It’s a long time since I played a Tomb Raider game and the reviews and comment on the latest incarnation whetted my appetite for a bit of action with Lara, if you know what I mean. Rather than dive into Rise of the Tomb Raider I decided to go for the first in the series, i.e. the reboot – Tomb Raider.
I really enjoyed it. Not too long and not too short. I couldn’t help but think I haven’t ever seen any protagonist either in a game or film fall down so many things. Highly recommended if you fancy a good 12-15 hour game that’s just straight linear action.
After Tomb Raider I was faced with the release of a load of games, none of which I could really afford and all of which I wanted to buy. Reluctantly I whittled it down to a choice of two: Zelda Twilight Princess or Xenoblade Chronicles X, both for Wii U.
I never got to play Zelda TP so the release of the HD version was just what I needed to scratch my Zelda itch, but I was also itching for another massive RPG and I hadn’t yet coaxed my PS3 back off my daughter to play red Dead Redemption (who also managed to take my PS4 as well!) and that’s when I noticed Xenoblade Chronicles X.
The download version was £50 or so but you could get it for about £30 on disc second-hand so I trawled my local Computer Exchange and GAME for a copy, but it was no-where to be found. After about an hour of searching I gave up and treated myself to a Costa coffee instead. On the way out of the shopping centre I noticed an Argos, so I reckoned I might as well have a look in there and see if I could maybe get a bit knocked off the RRP, maybe to £40 or so.
I noticed that they had a game called Xenoblade Chronicles for £25, but it was pictured with the Chronicles X box art. Xenoblade Chronicles X was priced at £40 but had a different cover for the box art, and it was different to any of the art I had seen in reviews. So I took a punt and got a genuine, brand new Xenoblade Chronicles X for £25. Get in!
I really didn’t know what to expect from the game, but I did not expect the glorious spectacle that was set before me.
I will go as far as to say that this is the best RPG I have ever played. The graphics are about as good as you could expect from a Wii U, and on the downside the draw distance of NPCs and associated graphics is really poor. That is made up in spades by the scale of the world. It is phenomenal and as good, if not better, than anything I have played – even on PC. It is truly open world and you can run, walk, fly or swim across the whole thing and you will never see a load screen or a pause.
The level of detail in the various systems is incredible, with a depth that I have not experienced in any game. Not only do you have to keep an eye on your equipment and stats but you have to invest carefully in equipment suppliers; develop your “spells” which are known as “Arts” in this game; build up NPC characters and relationships with them; develop a mining system where you balance resources against cash and get stuck into a bit of crafting. For the first time in an RPG I got into the story. The side quests feed into the main story which is cinematic to say the least. The cut scenes are relatively short but are gripping and you want to watch them, then when they’ve finished you want to watch them again.
If you like RPGs it is worth buying a Wii U to play this game. Especially if you like RPGs that are very Japanese, including associated cheesy music. I put over 100 hours into it before deciding to complete the main story and I could easily spend another 100 hours in it if I wanted to. Sheer unadulterated perfection.
And that leads me onto a point I’d like to make – the Wii U is currently the best console of this generation.
Quite simply the best games I have played over the last year have been for the Wii U and I cannot understand why PS4 and Xbone are as popular as they are with the dross that gets churned out for them. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good games for them but the Wii U seems to ooze great games but gets no attention (over here in the U.K. at any rate) and it should sell at least as many as the other platforms.
My next game will either be Zelda TP or the Fallout 4 DLC when it comes out but only because I have already paid for it so I practically have to.
Before I sign off I’d just like to make another contentious statement:
Xenoblade is better than Fallout 4 and even Fallout 3. There, I said it!