Xenoblade: One Hour In
Very, very brief, micro-thoughts on the recently-released JRPG revival from Nintendo and Monolith Soft:
- The intro, frankly, is awesome: it is, of course, mostly a combat and navigation tutorial, but the cinematics and the ‘pull back’ towards the end of the initial sequence is just stunning.
- The graphics are truly fantastic (yes, yes “for a Wii game”, *grumble*), and the actual art design (if you hadn’t noticed by now) is breathtaking.
- I can’t say much about the music because, on the whole, there isn’t a lot to comment on only an hour in, but the theme is, of course, wonderful and the battle theme is catchy.
- The combat system is well-executed and is a hybrid real-time (you control character movement at all times, with limited control over attacks, etc.) and you can actually build functional combos a la a fighting game in, essentially, real-time. (Cool-downs, however, are governed by an FF-style ‘active battle’ system.)
- On the downside, the primary (or perhaps I should say ‘elemental’) plot points are a bit generic and the whole set-up and initial execution has been done to death in a million movies/JRPGs1, but it’s still blood-pumping stuff, even if rife w/ JRPG cliches. (And man, I really, really dig that ‘pull out’ shot about 15 mins in that promises–and better deliver, damn you!–an epic adventure, in the purest, non-Internet denatured and destroyed, sense of the word.)
I imagine we’ll find out when, exactly, this potential gem will be hitting the West this week at E3 but, until then, the brave can import.
1 Epic, earth-shattering, events in a far off land precipitate a country bumpkin’s first steps on an adventure of self-discovery and ass-kicking, i.e. Campbell 101.