I named Xenoblade as my best game of 2012. Now that I’ve finished the game, I have to say that it’s far greater than that.
Xenoblade’s humongous world packed in over 190 hours of some of the best adventures I’ve ever experienced.
I know some people may think that 190 hours can become exhausting. Most people would stop after so many days, because all the random battles in these Japanese games can grow redundant. However, I really didn’t want Xenoblade to end.
The game just grabs my attention with an enchanting atmosphere that I haven’t felt since the day I first played Chrono Trigger. The massive worlds extend over the span of many football fields. The diverse soundtrack blends in everything, from heavy metal to folk guitars and orchestral music.
Best of all, the epic story is a moving reflection on the creation of the world. It opens with two of the main heroes setting out to avenge the death of their best friend. They meet up with a wide range of partners to accompany them. At the halfway point though, the game hits people with one plot twist after another.
The shifting storyline is shocking, to say the least. The game begins as a war between humans and wild machines known as Mechon. With each new twist, the plot changes into a universal struggle against gods. The entire adventure could literally play out like a 26-episode anime show. Yet, it all feels more real than ever before, because it all takes place in a video game format.
I grew attached to all of the characters in this giant world. Each side quests requires to player to know all the intimate details about the non-player characters in each town. While a lot of the tasks rely a little too much on fetching items, each completed quests change the relationships of each villager. The game adds an even more sinister twist after a dramatic plot twist changes some of the NPCs permanently.
I literally cannot talk about the story any further, because I would spoil a lot of precious details. The atmosphere is thrilling, to say the least.
The game complements this epic fantasy tale with one of the best game soundtracks I have ever heard. One of my favorite battle themes, “Mechanical Rhythm,” cranks up the intensity with loud heavy metal guitars and sweeping orchestral melodies. I’d never heard such an awesome combination in a fantasy role-playing game. I came close to playing air guitar in the middle of each battle.
I really should have finished this game sooner. I just felt wrapped up with the incredible scope of Xenoblade. I’ll never forget the last dungeon, in which I climbed through a giant castle with a loud orchestra blasting in the background. The dramatic ballad playing in the dungeon is called “To the Final Battle.” It pumped me up in every way possible. I just wanted to stick around the entire dungeon, because the music made me feel like I was playing through the massive final battles in The Lord of the Rings.
Xenoblade is more than just another game. It’s one of the greatest games of all time. I’m especially glad that the developer of Xenoblade, Monolith Soft, is following up with a similar RPG for the Wii U. The company deserves all the praise in the world, because they developed a true masterpiece.
How does Xenoblade compare to other modern-day role-playing games? How do you think the follow-up to Xenoblade will expand on the franchise’s new, open-world universe? Write your thoughts in the comments below.