For all the shit I gave the game (and will continue to give it because screw this map/menu system) it's really managed to suck me in now. The main plot keeps being hit-and-miss for me, and the parts of it I find interesting aren't exactly the main focus, but I'm having a great time fiddling around with the sidequests! I've stumbled across some gorgeous locations, met with interesting NPCs, been chased around by terrifying monsters and had some epic battles! So I may not have to give this game a 6/10 in my collection after all.
Also, I'm still not any less impressed with the beauty on display in the Urayan continent. It makes me stop in my tracks and just stand around gawking at it, revelling in the atmosphere. Every single time I go there.
If you people don't think this is just about the gorgeousestestest shit you ever saw we're gonna have to take this outside.
Didn't really look forward to going to Mor Ardain in the fourth chapter since I tend to find the type of environments on display in places like that to be pretty boring, but I should have known better considering this is a Monolith game. I've been exploring that place all evening, and it's been an absolute delight. The main quest events have even made put all the sidequests aside. Fantastic stuff.
Overall, not a complete masterpiece of a game but I've been really enjoying it despite some technical short comings and some issues. These are my "quick" impressions and there will be no spoilers beyond the prologue (even then just casually hinting at what happens, not outright saying it)
Characters are all pretty likeable. At first I hated the swing to a more anime look, but they got the more expressive part down. I like the non-American voice acting overall, but there is one character who sounds bored out of her mind and it bugs me. It's especially annoying when she is talking back and forth with another female character and since she is one of the main characters in the story...it's disappointing. I really like Rex. He starts out about as anime-average as you can get, but through heart-to-hearts, small hints, and the story beats he's a very good main character. So much better than the blank slate in X and I like him more than Shulk so far. Do wish we got either less blades or more original looking blades. The commons all having a common look, while practical, looks boring and I tend to avoid ever using them. Also kind of don't like the RNG element in them (stats, elements, rare or not, etc) but whatever.
Battle System - I think I finally got it. It starts off painfully slow because they didn't want to go the X route, but now it seems completely open. Still need to tweak my party to get the full extent out of the system and work out plans for it. Break - Topple - Launch - Smash is a lot better than Break - Topple - Daze (plus no punishment enemies like in the original where they would magically get party crushing Spikes if they got toppled). I really like the elemental system in here and how they use the chain attacks. For the partners being AI controlled they aren't anything to complain about. Have found you do need to set people into defined roles (at least so far) because when elemental combos start coming up your party members will switch to a Blade that has an element that can continue the combo. So having an Earth Tank switch to his Fire DPS can wreck you. Probably can be fixed if I played the Tank person but I hate doing that. Probably the most fun battle system of the "trilogy".
Story wise - I like the overall story, but right now I feel like the "threat" was poorly established in the prologue. Compared to the original; Battle at Sword Valley and the events at Colony 9...even if Xenoblade 1 didn't end up where you thought you'd be at the start, it still established the "threat" very clearly. This game fails to do that. It's not nearly as bad as whatever they were trying to set up with X, but it doesn't have that driving force behind it to make the "threat" what pushes you forward. On the flip side, they spend a LOT of time world building in this game and I absolutely love that. Might be why the "threat" (only put in quotes because I don't want to use names, not because they aren't an actual threat) took a back seat as the driving force. I constantly get Tales of Symphonia vibes from this story and while this story hasn't hit all those same beats, it still has that feel. That the "world" is the bigger focus. I still wish they'd hit more on the stuff that happened before the adventure began, but that seems to be getting set up for the past-Chapter 5 areas.
Environments - I will say this area was really disappointing to me at first. The first few areas you go to, while beautiful to look at and very impressive in scope, were so "generic grass area" that it felt like a bummer. It's started getting better but it doesn't have that "wow" area just yet.
Music - I think this is where the game is at it's best. You get that "Gaur Plains" retread early on, but besides that this is one of the few games where I just stop and listen to the music. Once you reach the area in Chapter 5 the day/night songs are incredible. Was trying to find them on Youtube but I don't think they are up just yet. Really looking forward to more tracks as the game progresses cause they've all gotten stuck in my head at one point or another.
Quality of Life - I love that they put the quest tracker in the game, but it is so weird compared to other games. Once you get beyond it seemingly tracking your path to the destination, and just tracking the destination itself, you can work it better. Had a real tough time because I'd try to do the quickest route to where the area was pointing not realizing that the destination was somewhere entirely different. The map fucking blows though. Not having it default to the area you are currently on sucks, having to try and slowly navigate to locations on it sucks (since it doesn't denote that side quest is on Lower Level, so you just open every level until you finally find it). Having the pictures for NPCs who gave the quests is awesome. Having a quick "these are your objectives" list on the game screen is awesome. Being able to track only one story quest and one side quest is a little annoying. Wish we could track all quests at once and maybe color code them for easier reference.
I'd say the game is a solid 8/10 for me so far. It'll depend on which way the story goes as the game progresses how I really feel about it. There are a lot of technical issues with the game (mainly a horrible framerate) that lower it for me as well.
We got to the cliff overlooking the first real city/town on a Titan last night and Nia said she is going her separate way after we reach the town, so I am going to just live in the area before the town and never go there because I have match-makered Rex and Nia and they belong together and are going to get married and I will never do something that will cause her to leave.
My wife is trying to convince me to continue, but I'm unwilling to take that risk. This area is nice enough to stay forever, thank you very much. We'll be fine.
@Mop it up Framerate and resolution tweaks, possibly. Maps and menus and stuff like that, I don't think so. I'm basing this on pretty much nothing, but I think they'd sooner fix stuff that is obviously technical than stuff that can be said to be design choices.
A patch is coming this friday, according to poster Xenosaga on ResetERA.
-easy mode for tiger tiger added -pressing X goes to the location you are currently on the map -the huge map pressing the L button getting better
So I guess it's the total opposite of what I thought! But hey, this sounds like a good start if true! The poster also says they are looking into performance issues, but that there's nothing solid. Not sure who this person is or why they would know, but hey.