Xenoblade - New Monolith RPG for Wii

ClockworkHouse wrote:
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.

Mind providing some detail now that you've played it more (or so I'm assuming)?

EDIT: So I spent 8 hours on this game today, totaling my hours to 11:45. This is the most time I spent on a game in one day since I was unemployed.

And the whole time I kept sighing and thinking "I wish I could somehow convince Clock to keep playing", because things get more and more interesting. For example, when you're heading towards Colony 6:

Spoiler:

When you're trying to save JuJu the first time

I first thought that road wasn't the actual path because you just get surrounded by Mechon. It was insane, and it technically took three attempts (the first two I fled when my guys started getting weaker). I figured the enemies would keep respawning and I could never get through until I realized the "other" path was loaded with Level 70+ foes.

Which leads me to something else I love. I was just swimming in the lake around Colony 9 when I first powered on, and at some point saw a bunch of birds by artillery batter 2. "Oh, these are red" I thought. "Maybe they're part of my quest". Then I saw they were level 70+, and before I could flee I was one-shot killed by a level 70+ fish. Later, on The Leg, I just saw a level 80+ monster wandering around.

I actually really love that. One of the things I've said of RPG's and their level adjustment is you no longer have that cave you find and explore, only to realize you're way too low in level to take it. That experience gets imprinted on your memory, and you WILL remember it as you progress through the game. It's a new goal, to return and see what is hidden by that powerful foe. Ever since level adjustment this hasn't been much the case anymore.

So now, it's a pretty joyous thing.

My first real complaint of the game is when you reach Colony 6:

Spoiler:

That stupid mine is just way too long. At least, once you connect all the side passages. I was getting tired of it by time I was nearly at the bottom, so I just dealt with it and did the last few side sections for the experience points. Still, it was reminding me a bit of Star Ocean 4, whose horribly design dungeons were one of the reasons I hated that game (holy sh*t I can't believe I ever beat that one).

I may have to ignore side passages as well.

So yeah, I think I finished the day at the next major story milestone, level 26.

Gems are time consuming, by the way, and I really wish they simply asked you if you'd like to remove any gems when unequipping or if you wanted to swap them to the new item you are equipping. As it is, there's way too much math going on in my head.

And the whole time I kept sighing and thinking "I wish I could somehow convince Clock to keep playing"

Aw, now you're making me feel bad.

I want to say I gave this a few more hours, but I sat down to play it and realized that I'd rather do just about anything else. It's not a bad game, by any means, but it just doesn't feel like my kind of thing. I plugged a lot of hours in the last couple years into games I wasn't connecting with, waiting for them to click, and not a single one ever did. I ended up feeling more resentful of my lost time than anything else, and I've resolved not to do that anymore. So I might love Xenoblade after another couple hours, but I'd rather put that time into something else.

I cannot say I blame you. I don't know what precisely clicked enough with me in the first two hours that I decided I'd give the game a few more hours to go through. The combat in the beginning is very boring.

But I can't really imagine them throwing in a lot of the concepts they later toss at you all at once or in a shorter amount of time. Similarly, while I love how much there is to combat once you hit the 3, 4 and 5 hour marks, it also has an issue of sensory overload. My brother has been watching on-and-off, and he doesn't understand how I can possibly know what's going on in combat. Truth is, I don't always know, but I know how to keep track of everything important.

I'm curious why this sort of "single-player MMO" design style is so big in Japan all of a sudden. Or maybe it's just a culmination of things. It's reminding me of watching my friend play Final Fantasy 13, where I had no clue what to make of what was going on on-screen. This game is also hardly accessible to newbies to video games, which is a shame because once upon a time I would have used JRPG's as an excellent intro to video games for anyone not familiar with the medium.

I think it's safe to say this isn't a perfect game, but I understand where a lot of the hyperbole comes from. As I said earlier, it reminds me a lot of playing a Playstation 1 JRPG in a lot of ways, though it certainly has taken a lot of modern design concepts into account.

I do wonder if Elysium managed to get the game after all, what with everyone chewing his ear out to make it Game of the Week. Maybe if we compared the combat to Dragon Age: Origins, only without as much control over your A.I. partners (not that you have much time to think about that with so much going on in later fights).

Got to Makna Forest last night. And got a new power to my Monado. And a new party member. And met some mystery story character that showed up for a bit.

And apparently enemies are going to start spiking me now. I guess this is when combat finally gets tougher?

And apparently enemies are going to start spiking me now. I guess this is when combat finally gets tougher?
Spoiler:

Not really.

First spoiler is about 2 hours into the game, second is maybe 8. Comes before the Mine on Bionis' Leg.

Spoiler:

Why is the first Mechon leader referred to as "Metal Face?" He's a robot, what else would his face be made of? I hate how often they say such an unnecessary term. Just call him the Faced Mechon or something.

Spoiler:

Also, I found the Mechons much more menacing before they began speaking. Metal-face, when he killed Fiora, was pretty disturbing due to the mystery behind his motivation. Then you get Xord, spewing on about eating people and being a general menace is his London gangster accent, it's just jarring. I suspect this may have something to do with Dunban and Dickson's other ally in the intro, but who knows...

Am I really slow because I don't think I've even seen that first spoiler yet (although I know what it references) and I'm 3 hours in.

But yeah, 3 hours in and everything Clock said is right but I'm still having fun. My main complaint so far is the combat is either boring or overwhelming but it sounds like it gets better.

Blind_Evil wrote:

First spoiler is about 2 hours into the game, second is maybe 8. Comes before the Mine on Bionis' Leg.

Spoiler:

Why is the first Mechon leader referred to as "Metal Face?" He's a robot, what else would his face be made of? I hate how often they say such an unnecessary term. Just call him the Faced Mechon or something.

Spoiler:

Also, I found the Mechons much more menacing before they began speaking. Metal-face, when he killed Fiora, was pretty disturbing due to the mystery behind his motivation. Then you get Xord, spewing on about eating people and being a general menace is his London gangster accent, it's just jarring. I suspect this may have something to do with Dunban and Dickson's other ally in the intro, but who knows...

First spoiler:

Spoiler:

Well, you see when Xord shows up that he has a different name. Not sure if Metal Face has a different one later as well... but it's possible...

Also a much bigger possible-spoiler I found out, post-mines, after defeating

Spoiler:

Xord

and then going back to colony 9 and talking to

Spoiler:

Desiree

, she will talk about some interesting backstory stuff, that may be delving into some serious foreshadowing and/or serious game spoiler territory. I have my speculations based on some of the things said. But I don't know if I should post it here in case I'm right and ruin something 50 hours in.

If anyone else has done that, let's talk in some more big spoilery text.

I have to stop doing the sidequests because I am so much higher level than anything else the game is becoming less fun.

Blind_Evil wrote:

First spoiler is about 2 hours into the game, second is maybe 8. Comes before the Mine on Bionis' Leg.

Spoiler:

Why is the first Mechon leader referred to as "Metal Face?" He's a robot, what else would his face be made of? I hate how often they say such an unnecessary term. Just call him the Faced Mechon or something.

Spoiler:

Also, I found the Mechons much more menacing before they began speaking. Metal-face, when he killed Fiora, was pretty disturbing due to the mystery behind his motivation. Then you get Xord, spewing on about eating people and being a general menace is his London gangster accent, it's just jarring. I suspect this may have something to do with Dunban and Dickson's other ally in the intro, but who knows...

Regarding Spoiler 2:

Spoiler:

I'm not sure how I feel about them speaking, though watching Jim Sterlin's Jimquisition episode on how cut-scenes aren't "failure states" had a clip from the game where it looked like the Mechs were talking. So when he did start speaking, it didn't surprise me. Can't comment on whether I think it is better or worse, though it does make one wonder why there was no speech before considering how talkative they are now.

As for that last part, I had my theories that Dunban's pal with the claws was the new Mechon leader. After hearing him speak and, well, associating the claws, I'm absolutely certain he has turned into the Mechon somehow, though not sure to what extent since Shulk had a vision that seemed to depict a man inside of it.

Also, I still can't help but think of Invader Zim at Shulk's name.

"SHUNK EAT ENEMY!!!"

I bought this today even though I still have a large chunk of ME3 to go through before I can even think of touching it. I mostly got it just in case it suddenly becomes scarce for some reason. Can anyone enable me? I'm a long time JRPG fan but I don't always have the patience for endless random encounters. How does this game hold up compared to Lost Odyssey or one of the better recent JRPGs? I'd skim the thread but I have a spoiler phobia.

Well, no random battles, and you can easily run from any unwanted skirmishes, but I really like the combat. I think the plot is pretty good, the characters and VO maybe leave a little to be desired. The environments are top-notch in terms of aesthetic and especially scale. The exploration is probably what compels me strongest.

I think the best thing about the environment is looking up into the sky and seeing the silhouettes of the Titans. The last time I saw something that bad ass was the original Halo.

SixteenBlue wrote:

But yeah, 3 hours in and everything Clock said is right but I'm still having fun. My main complaint so far is the combat is either boring or overwhelming but it sounds like it gets better.

I just crossed the 6 hour threshold and it does start to get more interesting. The break->topple mechanic is incredibly important from what I've seem so far, (although you can kinda bypass it) which reminds me of the stagger mechanic from XIII. I completely agree about with Clocky's point about the combat lacking any sort of friction, primarily due to the ability to just move around completely at ease while the game auto-attacks for you (it feels really weird to me). That feeling doesn't go away and i can see where he was coming with that. I feel like it is getting a bit more involved with the sheer number of skills and cooldowns in play now (I'm around level 13). How does this compare with XII's battle system which I thought was supposed to be a bit MMO-ish as well?

Other observations:
* It's still jarring to have combat fairly seamless since I keep forgetting to regularly check the arts page and dump points into the arts. I miss having a results screen.
* I've pretty much given up on trying to complete all the quests. There's just too many of them and I know I'm going to hit a 20 hour wall on this game, multiple times. So I'm just going to gather up quests as I explore and if I finish some, then cool. If not, no big.
* Gem crafting is insane.

Gem-crafting is time-consuming if anything. I really wish it didn't take so much time up, and in the end I just have so many agility gems.

What's worse is I reached a point in the game where you can find "mineral deposits" and grab crystals from there. So yeah, definitely a lot of MMOish elements in that regard.

Makes me wonder how many other console RPG's are more like single-player MMO's these days? Or perhaps it's basically just FF12/13 and Xenoblade that are doing it like this.

Kingdoms of Amalur definitely followed the MMO path.

I could make an argument for Dragon Age too, as far as the combat goes.

I thought we told you guys not to craft gems until Rank 3 or higher.

You get free Rank 1 and 2 gems early from doing the collection stuff, and from some mission completions, more than enough to stock your team. So much so that you might as well sell off all the rank 1 materials.

Also you're not going to get the great heat/megaheat stuff until your team has high affinity with each other, so again, it's not worth gem crafting for quite a while...

ccesarano wrote:

Gem-crafting is time-consuming if anything. I really wish it didn't take so much time up, and in the end I just have so many agility gems.

Could be worse. Legend of Mana crafting was incredibly deep and required a good amount of planning in addition to a good amount of animation you couldn't fast forward through.

Stele wrote:

I thought we told you guys not to craft gems until Rank 3 or higher. :?

But shiny new system to play with! Couldn't resist the siren's call

Blind_Evil wrote:

Kingdoms of Amalur definitely followed the MMO path.

I could make an argument for Dragon Age too, as far as the combat goes.

Ah, was more thinking JRPG's. I still make a distinction between Western and Japanese RPG's as PC and Console, respectively.

Oddly enough, while I've been looking at Xenoblade as being a single player MMO, my brother said it reminded him of Dragon Age and asked me how it compared. Looking at it in that regard, they are a bit similar in console design (I don't know what Dragon Age was like on PC, just that it was much more like Balder's Gate). The big change is no control over A.I. partners, which also means no pausing in combat to issue commands.

I think the cool-downs may be better, that or the special moves are just that much more flashy (or numerous?) that I find I don't have as much time to stop and give commands to my compatriots like I did in Origins. But, the A.I. is clever enough that if I use a Break attack, Reyn will 90% of the time use Wild Down after.

What's tough is when you have to use a Break attack on a Face Mechon that will only work when in the ideal position. I know the one air strike gets boosted effects when attacking from the side, but because of the nature of the Monado it is inevitable that Shulk will start pulling all the aggro, making such Break attacks less likely. It has really made me wonder if I should have invested more in Reyn's abilities to pull aggro. At the start of the game he was taking insane damage because he was the strongest. Now, Shulk is taking most of the damage. So perhaps I should revise my strategy in that regard.

Also: apologies if any of the above discussion is spoiler-worthy (though maybe it'll last minute convince Clocky to keep giving the game a try? >.> )

Stele wrote:

I thought we told you guys not to craft gems until Rank 3 or higher.

You get free Rank 1 and 2 gems early from doing the collection stuff, and from some mission completions, more than enough to stock your team. So much so that you might as well sell off all the rank 1 materials.

Also you're not going to get the great heat/megaheat stuff until your team has high affinity with each other, so again, it's not worth gem crafting for quite a while...

Even if I stop crafting for now, it doesn't stop the fact that having to swap gems out whenever you're changing equipment is a real bitch and two halves.

Though the affinity thing reminds me: are most of these Heart-to-Hearts supposed to be Not Available? Because that's kind of annoying.

ccesarano wrote:

What's tough is when you have to use a Break attack on a Face Mechon that will only work when in the ideal position. I know the one air strike gets boosted effects when attacking from the side, but because of the nature of the Monado it is inevitable that Shulk will start pulling all the aggro, making such Break attacks less likely. It has really made me wonder if I should have invested more in Reyn's abilities to pull aggro. At the start of the game he was taking insane damage because he was the strongest. Now, Shulk is taking most of the damage. So perhaps I should revise my strategy in that regard.

Also: apologies if any of the above discussion is spoiler-worthy (though maybe it'll last minute convince Clocky to keep giving the game a try? >.> )

Don't forget that Shulk has an ability to decrease aggro on him. Also, I think Clocky sold his copy already.

Even if I stop crafting for now, it doesn't stop the fact that having to swap gems out whenever you're changing equipment is a real bitch and two halves.

Though the affinity thing reminds me: are most of these Heart-to-Hearts supposed to be Not Available? Because that's kind of annoying.

Swapping gems doesn't bother me that much although I'm not swapping gear a ton. Most games with socketable gear have similar issues. This game does lack an "optimize" button which is really annoying given the amount of gear the game throws at you.

I think most of the Heart-to-Hearts are unavailable because there's going to be a bit of backtracking at some point. I was exploring around Colony 9 and found some level 70+ mobs on the Eastern shore which I made sure to stay clear of.

Heh, yeah, I wasn't clever enough to avoid those mobs and got my ass chomped off by some sort of level 70 piranha.

I tend to check my equipment frequently enough as I'm sort of reminded of Too Human, which REALLY needed a better interface considering how much loot you picked up in that game. I'd say half of that damn game was spent in menus.

I basically wait until I've noticed I've been picking up items for a while, then examine what it is I have.

ccesarano wrote:

I basically wait until I've noticed I've been picking up items for a while, then examine what it is I have.

That's what I'm doing too. Also if I start getting my ass handed to me by mobs. There's just too much stuff to process and without a battle results screen to remind me to examine my gear and available skill points I forget to check on them. I think I had a similar issue in Mass Effect.

ccesarano wrote:

Though the affinity thing reminds me: are most of these Heart-to-Hearts supposed to be Not Available? Because that's kind of annoying.

Seriously.

I find the equipment management in general to be a little clunky. I wish devs would spend more on menus/interface design.

On a semi-related note, is there any reason (beyond quests) that I shouldn't sell all my materials loot?

I've been keeping all the items in the orange tabs, as they seem to be the ones tied to side quests or gem crafting or some such (though I've been selling Agility gems I've created that only boost by about 2).

The items that are in the blue tabs, though, are free money.

ccesarano wrote:

I've been keeping all the items in the orange tabs, as they seem to be the ones tied to side quests or gem crafting or some such (though I've been selling Agility gems I've created that only boost by about 2).

The items that are in the blue tabs, though, are free money.

I've seen quest items in the blue tab (they have an ! on them). Good to know though.

SixteenBlue wrote:

On a semi-related note, is there any reason (beyond quests) that I shouldn't sell all my materials loot?

Trading?

Every named NPC in the game, you can trade with. And the items they offer for trade change as you gain affinity with the area they are in. 1 star, 2 star, and so on, everyone gets new items to trade.

Many of them are quest items, so you can actually just run around town and trade to complete quests instead of going out and killing/collecting items. :cool:

Or there is the collection pages, which I believe the one "bonus" page has items on it that can only be received from trades. And the rewards for completing a row there are pretty good I think.

Sold.

Blind_Evil wrote:

Well, no random battles, and you can easily run from any unwanted skirmishes, but I really like the combat. I think the plot is pretty good, the characters and VO maybe leave a little to be desired. The environments are top-notch in terms of aesthetic and especially scale. The exploration is probably what compels me strongest.

Just finished my first major boss battle before heading into Colony 6. I'm really enjoying the story portion of the game, but the side quests are feeling really grating. I'm going to give them a rest for awhile, except for some of the monster challenges.

One thing that I don't like

Spoiler:

Now that I've heard the Mechon talk they feel far less menacing. I prefer my enemies remain mysterious.

Finally back at it today, after a week of my parents visiting and barely having any game time... picked up in

Spoiler:

Frontier Village

and then finished the story part and headed on up to

Spoiler:

Erthys Sea

and wandered around there a while. I really should probably head back to Colony 6 and work on rebuilding.

It is interesting though, I have ran across several quests in these last two zones which require materials from earlier zones (Colony 9, Tephra Caves, etc). So the advice on never selling any items from those last two tabs seems to be solid. At the very least there will be something I can trade for, but also a lot of it turns out to be useful later. I assume a lot of it will be used in the Colony 6 stuff as well.

Anyway, the last two zone also seem just as big, if not bigger, than the first few zones. I met so many new named NPCs, added so many more entries on the affinity chart, and have picked up so many more quests... I don't see how you could ever do it all.

Put a few more hours into the game and it really does get a lot better. That said, I don't think Clock would have liked it more because all of the same issues still apply, if not are actually worse. The number of side quests is ridiculous. It's to the point where I don't see how it can be considered a positive aspect of the game.

I got to Bionis Leg and it reminded me a whole lot of FFXII which is a good thing, for me. I love finding roaming enemies I can't fight yet.

I have a question though: what makes this a JRPG and Dragon Age : Origins not? Is it simply where it's made? Because I thought game play characteristics were the defining traits. The only noticeable game play difference between the two games that I can think of is the lack of control over the main story and dialogue options. Is that all it takes?