Xenoblade chron­i­cles x

Chron­i­cles Of Ridicu­lous

SFX - - Reviews -

RE­LEASED OUT NOW! Pub­lisher Nin­tendo Re­viewed on Wii U

videogame Af­ter romp­ing up and down the legs and shoul­ders of two colos­sal gods, few JRPGs have come close to match­ing the vis­ual am­bi­tion of Wii’s Xenoblade Chron­i­cles. Once you’ve watched the sun set un­der the loom­ing arches of a vast kneecap, it’s hard to imag­ine get­ting ex­cited for any­thing less.

Un­til, that is, you meet Chron­i­cles X’s space whale: a fly­ing lu­mi­nes­cent beast that dances in the moon­light be­neath a shim­mer­ing Aurora Bo­re­alis as misty spray from a 200ft wa­ter­fall fills the air. Once again de­vel­oper Mono­lith has our full at­ten­tion. Wel­come to Mira, the last hu­man strong­hold in the galaxy – and, more im­por­tantly, your new bench­mark for vir­tual sci-fi tourism.

Mira is a huge world of as­ton­ish­ing imag­i­na­tion, and rather than gate off higher-level beasts in late-game nooks and cran­nies, it throws them all in to­gether, making for a more thrilling ecosys­tem as you weave your way across its plains and val­leys. En­gag­ing Mira’s blood­thirsty wildlife is, for the most part, an ab­so­lute treat, as X’s com­bat sys­tem ar­guably im­proves on Mono­lith’s pre­vi­ous Wii scraps.

Through­out X, how­ever, there’s a dis­tinct lack of wel­com­ing charm, par­tic­u­larly com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor. Xenoblade’s ef­fort­less blend of quests, ex­plo­ration and com­bat is buried un­der heaps of acronyms and di­vi­sion names, and the won­der of dis­cov­ery is bogged down by the te­dious chore of plant­ing data probes to ex­pand your map – this kind of bu­reau­cratic non­sense has no place in this world.

For all its flaws, though, there’s no deny­ing that Mira’s beauty takes your breath away with ev­ery new hori­zon, and the breadth and depth of each biome only makes it that much more sat­is­fy­ing to dis­cover. It may lack the heart of Wii’s JRPG stun­ner, but the rest of X’s anatomy stands shoul­der-toshoul­der with gi­ants. Katharine Byrne

You come across some awe-in­spir­ing sights, but names like Whale Nos­tril don’t really do them jus­tice…

Well it sure beats a wet week­end in Wales.

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