Jonathan 'Kit' Shaw

Xenoblade Chronicles X – An epic sci-fi adventure with mechs

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I love RPGs, I love mechs and what do you get if you put the two together? Xenoblade Chronicles X, Monolith Softs latest entry in the Xeno series. Ever since I saw the very first trailer I have been looking forward to this, anxiously checking back everyday for new content which only ever appeared every six months or so as Monolith were quite secretive about it.

The game starts with two warring alien factions duking it out above planet Earth. In the ensuing battle, stray shots begin striking Earth causing catastrophic damage to the planet.

The destruction caused forces the entire population to evacuate in huge ships called ‘Arks’, sadly, only a few manage to escape the planet before it is completely destroyed. You follow the United States ship, the White Whale, as it travels the galaxy looking for a new planet to call home; unfortunately after two years searching the alien forces catch up to you and you end up fighting. The battle causes both your ships to crash land on the planet below where the events of the game take place, the planet Mira.

You wake up two months later when your escape pod is found by Elma, a colonel and party member for your team, suffering amnesia. You remember nothing of the events that have occurred, so Elma takes you back to the human settlement aptly named New Los Angeles, where you join the Blades and begin exploring your new home finding the pieces of your ship in order to preserve Earth life and human history.

Before you even start the game you have to create your character; which is a stark difference from the previous game which. Everything is customisable, you can choose your gender, height, tattoos, eyes and even your voice during battles. Even though you don’t speak throughout the game, dialogue options appear every now and then and your teammates respond to them, sim to Link from the Zelda games but without the option.

If you played the previous Xenoblade game on the Wii, then you will find the control scheme familiar. Once a battle begins you will auto attack with whatever weapon you are using; you can switch anytime during the fight and as like the previous game you use Arts as your moves.

One you use them however, you will have to wait for them to recharge before using them again; also, each art may require you to attack during certain moments either from the front, back or side, at times you may see one of your arts glowing and activating it there gives a bonus to you and you teammates which is nice.

There are many weapons available to use, but you have to be a certain class to use them. You start off with Drifter class ,which is a assault rifle and knife, once that reaches level ten you can choose one of three, a sword and gun class, dual swords and guns or a laser cannon and knife, levelling these up unlocks more classes and arts for each one.

This means you can advance the style you like and unlocking more arts for it or switch to a new one to try new weapons. There are lots of clothing and armour to acquire throughout your adventure. You can buy stuff from the store in Armour Valley, from rewards at the end of mission or even drops from defeated monsters.

Each item is tailored to a specific company (for example ‘Sakuraba Industries’) and as you continue to use the stuff they can level up and more stuff becomes available. You can even use Miranium to level them up as well.

Now, if it turns out out that you like a fashion disaster, there is an option to equip fashion items which puts clothing over your existing armour without interfering with their perks.

If you are a big fan of Mobile Suit Gundam or the mech genre in general (like myself) then you will be pleased to know that you are able to own your very own personal mech known as a Skell.

They are huge robots that are capable of transforming into vehicles and there are seven variants available for purchase once you pass chapter six when the license exam becomes available, where you have to complete eight missions before you get one, but once you do you are given your very own Urban Skell for free.

The customisation is quite vast; you can equip up to eight weapons, four for each arm to use in battle. Unlike your human character, your mech acquires moves by the weapons you add to it.

A fuel bar, only drains when you are in battle as you activate these thrusters that allow you to hover around the battle field quickly. As a mech isn’t as agile as a human, and your weapons also use a certain amount of fuel, keep an eye on it. You can refuel it via two methods; the fuel gauge automatic refuels when you’re not in the Skell but the gauge goes up slowly, or you could use Miranium to refuel it, however it’s not very cost effective as 5000 Miranium gives you 3000 units of fuel.

As mentioned above, the Skell is capable of transforming into a vehicle, this is mainly just for getting around faster as you don’t get a flight pack until chapter nine. If you get your teammates a mech each then you can have some synchronised transforming which is pretty funny to watch.

You can choose a name for you robot if you want and even customise the colour of your Skell where you can give it a really creative colour scheme that shows off your personality or you could just paint it like a Gundam; because everything awesome when it is painted like a Gundam! I love them, simply put, they’re mech-tastic.

This has to be one of the best looking games on the Wii U today, the graphics are stunning as you travel around the rich plains of Primordia, to the beautiful colourful forests of Noctilum. The arid desert canyons of Oblivia, the dangerously crisp white wonderland of Sylvalum to the volcanic deathtrap of Cauldros; everywhere you go you will be jaw droppingly awed by your surroundings.

The soundtrack is incredible; one of the best I’ve heard in a long time and there are a lot of tracks in this game. Aside from day and night tracks for all areas, there are multiple battle tracks in the game, you have the standard battle when fighting monsters and a more upbeat version when you fight them in a Skell; one for fighting Ganglion and other creatures. There is even a song that plays when you are flying through the sky in your Skell and it’s awesome!

This is one of the best games I have played in a very long time. Monolith Soft have truly outdone themselves with this. With a story that has you hooked from start to finish, rich characters and gorgeous settings, a combat system that is fast, challenging and highly fun, and the addition of Skells that make the game more awesome than it already is.

You will be playing Xenoblade Chronicles X just shows that the RPG genre is still strong in the gaming world.

 

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