How Xenoblade Chronicles makes multiple menus work


Box art found at

Box art found at

At level 15 in Xenoblade Chronicles 20 experience points don’t go very far. Yet, this is just the amount of experience that you get for the achievement “Terminal Velocity.” This achievement is unlocked when you jump from the Bionis’ Knee into the unknown below. Yes, anyone curious enough to off themselves in this manner gets a mere 20 experience points.

Hopefully, later in the game, there’s some sort of achievement keeper who gives you something for having unlocked so many or all of the game’s achievements. Otherwise, that leap is hardly worth it – though it is kind of strange being able to jump off of what is one continent of this game’s world.

Anyway, before finishing Tephra Cave, I gained the abilities to see the future in battle and to link characters’ skills together. Now I think I’ve opened up everything this game has to offer.

Although, one of those two abilities doesn’t sound right.

Seeing the future fits, though, despite its odd presence.

The Monado – which I’m guessing becomes the best weapon in the game either over time or after a Masa and Mune style power up – has the power to give its wielder visions of the future. As such, this power is worked into battles. Not all of them, it seems, but definitely the major ones.

Why show the future in these battles? So that you can change it. Also so that the game’s theme of having control over the future can be more pronounced than it would be if this ability only showed up in cutscenes.

But you don’t just change the future automatically. You’re given warning of what’s coming and then it’s up to you to choose what to do (including nothing at all). You can use a Skill Art to inflict “Topple” or “Break” on an enemy to defer their attack. Or you can use the Monado to shield against it, as long as you’ve levelled up Shulk’s shield skill enough to match the level of the incoming enemy attack.

If that sounds like you need to do some skill micro-managing, it’s because you do.

Actually, given all of the game’s menus and customization possibilities I think that the developers of Xenoblade Chronicles expect players to put as much attention to detail into it as they did.

And in an RPG like this, such attention’s hardly a bad thing. After all, because the game’s world is so immersive (thanks largely to the Chrono Trigger-style, no-scene change battle system) I’ve hardly noticed or minded having to pay that extra attention.

It is unfortunate that working in the menus can sometimes cut into your exploration time, however.

Maybe there’s some way to combine menus and exploration? Some way to make a menu into a geography that players explore to set and equip things?

What do you think is the best menu to exploration mix for a J-RPG?


About NSCZach

A writer who translates Beowulf (and other things), freelances, reads voraciously, and plays adventure video games/J-RPGs.
This entry was posted in RPG, video games, Wii and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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