So despite how much hype this has gotten since forever, we never actually got a thread for it, which is somewhat puzzling. Oh well.
Xenoblade Chronicles, known as just Xenoblade in Japan, is a Japanese role playing game for the Wii console, developed by Monolithsoft and published and produced by Nintendo. It is the In Name Only Spiritual Successor to the Xenosaga series of JRPGs for the Playstation 2 (which itself was a Spiritual Successor to the Square Soft RPG Xenogears).
In the world of Xenoblade, two continent-sized gods called the Bionis and the Mechonis fought an endless war against one another until only their lifeless corpses remained. Life flourished on the surface of these titans, giving birth to the human-like Homs on Bionis and the machine-like Mechon on Mechonis.
Peace would last until the Mechon launched an invasion, attempting to wipe out all life upon Bionis. With the power of a legendary sword known as the Monado, the only thing capable of piercing Mechon armour, the invasion was halted and peace regained for a time. That is, until one year later when the Mechon returned in even greater numbers than before.
The story follows Shulk, a young Homs male who becomes the new chosen wielder of the Monado. He chooses to use the power of the blade to seek revenge against those who destroyed his village.
All in all, this could possibly the best JRPG we've had in a long time, definitely a strong contender for RPG of the decade 2000-2010 all on mechanics alone. Xenoblade essentially takes all the annoying mechanics and design issues common to RPG's and streamlines it all to make for a really fun game:
- There are no random encounters. You can see all the monsters on the field and run away at any time, similar to FFXII.
- You can save anywhere, any time (except during battle). No crystals, save points, or any other BS.
- Similar to the above, going to other areas is as simple as selecting them from the map. You have this ability from the beginning of the game (all you really need to do to warp inside an area is find the "landmarks" on it, those are the warp points), it costs you nothing, you don't need any items for it. This means you can go between areas that are extremely far away from another quickly and effortlessly, which makes backtracking and going around doing sidequests much less tedious.
- Tying into the above, Xenoblade has an absolutely elephantine overworld, with little to no loading times between any of it. It's also incredibly beautiful, definitely one of the greatest I've seen in any game. You can go anywhere you see, there are no invisible walls. It's not an exaggeration to say you might be overwhelmed, especially considering how it's all running on the Wii.
- Any equipment you get shows up on your characters, which in turns shows up in the real-time cutscenes.
- The game boasts a positively phenomenal soundtrack, the majority of which was composed by Manami Kiyota and ACE+. People often mention Yasunori Mitsuda and Yoko Shimomura's contributions, which were no doubt excellent, but they were only a handful of tracks.
- It has a dynamic, position-based battle system which requires your characters to chain attacks together in certain orders. Each of your party members has a distinct role and playstyle which means you need to act completely differently depending on who your party leader is. With the tougher enemies, you never just mindlessly mash buttons.
With these and several other brilliant design choices, Xenoblade is an excellent game and deserves to be played for that alone. The story and characters are also by no means terrible; the dialogue can get often get pretty cheesy, but the narrative has some pretty interesting ideas going for it, and the characters have SOME definition and aren't just paper-thin cutouts.
Tragically, if you don't have the game already you're likely going to have to pay a LOT for it; the game saw a very limited release and copies now usually go for 90 USD and more. That's probably a bit too much to swallow even for a thoroughly excellent game like this, so if you can get it for a reasonable price, by all means snatch that shit up.
Currently I'm about 18 hours in and just beat the Telethia, about to head to Eryth sea