game doesn’t focus on classroom facts, though there are plenty of menus, texts
and numbers for players to sort through and consider. Maps are also an integral
part of exploring the game’s many gigantic worlds, largely because they’re so
gigantic. A corner-of-the-screen radar helps players keep tabs on their
immediate surroundings, and a separate more detailed map allows players to
scout out landmarks and fast-travel between them.
Creativity & Imagination
By the Player:
can customize their characters in great detail. For the most part this involves
exploring menus. Defeating enemies grants players a collection of different
experience and skill points; some of these level characters up, while others
are allocated manually to level up the individual skills of a character.
Characters also have access to additional focus tracks; players select one, and
as characters gain experience points they also learn skills unique to that
track. This stuff continues to open up more and more as the game progresses.
also customize the equipment of each character, the details of which would take
up at least as much space as the above paragraph. One notable detail is that
changing a character’s equipment is reflected in the character’s appearance
of character tweaking, players also have plenty of room to explore. In fact,
that really can’t be emphasized enough - the game has dozens of gigantic areas,
filled with hidden items, enemies that need to be hunted down for sidequests,
and powerful bosses. Curious players can come across enemies strong enough to
be basically unbeatable just as easily as they can stumble across a new item to
plug into the Collectopaedia, a book that rewards players for filling in its various
By the Developer:
game’s graphics are easily its most striking quality. Walking out into the
first overworld area is stunning; it stretches out a huge distance, and players
can explore almost every inch of it as soon as they first enter the area.
Subsequent areas offer just as much as freedom while exploring different
also has some unique twists. The easiest comparison to make is to MMO-style
combat - players control one character, attacking on an automatic timer and
choosing when to unleash special abilities from a bar on the bottom of the
screen. A network of special abilities, combo attacks between characters,
enemies with very specific weaknesses and other twists make the whole thing feel
game also has great music and voice acting, and its story crosses memorable
characters with a brisk plot that incorporates small personal stories within
its apocalypse-stopping globe-trotting.
collect money from defeating enemies and completing quests, which can be used
in towns to purchase a wide range of items. Pieces of equipment - five or six
different types of armor per character, plus weapons - can be found in dozens
of varieties, and it’s often up to players to decide which stats they want to
emphasize within their budgets. Other healing items and - most importantly -
crafting materials are also available. While the game is fairly generous when
it comes to handing out gold, there is a wide enough range of goods that
there’s always room for more.
of the game’s central mechanics involves the relationships between characters.
There are various points throughout the world that players can visit to trigger
events that bring their characters closer together. These help flesh out the
game’s story, and as certain characters become closer more events open up. This
also has an effect in battle, as friendlier party members are more likely to
launch synchronized attacks or support each other.
however, do not have any control over the actual progression of these events,
as they are relegated to traditional cutscenes.
in Xenoblade Chronicles requires players to juggle plenty of
information. Only one character is controlled directly, while the rest of the
party attacks automatically. Players still have control over how each
characters’ skills develop, however, and in battle there are often
opportunities to give commands.
relies on the player’s reflexes to some small degree, as positioning and timing
in battle can be crucial. Fighting often revolves around waiting for an enemy
to be hit by a staggering attack and then hitting them with a breaking attack
to lower their guard, and attacking from the back or sides can lead to certain
Shulk finds out he has the power to see into the immediate future; this allows
the player to see when powerful attacks are coming and gives them a small
window to defend against or prevent the upcoming attack. The game slowly adds
tricks like these, and eventually the battle system has become something fairly
complex and malleable, despite the auto-attacks and single controllable
naturally have problems to solve outside of battle, though they usually come
down to exploring to find items and complete quests - which are usually
straightforward kill-this-monster affairs - or tinkering through menus to tweak
various aspects of the battle system.
Chronicles is not a simulation game.
Chronicles has had a great reception, with reviews that praise the game’s
enormous landscapes, huge amount of content, beautiful game world, characters
and story. The game’s combat and related mechanics were also viewed almost
universally as successes.
Controls & Options
Chronicles offers audio and visual options, as well as options that allow
players to tweak the amount of on-screen information provided by the game’s
Chronicles was rated Teen by the ESRB with descriptors for Blood, Mild
Language, Partial Nudity, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, and Violence.