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I’ve been wanting to play Xenoblade Chronicles for a long time. XC is a Japanese game that localized in Europe first since NOE has been localizing more games than NOA. I modified my Wii to play import games, thinking that would be my only way to actually get to play, but my importing plan fell through. Luckily, only a few months later the Stateside release was announced and released last Friday. You can pick up XC from Gamestop (exclusive, which sucks) now!
Xenoblade Chronicles has a really interesting game world. The world, instead of on a traditional planet, is on a vast ocean. On the ocean are two gigantic mechanical beings with people inhabiting them. From the perspective of the people, they know they’re on these beings but it looks like a normal planet to them. It’s like Halo; you think you’re on a planet but you’re not. The humans (Homs) live on the Bionis, and the machine enemies (Mechons) come from, I think, the other giant entity. From what I can tell, I think the enemies cross over from the other giant entity to fight.
The story starts out where the Mechons were thought destroyed, but then resurface and attack a village. The only thing that can harm the Mechons is the Monado Sword, which was originally in the hands of another character that was injured a year previous. The main character, Shulk, finds that he has the ability to use the Monado Sword and has special abilities that the previous wielder did not have, such as seeing the future. Now Shulk and his friend are leaving the colony to find the Mechons and get revenge for the death of their friend.
The world feels very large and open. XC feels a lot like a MMO. There are NPC’s with side quests that give rewards and experience. The quests can be to kill certain monsters or find things and bring them back. You don’t have to do any of these side quests if you want to focus only on the main quest. When fighting monsters, some will BAF (bring a friend, aka they are social). Like EQ2 had, there are collectibles to find on the ground (glowies) that you can put in a collection book to earn rewards. Lots of to do. The best way I can describe the feel of the world is an offline MMO.
Some very cool features of the game world are the day night cycle and monsters appearing at only certain times of day. You can form connections with towns people and really get into the world beyond what you would normally expect in a JRPG.