Xenoblade - New Monolith RPG for Wii

Farscry wrote:

I'm surprised that the game seems to be getting such a muted response here, because for me, it's possibly my favorite jrpg of this console generation (though I suspect that Dragon Quest X, if the mmo crap isn't too overdone, will be my favorite in the end). I certainly recognize there are some fairly big flaws in the game, but the overall product is - for me - way more than merely the sum of its parts.

Nah, it's just me clocking. Everyone else is enjoying the game and probably too busy playing to post about it.

Ok, glad to know that people are enjoying it, I was worried that maybe I overenthused about it or something!

And yeah, definitely has a healthy dose of Level 5 design sensibilities along with a heavy helping of Final Fantasy XII.

Farscry wrote:

:D

Ok, glad to know that people are enjoying it, I was worried that maybe I overenthused about it or something!

And yeah, definitely has a healthy dose of Level 5 design sensibilities along with a heavy helping of Final Fantasy XII.

The FF XII similarity is part of what's really doing it for me, I think.

I think the reason it seems we're so muted is this game was hyped as the 2nd coming of JRPGs and instead it's just a really good game with some real flaws.

SixteenBlue wrote:

I think the reason it seems we're so muted is this game was hyped as the 2nd coming of JRPGs and instead it's just a really good game with some real flaws.

That was fan hype. Nintendo was really laid back in promoting this. But yeah. Solid game so far (13 hours in, just started Colony 6), but it lacks the polish to really make a great game an amazing game. To me the interface issues are a blemish on an overall great experience. Not enough to make me put the game down, but they seem like a glaring oversight that should've been addressed before release...

As I get closer and closer to 70 hours, I am quite sure I love the game.

I can agree there are some UI things that could be improved that keep this game from being a 10 or whatever. But story and gameplay are still so much fun. And the whole affinity thing, and heart to hearts are great. Loving it.

I can't remember the last time a game thread didn't have someone bellyaching about the UI or inventory management Dead Space 2 maybe?

Par for the course, now, I think. You can't please everyone.

I stalled around 20 hours, but not from any fault of the game. I started up the Witcher 2 (which is a worse game!), then when I got bored of that bought Trials Evolution on a lark and have been obsessing with it ever since.

And the whole, lookin' for a job thing.

I will get back to Xenoblade sometime between now and May 22. That's my deadline to beat the Witcher 2 so I can trade it in toward Dragon's Dogma. Once that comes out, all bets are off.

So I just cleared the 17 hour mark.

Spoiler:

Which means the Ether Caves are done along with the Xord fight which was utter BS.

Someone please tell me the rest of the boss fights in this game aren't a matter of just building up the unity gauge and using chain attacks to open a 3 second window of vulnerability on the boss. Because that is going to get very irritating as it's not a very interesting mechanic in my book. It's incredibly fiddly and I think would've been a lot more interesting in a turn-based game where I can actually size up the battlefield a lot easier.

Maybe I'm just getting grouchy because I'm close to hitting my 20 hour wall.

On a side note: I'm realize I'm just now scratching the surface of this game and the plot. If this were 1992 I'd be about 3/4 through Final Fantasy IV. Which is an apt comparison given all the melodrama that went into the cutscenes before and after that fight. Amazing how the genre has changed in two decades.

Was FFIV really that short originally? The DS remake, I put like 40 hours into one playthrough.

I remember having to rent the SNES version from Phar-mor like 6 times to beat it. But I was around 8.

shoptroll wrote:

Someone please tell me the rest of the boss fights in this game aren't a matter of just building up the unity gauge and using chain attacks to open a 3 second window of vulnerability on the boss. Because that is going to get very irritating as it's not a very interesting mechanic in my book. It's incredibly fiddly and I think would've been a lot more interesting in a turn-based game where I can actually size up the battlefield a lot easier.

That's only happened one time so far for me (11 hours) but it was not fun.

Yeah I think that's the one boss fight I had to do twice so far. Maybe one other?

Hell it's hard to remember. Near 70 hours and I haven't played for 3 days now... in-laws in town visiting.

Blind_Evil wrote:

Was FFIV really that short originally?

How long to beat clocks it in the 25-30 hour range. 17 hours wouldn't be quite 3/4th of the way through, but you'd be pretty deep into the plot and the few mechanics there are.

Other realization was that I could've beaten Bulletstorm twice in the same amount of time

SixteenBlue wrote:

That's only happened one time so far for me (11 hours) but it was not fun.

Ok, so it's not just me being grumpy. I also noticed during the fight that Sharla's AI isn't really that great at keeping people alive and herself out of danger. I suspect I'm going to have take control of her when it's boss clobbering time in the future.

Stele wrote:

Yeah I think that's the one boss fight I had to do twice so far. Maybe one other?

Good to know. It was just really aggravating having to deal with a boss that pretty much tossed out everything you've learned about the combat system and forced you to play the game in an entirely different manner. Which is ok for a novelty boss you fight a ways into the story (something like Bowyer in Mario RPG) but as the second plot boss in the game? Bleh.

shoptroll wrote:

I also noticed during the fight that Sharla's AI isn't really that great at keeping people alive and herself out of danger. I suspect I'm going to have take control of her when it's boss clobbering time in the future.

Sharla can only heal at a rate commensurate with the cooldown of her healing skills. That battle is a bit tough simply because you probably haven't leveled those skills up as much as possible yet, increasing her healing capacity and lessening the cooldown.

Stele wrote:

Yeah I think that's the one boss fight I had to do twice so far. Maybe one other?

Good to know. It was just really aggravating having to deal with a boss that pretty much tossed out everything you've learned about the combat system and forced you to play the game in an entirely different manner. Which is ok for a novelty boss you fight a ways into the story (something like Bowyer in Mario RPG) but as the second plot boss in the game? Bleh.

I'm almost 67 hours in now and that's been the only battle in which you had to topple to do damage. I didn't have to do it twice, but it was...long.

Don't forget that, even if you aren't battling mechon, your menado's skills are incredibly useful and should be activated constantly. Also don't forget that you can upgrade them the same as your other skills, with AP.

So I had taken a break from this game for a while due to losing about four hours of playtime when my daughter decided she wanted to play along and hit the power button on the wii remote sitting on the floor next to me (I'm using the classic controller). However, yesterday I got a bit of a "free day" thanks to taking a sick day to care for my family, and got a bit past where I was before. So I guess I'm back in business. I'm at the end of the Mechonis Field, but I'm currently side-questing the sh*t out of Frontier Village because most of my characters have maxed out their skill trees and I need more places to use that SP.

Minarchist wrote:

Sharla can only heal at a rate commensurate with the cooldown of her healing skills. That battle is a bit tough simply because you probably haven't leveled those skills up as much as possible yet, increasing her healing capacity and lessening the cooldown.

The other problem was that my crew was getting overrun by his minions which kinda sucked. The second attempt was short lived because I forgot to apply Enchant regularly :\

Minarchist wrote:

Don't forget that, even if you aren't battling mechon, your menado's skills are incredibly useful and should be activated constantly. Also don't forget that you can upgrade them the same as your other skills, with AP.

Yeah, I've got Shield up to level 4 which is the max I can do until I find the book for it, and enchant is level 2 or 3 right now.

I'm finding cutscenes are a great reminder to go into the arts page and spend points. They seem spaced out enough at my pace that I can usually level something for each character.

shoptroll wrote:

Yeah, I've got Shield up to level 4 which is the max I can do until I find the book for it, and enchant is level 2 or 3 right now.

It's not explained well by the game (par for the course, really), but the Shield skill will only block talent arts -- the white-lettered attacks you get in the premonitions. It won't do jack to protect you in normal circumstances. Dunno if you knew that or not, but it took me a long while to figure it out.

As to the boss' minions, I don't remember having trouble with them. The point is to take them out ASAP to build the chain gauge, then go to town on the boss itself after they're cleared away. Are you using your party commands? I'm on the classic controller, and (zR) + Up is "focus attack", i.e. everyone attack the same dude. You can take out his minions in a jiffy if you use that, as Reyn will soak all the aggro and leave them open for your tasty, tasty defense-down backstab combos. If you don't use it, your idiot party will continue to deal 1 damage to the boss instead of actually, y'know, helping.

Minarchist wrote:

I'm on the classic controller, and (zR) + Up is "focus attack", i.e. everyone attack the same dude.

Thank you so much for this. Finally, no more of my other characters running away to attack some random thing willy-nilly.

Spoiler:

We're discussing the first boss that talked, right? Before the other guys drop in and join your squad.

It's been a couple weeks so I'm not remembering much, only that the boss fight was a bitch but I clocked through it in one go.

I'll confess, I'm not completely sure on how to keep the chain going. It seems finnicky. If I recall the original instructions, you need to use attacks of similar colors between the different characters, but that doesn't always work. Then I have to use attacks of different colors so I can get a Mech in a... Broke state? Gah, I can't even remember at this juncture. Either way, sometimes I have to use attacks of different colors and it'll continue the chain.

Man, I think I need to hurry up and beat Space Marine and then dedicate my week before Dragon's Dogma releases to Xenoblade.

Minarchist wrote:

It's not explained well by the game (par for the course, really), but the Shield skill will only block talent arts -- the white-lettered attacks you get in the premonitions. It won't do jack to protect you in normal circumstances. Dunno if you knew that or not, but it took me a long while to figure it out.

Ah right. I forgot about that. I swear this game is fiddly at times just for the sake of being fiddly >_<

It does block arts that are used outside of a premonition right? I swear I've seen it block stuff just casually casting it...

As to the boss' minions, I don't remember having trouble with them. The point is to take them out ASAP to build the chain gauge, then go to town on the boss itself after they're cleared away. Are you using your party commands? I'm on the classic controller, and (zR) + Up is "focus attack", i.e. everyone attack the same dude. You can take out his minions in a jiffy if you use that, as Reyn will soak all the aggro and leave them open for your tasty, tasty defense-down backstab combos. If you don't use it, your idiot party will continue to deal 1 damage to the boss instead of actually, y'know, helping.

I think I started using the mobs to build up the chains part way through the 3rd attempt. Was doing it in the first attempt as well but was having a hard time keeping them under control.

I completely forgot about the party commands. This battle system would've been awesome as a turn-based game. I'm starting to think it's bit too frentic for at times as a real-time one

Yeah that's the fight. I have those same questions about the chaining system and was going to look them up on Wikia today to see if that gave me some direction on how to optimize chain attacks.

shoptroll wrote:

Ah right. I forgot about that. I swear this game is fiddly at times just for the sake of being fiddly >_<

That's Monolith for you.

It does block arts that are used outside of a premonition right? I swear I've seen it block stuff just casually casting it...

I'm pretty sure, yes. I think you only see them called out when it will put a character at or near death and deal a heinous amount of damage. It won't block physical or ether arts (red and purple, respectively), but if they use a talent art that isn't specifically called out it should still block it.

I completely forgot about the party commands. This battle system would've been awesome as a turn-based game. I'm starting to think it's bit too frentic for at times as a real-time one :(

Yeah, maybe. To be honest I internalized that one and forgot what all the other directions were, as I figured "focus attack" would be the only one I would ever find helpful, and I seem to have been correct about this.

ccesarano wrote:

I'll confess, I'm not completely sure on how to keep the chain going. It seems finnicky. If I recall the original instructions, you need to use attacks of similar colors between the different characters, but that doesn't always work. Then I have to use attacks of different colors so I can get a Mech in a... Broke state? Gah, I can't even remember at this juncture. Either way, sometimes I have to use attacks of different colors and it'll continue the chain.

I think that the color of attacks has nothing to do with whether or not the chain continues beyond the initial three hits. I think. What it does do is rack up a huge damage multiplier, where a monado buster on hit 5 will do 3-4x as much damage as a monado buster on hit 1. It's necessary to take out huge enemies quickly, but I don't think it helps to extend the attack itself. (As an aside, remember that talent arts are a "wild card" in this instance, so a monado talent will count as extending a red, green, pink, blue, or any other color chain). Regardless, color chaining isn't important in this particular battle, as it's necessary to use the chain to break (pink talent), topple (green talent) then probably either attack (red) or heal (blue). Good to know for future battles, though. I don't think I really started using this principle a lot until I hit sword valley, if you want a bookmark.

What does apparently give you good odds in extending the chain are a high affinity among party members and a high tension (the latter represented by fire in the character portraits when maxed). There still seems to be a lot of luck involved, as I've had all three members on fire before and relatively high affinities and not gotten the chance to extend a chain. There are gems that increase the likelihood, but I dunno. The most I've ever gotten is six, and by the end of that (a chain of six red attacks) even a yellow-colored enemy lived no more.

Man, I did not know all that about chaining. The game doesn't do a very good job explaining this stuff. Does anyone have advice on what art to pick if you get a premonition? I thought there was something with the colors there but wasn't sure.

Looked at the wiki and it's pretty lacking on the chain mechanics as well

Demyx wrote:

Man, I did not know all that about chaining. The game doesn't do a very good job explaining this stuff. Does anyone have advice on what art to pick if you get a premonition? I thought there was something with the colors there but wasn't sure.

I don't know of any purpose of choosing a specific-colored art, but to be honest that wouldn't surprise me. I usually choose a talent art, if available (this seems to have the highest likelihood of breaking/altering the vision) or a healing art if possible. If not I just go with a high-level attack.

Thus far my biggest gripe with Chain Attacks is they never explained how to activate it. I know I mentioned it earlier in the thread, but I had no clue how to pull off chain attacks until much later in the game. When they explained the concept of fleeing, they took care to note you change that center icon at the bottom of your screen. When I was flipping through looking to flee, I suddenly stumbled upon the chain attack command. I just about flipped out in both excitement and rage, because the chain attack "tutorial", which comes before learning how to flee, didn't make any such mention.

Demyx wrote:

Man, I did not know all that about chaining. The game doesn't do a very good job explaining this stuff. Does anyone have advice on what art to pick if you get a premonition? I thought there was something with the colors there but wasn't sure.

If Sharla is in your party, she has that 8-second or so damage shield. So you have to be careful if you get a 12-second premonition, but that should save someone's life from pretty much everything.

Reyn has an aura that revives him after death, so that's always a good one.

And Dunban has a similar aura which heals him when an attack would kill him. Although I think he gets this one later (level 40 or 50?).

And sometimes just Shulk's big heal is enough to save them.

Hey Stele, you're a bit farther ahead than me. I've gotten two advanced arte book drops so far from just tooling around on the fallen arm and Mechonis Field, but haven't actively gone hunting for them (that gold chest increase Riki gives? Totes awesome). Should I start seeing a lot of them in the near future, or does it start as a slow trickle like this?

Also, will I ever be able to buy any of them, or will every single one come as a mega-rare drop?

ccesarano wrote:

Thus far my biggest gripe with Chain Attacks is they never explained how to activate it.

I thought that first boss fight in Colony 9 had a big tutorial? Granted it's been a while, but I thought that was where it taught you to inflict break on bosses with chains since regular break wouldn't work.

And I just checked a youtube video (early story spoilers) and confirmed.

So yeah I don't see you could get out of Colony 9 without learning chain attacks...

Minarchist wrote:

Hey Stele, you're a bit farther ahead than me. I've gotten two advanced arte book drops so far from just tooling around on the fallen arm and Mechonis Field, but haven't actively gone hunting for them (that gold chest increase Riki gives? Totes awesome). Should I start seeing a lot of them in the near future, or does it start as a slow trickle like this?

Also, will I ever be able to buy any of them, or will every single one come as a mega-rare drop? :(

Advanced art like rank 5-8 or the final 9-12? I guess the game calls 5-8 intermediate right? Cause I don't think I have any 9-12s myself. Just the 5-8 rank, and I bought most of those from shops.

Oh and someone above was mentioning Monado arts... those only upgrade at story points. There are no books for you to buy or find for upgrading those.

Stele wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

Thus far my biggest gripe with Chain Attacks is they never explained how to activate it.

I thought that first boss fight in Colony 9 had a big tutorial? Granted it's been a while, but I thought that was where it taught you to inflict break on bosses with chains since regular break wouldn't work.

And I just checked a youtube video (early story spoilers) and confirmed.

So yeah I don't see you could get out of Colony 9 without learning chain attacks... :?

My experience was getting to that fight, being told I have to use a chain attack, and having absolutely no idea how to initiate that. I had to lose the fight and essentially figure it out on my own. There was a tutorial you could look up in the menus but if I remember right even it wasn't very clear.

The process for me was:

- In the cave before BIG PLOT POINT, get a tutorial about Chain Attacks/Command (the one where time stops and you go from one character's attack to the next). Not told HOW to activate it.

- When you get to Colony 9 at BIG PLOT POINT, get a tutorial to learn how to Flee. Told how to activate it, wherein I finally figure out how to activate chain attacks.

ccesarano wrote:

The process for me was:

- In the cave before BIG PLOT POINT, get a tutorial about Chain Attacks/Command (the one where time stops and you go from one character's attack to the next). Not told HOW to activate it.

- When you get to Colony 9 at BIG PLOT POINT, get a tutorial to learn how to Flee. Told how to activate it, wherein I finally figure out how to activate chain attacks.

Ok yeah I think that's right for me too. I think that's how I figured how to activate it.