sagesoren: (Bemused)
[personal profile] sagesoren
I was finally able to start Xenoblde Chronicles yesterday, and while I only played for about 90 minutes, I already have a few things to say. First, I'm clearly not far enough to find all the advertised points of "revolution" here, but that will come with time.

So here we go!

- STORY: Clearly there's not much of one yet, but that's to be expected. What's interesting, though, is that when I start a new JRPG, I make sure I have at least two hours to do so, since there's usually a ton of cutscenes, followed by either slow-moving tutorial-type battles or slow-moving plot points to get you accustomed to the game. You also want to get to at least the first save point, and sometimes you have to wait awhile. Xenoblade took like 20 minutes to get from the opening cutscenes to a point where I was allowed to save. Color me surprised.
- GRAPHICS: The graphics are, as said by the producer, not one of the main factors here. In fact, the renders are pretty Gamecube-y. This really isn't a big deal except that the main girl's eyes are weird and disproportionately huge, which looks pretty strange and almost freakish compared to the others.
- LOADING TIMES: There is no loading that I've encountered! The game loads up, and that's it. You book it through the field into a different field? No loading. You enter a town? No loading. I vaguely remember this being the case when my friends played games like World of Warcraft (I've never played MMOs myself), but it's a pretty new thing for JRPGs and makes things a lot smoother. It's surprising what a difference it makes!
- BATTLE: There is no battle screen. Think of Final Fantasy XII; it's similar to that, except with a different interface, obviously. And although the commands and the issuing of them is different, the fighting feels pretty similar to XII's, too.
- LOCALIZATION: This is a big deal for me. I've heard the localization is iffy in places, but so far, only found that this is the case in battle. (And believe me, I scrutinize basically every single comma and line of dialogue.) This localization was done in Europe, and so everyone is British and so are some of the spellings. (IE: "Learnt".) Except for the battle quotes, though, I have been okay with the localization job. I think one of the characters actually has a line like, "We'll just keep getting better and better and better and better!" and it's pretty weird, but again, this is just the battle quote stuff.
- EXPLORATION: Obviously I haven't been playing long enough to do much of this, but it's very much worth mentioning. I dicked off from my story goal right after Party Member #2 left me, and I wandered to an area left of the actual city. I fought a frog because I was level 5 and cocky. :U Frog killed me. "Oh no," I thought. "When did I last save? Back at the beginning somewhere?" I waited for my RPG punishment: having to reload from my save file. And it didn't happen. I was plunked back at the city entrance, no harm done.

In the game world, you pass landmarks--fountains, entrance ways, big rocks, noteworthy shops--and if you die, there is no horrendous punishment. You're simply sent back to the last one you passed. (And you're alerted whenever you pass one, too, so there's no guessing.)

This is honestly so far the absolute best thing I've seen in this entire 90 minutes of game. Holy snap. I want every JRPG to learn to do something similar. Everyone knows the woe of sidequesting and then dying accidentally and having to redo a bunch of stuff. It's a pain, and if this game can do something about it, so can others.

This feature, in conjunction with your ability to save almost anywhere at all through the menu, will make me much more inclined to jump down cliffs, try to swim in water, try to reach distant viewpoints, etc., all because I'm not afraid of running into Level 60 monsters and dying. Freaking amazing.

That's pretty much all I can discuss at this point, but there will be more! I'll keep watching especially for the points I remember the producer talking about in the interview I read so I can comment on those specific things. Looking forward to it!

April 2013

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