the Mechonis. That’s right, even though the majority of areas look normal at a glance, you’ll be traveling through places like the Bionis’ Leg. It’s a cool way for Xenoblade’s setting to stand out from traditional RPG worlds and it also helps set up the game’s major premise.
The people who live on the Bionis (including Homs, or humans) are at war with the robotic Mechon. Normal weapons don’t work well against the Mechon, but a special sword called the Monado is able to destroy them. When the main character, Shulk, discovers he can wield the Monado, he sets out on a quest for revenge against the Mechon.
If that sounds too simple, don’t worry. Xenoblade’s story is epic in scope, and the story gets MUCH crazier. There are plenty of plot twists, and the story will keep you engaged until the very end.
While the story might be the primary thing you look for in an RPG, Xenoblade’s gameplay is also fun. It’s an action RPG with a combat system that might seem more similar to that of Dragon Age or MMORPGs than traditional JRPGs. Your characters have auto-attacks, but also learn special attacks which you select from a menu at the bottom of the screen. The powers of the Monado, which let Shulk see glimpses of the future, also factor into combat. For example, you might see a party member’s death, and be able to prevent it by healing or protecting them from the deadly attack.
Finally, there are enough side quests to keep completionist’s playing for well over 100 hours. Some side quests might feel a little repetitive, but others are quite entertaining.
Overall, Xenoblade Chronicles is a game all fans of action RPGs should try. It has fun gameplay, a beautiful world, and an epic story filled with twists and turns.