When it comes to gaming, I like to enjoy a good JRPG. One of the more lauded examples of the genre in recent years has been the Xenoblade Chronicles series, at least on the Nintendo side of things. My first plunge into the Xenoverse was Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U. There was something about the game that compelled me to pick it up a few years ago, and I’m so glad I did.
At the time in 2018, the Switch was the new hotness, but I had picked up a used Wii U. The first game I played and beat on it was Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I grabbed other good games for the system too, but I longed to play a modern RPG that would engage me like when I first played Final Fantasy VI (FFIII on SNES) in the 90s. On the Wii U, with a dearth of games overall, Xenoblade Chronicles X happened to be, I think, the only RPG available. So it had to be great; I needed it to be.
Having read several promising reviews of the game, there I was at my local GameStop, eyeballing the beckoning box art of XCX, with its giant mech dwarfing minuscule characters next to it, overlooking an intriguing sci-fi fantasy vista. Though one shouldn’t judge a game by its cover, XCX‘s was very compelling. If the game proved to be half as cool as the box art, then I knew I’d be in for a real treat.
The proof was in the gameplay pudding. Once I fired up XCX on my Wii U, I was blown away by the opening cut scenes and the gorgeous open-world exploration. With enthralling world design and engaging combat, the game kept me glued for a while, but then I set it aside for a couple years once I got a Switch. Since then, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (now on my backlog) was released, and soon Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will launch.
All that Xenoness re-awakened the allure of XCX, which was packed in a closet with my Wii U. So this week I dusted it off, hooked it up, and made 3 hours instantly vanish in a flash while I rediscovered the lush world of Mira, my unique avatar character, and resumed progress on my latest mission. Previously, I had finished Chapter 6 before pausing my game, so I reported in and…finally started the Skell mission!
At just over 40 hours of game time, I’m still learning to grasp the rich combat, class, and gear systems, but suffice to say I love the game overall; exploration is easily its best feature. Combining all that with the good-enough main story plus the myriad of side quests, Xenoblade Chronicles X is hugely impressive and immersive. Oh, and have you heard the soundtrack for it? You should.
When Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was announced back in February, I finally moved Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition from my wishlist to my backlog so I could start the first mainline Xenoblade adventure, hoping to have it completed before XC3 would be released. But that’s not how things turned out. Instead, I’m just now resuming XCX because, if nothing else, I must obtain my first Skell! And the game is so good, how can I not continue to enjoy it?
I’ll likely play XCX for a while and then “pause” it to start XC:DE. Eventually, I hope to enjoy XC3. With all that, I’ll have no time to play XC2. So that’s several hundred hours of Xenoplay. Of course, I’m also juggling other RPGs…almost finished the main story in Pokémon Legends’ Arceus.
I’d love for Monolith Soft to port XCX to the Switch in its own Definitive Edition, making it more accessible to many players who otherwise might have missed it. Better yet, port the game to a future “Switch Pro” in 4K resolution! In any case, just make the tiny text more legible. And while using the Wii U gamepad to navigate the game’s map and interact with probes was nice, these features can be done on the Switch display too.
For a really great explanation of why XCX should port to Switch, check out this new video.
I remember when Final Fantasy moved from the Super NES to the PlayStation, leaving Nintendo kind of empty handed when it comes to RPGs. Years later, when Xenoblade arrived on the Wii, though I missed it then, I eventually got onboard. Now Nintendo has a strong exclusive RPG franchise with three, soon to be four, solid titles plus expansions. I hope this trend continues with XCX porting to Switch along with more new mainline Xenoblade games.
At the very least, Skells and true open-world exploration should be brought into future Xenoblade games.
What Xenoblade games have you played, and which is your favorite? Would you play XCX if ported to Switch, or would you stick with the mainline games? How does Xenoblade compare to Horizon Forbidden West?
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