Xenoblade - New Monolith RPG for Wii

There was some talk upthread about not finding NPCs to return affinity quests to, right? Affinity chart next to the quest log shows where and when any NPC is active.

So I think I just hit the "real" beginning of the game...

Spoiler:

So I wasn't sure if they'd kill the girl or not, and was actually expecting them to kill her brother instead. Buuuut, they killed the girl. And I am kind of surprised by it. I mean, she just...she didn't have the mark of death on her.

Well played, Monolithsoft.

The combat is definitely starting to pick up, and that first dungeon was actually pretty pleasant. Wish I could have managed to kill that giant bug, though. In any case, I feel more like I'm playing a 90's PSX RPG than anything else, which is good in this game's favor.

Let's see if it can keep it up.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

It feels like experience ends up appearing all over the place just because you're walking around, which makes it feel a lot less like a reward.

Yeah, like I said earlier:

Running around Colony 9, I was reminded of Jonathan Blow's complaint that many modern games reward you for doing nothing. I was running around this city, not really doing much of anything at all, and I was collecting loot and experience.

I felt like I was getting rewarded just for showing up which isn't very rewarding at all.

Ironically enough, that's a Bioware RPG and pretty standard MMO trope.

MadcapLaugher wrote:

Something I can't believe I didn't notice until now: on the left side of each quest's description it tells you the closest fast-travel point to the quest's location. Super helpful for the monster killing/collection quests.

I think that's unfortunately just where you picked up the quest. My quest to kill White Eduardo on Raguel Lake, right under the Raguel Bridge points, says Refugee Camp, which is pretty clearly further away.

Blind_Evil wrote:
MadcapLaugher wrote:

Something I can't believe I didn't notice until now: on the left side of each quest's description it tells you the closest fast-travel point to the quest's location. Super helpful for the monster killing/collection quests.

I think that's unfortunately just where you picked up the quest. My quest to kill White Eduardo on Raguel Lake, right under the Raguel Bridge points, says Refugee Camp, which is pretty clearly further away.

Aw damn, that would've been really helpful.

I've played this for two evenings and I'm still running around Colony 9 looking for quests. This doesn't bode well for how long this game will take me.

Your problem is that you're actively looking for quests.

Or at least, that's what I view as a problem. I just hope that by NOT doing all side quests I'll be under-powered and have a rough time of it. Some of those Unique Monsters are a bitch and two halves.

Another hour played, and I'm considering giving this game up for good.

I picked up the night with the Impractically Skirted Girl going to deliver soup to Shulk. I followed the storyline up until Shulk and Reyn head up to the Cave of Ether Stuff, and I was enjoying it. I like the world, and the characters are mostly interesting enough (I can't get used to Dickson and his Hulk Hogan in a biker gang look). However, on my way up to the Cave of Ether Stuff, I decided to knock off a few side quests since I was headed that way anyway, and that was a huge mistake.

As soon as I started doing side quests, my interest level plummeted. It just isn't any fun to go look for rabbit droppings and kill 3 womprats. And yet, it's engaging enough, or at least hands out rewards on a regular enough basis, that I found myself pressing on and playing more despite not really enjoying myself.

The obvious solution is to avoid side quests and just play through the main story. That was the part I was interested in, after all. But I run into two issues with that: first, I'm concerned about falling behind on the leveling curve and eventually being forced to grind out side quests; second, the side quests I played make me think I really just might not like the combat system well enough to play even in the context of a story segment. I just can't really wrap my head around auto-attacking while I run around and hit different powers. I feel disconnected from the character, like combat is just happening while I watch.

I don't know. I might give the game one more night, but it's going to need to do something really incredible to keep me onboard.

Being a couple steps ahead of where you're at, Clockwork, DEFINITELY give it one more night. You're right where I stopped the first night I was playing, and I was definitely keeping track of time before bed. I wasn't really sucked in at all except for the story. I stopped right in front of the cave.

Last night I progressed through the cave, and I found myself having a good time. All of a sudden enemies were spotting me in combat, I was tackling multiple foes at once, and I started to gain more powers that I was more actively leveling up (I also started to understand how the skill tracks worked). It's a shame that you never really have control of your team-mates, but you DO gain more control of your own character.

I died a couple times in the cave, though twice (or thrice?) was because I kept trying to tackle the giant caterpillar. I will note that the game does a horrible job explaining how to activate a chain attack, by the way, and will get to that in a minute. Point is, once you hit the cave, combat starts getting more interesting and involved.

But more so, you need to play the segment AFTER the cave, when the story kicks really starts to begin, before making a judgment call.

The game is taking its time introducing you to all the different elements. I know it's not so fun at first, but I'm thinking it may be kind of necessary. It's like how I went over my friend's house and watched him play Final Fantasy 13. To me, it was all bright lights, flashing colors and big numbers all over the place. It made no sense to me. Xenoblade is probably going to be similar in that regard. Once you get further into the game, a casual observer is going to be wondering just what the Hell it is you're playing.

Now, as for chain attack: All the game tells you is when the three bars in the upper left corner of the HUD fill up, you can activate a chain attack. That's all. I looked in the instruction booklet, and it said the same thing.

It wasn't until later, when they gave me instructions on how to flee and some other abilities, that I stumbled upon the button to activate a chain attack.

So when you're in combat, that bottom bar with all of your abilities, you can press up or down on the D-Pad at the center icon and it'll change to other commands. One of them will be chain attack. That's how you activate it.

I played about 4 hours last night. I like the story so far (I'm a bit farther than Clocky), but I'm not sure about the gameplay yet. The battle system, the quest system, automatically picking up highlighted doodads from the ground... these mechanics are just interesting right now. Not necessarily good or bad, just interesting. I'm definitely going to give it a few more hours to see if it clicks, because I am liking the story, and have been itching for a JRPG.

As for overleveling by doing side quests, I don't think that will be a problem because I tend to skip a lot of side quests in RPGs anyway, unless they are interesting in and of themselves. These ones don't seem to be so I won't go out of my way looking for them.

ccesarano wrote:

Your problem is that you're actively looking for quests.

Oh, no, my problem is that I'm using a wiki to try to collect every possible sidequest!

See, it's much worse than you thought

This game is bad for me...

Demyx wrote:

This game is bad for me...

Yeah but you'll get distracted by KH3D in July.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I don't know. I might give the game one more night, but it's going to need to do something really incredible to keep me onboard.

Well there's some very interesting story parts when you finish Tephra Cave, and then back down to Colony 9. I'd continue with the story through that at least.

shoptroll wrote:
Demyx wrote:

This game is bad for me...

Yeah but you'll get distracted by KH3D in July.

I'm supposed to be playing Diablo 3 with you too!

Demyx wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

Your problem is that you're actively looking for quests.

Oh, no, my problem is that I'm using a wiki to try to collect every possible sidequest!

See, it's much worse than you thought

This game is bad for me...

I can see there won't be much clearing going on in your pile for some time.

ccesrano wrote:

Lots of good advice.

I see what you're saying. RPGs take while to get going, to introduce all their mechanics, and so forth. But I'm also running into the problem of having now played this game for two hours and not having much, if any, desire to press on. I've had games that have gotten off to a rocky start before, but not this rocky.

However, I am intrigued by the world and the story, so Xenoblade definitely has that working in its favor. It's just a question of whether or not story is enough to propel me forward, and it usually isn't.

ccesarano wrote:

I can see there won't be much clearing going on in your pile for some time. :P

Everything is going perfectly according to plan

Wait, did I just say that out loud?

ClockworkHouse wrote:

But I'm also running into the problem of having now played this game for two hours and not having much, if any, desire to press on. I've had games that have gotten off to a rocky start before, but not this rocky.

True story: it took me about 4-6 hours before I got the hang of Dr. Who starting with the Eccleston season. Some stuff just has a slow burn.

shoptroll wrote:

Everything is going perfectly according to plan

Wait, did I just say that out loud?

You're just tired of me actually finishing games. I might have to just knock out a bunch of iPad stuff to show you :p

True story: it took me about 4-6 hours before I got the hang of Dr. Who starting with the Eccleston season. Some stuff just has a slow burn.

I still don't understand the non-getting of Dr. Who but that's a story for another thread.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
ccesrano wrote:

Lots of good advice.

I see what you're saying. RPGs take while to get going, to introduce all their mechanics, and so forth. But I'm also running into the problem of having now played this game for two hours and not having much, if any, desire to press on. I've had games that have gotten off to a rocky start before, but not this rocky.

However, I am intrigued by the world and the story, so Xenoblade definitely has that working in its favor. It's just a question of whether or not story is enough to propel me forward, and it usually isn't.

To be frank, you partially sabotaged yourself in that regard by intentionally focusing on side quests, something you stated you weren't enjoying rather early on. If you got yourself into the caves earlier, you probably would have gotten a better taste of the combat.

Now, that's not to say you'll enjoy it once you hit that point, or the point after back at Colony 9. Those two segments sucked me in, certainly, and have me eager to press on. But some of your complaints weren't much different from my own, and therefore you might find yourself more thoroughly entertained.

Of course, if you're not, I won't blame you at that point. In the end it really is a matter of taste. When I first played Xenoblade I was hoping for more interaction a la Star Ocean or Tales of Symphonia. I've gotten over that now, because the next two areas are sort of "Okay, now that you got the basics, let's show you where we're taking you".

If, after the Colony 9 segment you're not pulled into it, then I think it is safe to say the game isn't for you.

Demyx wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

True story: it took me about 4-6 hours before I got the hang of Dr. Who starting with the Eccleston season. Some stuff just has a slow burn.

I still don't understand the non-getting of Dr. Who but that's a story for another thread.

Dr. Who much more closely falls in line with "Female nerd fantasy" than it does with a dude's. Even then, it merely takes all kinds. I've watched a few episodes, enjoyed it, but have not been sucked into it.

ccesarano wrote:

Dr. Who much more closely falls in line with "Female nerd fantasy" than it does with a dude's.

I wasn't really thinking this, but you are absolutely correct. Given that by the end of the first episode I yelled at the screen "What are you, CRAZY?! Go with the Doctor!"

Probably because there seems to be so little female nerd fantasy out there compared to male nerd fantasy, I don't recognize it when it happens :p

On a more topicful note, I created a save file on my own Wii and want to play on Shop's. Is there any elegant way to do this other than transferring his save to a card every time I want to play?

Demyx wrote:

Is there any elegant way to do this other than transferring his save to a card every time I want to play?

Bring your Wii over to my place :p

It's really weird that Nintendo continues to design their save systems much like battery backups were handled in cartridges: 3 saves to a file. No more, no less. It was incredibly refreshing when the PSX arrived and you could make as many save files as you had room. Would save so so so much grief if Nintendo only did things that way.

ccesarano wrote:

If, after the Colony 9 segment you're not pulled into it, then I think it is safe to say the game isn't for you.

Pretty much only because we had such similar complaints, I'll do this. If I'm not engaged by the time I get back to Colony 9, I'll call this one done.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

If, after the Colony 9 segment you're not pulled into it, then I think it is safe to say the game isn't for you.

Pretty much only because we had such similar complaints, I'll do this. If I'm not engaged by the time I get back to Colony 9, I'll call this one done.

No no no, by time you finish Colony 9, because that is when "sh*t gets real", so to speak, and some of the more complex battle elements are introduced.

Sadly, I'm asking another two hours out of you, but it's Friday. You got time.

shoptroll wrote:

True story: it took me about 4-6 hours before I got the hang of Dr. Who starting with the Eccleston season. Some stuff just has a slow burn.

I don't think it's unusual for The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances ("Are you my mummy?") to be the hook that gets you on board. It was for my wife and I.

beeporama wrote:

I don't think it's unusual for The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances ("Are you my mummy?") to be the hook that gets you on board. It was for my wife and I.

I think I was hooked before that one. The Unquiet Dead and Long Game were fairly interesting to me in terms of demonstrating what they were doing with the show. This was furthered by the later call backs in Bad Wolf. Empty Child was just creepy.

This may seem like an odd question, but how does game saving work? After you're through the introductory cutscenes (I assume there must be some), can you just save anywhere from a menu option, or do you have to search out a save point?

(Even the save points in Skyward Sword are a little too far apart for my liking. When I'm ready to stop, I don't want to have to spend another five minutes getting to the place I can do it.)

I'm on the fence about buying this one. I think I'd probably enjoy it, but I'd like to get further along (or finish) some of the other games I have active before I add another one.

Katy wrote:

This may seem like an odd question, but how does game saving work? After you're through the introductory cutscenes (I assume there must be some), can you just save anywhere from a menu option, or do you have to search out a save point?

Save anywhere from a menu. You can't save during combat or during story scenes, however.

Katy wrote:

I'm on the fence about buying this one. I think I'd probably enjoy it, but I'd like to get further along (or finish) some of the other games I have active before I add another one.

As we've said several times... it's only available at Gamestop or Nintendo.com. So there's a chance you won't be able to find it if you wait too long, or at least not for less than $50.

Stele wrote:
Katy wrote:

I'm on the fence about buying this one. I think I'd probably enjoy it, but I'd like to get further along (or finish) some of the other games I have active before I add another one.

As we've said several times... it's only available at Gamestop or Nintendo.com. So there's a chance you won't be able to find it if you wait too long, or at least not for less than $50.

Of course, if it turns out Clocky doesn't like it after the next couple hours of play he may be willing to make an exchange. That would be my guess at least.

ccesarano wrote:

Of course, if it turns out Clocky doesn't like it after the next couple hours of play he may be willing to make an exchange. That would be my guess at least.

Indeed.