Xenoblade Chronicles: Relax, and Let the Adventure Guide You

These days, all RPGs feel as if you're setting up a game of Dungeons and Dragons. I know I'm showing my age here by asking, "Whatever happened to games like Chrono Trigger where you spent a minute in exposition and then you're hurling fire spells at enemies as easy as pie?" What happened is that kids keep getting a lot smarter and I don't have time to keep up with them. So as I did with the last two Final Fantasies, I spent the first hour grumbling at the screen while walking through the assorted tutorials that make up Xenoblade Chronicles.

The game starts out strong, showing two titanic figures locked in eternal battle. One is Bionis, and the other Mechonis, and their war is the entirety of existence until one fatal cut by the Bionis locks them in stasis. Years later, civilizations grow up on the bodies of the gods and, like all good civilizations, they go to war.

On one side are the humans, and on the other are the machine-like Mechon. The only thing that has any effect on their armor is the Monado, an energy sword that is the titular xenoblade. A brave soldier named Dunbar manages to stop the Mechon's advance using it, but at the cost of losing the ability to use his right arm.

Later, we pick up with the party proper, a military researcher named Shulk and his friends. It's here, while Shulk is scavenging for Mechon scrap for weapons, that the game really gets going.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner