These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Animation Age Ghetto: Being a non-realistic T-rated game on a console usually given flak for its lack of mature entries has caused some to overlook it. Curiously enough, its spiritual predecesor Xenosaga also was on the recieving end of similar complains.
Awesome Art: For a Wii game, the game's appearance holds up well even with games released on the HD duo and PC, thanks to the highly detailed art direction.
Some people consider the cast a compelling and likable group of main characters, while others consider them to be a boring and uninteresting cast. Shulk in particular receives flak for this, despite Tetsuya Takahashi's aim to make people not dislike him like some did with Shion in Xenosaga: Episode III.
Riki. There are those who see him as The Scrappy, given his habit of ruining dramatic scenes with his grating voice, childish concerns and speech patterns. There are others who find him absolutely hilarious and enjoy the fact that he is both comic relief and also a character with depth in his own right. And then there are those who love him for his surprising usefulness in battle.
Broken Base: The handheld remake of the game is being made only for the New Nintendo 3DS system, as this upgraded 3DS model has more shoulder buttons, a second circle pad, and most importantly a faster CPU that allows the system to handle larger games. Some people who already own older model 3DS systems are a bit annoyed they need to upgrade in order to play the handheld remake. Those who aren't annoyed by this news feel that not only is this single game possibly enough to warrant an upgrade to more powerful hardware, but have rationalized this decision to make the game New Nintendo 3DS exclusive as not being that much different compared to when somegames were made exclusive to the Game Boy Color model of Game Boy back in the late 90s.
Zanza takes Jerkass Gods to the extreme. Originally a Mad Scientist named Klaus, Zanza became obsessed with creating his own world and becoming a God. When he succeeded, Zanza became the creator of Monado with a catch: it turns out Zanza, thought to be a benevolent Big Good is actually a sociopathic Manipulative Bastard and the Big Bad was a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to stop him. Zanza kills him before revealing his intent: to destroy the world, devouring and destroying every living soul within it, so he can start it anew and preserve his godhood. Zanza is driven by ego and a complete lack of feeling, especially given his counterpart Mayneth is fully capable of understanding and protecting people.
Metal Face is formerly known as Mumkhar. The very first thing he does is ditch his friends in battle and supposedly gets himself killed. When he returns as Metal Face, he starts by murdering the protagonist's beloved girlfriend Fiora, who's also the sister of his former war colleague, setting in motion the mass slaughter of the people of Colony 9. Showing no remorse, Metal Face later reflects on the lovely sounds of Fiora's screams. Shortly thereafter, he throws the country of Entia into chaos by killing its High Emperor. If that wasn't enough, he's also one of the ones in charge of morphing his victims into slave mooks. He's a nasty brute with no redeeming qualities who will stop at nothing to make sure his former comrade Dunban suffers to the full extent of his power. Even his own boss Egil is horrified at Metal Face's excessive atrocities and his eventual destruction is mourned by none.
Cult Classic: It's a hardcore game on the Wii and it only had a very limited run exclusively through Gamestop in America. Despite this, it's considered one of the best Eastern RPGs of its generation.
The Unique Monsters. They're always much stronger than the other nearby monsters, and some of them tend to pop up as the player is fighting other weaker monsters.
Taken to extreme heights at the Eryth Sea, where even exploring the islands and coastlines will get you killed for sticking your neck out wrong by an entire hoard to level 90+ monsters that you just happen to run across while attempting to fill your item collection.
Disappointing Last Level: While the game is considered to be excellent, there are those that consider that the game takes a dive in quality starting from the Mechonis Core. While the Wham Episodewhen Zanza reveals himself rises the quality of the story back, there's still flak from some regarding quality of the level design, since there are very few new areas and most of those aren't nearly as exciting as earlier parts of the game, coupled with some backtracking.
Ear Worm: If you spent any time at all solving the Bionis' Leg quests, Gaur Plain will. not. leave. your. head. for. weeks.
Topple locks. With enough skill levels, the cooldowns for Topple arts will finish before the effects even wear off, allowing the party to keep up an infinite chain of spamming Topple on enemies so that they never even get a chance to get up.
Interestingly, all of the party members can be game breakers in their own unique way if built right.
Shulk: His regular arts are easy to score criticals with if he's under player control. This builds up the Party Gauge rapidly, allowing you to use Chain Attacks very consistently. He even packs a little healing to go with it. And that's not even counting the Monado on top of all that, which on the a New Game+ with the Infinity+1 Sword version, has a 75 percent critical hit rate and by far the highest damage of any weapon. His talent arts with it can allow him to deal heavy damage, seal enemy auras, and defend against their arts.
Reyn: Has the fastest Topple->Daze combo in the game, has not one but three arts that contribute to his Talent Gauge during combat, and can rack up incredible one-hit damage with Magnum Charge->Sword Drive (which is the most damaging single hit art in the game besides Shulk's Monado Buster).
Sharla: Even despite her Tier-Induced Scrappy status, you'd be surprised how effective Head Shot can be, especially when used in a Chain Attack, which mitigates Head Shot's sluggish cooldown.
Dunban: Is just behind Shulk for the strongest regular attack in the game, and his agility lets him tank just as well as Reyn without needing quite as much healing.
Riki: Is a fantastic boss killer with his damage-over-time arts (which against enemies the player has difficulty hitting are more reliable than straight up damage), has almost as much defense and more HP as Reyn (though Reyn will eventually catch up to him), has decent healing, and can boost the Party Gauge with Happy Happy.
Melia: Discharging her spells counts as a neutral art during Chain Attacks, letting her serve as an "adapter" between two characters with otherwise-incompatible arts, making it very easy to get the maximum 5x damage multiplier. She also has a very useful instant-Topple art combo with Spear Break + Starlight Kick. Even though her AI doesn't utilize her to her full potential (and tends to have her get WAY too close enemies despite her being the least durable character in the game), in the hands of a player, her spell discharges can result in a barrage of lethal damage-over-time ether attacks.
Seven/Fiora: Once you've fully unlocked her fourth skill branch, all of her counter-attacks and double-attacks become critical hits. By borrowing Dunban's Critical Drain ability, she can heal herself with practically every hit. In addition, her Sword Drones Talent Art can rack up 'huge amounts of damage with a full chain multiplier. (To the point where it's capable of killing the strongest Bonus Boss in one Chain Attack)
The moment Nintendo of America said they may not bring the game to North America, specially after Nintendo of Europe confirmed they were going to bring it to the good Old Continent. The fact that reviews praised it as the best JRPG in a console generation didn't help either. Fortunately, the key word was "may", and eventually the game arrived to American shores.
A new backdraft occured when the port for Nintendo 3DS was announced, since it would only be playable on the new iteration of the system, named "New Nintendo 3DS". Thus, leaving people who own any previous version of the system in the dust.
Iron Woobie: Good lord do Melia and Fiora take horrible torment with grace.
Love It or Hate It: Either it's an incredibly open, innovative game in a genre that has stagnated for many years, or a repetitive and tedious RPG.
Magnum Opus: Takahashi said that he doesn't consider Xenoblade to be his magnum opus because he plans to make more games just as expansive. It's widely considered by fans, however, that, at least so far, Xenoblade is his finest work, and some will go as far to say the only good game in the Xeno series.
Memetic Mutation: Reyn's English battle quotes surely clicked with the internet.
Zanza makes his first proper appearance by tossing Shulk's body off like yesterday's shirt and taking his Monado to kill Meyneth and destroy Mechonis. And all this happens right after Dickson's horizon-crossing above. Damn.
And of course, this list wouldn't be complete without Metal Face rampaging through Colony 9 and killing the High Entia Emperor and Fiora.
Can be forced by the players themselves. Characters still wear their armor in cutscenes. Or... lack of armor. It's possible to go through the game's most serious and dramatic moments with everyone in Stripperiffic outfits. Case in point: it's possible for Fiora to go through all her scenes at the beginning up to and including her Heroic Sacrifice in a bikini. And since the game remembers what you gave your characters at those moments, all flashbacks later in the game will still show her in a bikini. It can be kind of a mood killer sometimes.
Also notable is that Fiora's new form has a very plot-significant piece in the center of her chest. Because it's plot important, whenever that plot point comes up, the camera meaningfully zooms in on her chest, which is a little awkward when she's wearing armor that's heavy on Absolute Cleavage.
Xord's voice is either this or a case of Narm Charm. You probably wouldn't expect a gigantic mechanical abomination to sound like a Tabletop Game/Warhammer40k Ork, and the fact that he's the first Mechon you hear speak makes it even more jarring. Admittedly he does make for a fairly entertaining Card-Carrying Villain, and the next Face Mechon you meet does manage to sound genuinely menacing.
Dialogue example: During the Wham Episode on Prison Island, when the Emperor, Melia's father, is stabbed and dying, Shulk gives an anguished "Emperor... I failed you." It's normally tragic and dramatic, but the fact that it's worded very similarly to a memeticallySo Bad, It's Good line from Dawn of War: Soulstorm (and Star Fox 64'') might ruin it for some players.
After the events at The Mechonis Core, you're back in Colony 6 once you resume control. However, if you've been making an effort to reconstruct the place, it's possible this theme might start playing immidiately. Which is MASSIVEMood Whiplash considering what just happened.
Some areas are not fun to run through for those with arachnophobia.
There's an early sequence of sidequests involves you having to find the "Giant's Mirror." It's located in a ruined shrine on the edge of a cliff, which seems simple enough... But the moment you pick it up, you'll see a leg emerge from the abyss, and suddenly a huge spider pulls itself up right in front of you. And at the point you can first do this quest, it'll probably kill you horribly in one hit. And then when you go to the place you have to offer the mirror the same thing happens, but there are three giant spiders this time!
Oh, and that first spider will show up if you explore the ruins no matter what, even if you haven't gotten the sidequest yet. You could run into it on on your very first trek up the Bionis' Leg, well under half the level needed to actually beat the thing. It also attacks-on-sight and takes a while to get over the edge of the cliff, so you could walk to the edge, turn around, and not know you're under attack until the mini-boss theme kicks in.
One of Shulk's first visions shows the Arachno Queen impaling and killing Reyn in one blow. If it weren't for Monado Shield kicking in just in time, Shulk would have lost both of his best friends within days of one another.
Three times, if you count the vision he gets when putting the Monado back before the attack.
The Mechon entirely. Especially the Faces once you find out whattheyare.
The High Entia getting turned into Telethia, they go through a Painful Transformation and which they are powerless against and lose all their free will.
Scrappy Mechanic: Debatable, but Spike damage tends to edge towards this: anything that has Spike aura automatically does a set amount of damage to anyone who attacks them and, naturally due to the enemies' vastly higher HP, the fact they end up getting hit a lot more often than your characters, your limited sources of healing and thus the need to rely more on evasion to keep your party alive, this tends to work far too much to their advantage. There are ways to counter it, but they're either temporary or require you to sacrifice far too many gem slots to defend against it, and you have no clue on what enemy has such defenses before you see the purple numbers popping out of your characters. Furthermore, the spike damage defense gems don't work on Spikes that cause status effects, which you naturally have no access to.
The above is mitigated somewhat with high-level gems that make you almost immune to spike damage and ones that protect you from all status effects, but until you get sufficiently high-leveled variations of them, you're still going to be crippled severely by it. The few skills that you can use to nullify spike damage rely on not only being able to hit the enemy, but to be able to build enough party gauge for a chain attack as well to make the effect stick.
Another example would be the Ether Cylinders you get from gem crafting. In theory, they're a nice way to re-use gem components if you fail to get them over 100% during crafting, and could even be used to distill a single effect so that you can focus on it with Strong flames instead of Medium on the next run. Unfortunately, trying to exploit this feature often leads to your high-affinity party members "helping" the two characters push a desired quality over 100%, turning what would've been an awesome cylinder into an underpowered gem. This is especially annoying when you're trying to Mega-Heat gems (which requires you to push the quality to 300%, something that's only really possible with starting cylinder values of 150% or more) which gives them the maximum possible stat boost and creates another copy of the gem in addition to pushing the resulting gem up a rank that accomplishing normal Heat does, the end result being that the most consistent way to create 90+% cylinders is to purposefully leave a pair of characters at low affinity to minimize the % increase and chance of other characters butting in until you finish creating every possible gem you need for the rest of the game.
Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: To put things in perspective: a player can reasonably spend 5 hours doing sidequests before even leaving the first town! The in-game tutorial even outright encourages it at one point, telling you to "come back to Colony 6 during breaks in the story." And lets not get into exploring all the areas, which the game encourages by rewarding the player with more experience.
Superlative Dubbing: The English dub is very well done, to the point that many fans actually prefer it to the original Japanese, especially since the British accents add a lot of uniqueness and charm. Dunban is a stand-out example, due to his gallant Large Ham tendencies in English, whereas many people consider his Japanese voice on the other hand to be unfitting or even annoying during battles.
Satorl Marsh. It's filled with bird enemies that are very aggressive and tend to dog you as you try to evade them, and unlike the wide open beauty of the Gaur Plain before it, is rather confined and dull-looking, at least during the daytime(during the nighttime...). It also contains an aggravating fetch quest where you have to collect stones, and they are placed in the strangest places, including one across a poisonous lake. Have fun!
Alcamoth. Huge and with very few landmarks to teleport from, navigating the place is a massive pain. You have a limited amount of time to do most of them if you want 100% Completion. Hope you have a rubber band ready when doing quests there.
Colony 6's Ether Mine. It's a rather dull-looking underground area (that comes up in the story just after another, less annoying underground area), filled with Mechon that, at this point in the game, only Shulk can damage without Monado Enchant or a Topple effect. It's not actually that big, but falling damage will force you to go around the rim of the central pit several times before you can reach the bottom safely.
The Bionis interior. Thankfully it's short, because the place is full narrow pathways where you get attacked by Drakos Telethia that can knock you off, causing you to fall into the ether and die, and they fly so you can't knock them off.
Disciple Lorithea. Not only is she a Flunky Boss but her flunkies will self-destruct and you're fighting on a tiny platform with ether surrounding it, which deals constant damage if you fall/walk into it. Seeing how she's huge, she'll try to push you into it, and the AI characters aren't smart enough to walk out of it on their own, causing them to die constantly. She also has an unavoidable attack that will hit all party members for over 2000 damage. She has a ton of HP and all her attacks are Ether-based, which makes evasion and Shulk's Monado arts useless against them. Melia is ideal but her low HP means she'll be destroyed a few seconds into the battle if you're not careful. Oh and, at this point in the game, there's also really no place you can go to to get better armor, either.
The 2nd fight with Jade Face/ Gadolt. He would be pretty manageable if not for the fact that he keeps his using his arts CONSTANTLY. You survive getting hit with one, just for him to start pulling it off again FIVE SECONDS LATER. God help you if you haven't been leveling up Monado Shield.
Challenge 2 in Frontier Village, which asks you to kill Breezy Zolos, is surprisingly difficult if you do it as soon as you're able. Zolos will probably be on an equal level to yours, and is probably the first sidequest mark you'll fight who has a Spike aura, meaning you take damage every time you hit it. Not only that, but the area it appears in also happens to be prowled by a Level 98 gigantic T-Rex enemy who's all too willing to join the fight if he gets too close. Luring is key here, as is strategic fighting.
Reconstructing Colony 6's "Special" to Level 4. It requires 2 Rainbow Slugs, possibly the single rarest collectable in the game. They only spawn at certain times in certain areas on the Fallen Arm, and if you know the right time/location there's still only about a 10% chance the collectable will be a Rainbow Slug. And fans all over the internet still aren't 100% sure what the right times are, the only definite is they have to be at night. And you need two of them plus an extra one for your Colloctapaedia if you're looking for 100% Completion in that area too. Hope you like running around and around the same area for hours! This wouldn't be so bad were it not for the fact that one potential resident requires this upgrade to move there!
Getting Colony 6's special to level one isn't as bad, but still annoying. You need to a Light Rain Element that is only dropped by the Aqua Nebulas the Bionis Leg. Not too bad. Oh, the drop only occurs during a thunderstorm, which is a royal pain in the ass because you have NO CONTROL OVER WEATHER EFFECTS, and if you change time on the clock, it doesn't bother telling you what the weather is so you have to go on it from guess work. Even then, it's VERY rare for the Aqua Nebula to drop the item, and you kill them all, you have to wait for them to respawn and then get another thunderstorm going.
Sharla, because the game's mechanics make healing less valuable than in many other JRPGs. The fact that she is very lacking in combat arts, combined with the inability to use her Cooldown Talent Art (itself a Scrappy Mechanic) in Chain Attacks, makes it difficult to perform lengthy Chain Links with her. Unlike many other examples of this trope, though, it's not so much that she is actually a detriment to the party and more that everyone else is just that good, and needing her to win non-boss/uniques much higher than you is a sign that your party is underleveled or underoptimized.
Shulk, by virtue of being too good. The Monado gives him access to many useful abilities, including some that none of the other characters have (e.g. he's the only reliable defense against area attacks with Monado Shield and Monado Armor). That several fights are tutorials to show off the Monado's power only highlights its usefulness and doesn't help anyone who would like to use someone besides Shulk in your small 3 man party.
Uncanny Valley: Scenes that are not fully animated (the "dialogue" scenes) suffer from Limited Animation in movement and facial expressions. This combined with the lack of detail in some textures and models creates an uncanny effect.
Visual Effects of Awesome: While the character models take a noticeable hit from this, the vast, thriving world you explore is well conceived design-wise and lavishly detailed, with its own ecosystem, weather effects and day/night cycle, with surprisingly good draw distance to boot. And this was all pulled off on an aging system that's only slightly more powerful than the original Xbox. Notable examples include the Gaur Plain, a grassy field with huge cliffs and rock formations, and the Makna Forest, with a huge group of waterfalls that you can actually explore for yourself and filled with realistic flora and fauna.
What an Idiot: Thanks to Shulk's perspective of the only real conflict being against the robotic Mechon, and never considering a conflict with a fellow Homs, he pulls some moves that some see as idiotic. His refusal to let Dunban kill Mumkhar at Sword Valley despite being a massive jerk that had crossed the Moral Event Horizon would have potentially killed him and Dunban had Mumkhar not been Hoist by His Own Petard at the very last moment.
WTH, Costuming Department?: A lot of people dislike most of the armors of the game so much that they refuse to put the characters anything but the standard outfits and maybe a one or two better-thought armors. Even if that means having worse stats. The worst offenders are the heavy armors, which are ridiculously bulky and over-ornamented. Also Stripperific with Sharla and Mecha Fiora, even to the point of Fetish Retardant.
The Woobie: Even with all of what the rest of the main cast has to endure, Melia gets hit hardest and most often. It begins even before Shulk's team meets her: her best/closest/only friends and bodyguards are killed while on a mission to destroy a Telethia, her stepmother tries to have her assassinated, her father is killed before her eyes, one of her advisers turns traitor, and a good number of her people- including her brother and stepmother- are turned into Telethia.
Woolseyism: Although in British style. The localization was so good that the Edge Magazine gave Nintendo of Europe a special award for the best localization of 2011. The other four translations (French, German, Spanish and Italian) were also really great and praised in their respective countries.