By the way, this shot is from the other giant's kneecap.Xenoblade
, known as Xenoblade Chronicles in Europe and the US
, is a Japanese role playing game
for the Wii
console, developed by Monolith Soft
and published and produced by Nintendo
. It is the Spiritual Successor
to the Xenosaga
series of Eastern RPGs
for the Playstation 2
(which itself was a Spiritual Successor
to the Square Soft Role-Playing Game Xenogears
In the world of Xenoblade
, two continent-sized gods called the Bionis and the Mechonis fought an endless war against one another until only their lifeless corpses remained. Life flourished on the surface of these titans, giving birth to the human-like Homs on Bionis and the machine-like Mechon
Peace would last until the Mechon launched an invasion, attempting to wipe out all life upon Bionis. With the power of a legendary sword known as the Monado
, the only thing capable of piercing Mechon armour, the invasion was halted and peace regained for a time. That is, until one year later when the Mechon returned in even greater numbers than before.
The story follows Shulk, a young Homs male who becomes the new chosen
wielder of the Monado. He chooses to use the power of the blade to seek revenge against those who attacked his village
. Given the developer
, things get much
more complicated than that.
It was released in Japan on June 10th, 2010. After much fighting from the fans, it was released in Europe on August 19th, 2011, and translated to English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. After much fan demand, the game reached American grounds in April of 2012. Unfortunately, due to the game's highly limited run, the game is incredibly hard to find now
, making it hard for fans late to the game to own the whole "set" of Wii Role-Playing Game
's, made up of this, The Last Story
, and Pandora's Tower
On August 29th, 2014, a port for the New Nintendo 3DS
system was announced, after Shulk's reveal trailer
for the fourth Super Smash Bros.
A sequel (of sorts)
titled Xenoblade Chronicles X
is currently in development.Due to the spoileriffic nature of this game, be warned of unavoidable spoilers.
This game provides examples of:
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- A Storm Is Coming: Zanza says nearly word for word after the events of Prison Island.
- Abnormal Ammo: Ether rifles can, alongside normal rounds, fire ether rounds that have unusual effects. Sharla makes use of healing rounds, support rounds, electric rounds, and so on.
- Achievement System: The game has a large variety of internal achievements that grant Non-Combat EXP when completed. They're split in 2 categories, Trials and Records, with the former largely relating to the various sidequests and latter being mostly combat based. Only the latter carry over to New Game+, possibly because the former are more tied to the overall story progress and the latter generally have further stretching goals.
- Action Commands: Burst affinity. Occasionally in battle the player gets the opportunity to press a button to increase the team's tension and affinity, without major consequences besides a minor tension loss should the player fail. The same mechanic is also used in Dunban's "Blossom Dance" attack, and also to extend chain attacks, and for triggering the visions in the final battle against Zanza.
- Action Girl: Sharla with her big gun, Fiora with her knives, and Melia with her magic.
- Action Prologue: The game starts of with Dunban's stand against the Mechon approximately one year before the events of the game.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Alcamoth, the home of the High Entia, is a floating city full of advanced technology.
- Aerith and Bob: Most of the names are pretty fantastical like Shulk and Dunban, but then you get random NP Cs named things like Dorothy, and even Sharla is a real name.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted with Alvis, whose ascension from a ship AI to Monado made him more of an overlooker instead of going over his head. Granted, Zanza might have a different opinion, as Alvis did turn on him.
- Alliance Meter: A very simple one, but still counts. The more Side Quests are completed in each area, the higher the citizens' trust becomes. Higher trust allows trading for better items with the NPCs and unlocks more sidequests, some of which are necessary to unlock 2 extra skill trees for each character.
- All There in the Manual: For most, Fiora's restoration from cyborg to Homs seems to come out of left field, but it is detailed in the Japan-only short story, Monado: The Secret Files. Luckily, someone translated it to English, which is posted here.
- And Man Grew Proud: The races living on Bionis and Mechonis thrived after the two titans killed each other in battle. Although is later revealed that they did long before they waged battle.
- Animation Bump: During the majority of the dialogue cut scenes, the game uses pre-recorded animations and the lip movement is reduced to open-close-mouth. The characters' faces are rather motionless, the camera angles are pretty simple, and the shots are a little static. However, in the more dramatic and spectacular ones, the characters become more expressive, both in face animations and body language, the lip movement is animated accordingly to the spoken lines (at least with the Japanese dub) and the shots become way more dynamic.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- Most of the collectables are available via trades, which is great as some areas are unavailable after certain points and a few collectables are hard to get due to randomness. Some enemy drops are also available via trades. Finding out who can trade for them when and where can be a chore, though.
- Fast travel and time changing. Easily saves dozens of hours of pointless wandering, and even with them, 100% Completion still takes well in excess of 100 hours. Now if only they'd allow to change the weather too... and even that just takes a couple times going back and forth between two areas.
- Unlike most Eastern RPGs, there are no consumable healing items. Outside of battle, party members recover HP automatically, and during battle, all abilities (including healing) are tied to a cooldown instead of a mana system, so they can be used as long as you're willing to wait for them to recharge. This means the party will almost always be at full strength going into most fights, reducing the need to backtrack to a town to rest and restock on items.
- Although the game is loaded with MMO-like quests to fetch items and kill monsters, many of them don't require one to return to the quest-giver to receive the reward, which is instead given immediately upon fulfilling the objectives.
- Apocalypse How: A freaking Universal Class 4! Klaus tried to get an experiment that would turn human beings into gods and he ended up destroying the entire universe except himself, Meyneth, and the computer AI's consciousness. After that, they create the universe of the game. Klaus, now known as Zanza, is turned into Bionis, Meyneth into Mechonis, and the computer's AI into the Monado's spirit, which can take the Homs form of Alvis.
- Ape Shall Not Kill Ape: Shulk refuses to kill Metal Face after he realizes that he's actually a Hom. He dies after trying to kill Shulk only to get impaled and fall to his death.
- Arboreal Abode: Frontier Village takes it to an extreme, being a 9-level borderline Layered Metropolis inside a gigantic hollow tree.
- Arc Words: "Seize our destiny." It starts as a sort of Catch Phrase for Dunban, but later becomes synonymous with the party's struggle to change the future.
- As Lethal as It Needs to Be: The Monado is incapable of cutting sentient beings born from the Bionis, which severely cripples Shulk in a couple of battles. This restriction is no more once the Monado is unshackled.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
- Makna Forest has some massive dinosaurs in some areas. Ones that will pound you flat if you try to fight them your first time there.
- Fortress-class Mechon are gigantic, the smallest of them being the size of a big house. Battles against their generic versions can be just as tough, if not even tougher, than battles against unique monsters of the same level.
- The Mechonis and the Bionis. The former even has an attack that will kill the entire party and cause you to start a battle over.
- Awful Truth: Shulk surely doesn't take well to the fact that Dickson, one of his mentor figures, was Evil All Along. Not to mention that HE HIMSELF was Dead All Along. For 14 years, no less.
- Back from the Dead:
- The Homs turned into Mechon.
- Shulk had this twice. First he technically came back after Zanza started using his body as a vessel; and later, after Zanza leaves his body making him die again, he comes back for good.
- Back Stab: Several characters have at least one move that deals more damage struck from behind the enemy (for example, Shulk's Back Slash). It is possible to sneak behind enemies and start the fight with these attacks, giving a great advantage, or even a One-Hit Kill.
- Badass Adorable: Don't let Riki's adorable Nopon looks and child-like attitude fool you, he's just as capable of a fighter as his "sidekicks". He can stack up some impressive status-effect damage as a Gradual Grinder, and he has the most HP out of all the party.
- Badass Bookworm: Shulk, who is a mid-ranking member of Colony 9's Defense Forces engineering division. He already knew how to handle weapons before taking the Monado full-time.
- Badass Crew: The playable characters, of course. Even the Nopon party member kicks some serious ass.
- Bare Your Midriff: Many characters have outfits that show navel, such as Fiora and Sharla's default outfits.
- Battle Couple: Shulk and Fiora; long-time childhood friends with romantic tones that are hell-bent on protecting each other in battle.
- Beautiful Dreamer: Twice. First, Shulk watches Fiora sleep when the Machina are about to fix her Mechon body. Later in the game, the roles are exchanged and Fiora is the one who watches over Shulk. Although this time, she's waiting for him to come Back from the Dead. In both cases, all characters have unique dialogue regarding them.
- The Beautiful Elite: Rather downplayed. Shulk, Fiora, Sharla, and Melia would be top model material in the real world (especially in a swimsuit). But Dunban, while still physically attractive, is within levels reachable by the average person; and Reyn would be unthinkable in most Japanese fantasy media. The NPCs attractiveness varies a lot throughout the game, too.
- Behemoth Battle: The opening cutscene features a titanic clash between the the god-like entities Mechonis and Bionis. They are so big that after said battle their still standing corpses form the entire world in which the normal sized characters live on.
- Beware the Nice Ones: You would think Shulk, being a modest engineering student and nice guy, would not harm a fly. Or Fiora, a sweet girl and loving younger sister that takes care of her Handicapped Badass older brother, wouldn't be able to hurt anyone, right? WRONG!
- Big Bad: It changes through the story. At first the main conflict is with the murderous Metal Face. Then it changes to the Well-Intentioned Extremist Egil. And finally, the Evil God Zanza shows himself as the real evil menace.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies:
- The Arachno/Antol and Caterpile enemies are the major ones. Wisp, Apis, and Fliers being a tad big but not even close to the size of the the Archnids and Caterpiles. Wisp and Fliers also tend to not be violent unlike the spider based enemies.
- The giant Fortress-class Mechons are a robotic version, looking like a cross between a praying mantis and some kind of wacky Victorian exercise machine.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Fiora pulls off one of this during the Mechon attack to Colony 9, involving driving a freaking Mini-Mecha and fighiting single-handed against Metal Face, saving Shulk and co at the cost of her life.
- When the party is surrounded by Metal Face and several Mechon, Dunban and Dickson show up to lend them a hand. When they are overwhelmed, a Telethia sent by Alvis makes a swift appearance, attacking the Mechon and making them retreat.
- The party sans Melia infiltrates the High Entia Tomb just in time to save Melia from an assassin.
- Reyn and Sharla get one on the Fallen Arm, showing up just in time to help Shulk defend a still-recovering Fiora from Mechon patrol.
- Shulk gets one at the last stand against the Telethia at Colony 6 after coming back from the dead.
- Fiora has a couple of these with Meyneth, the most of which involve saving the party from a mobile Mechonis temporarily.
- Big Good: Lady Meyneth, the benevolent goddess of Mechonis, the one looking for a way to put an end to the source of the conflict between the Bionis and the Mechonis. Interestingly enough, this big good was indirectly assumed to be the enemy at first.
- Big "NO!": Shows up a few times, the earliest one being Shulk's reaction at Fiora's death.
- BFG: Ether rifles can be BIG. Sharla is no small girl, but she's dwarfed by some of her guns.
- BFS: The Monado itself. It starts out almost as tall as Shulk is, and can grow to three times its normal size for special attacks. Dunban also has some BFSs of his own, which he wields one-handed.
- Bilingual Bonus: The characters that appear on the Monado's glass pane remain unchanged from the Japanese version - "machine", symbolizing that the blade will take apart Mechon, "person", given by Zanza at Prison Island, and finally "god", at the start of the ending sequence.
- Bittersweet Ending: Highly sweet, mind you. Zanza is defeated, leaving the two gods finally at peace but destroyed, along with the world of Bionis and Mechonis. However, the universe is rebuilt, all the races of both the Bionis and Mechonis are saved from another destruction, Fiora gets her body back, and Shulk is finally at peace. However, many people, especially Machina and High Entia, lost their lives in the process.
- Black Magician Girl: Melia, a Squishy Wizard with some serious offensive ether arts on her arsenal.
- Blade Lock:
- Dunban and Shulk of all people get into one during a cutscene. Shulk does not want Dunban to kill a fellow Homs, even if is one he hates from the bottom of his heart.
- The Bionis and Mechonis get into one after Zanza's reawakening, which ends with the latter's sword being broken.
- Bodyguarding a Badass:
- When Melia is introduced, she has a contingent of Mook bodyguards to help her track down a monster she's hunting. They all die in the fight, but she manages to beat it off and injure it with one big ether attack.
- Likewise, much of Reyn's character development deals with him trying to keep his promise to protect Shulk, even as Shulk grows far more powerful than him. It gets even more building when Gadolt leaves Sharla in his capable hands before dying.
- Body Surf: Zanza and Meyneth may have physical forms, but they still tend to take the bodies of others to show themselves.
- Bonus Boss:
- The game includes 5 bonus bosses whose levels are above the player's cap of 99. They are Final Marcus at 100, Ancient Daedala at 105, Despotic Arsene at 108, Blizzard Belgazas at 114, and Avalanche Abaasy at 120. The last one is especially nasty because he only spawns in snowstorms, meaning that in addition to being strong enough to rip apart even a maxed out party, nightvision gems are a must to have any expectation of even touching him.
- A long sidequest chain leads to a boss battle against Bana, the Nopon kingpin; the only battle outside of the main story under the tune of "Tragic Decision". Thought it's not an overleved battle, it takes quite some effort to reach it, since the quests that lead to it cover almost half of the game and can be Lost Forever.
- Boss in Mook Clothing:
- Unique Monsters are super powered versions of otherwise regular monsters wandering around the world. They are usually, but not always, bigger than their counterparts, and are distinguishable by their fancy name tag and by their unique names. Fights against them can be even tougher than bosses.
- Fortress-class Mechon are massive house-sized behemoths of a robot. Even in their non-unique forms they can be even more powerful than Unique Monsters of the same level. And let's not even start with their unique varieties.
- Many areas hold otherwise regular monsters that are several levels above the one of the usual monsters. Thankfully, most of them are usually found in some out-of-the-way areas, or don't attack unless provoked.
- The Face clones, which are mass-produced versions of Xord. The unique monster variation in Central Factory is quite powerful as it has topple spike damage unlike the regular Mass Produced Faces and it hits hard with it's arts.
- Dragon's are also this, they're gigantic, most have spike damage and some have Instant Death Attacks. The only one that could be this as the rest are Bosses would be Demon King Dragonia which has more HP then a Unique Monster at the same level (Around 656,000), really powerful arts that could hit the entire party and an Instant Death attack.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Gadolt is one of the first Face Mechon to have their memories wiped in order to obey orders. He speaks Egil's words without resistance because of this.
- Bridal Carry: Seen very briefly after Shulk wakes up on the Fallen Arm. Approaching the wreck of Face Nemesis, he extracts Fiora from the Mechon's chest cavity and carries her to shore, leading into one of the most heartwarming scenes in the game.
- British Accents: In the English language dub, more or less all of the characters speak accents indigenous to England's home counties in the southeast of the country around London. The High Entia largely speak Received Pronunciation, also known as "the Queen's English". In-dub, this helps reinforce the High Entia as stilted and austere in their cold opulence, helping localize the awkward social barrier that Melia initially suffers with Shulk's party and non-High Entia in general.
- Brother-Sister Team:
- Dunban and Fiora. It takes a while before the finally manage to join forces in the battlefield though.
- Egil and Vanea on Mechonis' side. Though in this case Vanea is much more reluctant, eventually doing what she can to stop him.
- Bug War: Several sidequests eventually reveal that one had happened between the Spiders and Giants. The Giants originally won the war and kept the powerful white spiders under control thanks to their Soothesayer. Eventually he died and the Spiders began to grow in power once again with no way to stop them. The Giants then resorted to Giant Sacrifice in order to keep them under control. Which worked until their numbers dwindled to the point that nothing they do could stop them. It's suggested that the Spiders might have caused their extinction. There's also a war between the Chilkin and the Antols on Valak Mountain which keeps both sides in check.
- Calling Your Attacks: Paired with Large Ham, all over the place during battles.
- Can't Drop the Hero: Averted. Once the forth party memeber joins, Shulk does not need to be in the active party. Although his Combat Clairvoyance is still available without him on the team, his Monado powers prove to be invaluable assets throughout the game, and having him is necessary in order to fight Mechon, which the rest of the party will have trouble damaging until their equipment gets upgraded later on.
- Camera Screw: When using the Wiimote + Nunchuk and in combat, the camera will always face you toward your target. This becomes a big issue when fighting Giant Mooks or trying to speed through narrow spaces. Using the Classic Controller allows you to control the camera manually, but you still have to deal with Camera Screw in small, confined spaces.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The Bonus Boss of a long sidequest chain. The Nopon Bana can almost he seen twirling his non-existent mustache before confronting him in battle in the "Find the Kingpin" sidequest.
- Cartography Sidequest: Bonus EXP is obtained for discovering out-of-the-way locations and landmarks in the world.
- Cast from Hit Points: Shulk's Battle Soul, Dunban's Final Flicker (both fill some of their talent gauge at the cost of half of their HP), and Melia's Healing Gift (which sacrifices some HP to heal another party member)
- Chainmail Bikini: All characters, male and female, have access to equipment that are basically them in their underwear (or swimsuits). They can have some surprisingly high stats.
- Chekhov's Lecture: In Agniratha, Vanea explains to the party that the Monado isn't just a sword. It's the light within everyone, the will to survive no matter what. This light manifests itself as the True Monado during the final battle against Zanza.
- Chewing the Scenery: Everyone gets their share of impressive movement at some point. The Nopon take the cake though; a lot of them jumping or dancing as they talk to the party.
- Childhood Friends: Shulk, Reyn and Fiora have spent a great part of their childhood together, and are very close because of this.
- Child Of Two Worlds: Discussed. When plans for an alliance between the three races of the Bionis surface, Melia proposes herself as a potential ambassador, since she has the privileged position of being both regent of the High Entia and of half-Homs heritage. She doesn't take the position though, and instead continues to be part of the Party of Representatives.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Pretty mandatory in a world with such a huge amount of sidequests that can be done pretty much at any time.
- Cleavage Window: A lot of the women's armor closes at the neck, making them this.
- Climax Boss: Several bosses in the course of the game mark a climax event or revelation; some of them even reveal further Big Bads. The ones that reveal the bad guys are Xord, Metal Face, and Egil.
- Clipped Wing Angel: After Xord is defeated and thrown into the ether river on the Ether Plant, he jumps back into action while the party is on the mine's elevator. This time he's rusted from the direct exposure to the ether, and unlike the first time around, he can be damaged just fine by the Monado.
- Collection Sidequest: Filling the collectopedia of each area nets some nice rewards. As well, there are quests that involve collecting a certain number of different elements.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
- Battle arts have all different colors that represent different kinds of abilities. This makes it easier for the player to set up strategies to use against enemies.
- Red arts are all physical, and often have a bonus effect if done a certain way (i.e. from behind)
- Purple arts are all ether based, and affect the enemy in some way. (i.e. sleep, burn, chill, etc.).
- Blue arts are healing or supportive.
- Orange arts are auras, which grant multiple forms of buffs to different characters for a limited time.
- Pink arts inflict break on an enemy.
- Green arts inflict topple in some way, mainly when an enemy suffers from break.
- Yellow arts inflict daze, usually when an enemy is under topple.
- Finally, Talent Arts are gray, and work as a wild card during Chain Attacks.
- Each different Monado Art illuminates the blade with a different color, but these colors don't correlate with the colors of "equivalent" Battle Arts save for Armour (Orange).
- Combat Clairvoyance: What the Monado does in gameplay, often showing lethal attacks aimed at the team several seconds before they actually occur.
- Combat Medic: Sharla has a wide arsenal of healing and support arts, while still having some offensive potential with her gun arts (one of which, if set properly, is a One-Hit Kill)
- Combination Attack: Called "Chain Attacks" in this game. It allows the three members to perform a special attack each, even if it's currently affected by cooldown, and that attack will be far more likely to inflict its status effect on the enemy unless they are 100% immune to it. The highest the affinity between the members, the more attacks they will be able to execute before the Chain Attack ends, and the more Arts of the same color are performed in a row (with Talent Arts acting as a wild card that allows to change colors in the middle), the higher the damage multiplier.
- Control Freak: Zanza wants to keep total control under his creations, knowing full well that if they leave the Bionis he will die.
- Cool Old Guy: Dickson and Otharon. The former is a member of Colony 9's military force, and the latter the leader of Colony 6's military force. Both of them show several moments of badassery.
- Cool Down:
- One of the main combat mechanics. Most powerful attacks have long cooldown periods to prevent them from being used more than once per battle and ending combat instantly makes them useable in the next battle, with the Chain Attacks resetting their timers for its duration, allowing the use of all attacks.
- Sharla has another form of cooldown. Her abilities overheat her gun, increasing the effectiveness of her offensive attacks and reducing the effectiveness of her healing. Not venting the extra heat before her gun overheats completely, she's forced into an automatic heat venting animation that takes much longer than doing it manually. In either case, Sharla can't move or attack during the animation, which is really bad of if she's got high aggro. The former variety can be reduced by leveling up the said attacks, and the latter variety can be reduced with the right gems and skills.
- Coup de Grâce Cutscene:
- Alvis finishes a Telethia off in the cutscene where Purge is learnt.
- Shulk finishes Zanza with during the start of the final cutscene after the Final Battle.
- Covers Always Lie: Or rather, art books. A promotional art book sold with the game depicts the party standing on a lush part of what appears to be Bionis' shoulder, overlooking the heads of the two titans. The problem with this scene? Fiora is still in her Homs body, which she only got back during the epilogue, long after both titans were destroyed.
- Cryptic Conversation: Of course, this being part of Monolith's Author Appeal. Alvis would be the worst offender, remaining very ambiguous through the course of the game.
- Curbstomp Battle: The final battle turns into this after Shulk gets his True Monado. It's pretty much this in gameplay terms as Zanza remains the same, but now Shulk has the best weapon in the game.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: It is not rare to see the characters being agile in cutscenes, but not being able to lift their feet off the ground in battles. The worst offender for this would be Mayneth controlling Fiora right after the Hopeless Boss Fight with a revealed Zanza. The fight has them flying around the area exchanging blows.
- Dead All Along: Shulk, who died 14 years ago next to the Monado. Zanza used his body as a vessel. When Zanza leaves Shulk's body, he dies again. He comes back later to kick his ass.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying in gameplay just forces a return to the last landmark visited, and any loot dropped by killed monsters is not lost. This is especially true if you slipped off a high point and fell to your death.
- Declaration of Protection:
- Shulk and Fiora. Each one always presents the idea of protecting the other. Which is funny later in the game, when both of them are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
- Reyn promises he will protect Shulk during their journey. This becomes part of his Character Development later on, when he realises that Shulk has grown far more powerful than him.
- Demonic Possession:
- The only reason Shulk was alive these last 14 years is because Zanza was using him as his vessel.
- Whoever holds a Monado can be taken over by the soul of a god that rests within, like the giant Arglas, who became Zanza's puppet when he grabbed the respective Monado. Although the Demonic part is pretty non-existant on Meyneth's side.
- Dead Hand Shot: The only thing we see of Fiora's corpse is the arm, before the tank she was riding in is tossed away by Metal Face.
- Decoy Protagonist: The prologue gives the impresion that Dunban is the main character. He in fact is a playable character, but the main character seat belongs to Shulk.
- Deus Est Machina:
- Mechonis and Meyneth, on virtue of being Mechanical Lifeforms.
- Taken to even greater levels with Alvis, Monado itself, who used to be a computer AI in the previous universe before it was destroyed.
- Dialogue Tree: They appear in some sidequests and are a key feature in the Affinity Dialogues. In sidequests, taking different options might do something as small as changing affinity between some NPCs, to completely changing future quests.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The party defeats Zanza, one of the creators of the New Universe.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: The visit to Prison Island is greatly built up, but it serves as the source of a Wham Episode. Later on, Mechonis Core takes this spot.
- Disney Villain Death: A strange case, as the victim Metal Face falls to his death all the way from Sword Valley, but not before being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by his own actions. Also taking a spin on the trope, the protagonists can eventually come across the end result of the fall. Messy.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Inverted with Dunban and Reyn gameplay-wise. They both start out as varieties of aggro-drawing tank, but with plenty of noticeable and meaningful differences. But they later learn arts that are quite similar to each other's. For example:
- Dunban starts with Electric Gutbuster and Worldly Slash, which have added effects when used after Gale Slash. Later, Reyn learns Dive Sobat, which has an added effect when used after Bone Upper.
- Reyn learns Last Stand, which revives him if he dies while it's active. Much later, Dunban learns Jaws of Death, which does exactly the same thing.
- Doomed Hometown:
- Colony 9 is brought to chaos after the attack by the Mechon. Although it manages to recover pretty fast.
- Colony 6 is completely destroyed before Shulk and Reyn arrive. Reconstructing it forms part of a huge sidequest.
- Agniratha, the Mechonis capital. A former bustling metropolis attacked by Telethia and the Bionis millennia before the game's events. Now a lifeless Mechon-infested ghost of what it used to be.
- Alcamoth, after Zanza transforms all pure blood High Entia into Telethia.
- Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Alvis. Through the course of the story, it's impossible to tell which side he's on. At one point he's a mysterious helper, then he's acting shady with a group of shady characters, then he's back again on Shulk's side. It continues to grow from there, and it's not until the very ending that his motivations become clear.
- The Dragon: Dickson is Zanza's closest disciple, working directly for him and leading events towards Zanza's goals.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Colonel Vangarre of Colony 9 militia (also known as "Square-tache"). His behavior is suspiciously similar to Vanderkam in Xenosaga, who was himself an even more direct Expy of Vanderkaum in Xenogears.
- Dual Boss: When the party comes to confront Melia's would-be assassin, she brings with her a Telethia.
- Dual Wielding:
- Fiora with Reverse Grip knives, no less. Which change to Dual Wielding weird-looking swords after her transformation. Straight grip this time.
- Zanza does this with both his and Meyneth's Monado on he gets his hands on the latter.
- Dub Name Change:
- Fiorung is called "Fiora" in the European localizations. At the same time, Carna is called "Sharla", which is more difficult to justify, unless it was because of copyright issues or because it sounded too close to "Carnal" for Nintendo's liking.
- Kyoshin and Kishin, on the other hand, were more rightly localized as Bionis and Mechonis respectively. Mechonis kept the pun in Kishin, which contains the kanji for "machine", while Bionis is a full departure from Kyoshin, which means "huge god".
- Metal Face was originally called "Black Face" (黒いフェイス), which has no meaning beyond sounding cool in Japanese, but for fairly obvious reasons wasn't going to fly in western countries, especially America. "Metal Face" does end up being a bit of a non-sequitor of a name, since all of the Faced Mechon have "metal faces" (when inside their frames, anyway) but it's really just a nickname that Shulk and crew give him since he was the first Faced Mechon they encountered.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Implied with Melia in an optional series of interactions with Shulk while he is comatose. She quickly calls herself out for it.
- Dummied Out: Bionis' Left Shoulder. Appeared in several screenshots and a grand total of one cutscene. Was to be the homeland of the giants.
- Dynamic Loading: Although it's impressive how much visual data the game is capable of load at once. We only get to see a Loading Screen before a big Cut Scene or when going from one big area to another.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The party goes through a lot in the story; a lot of revelations and tragic events happen across the board. But after all of it, it all manages to end on a high note.
- Easter Egg: You can get Mumkhar's Razor by overtrading (ie. trading with an NPC so that the item they get is noticeably more valuable than the one they give you, which makes them give you a preset extra item) with Kurralth when he's stranded at Valak Mountain as a part of his sidequest: since this is the only way to get one in the game, it's not used for any quest or Colony 6 rebuilding, it's an overtrade-exclusive item, talking to him normally before trading with him means you lose the opportunity to get it and this is the area where you fight Mumkhar for the first time, it's probably meant to be an easter egg.
- Easy Exp: Finding new areas nets some generous experience; even more so if they are hidden areas.
- Elaborate Equals Effective: The armors are bigger and bulkier the heavier they are. Though this doesn't necesarily translate into better armor.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Monado III, which Shulk creates right before the final battle with Zanza. As a bonus, it becomes usable in the New Game+.
- "End of the World" Special: At the end of the game Alvis gives Shulk full control over Monado to create a new universe. He resolves most of the issues of the old one by both avoiding what Zanza and Meyneth did by becoming a god: he allows everyone the freedom to expand to the stars.
- The Epic: Guaranteed to last 80 hours with the main storyline, 100+ with quests, including the Anti-Frustration Features. Interface hints dictate that the plot spans over 10,000 years of history, detailing the backgrounds of every race and the reasons why they were created. With that, there are three major plotlines, each having multiple sides detailing how every major character is screwing each other over while still having their own sets of idealism.
- Epic Tracking Shot: The Action Prologue ends with a tacking shot that goes from Sword Valley to Eryth Sea, then to Makna Forest, and finally a complete shot of Bionis and Mechonis. The whole scene gives a good idea of the huge scope of the game world.
- Eternal Engine:
- The heart of Colony 6's ether mine is one huge machine in constant movement.
- The entirety of Mechonis is constantly moving machinery. Central Factory in particular is the most noticeable.
- Everyone Can See It: Shulk and Fiora, of course. Especially Dunban is quite active in putting them together. Although to be fair, it's mostly because a Twice Shy problem, and even with that, they seem to be a few inches away from a Relationship Upgrade. And they actually upgrade it, eventually. But things got to go to hell before it happened, including Fiora literally coming back from the dead in a robot body. Not that Shulk minds it, though.
- Event Flag: Pointed in the maps with actual flag icons, they mark points where cutscenes and plot happens.
- Evil All Along: Dickson, who was one of Zanza's disciples.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Fiora gets her hair cut along with her Unwilling Roboticisation. She decides to keep it like that after she recovers her body.
- Expy: For a game that was originally meant to be standalone and not part of the Xeno series, Xenoblade is crawling with lookalikes from both Xenogears and Xenosaga. See the character page for details.
- Fetch Quest: Many quests involve taking or finding items and delivering them to someone. Lots of them don't require one to go find the quest giver later, making them easier.
- First Girl Wins: Fiora ends up beating Melia in winning Shulk's affections. No surprise since the whole first half of the game was him avenging her supposed death.
- Fanservice: Party members can be stripped down to their underwear. So you have fanservice in spades for both genders. In Dunban's case, he even gets a buff (pun not intended) for wearing no clothes, a skill that can be shared with other characters. Covert Pervert much?
- Fantastic Drug: The red pollen orbs the Nopon manufacture. If they are processed correctly, they can have some good potential uses, if not, they are very addictive and dangerous for health. There's a group of Nopon that have been selling these variety illegally to Alcamoth citizens, and a huge sidequest arc involves finding who and where they are and putting a stop to their business.
- Fantastic Light Source: The Nopon's pollen orbs, which they manufacture and use as light sources and food.
- Fantastic Racism: Some side quests hint that some High Entia consider the Homs and Nopon to be inferior beings; and those tend to not have a high opinion on half-Homs High Entia either, especially the Bionite Order, that pretty much hates anything that isn't a pure High Entia. That said, there are many High Entia both named NPCs and regular NPCs that accept and want to live in harmony with the other races.
- Fast-Forward Mechanic: An option in the menu allows the player to skip to any time in-game. This greatly helps to find the non-player characters that show up at specific times for the loads and loads of sidequests.
- Fighting Clown: Riki may be a Ridiculously Cute Critter with a cheerful attitude and attacks with silly names to go along with the Nopon theme, but he's just as capable of a fighter as his Hom Hom partners, having the highest HP, a steal ability, the best healing ability besides Sharla's, and several enemy debuffs at his disposal.
- First Episode Spoiler: Of course. Fiora's death during the Mechon attack to Colony 9.
- First Kiss: Shulk gives it to mechon-Fiora while trying to give her water via mouth-to-mouth.
- Five Races:
- Mundane: The Homs: Human Aliens with access to advanced yet relatively down-to-Earth technology.
- Cute: The Nopon: Ridiculously Cute Critters that live in armony with Makna Forest.
- Stout: The Giants: A long extinct race of huge humanoid people.
- Fairy: The High Entia: An advanced and long-lived race capable of manipulating ether.
- High Men: The Machina: Mechanical Lifeforms that greatly outlive the High Entia, and also very technologically advanced.
- Floating Continent: The floating islands above Eryth Sea, which include Alcamoth and Prison Island.
- Flunky Boss: Several of them, such as Face Mechon bringing smaller support units.
- Since Shulk can see the future, he occasionally gets glimpses of lots of distant future events. Lots of them only start to make sense once the event happens.
- Near the beginning of the game, after Fiora dies, Shulk remarks how he feels part of him is telling him to be rational, while another part of him is crying out for revenge. Even Reyn remarks on how that doesn't sound like something Shulk would say at all...
- Right after killing Fiora, Metal Face shares a meaningful glance with Dunban, cluing the player in to Metal Face's identity as Mumkhar. Also of note is Metal Faces main weapon aside from that cannon on his back, his claws. Mumkhar also used claws as his main weapon. Subtle, yet easily noticed once you meet other unique faced Mechon and see that their weapon is based on what they used while they were still Homs.
- After defeating Xord, he gives the first hints about his past as a Homs. The information is vague enough so the player doesn't know what this will lead into. Speaking to a certain NPC after his defeat will give much less vague information regarding this.
- When Melia enters the High Entia Tomb, the "spirit" within speaks to her about Homs integration into the bloodline, and something about escaping a curse. Turns out that half-Homs High Entia are the only ones immune to regression into Telethia.
- When Zanza offers to release the Monado's true power, he says that, if he were allowed to release its power, "Only a god could stand in your way". Turns out, a god is exactly who intends to stand in Shulk's way.
- Then about 2/3 of the way through the game, we get a dream sequence which sets up a big holy shit moment.
- The fact that Shulk isn't very interested in food is the first clue that he's really a reanimated corpse.
- Dickson's Wham Line early on ("Can't say I feel good deceiving these kids like this.") is a surprisingly subtle one. For one it's your first clue that Dickson isn't as trustworthy as he seems. But further, the fact that he calls everyone in your party "kids", even Dunban, clues you in that he's older than he looks. Much older.
- Frictionless Ice: While it's not thankfully used in any puzzles, any icy surface in Valak Mountain makes you move much faster than normal when you run on it: this can be abused by gathering speed on it and then jumping off it, causing you to be catapulted ridiculous distances. If you're really (un)lucky, you might even hit something mid-jump that the game considers to be ground, die mid-jump and have the game fade away and return you to the last landmark before your body even has time to land. A few places even make intentional use of these ice physics to allow you to reach places you couldn't reach any other way.
- Full Spectrum Morality: The game goes all over the place with this. In chronological order:
- Grey and Gray Morality: Shulk is a Nice Guy and well meaning, but openly preaches genocide against all mechon, even those that weren't involved with Fiora's death. On the flip side, their leader is a brutal, ruthless dictator, but turns out to have been doing everything he's done in a (misguided) attempt to defeat the real villain.
- Grey And White Morality: Shulk reverses his stance on the mechon pretty much immediately after he finds out Fiora was rebuilt as one of them, and tries to persuade Egil that the peoples of Bionis and Mechonis can live in peace together. He'd be right, too, if it weren't for...
- Black and White Morality: Zanza's appearance changes it to this. He's a heartless, selfish bastard that cares about nothing but himself and kills everything on Bionis, and his Disciples, apart from Alvis, reasons for having anything to do with him are entirely selfish. Doesn't get much more black and white than that.
- Funny Background Event: At the beginning of the game, when you're controlling Fiora, ignore the direction Dickson gives you and go to the military district. Go to the fence where Jan stands and look through at the soldiers doing pushups for angering Square-tache. Note the gentleman on the left - easy to miss, but it would seem this is where Reyn ended up after coming back late from his break.
- Fur Bikini: The jungle-themed armors look like this when worn by the women.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: A staple of Monolith Soft games. Playing a second time reveals a great ammount of foreshadowing and little details hidden that start to make sense in hindsight.
- Jump Scare: Many Unique Monsters who attack on sight can and will ambush the party while fighting smaller enemies or just walking around. In particular, a Giant Spider called the Clifftop Bayern takes a little while to climb over a cliff before attacking, which may lead to the player not knowing they're being attacked from behind until the mini-boss theme kicks in. Can you say Oh, Crap?
- Justified Title:
- The Monado is a blade that is deadly against the mechanical invaders. Much later, it's revealed that it's pretty much xenophobic.
- If you go for the literal translation of Xenoblade as "strange blade," then the Monado still qualifies, being vastly more advanced than anything the peoples of Bionis ever produced on their own. Even the Machina can only make a pale imitation of it.
- The True Monado obtained at the end of the game qualifies even more as a "strange blade" than the original. Even Zanza is shocked when Shulk pulls it seemingly out of nowhere.
- Joke Weapon: The Monapon, obtained after defeating The Nopon Kingpin (a level 78 enemy, mind you), only has a damage range of 1-1. Its only good quality is having a 30% critical rate.
- Kissing In A Tree: One of Reyn's unique quotes when in battle with Shulk and Fiora.
- Knife Nut: Fiora's Weapon of Choice are a pair of huge knives.
- Large Ham:
- The battle dialogues are FILLED with this.
- Xord enjoys overacting. His heavy British accent helps a lot with this.
- Laser Blade: The Monado itself. Dunban can also get some of these courtesy of the Machina.
- Last Chance Hit Point: The "Unbeatable" gems give their wearer a up to a 50% chance to turn any lethal attacks into this, with the catch that it can work even if the wearer is already at 1 HP, and the Monado visions will inform in case that happens. All Guest Star Party Members wear a special version that gives them 100% protection, effectively making them invincible.
- Layered Metropolis: Alcamoth and the Frontier Village. The former is an advanced muti-level city that floats above the Eryth Sea, which is located atop the Bionis' head. However, the Frontier Village is a whopping 9 level monstrosity inside a hollow tree, connected by stairs and rope bridges. Both are so big that it's possible to fall fatally from them.
- Lazy Backup: Switching party members is only possible outside the battles.
- Leitmotif: Some of them. A variation of the Main Theme is used as Shulk and Fiora's love theme once; and Riki has his own upbeat theme, which also has an slower and more emotional reprise for the moment he shows his Hidden Depths.
- Lethal Joke Weapon: The other weapon besides the Monapon obtained from the level 78 Nopon Kingpin looks like an oversized half-eaten fish. It's also one of Riki's best weapons.
- Lighter and Softer: While Xenoblade has its share of dark moments, it pales in comparison to Xenogears. This is just the way the story was told, and it doesn't make the plot any less enjoyable.
- Likable Villain: Egil. At first he's shown as completely ruthless, but later is revealed that he shares a similar, and even more tragic, story as Shulk. Shulk comes to understand his pain, and tries to pull him out of the slippery slope he threw himself into.
- Limit Break:
- Most character's Talent Arts work this way. They are charged by striking auto attacks, and once charged they allow the use of an unique ability of the character, such as Shulk's Monado Arts and Riki's "Yoink!"
- Melia enters a state of Element Burst after several uses of elemental attacks. In this state, she gets access to two powerful arts (Burst End and Mind Blast), and her next elemental attacks do double damage.
- A few characters have abilities that only become available when their tension reaches high levels, such as Riki's Happy Happy.
- Limited Animation: There are two kinds of cutscenes: "Dialogue" scenes that use a set of generic animations, and fully animated "action" scenes. The former has a limited number of character animations.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Kinda. Nintendo of Europe released a special edition that included a red Classic Controller PRO, which was supposed to resemble the Monado. The box was pretty cool too.
- Limited Wardrobe: Averted, there are several kinds of unique armor, which show on the characters when equipped. This said, some sets of armour are just palette swaps of each other, or even identical.
- Loads and Loads of Sidequests: The game features hundreds of sidequests, ranging from simple Mass Monster Slaughters, to major Sidequest Sidestories; the biggest sidequest by far, the reconstruction of Colony 6, even slowly grants more sidequests as it's completed. Besides money and loot, oftentimes these grant generous experience, so completing them as the story advances is a good way to avoid pointless Level Grinding later on.
- Long Song, Short Scene: The themenote for Bionis' Interior also fits somewhat. The area it plays in is rather small and has no enemies, so it's entirely possible for the player to rush through it on the way to Makna Forest without hearing the whole thing. There's a Dark Reprise of that theme which plays when the party revisits the area after finishing the Mechonis Core.
- Losing the Team Spirit: A minor version can happen in gameplay when the party is getting wiped out. The team starts to lose their morale, and the battle music changes to a quite somber tune until the team manages to get back on their feet.
- Lost Forever:
- Two entire areas' worth of quests get locked after certain story events. The game does have the courstesy to tell you that you shouldn't dilly-dally in completing these particular quests.
- All of the quests and unique monsters found in Sword Valley, Galahad Fortress, and the Mechonis areas following the Fallen Arm will likewise be gone for good if not obtained in time.
- Love Triangle:
- Melia starts to get pretty close to Shulk until Fiora comes back.
- If we take the Ship Tease seriously, Sharla, Reyn and Gadolt would also count.
- There are also some love triangles scattered throughout the side quests for good measure.
- Lucky Seven:
- An achievement involves performing a single attack for 777 damage.
- In GameFAQs and other websites, you will occasionally see "7th" or "Seven" as a character (such as 7th's armor). This is because the seventh character is Fiora, and her identity is a secret as it is a major spoiler for the game.
- Party of Representatives: The final party consists of a group of Homs, a Nopon, a High Entia, and a Homs-turned-Mechon, which indirectly represents the Machina.
- Peninsula of Power Leveling: Thanks to Challenge Monsters, it's particularly encouraging to come back at any point in the game and train against what were once Demonic Spiders. Just don't expect them to be easy even if you're on the same level.
- Perplexing Plurals: Almost every major race in the game uses the same word for its name's singular or plural form: the singular for Homs is still Homs, while the plurals for the other races are still Nopon, Mechon, High Entia, and Machina. Only Giants are the exception, for whom the singular is "Giant."
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Riki sure can take up lots of beating despite his size.
- Physical God: Zanza and Meyneth, who are the spirits of Bionis and Mechonis, and can take other beings as their vessels.
- Pimped-Out Dress:
- Point-and-Click Map: The map can be used like this for teleporting.
- Plotline Death: When Metal Face kills Fiora, the rest of the characters are completely paralyzed, so no one can go to "revive" her. And when Shulk regains his mobility, Fiora's body has been taken by the Mechon. And of course, there's the whole thing about Fiora coming Back from the Dead.
- Plot-Triggering Death: The protagonists start their journey to destroy the Mechon to avenge Fiora's death. As time pases, stuff becomes more complicated than that.
- Point Build System: Art Points are awarded during battle. These are used to improving the character's special attacks.
- Point of No Return: Minor ones where certain areas become inaccessible, usually after boss battles, which you aren't warned of. The game does warn you before the ultimate one though.
- Power Walk: Shulk and Fiora get one hell of a Power Walk during the battle against Disciple Dickson.
- Poor Communication Kills: Defied during a cutscene in the Ether Mine. Once it's clear that Shulk can see the future using the Monado, Reyn convinces him to let the rest of the party know whenever he sees a vision, so that if Shulk can't change that future in time, someone else can. Case in point, when Shulk fails to stop Otharon's fall into the ether river while fighting Xord, Reyn steps in to finish the job with a Diving Save.
- Prehensile Tail: Buniv tails work just like a fellow Nintendo monster, the Pokémon Aipom.
- Punctuation Shaker: A few number of High Entia have names with apostrophes in them, such as Ma'crish and Vol'aren.
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: The entire party can wear these, assuming you're able to find some. They generally have stat boosting gems in them, and oddly, can provide as much, or even greater, defense as actual armor does.
- Puzzle Boss: The Lorithia/Kallian hybrid Telethia barely receives any damage until its flunkies are beat. And the latter are numbered, as killing one makes the next more vulnerable.
- The Power of Friendship: In the gameplay itself. Not only you can the party members' attacks be combined For Massive Damage, but their skills can be linked with one another when the affinity between them grows.
- The Power of Love:
- Gadolt remembers his past as Homs thanks in part to talking to Sharla.
- Kallian is able to mentally speak with his sister after they defeat Lorithea. Something that was believed to be impossible as a Telethias transformation erases almost everything of the individual. Other High Entia turned Telethia also keep something of their self that keeps them from harming or protecting certain individuals they knew/loved from other Telethia.
- Rage Against the Heavens:
- The entirety of Egil's plan is done in order to put a stop to Zanza, even if it also means going against his own goddess Meyneth.
- Later on, Shulk and his party take Egil's fight against Zanza, and head to put a stop to him.
- Rage Quit: After Disciple Dickson is beaten, he simply walks out of the fight. He doesn't want Shulk and co. to see him die and enjoy the victory.
- Really 700 Years Old:
- The High Entia race as a whole. They have a lifespan quite longer than Homs. For example, there's a father who is playing hide and seek with his two children. The father looks like a middle-aged man but is really 208 years old while his two kids who look like they are somewhere around ten are actually 36 and 56.
- Taken even further with the Machina, who're all at least 1000 years old, and ultimately taken Up to Eleven with the Nopon Sage and Machina Neonik, whose ages are listed as 9999 and 9892. Some of the characters are implied to be even older than that, although you don't get them on your Affinity Chart.
- Reconstruction: Of Eastern RPGs as a genre, trailing away from the No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom road a lot of its contemporaries had taken.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fiora (Red) and Shulk (Blue). Fiora is a Plucky Girl that regardless of her kindness has a strong attitude. Shulk is a kind boy that tends to think before acting and plays things slower. It's Colour Coded in a cutscene just to drive the point home.
- Regenerating Health: Health quickly restores when not in battle or spotted by an enemy.
- Regenerating Mana: Special attack uses restore over time, with more powerful ones restoring more slowly.
- Regional Bonus: The cap on the play time was increased to the triple digits in the European and American releases.
- Relationship Values:
- The Affinity System, which allows the party to become closer to various NPCs in order to open up new story options and sidequests.
- There is also one for party members. The closer party members are, the more skills they can share with each other, the more turns they have when crafting gems and higher the chance for extra Combination Attack turns, up to 15 compared to the default 3.
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The Unique Mechon later in the game tend to be named after Demons from the Ars Goetia or Knights from Arthurian Legend. Then there's Egil's faced Mechon, Yaldaboath, and the Monado itself, which hail from Gnosticism.
- Removed Achilles Heel: Face Mechon stand out for being immune to the Monado, which slices through normal Mechon with ease.
- Respawn Point: When falling in battle, the party is sent to the last landmark they visited.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The race of Nopon; fluffy, spherical, and overall adorable.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Several of them; the plot starts with one of these from Shulk for the attack of Colony 9 and the death of Fiora.
- Robot Girl: Fiora becomes a partial one after being turned into part of a Face unit.
- Robosexual: Paired with If It's You, It's Okay. Shulk really doesn't seem to mind seeing Fiora turned into a Robot Girl.
- Romance Sidequest: Shulk and Fiora's relationship makes much more sense when their affinity conversations are unlocked.
- Rousing Speech: A few battles that are divided in two halves have an empowering speech between confrontations. There are the first confrontation of the party against a Telethia, and right before the 2nd fight with Disciple Dickson.
- Sacred First Kiss: Paired with Intimate Healing. Fiora receives it from Shulk when he tries to give her water via mouth-to-mouth. She calls it out, but she doesn't seem to be mad about it.
- Sad Battle Music: "Tragic Decision", only reserved for the most dramatic and climatic of battles with one exception.
- Save Scumming: Unless you want to fight multiple hard-to-(re)spawn enemies to get some of the rarer top-tier Art Manuals and equipment, you're probably going to make use of the facts that the game doesn't determine treasure chest contents until you actually open them and that you can save and load the game anywhere outside of combat.
- Say My Name: A lot of characters do this, but Shulk is the most notorious example, to the point where the fandom makes it seem like he does it every other line.
- Scenery Porn: The game thrives on this, offering utterly massive fields of exploration, and rewarding the player for finding new scenic vistas to explore. In fact, the lands are so expansive that Xenoblade is one of the hardest Wii games to emulate on a PC alonside The Last Story. Some of the best vistas in the game come from the Gaur Plain, Satorl Marsh at night, and Makna Forest with its huge waterfall ranges. Taking it further, try to climb up to the Distant Fingertip secret area of the Fallen Arm. We'll wait while you collect your jaw from the floor.
- Schizo Tech: The world is shown to have technology that is equivalent to or exceeding our own, such as buggies, airplanes, Humongous Mecha, and gigantic mine-strippers. But there are no highways for people to drive on, and swords and melee weapons are still used prominently.
- Science Fantasy: The lands of Bionis and Mechonis make a serious mix of fantasy and science fiction elements. The very intro starts with an ancient battle between titans that then transitions to a battle between Human Aliens and Mechanical Monsters. The Monado itself is an ancient legendary sword that also happens to be a Laser Blade. The High Entia are an old race that are both capable of ether manipulation and very technologically advanced. Et cetera.
- Screw Destiny: Not only one of the main themes of the story, but one of the main gameplay mechanics as well. In battle, Shulk will get visions of lethal enemy attacks ahead of time, giving him a few precious seconds to kill the enemy, stop the attack, or defend against it, shattering that future.
- Self-Disposing Villain: The plot begins as a revenge quest to kill the mechon Metal Face, who has killed countless Homs. But when the heroes discover that Metal Face is actually a Homs named Mumkhar piloting the robotic suit, Shulk decides to let him go, despite having a chance to kill him, saying that taking the life of a fellow Homs is wrong. Mumkhar takes this opportunity to fire a blast at them, but the blast misses and hits a spire that falls down, impaling him and pinning him to a falling platform, killing him.
- Shipper on Deck: Two of them, actually. Dunban supports Shulk and Fiora, while Sharla roots for Shulk and Melia. The funny thing is that Sharla roots for Melia AFTER the party finds out that Fiora is Back from the Dead; and she eases down on it after finding how much Fiora and Shulk care for each other.
- The game gives you an achievement for filling all of a character's upgrade slots with gems. The name of said achievement? "Truly outrageous".
- You can tell it was dubbed in England: Shulk and Reyn's gem-crafting "To me!"/"To you!" banter is a blatant reference to the Chuckle Brothers.
- If you do the Getting to Know Dorothy quest with Melia in your party, you'll hear the line "Excuse me, Princess!"
- Riki's fire-based Art is called Burninate.
- Accepting a sidequest from a certain High Entia female will earn you a encouragement along the lines of, "Defeat that monster, for great justice!" and then her admitting that she always wanted to say that.
- When she is inside of the face unit, Fiora's head resembles the visor that KOS-MOS from Xenosaga sometimes wears.
- The scene when the High Entia are turned into Telethia for merging again with Zanza is almost identical to the scene in Xenogears when almost the whole human kind is turned into Wels and go back to Deus.
- Sidequest Sidestory: Many sidequests tie into one another, and their consequences are shown in the affinity chart. Furthermore, some overaching sidequests arcs progress alongside the main plot, and the connection between each of the individual quests involved becomes more obvious as they are completed.
- Sidetrack Bonus: The game rewards exploration via Non Combat Experience for discovering new locations. Also, many areas hold stuff like unique monsters and surprise quests.
- Silent Whisper: Dunban gives one to Shulk early in the game. Though it's revealed what he said not long after.
Dunban: It was the Monado...It was controlling me. Even so...it saved us...saved...our future...Next...it will be up to you.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This game leans toward idealism more than Xenogears and Xenosaga but it still has its fare share of cynicism and dark themes. Just ask the entire High Entia race or all of Mechonis inhabitants. Hell, the entire freaking Universe is completely destroyed BEFORE the plot even starts.
- Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: The game follows a mostly linear narrative, but the game practically gives free reign on what to do and where to go. The general largeness of the environments and the huge amount of sidequests certainly help.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Sharla may not be a small girl, per se, but her guns are pretty damn huge.
- The Smart Guy: Surprisingly, all main characters have traits of this to different degrees (Even Reyn and Riki have their moments). However, Dunban would be the closest one to play the role straight, followed by Shulk. And he only falls behind due to his lack of experience.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Done for a deliberate Mundane Made Awesome effect. The fight against the Bonus Boss Bana the Nopon Kingpin, a Card-Carrying Villain, is done to the tune of the Sad Battle Music "Tragic Decision".
- The Southpaw: Dunban, but only because his right arm is disabled in the Action Prologue.
- Soft Water: Not only is the gradual falling damage from falling too high which can and will kill you negated by landing in deep water, you also get an ingame achievement for doing so for the first time.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear:
- Played straight and averted at the same time. When Fiora gets killed, she keeps whatever she had equipped for New Game+ while any gems equipped are automatically removed from her equipment. Since her early equipment is quickly outclassed and her weapons can't be equipped by anybody else, it's not a big issue.
- Melia is a partial example, in that she does permanently join the party at some point (and thus you can eventually recover anything you gave her), but there are a few stretches during Makna Forest and Alcamoth where her equipment is not available from the party screen, which can make it annoying when following a quest or two without her.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Bionis and the Mechonis.
- Spiritual Successor: To Xenosaga, and to a greater extent, Xenogears. Xenogears and Xenoblade both take place in Schizo Tech worlds where space was once explored, and of course one (out of two) gods are evil. The two also share more expies and other story elements.
- Standard Status Effects: Unlike the usual form, your party will use them to make battles easier; in some battles, it's required that you know how to chain status effects.
- Story Arc: The game can pretty much be split into five arcs: the Xord arc, the Prison Island arc, the Mumkhar arc, the Egil arc, and the Zanza arc.
- Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: Director Takahashi Tetsuya has described the game has being on the exact opposite side of the scale as Xenogears and Xenosaga, calling the pursuit of excessive story-to-gameplay ratio "a dead end." Although in the end, the game still has its share of long cutscenes, the longest having a combined total of ten minutes where the average length is less than three minutes. The ratio is balanced by increasing dramatically the amount of exploration and Western-RPG-like sidequests.
- Subtitles Are Superfluous: Battle dialogues don't have subtitles, so people who don't speak either Japanese (most people) or English (a lot of people outside the US and the UK) will be left out during those.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: Averted. Even the most vicious predators will stop attacking once the leader's strength surpasses theirs by five or six levels. Unique monsters however will attack no matter how powerful the party is.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The Monado. It's the legendary sword said to have been wielded by the Bionis in the battle against Mechonis, and it's a big part of the plot, its presence being involved in several events.
- Sword over Head: Shulk does this to Egil after his boss battle, hesitating to kill him even as Zanza is screaming in his head and telling him to do it. In the end, Shulk refuses to take Egil's life and sits down to have a chat with him. Dickson takes this chance to shoot Shulk In the Back.
- Symbiotic Possession: Between Fiora and Meyneth, getting to the point that both are essential for the other's survival.
- Take Up My Sword: Non lethal example. Shulk gets the Monado when Dunban can't wield it any longer. Later, Shulk even tries to give it back to Dunban, but he refuses, saying that Shulk wields it better than he ever could.
- Take Your Time: Specially jarring in moments like when the characters are getting inside the Mechonis while the Bionis alliance try to fend off the Mechon army in Sword Valley. Even in those moments it's perfectly fine to go back to Colony 9 and keep doing sidequests.
- A Taste of Power:
- For the tutorial, the players takes control of some characters whose levels are in their twenties before the main game gives the obligatory level one characters.
- Later in the early game Dunban rejoins with Shulk and Reyn wielding the Monado during the attack on Colony 9, and he is likely to be a much higher level than both of them. However, this is only for a few minutes before Shulk picks up the Monado and starts wielding it himself, though Dunban still sticks with the party a little while after that.
- Third-Person Person: The Nopon, including Riki, zig-zag it. They sometimes speak like this, while other times they use "me" instead of "I".
- ¡Three Amigos!: Shulk, Reyn and Fiora. Longtime childhood friends. It doesn't get to last though, thanks to Fiora's death.
- Time-Limit Boss: Once Egil's Mechon HP is reduced enough, he starts charging up for Bionis Slash X, which does infinite damage to its unfortunate recipient, and needs to be prevented by destroying all targets around him in 2 minutes.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- Dunban was a badass in his own right, but when he rejoins the party after the events in the Ether Mine he takes further levels in badass by wielding an Anti-Mechon Blade with only one arm, and also by taking a level in common sense. His time out allowed him to learn to take a wiser approach instead of jumping into battle blindly.
- Fiora REALLY kicks some major ass in that Mechon body!
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Mumkhar.He starts out as a Dirty Coward, and ends up attacking Colony 9 and opposing Shulk's party just For the Evulz.
- Took a Shortcut: Dickson usually arrives to a place before the party, for some reason.
- Trademark Favorite Food:
- Shulk loves EVERYTHING that Fiora cooks, no matter how little effort she puts on it. So much that Fiora suspects he has no sense of taste whatsoever.
- In many heart-to-heart events, Sharla reveals that she loves fruit. Dunban on the other hand, hates fruit
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer used for western releases' latter part spoils a good deal of plot developments, including a few Wham Episodes. Thankfully, they're out of context.
- Trash Talk: The party delivers some trash talk to their enemies occasionally. Such as when dodging an attack or after an easy victory.
Shulk: Not good enough!
Riki: Nah Nah Nah-Nah!
Reyn: Man, what a bunch of jokers!
- Fiora has a subtle edge of this. She's kind and caring, but sometimes Shulk's less-than-stellar moments get her a little mad.
- Sharla with Reyn gets an edge of this too. She's a caring Team Mom, but Reyn's Book Dumb moments and occasional insensitivity bring her Deadpan Snarker side to light.
- Twenty Bear Asses: A big ammount of the game's quests fall into collecting a certain number of certain object. However, as stated above, doing a lot of them unlocks more story-rich questlines, which help with town affinity.
- Tykebomb: The entire race of High Entia, which at Zanza's whim can regress into the mindless Telethia. Those with Homs blood are immune to the regresion though.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The appearance of the sliding segments in Valak Mountain causes many a player to stop and question what they were doing.
- Unexplained Recovery: The Colonel of the Colony 9 Defense Force, nicknamed "Squarestache", is apparently crushed to death by a Mechon flinging a vehicle during the attack on Colony 9 at the start of the game. It's easy to assume he had been killed, but talking to an NPC later in the story reveals that he somehow survived the crush (Maybe he yelled at the vehicle to squat its way off his spine); and later he shows up during the Alliance's assault on Sword Valley, perfectly healthy and back to being comic relief.
- Unholy Holy Sword: The Monado: The weapon of the Bionis, and also the xenophobic manifestation of an Evil God.
- Unnaturally Blue Lighting: Satorl Marsh at night, to the point of looking completely different from what it looks like during the day. It works.
- Unrobotic Reveal: Hinted at by Xord during his last battle with the party, and played straight when Face Nemesis blocks Shulk's killing blow meant for Metal Face. The Face Mechon are, in fact, mechs piloted by Homs — specifically, Homs given mechanical bodies by Egil.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: The Homs are turned into Faced Mechon. Since the Monado is initially unable to harm Homs, this make them Nigh Invulnerable until a significant power-up.
- Useless Useful Spell:
- Totally inverted! Status effects are immensley useful when used by the player, in fact they're part of what makes Riki the effective Fighting Clown he really is. Not only do they work on just about everything, even bosses, but there are at least four separate damage-over-time effects (Bleed, Poison, Blaze and Chill), and they all stack with eachother. Riki is caplable to taking major advantage of this, stacking all four on enemies quickly and re-applying them when they wear of ad-infinum, to the point where he's considered one of the best boss killers in the game. The other main status effects, Break/Topple/Daze, render enemies not immune (and only flying monsters generally are) completley immobile and vulnerable to damage, and at higher levels the party can spam these to make sure they never have a chance to get up.
- On the other hand, the same status effects are only mild annoyances when used by enemies: damage-over-time effects are easily out-healed, and active party members can snap eachother out of Sleep, Topple of Daze. Moreover Sharla's status-curing ability actually has the additional effect of making the target immune to further debuffing for a short while, (and she can hit your whole party with it later) making them all the more useless.
- Unwitting Pawn: Egil and Shulk play right into Zanza's hands for the majority of the game.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Prison Island, the second time around.
- Vicious Cycle: Every time the Bionis races grow advanced enough to travel into space and leave him to die, Zanza enacts the apocalypse to reset everything. The entire game follows everyone's attempts to stop him from doing this again.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: In the end, Fiora and Shulk get together.
- Video Game Stealing: Riki's "Yoink!" lets him steal something from the enemy. With one quick move, not only can he steal any droppable item from the enemy, something that can already let him get some bizarre things, but he can also steal stats from them, such as their strength or agility. And with the help of skills, he can upgrade the power to make it possible to even take experience points away from the enemy.
- Villainous Breakdown: Zanza starts losing it after Shulk and co. kick his ass twice and he still cannot see their future, while they can. It's displayed nicely in the final battle, the first time they manage to have a vision in his presence.
Zanza: No! How can you still have visions?!
- Visible Silence: Sometimes. And it's funny, since the "silence" is actually a sigh or a hum.
- Virtual Paper Doll: Any changes to armor and weapons are visible even in cutscenes, and the game even remembers what you were wearing at the time during flashbacks.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: It's possible to make every male character walk around without a shirt constantly. In fact, Dunban can get a huge status buff from doing so.
- Walking Spoiler: Half the cast, to different degrees. But two characters deserve special mention.
- The first one is Zanza. Initially revealed as some sort of Big Good, he turns out to be an absolute Evil God and the true Big Bad. It's no wonder most of who he is is a spoiler.
- The second one is Fiora, who takes the cake, the shop and the whole freaking baking industry! It's almost impossible to talk about the game's plot beyond the first two hours without mentioning the (FIRST!) Wham Episode involving them.
- Was Once a Man: The faced Mechon were all once Homs.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Egil. All the attrocities he does are in an attempt to put a stop to Zanza's cycle of destruction.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
- Subverted. Shulk is horrified once he discovers that Faced Mechon have Homs inside them, and when he discovers later that there is actual life on Mechonis in the form of the Machina. This makes him forget about his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Mechonis, as he would be taking sentient life. Later, the Telethia are played for all the horror they deserve.
- Played straight with some of the species of monster. They use tools, have goals and have a certain level of intelligence implied. Kill as many as you want, no one ever questions the morality. Not even the Monado itself cares, as it can't hurt sentient Bionis life, yet cuts through these creatures just fine.
- Wham Episode: This is a Monolith Soft game. Which means we will need a freaking LIST:
- Fiora's death in the Mechon attack to Colony 9.
- The last one carries us to the moment she's seen resurrected as a Mechon. The reveal is made when Shulk slashes open her cockpit hatch, revealing her.
- The appearance of the Machina, revealing that Mechonis holds actual living beings, and that most of them want the war to end as much as the people of Bionis.
- The Core of Mechonis brings Shulk's death, the revelation of Zanza, the reveal of an Evil All Along character, and a whole freaking mess of twists.
- A little later, when all the pure-blooded High Entia are transformed into Telethia.
- They even keep something under the sleeve for the ending. We find out that the current universe was created after Zanza DESTROYED the previous universe, and that previous universe was OUR universe, as in the "real" world.
- Wham Line:
- "Can't say I feel so good about deceiving these kids." It's subtle, but it makes you go, "Wait....what?"
- There's also this one from Miqol
Miqol: He [Egil] is my son.
- In a flashback where Egil appears to be speaking with Zanza.
Egil: Yes. I, too, desire this, Arglas.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Denying a sidequest for whatever reason has both the quest giver reacting negatively, and possibly even other party members calling the leader out, complete with a reduction of the affinity between them.
- The rest of the party will have something to say when trying to face a red-named (6+ levels higher) monster in battle.
Reyn: Are you NUTS?
Sharla: Are you trying to get us killed!?
Shulk: Do you really think this is a good idea?
- Kallian is given a berating directed at all of the High Entia for them not lifting a finger to help the Homs in the war against the Mechon. He admits to their mistake, as they had mistakenly assumed it was not their fight.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: The focus of a sidequest, where an elderly Machina is about to die: you can either go get her some Machina Energy from the wreckages near Colony 9 to allow her to live another 20 years or so, or go hunt for some rare revitalizing eggs which instead cause her to outlive everyone in Colony 6 and be left all alone. Strange that the lazy option has better end result even if it makes sense in context.
- Wide Open Sandbox: One of the game's main selling points is the positively vast overworld, and the game pretty much gives you free reign to stray from the main quest to do plenty of other sidequests. Thankfully, the game allows for teleportation to important locations around the overworld, meaning it's possible to stray off the path to complete a sidequest or two and teleport back to the main path.
- Wolverine Claws:
- Mumkhar wields a pair of the them in the battle of Sword Valley.
- As does Metal Face, who has a gigantic pair of claws for arms. There's a reason for this.
- World of Buxom: Every adult female is stacked, save arguably Melia and Fiora.
- World Shapes: The entire universe is composed by an endless ocean and two titans where its inhabitants live. It is returned to its natural form of spiral-shaped galaxies full of stars and round planets in the ending, although the head and a bit of one shoulder of one of the two titans is still sticking out of Earth's ocean.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Almost every Machina has a name with Z, X or Q in it.
- You Are Number Six: Egil refers to the Homs turned into Mechon by their serial number.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: All Homs characters have pretty realistic hair colors. The main exceptions being Colonel "Squaretache" with his pink hair, and Alvis with his Mystical White Hair that more closely resembles that of the High Entia.
- Zip Mode: The fast travel mechanic, which turns what would be an otherwise tedious walk from one end of the world to the other into a breeze.