MISHAWAKA – Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is a reworked version of a nine-year-old classic. Fans have been overjoyed at the overhauled visuals and audio, as well as all the new changes to the gameplay itself.
I waited on what felt like the sharpest pins and needles in the world for this game. Its announcement late last year took me completely by surprise; it was previewed in a run-of-the-mill Nintendo Direct, that, mind you, I was watching for an entirely separate reason. Once the Direct had almost finished, there came upon the screen a few scenic shots that I thought looked familiar. Suddenly, the all-too recognizable protagonist of the game was in the center of my screen looking better than he ever had. My roommate, also a fan of the series, and I lost our minds at the announcement, and proceeded to fangirl for approximately the rest of the week. We then began waiting the longest eight months of my entire life for the game’s eventual release, and, on May 27th of the worst year in recent memory, the world became a little brighter.
Xenoblade Chronicles is fairly standard as far as JRPG’s go: you begin the game doing menial tasks around your hometown until it escalates beyond almost any recognition. The premise of the game is that there are two creatures called titans: the Bionis and the Mechonis. These two came into existence when the world was nothing but ocean as far as the eye could see; of course, after they both came into the world, there was nothing to do but try to kill each other, so they did that for a few hundred years. Finally, they both managed to strike the killing blow, leaving only their bodies stuck standing in the sea. Sometime later, life began to thrive on these creatures, organic on the Bionis, and synthetic on the Mechonis. For scale, the arm of the Mechonis could rival Manhattan in size.
This worldbuilding is established at the beginning of the game in a gorgeous cutscene that I never dreamed I would see in high definition. After the exposition, the player is introduced to the protagonist: Shulk. Shulk is an orphaned, 18-year-old scientist who studies an ancient sword called the Monado, which has only ever been wielded by one person. His parents went on an expedition for it when he was young, but they, along with almost everyone else on the trip, died trying to recover the sword. Shulk now occupies just about all his time trying to unlock the blade’s secrets.
Unfortunately, after a major breakthrough in his research, a group of machines from the Mechonis, aptly named “Mechon,” invade Shulk’s home, Colony 9, on the Bionis. Along with his friends, Reyn and Fiora, Shulk attempts to repel the invasion, with minimal success; regular weapons cannot hurt the Mechon. Luckily, Shulk is more capable of using the Monado, the Mechon-slaying weapon, than its previous user, seeing as the sword lets Shulk see the future. With this newfound power, Shulk and company repel the invasion, but not entirely. Several lives were lost in the attack, some very important to Shulk. With the sting of defeat still in their minds, Shulk and his companions set out to get revenge on the Mechon who attacked the colony. This kicks off a lengthy trip across both titans, with plenty of twists, turns, friends, enemies and wonderfully expansive environments.
Xenoblade Chronicles is a series that is very dear to me, and I am so jazzed that it got this remake, allowing more people to experience the game than the first iteration. Speaking of iterations, this is the first of two pieces I will be writing on this game; the second, as opposed to being a very informal synopsis/sales pitch to please try this beautiful game, will discuss the mechanics and gameplay, and the changes in the new edition from the old in the more traditional sense of a game review. I just could not help but gush over how great this game is, so please forgive me, and stay tuned.