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The Pinnacle of Tedium and Banality
Being unfamiliar with any other game in this series, as well as modern JRPGs in general, I came into this game fresh. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

What bothers me the most about this game is how hollow it really is. I sunk about 100 hours into it (and still didn't finish; indeed, I had much more to go according to some guides, though I did reach the last hub), about 90 of which I felt was padding. This is because you need to be overleveled to be able to fight ANYTHING comfortably in this game. Maybe I'm a bad strategist, but it infuriates me that I cannot defeat a level 57 field boss with a level 62-63 party, optional though it may be.

So how does the padding play out? SIDEQUESTS. There are about five different variations, spread out across almost 500 different quests. See how that might get old? And you practically have to do them too, since experience gained decreases exponentially for each level you have over a monster, and if you're fighting anything on your level, you'll probably die, boss or no. The only thing that makes this remotely bearable is an abundance of warp points which are almost always available from anywhere.

The story is certainly not good enough to motivate me to continue. My issue with it is that for the majority of the game, your party's motivations are based on a character from the beginning we didn't have enough time to get invested in, making it very hard to care. It even resorts to flashing back to the same cutscene multiple times because it has no other moments to show. Worse yet, I didn't find the character in question compelling in any way, not to mention that they wasted tons of potential on a subplot in the fourth hub. Oh yes, and some of the characters reminded me quite a bit of Golden Sun.

As for what the game got right other than the aforementioned warp points, I did enjoy the battle system, though I am unaware of how dated it may be. The battle music was nice too, even if none of the other tunes were memorable. And the environments looked detailed and gorgeous. The character models certainly didn't though. The British dub is pretty good as well.

Other than the menus and inventory system giving me nightmarish Mass Effect 1 flashbacks, there's not much else to say. Definitely give this one a rent first. You might just thank me.
Odd, since I had little trouble defeating enemies my level or slighly higher with the right strategy. Most fans of this game say to NOT do too many sidequests, so you don't overlevel and make the game boringly unchallenging. I never played Golden Sun, so I have little idea what your opinion on it is.
comment #15636 doctrainAUM 2nd Aug 12
I can defeat normal enemies on my level, although it's tough and takes awhile. Definitely not bosses, though I could beat the story bosses while underleveled early on. I could see getting by without doing the sidequests if you decided to practice a lot and have a lot of skill, but hell, I'd prefer doing the sidequests because not only do you need to to unlock the additional skill trees, practicing to find just the right strategy is even more boring than doing the sidequests to me. At least the sidequests are a little more varied than fighting the same enemy countless times. Hell, even plain old grinding is... usually.

Maybe I just got fed up with this game after the boss encounter I mentioned in Sword Valley. By all rights, my party should have beaten it, and I was using Shulk, Sharla and Reyn on it too. Fucker kept spamming Titan Stamp...
comment #15637 DeviousRecital 2nd Aug 12
This is because you need to be overleveled to be able to fight ANYTHING comfortably in this game.
though I could beat the story bosses while underleveled early on.

if you're fighting anything on your level, you'll probably die, boss or no.
I can defeat normal enemies on my level

you practically have to do them too
I could see getting by without doing the sidequests
comment #15645 marcellX 3rd Aug 12
Want to take things out of context? Sure bro, go ahead.

Point is, I can't go through a battle with things on my level without it being long and tedious now that the game's winding down. I can do it, but I don't like to. If I were to fight a field boss on my level (or even below it, as I've said), yeah, I'd probably die. Story bosses seem a little easier to me, but they're still annoying if you aren't a few levels over them.

And yeah, you could get by without doing too many sidequests. But as I've said, that makes the game even more boring than it already is.
comment #15646 DeviousRecital 3rd Aug 12
how did I take it out of context, I just showed how contradicting you are, you complain and complain in your review, yet when someone points out that it's more like you're bad at the game you start changing your story. You said and I quote again "if you're fighting anything on your level, "you'll probably die", "boss or no"." now you're saying it's just long and tedious, and that you'll only die if it's a boss even more a non story boss, that's completely different statements, specially after you went out of your way to generalize. You say that you pretty much "have" to do sidequest, now you're saying that it's just that you who don't like using other methods.
comment #15648 marcellX 3rd Aug 12
It's out of context because I made all the points I made in my last post before I made the post, and generally, both hold true in different situations. If I fought something on my level with the right setup, it'd be long, tedious, and boring. If I fought it with the wrong setup, I'd die. Because of this and the experience decrease, there's not really an efficient way to grind, which is why I said you had to do the sidequests. You COULD grind, but why would you when it's so much less effective?
comment #15680 DeviousRecital 5th Aug 12
It's out of context because I made all the points I made in my last post before I made the post

That's not even what out of context means. Out of context would be you saying "I find it weird how people can agree with terrorism" and I present it as "I agree with terrorism". The point was that first you said something, then later you said something related but different. Like saying there's no way to lose weight other than a diet, then when pointed out of exercise and liposuction saying that they're harder and or expensive. It doesn't hold true in both situations when you say "you need to be overleveled to be able to fight ANYTHING comfortably" and then say "I could beat the story bosses while underleveled early on"

See how misleading your statements are. "If I fought withthe wrong setup, I'd die." that's not the same as "if you're fighting anything on your level, you'll probably die" you make it seem like the game its Its Hard So It Sucks when it's your own set up that is, which is why doctrainAUM said that you were probably just not very good at strategy.

In the same way as how "but why would you when it's so much less effective" and "practically have to do them" are not the same thing, specially in RP Gs where that's how things are, it usually takes about two hours to get from level 1 to level 10 but another hour to get from level 40 to 41 even when your fighting things stronger that you.
comment #15684 marcellX 5th Aug 12
Notice how I said "Comfortably" in that first quote? That was meant to imply that you need to be overleveled to ever think the game's easy, because it isn't if you're not. It wasn't meant to imply that the game was impossible without powerleveling, which it isn't, but it's certainly much more frustrating. That is why I pulled the "out of context" card.

Let me make a final addenendum to clear up the second set of quotes: Even fighting with the right setup doesn't rule out the possibility to death. Some enemies indeed seem as if they're immune to strategy, such as the boss I mentioned. I've fought the boss several different times with several different setups. None worked. And I'm five levels above it. And in other cases, you'll attract agression from enemies you weren't even fighting to begin with, making it pretty easy to die simply because all your best moves are on cooldown and you've got nothing to fight the new guys with, and if the old guys aren't dead, they can kill you with sheer numbers.

I'll continue to stand by every claim I've made about the game itself. I don't think the game is very difficult on account of it being very easy to BE overleveled, but the amount of effort it takes to get there is exhausting. And I have played and enjoyed other grindy RPG games, hell, even MM Os that take multiple hours to gain even one level on the high end. Those didn't wear out my patience as much as this game, probably because in games like those, you can fight something over your level and expect to win. Not here.

Even in the low levels, I couldn't beat a (non-story) boss a mere two levels above me. And I spent several times trying to fight it with every possible permutation of moves (which weren't many, as I only had two characters at that point). Couldn't even bring its health to half.

And speaking of health, it's also the reason the story bosses end up looking easier: you almost never have to fully deplete their healthbars, so they often don't have any nasty desperation moves. If they did, the game would be nigh unplayable, since even though the game allows you to see a lot of these moves coming, it gives you little to nothing in the ways of allowing you to prevent these (especially if you don't have the main character with you, and even if you do, god forbid they use a physical area attack), reduce their effects (again, only one character can buff, and the amount it reduces is pathetic), or dodge them, regardless of how high your agility seems to be. This is why I can't take on the bosses and some normal enemies without trouble if on the same level: What they give me to work with isn't enough to be able to build a solid defensive strategy. I'm given a lot more in terms of offense, but especially if you're on the same level, the battles tend to be marathons, and going into a battle like that with a team that's basically a Glass Cannon, a Squishy Wizard medic or buffer that tends to go down too easily, leaving my Stone Wall completely ineffectual doesn't lend itself well to survival.
comment #15685 DeviousRecital 5th Aug 12
Notice how I said "Comfortably" in that first quote?

Which conflicts with your statement and I quote "you'll probably die", which is basically the same as saying you'll die a lot more than you will not. Not to mention that from a review perspective, it's weird to expect to with monsters on higher levels, when the general view is the opposite.

Some enemies indeed seem as if they're immune to strategy, such as the boss I mentioned. I've fought the boss several different times with several different setups. None worked. And I'm five levels above it.

It's a "boss", (remember that it was also the case for regular enemies) I've played a lot of RP Gs and I can assure you bosses are not just regular enemies with a higher level droped on you, a level 20 boss can be a lot more difficult than 4 25 normal enemies that you find later on, unless is a Hard Levels Easy Bosses, Breather Boss, Anti Climax Boss, etc. It's presented level is almost meaningless other than show you that if you're under that level there's little hope for you to beat it as he's actually a lot stronger than that.

The most basic boss type: Strong attacks, lots of Hit Points

Even in the low levels, I couldn't beat a (non-story) boss a mere two levels above me. And I spent several times trying to fight it with every possible permutation of moves (which weren't many, as I only had two characters at that point). Couldn't even bring its health to half.

Wake Up Call Boss, Early Bird Boss

And speaking of health, it's also the reason the story bosses end up looking easier: you almost never have to fully deplete their healthbars, so they often don't have any nasty desperation moves.

Recurring Boss

I've fought the boss several different times with several different setups. None worked. And I'm five levels above it.

That One Boss

and going into a battle like that with a team that's basically a Glass Cannon, a Squishy Wizard medic or buffer that tends to go down too easily, leaving my Stone Wall completely ineffectual doesn't lend itself well to survival.

That goes again with doctrainAUM's view of you just not being very good at it, that sounds like a pretty leveled team for me.
comment #15688 marcellX 5th Aug 12
Marcell X you're pretty clearly taking stuff out of context and being a bit of a jerk about it.

Devious Rascall is saying that he had trouble with the strategy and couldn't beat someone if they were over his level, maybe he's just not good at it but he's not some freak of nature and the fact it never clicked with him serves as a warning to someone picking up the game that they mightn't either.

Battles could be long and tedious, for his taste, and enemies could be annoying. So quoting that One Boss which is a trope originally created for people to bitch about disproportionately hard enemies doesn't make the problems go away. Saying a boss is immune to strategy isn't saying it's harder but that typical plans had no effect and the way to beat them he found was hitting them until they died. Harder? Sure. Fun? No. Now maybe Devious Rascall is wrong and he missed a few tricks to do it, but your response is that "Bosses significantly harder than their level lists" Why? Why not just call that level 20 boss level 40 or 60 so we can get an idea of the proportional difference since otherwise the level system is completely meaningless if it is arbitrarily inflated for mooks and players while a level beside a boss means something completely different.

Tedious grinding that gives you the choice between sidequests and walking around in tall grass is relevant information. And yes, I usually expect to win against Monsters when I'm significantly underleveled simply because I am good at strategy and think a good game should be set up in such a way that you can out think opponents to beat them while levelled lower than them, have never cared much for grinding. Your final point about the leveled team is arguing that the team he lists is pretty strong for this game while his point is that they are out of his comfortzone from what he finds when he's usually playing; This means unique party that's hard to get a handle on compared to his previous experiences, not "herp derp I are build a dumb party" if anything you should give him credit for it.

Maybe I'd take to this game better but because of this review I know that it can be a challenge and it won't clique with some people. The point was never "This is horrible" just "If might not be your cup for tea so rent first before buying" and given a bit of pocket change in the near future I just might.
comment #16190 Fauxlosophe 18th Sep 12
A bit tired and I don't see an edit button. Apologies for typos and to Devious Recital for calling him Rascall. The reasons for this confusion are beyond me.
comment #16191 Fauxlosophe 18th Sep 12
you're pretty clearly taking stuff out of context and being a bit of a jerk about it.

how exactly am I being a jerk, I admit I'm not that good at first person shooters, but that's my problem not the game's.

Battles could be long and tedious, for his taste, and enemies could be annoying.

I never complained about his tastes, or about him liking the game or not, but you said it, for "his" taste, it's very different from, it's the only way to, I even used the weight loss example, mind you that the review is implying this wasn't just his personal experience but how the game actually is.

So quoting that One Boss which is a trope originally created for people to bitch about disproportionately hard enemies doesn't make the problems go away.

Actually he named the boss, I look it up and it is in fact one of the That One Boss of the game, it's also, and this part is very important "optional" just like most That One Boss, they were made for players that wanted a challenge, if you don't you can just keep going along with the story.

it infuriates me that I cannot defeat a level 57 field boss with a level 62-63 party, optional though it may be.

also go look around at RPG walkthrough, you'll see that even in story boss battles you're almost always advised to be a few levels above it, and it's still difficult, it most often than not boils down to strategy.

Why not just call that level 20 boss level 40 or 60 so we can get an idea of the proportional difference since otherwise the level system is completely meaningless if it is arbitrarily inflated for mooks and players while a level beside a boss means something completely different.

How exactly is this my fault/problem/issue? I don't make the rules, it just happens to be that way, all I pointed out is that it's so common that it's become the troupe definition. Several things define bosses in RP Gs among other game genres, their hit points, their strength, their immunities, their abilities, etc. it's suppose to be a challenge compared to the rest of the level, usually giving more emphasis to strategy, skill and preparation than simply over-leveling.

Tedious grinding that gives you the choice between sidequests and walking around in tall grass is relevant information.

Again, when did I said it wasn't, my complain was about saying sidequest were "impossible" unless you over-leveled (then going back on what he said).

And you practically have to do them too

Your final point about the leveled team is arguing that the team he lists is pretty strong for this game while his point is that they are out of his comfortzone from what he finds when he's usually playing;

This means unique party that's hard to get a handle on compared to his previous experiences, not "herp derp I are build a dumb party" if anything you should give him credit for it.

how exactly does that work? I say that his team is a generally balanced one but I'm also saying it's a dumb team? and no he was clearly complaining and blaming them for his losses:

and going into a battle like that with a team that's basically a Glass Cannon, a Squishy Wizard medic or buffer that tends to go down too easily, leaving my Stone Wall completely ineffectual doesn't lend itself well to survival.

RP Gs that follow the job system be it directly or indirectly, usually base themselves around this to keep the game "balanced". The examples on the troupe themselves will attest to this.

The point was never "This is horrible" just "If might not be your cup for tea so rent first before buying"

on contrare, my complains were about his exaggeration and how based on what he said the game isn't as Nintendo Hard and broken as he's making it out to be.

if you're fighting anything on your level, you'll probably die, boss or no.

which he later backed out off.

since experience gained decreases exponentially for each level you have over a monster

isn't that how the leveling system work to begin with? hell fighting things "close" to your level usually doesn't give that much experience.
comment #16680 marcellX 28th Oct 12
I'm wondering: What do side quest do you think they wasted in Colony 6?
comment #17656 MusikMaestro 12th Jan 13
The negative stuff you pointed out didn't really have that much structure to it. With the exception of the characters, you didn't really say enough for your review to be well written.
comment #17657 Awesomekid42 12th Jan 13
Odd. I never had any unfair trouble with bosses. Hell, sometimes I was able to beat a boss 2-3 levels higher than me! Those were challenging fights to be sure, but isn't that what you want from a boss battle? Tension, anxiety, the possibility of losing. Not just some checkmark to cross of without breaking a sweat. I'm wondering if maybe you didn't equip gems or sufficient gear.

Also, glad you said the thing about Golden Sun. As soon as I saw Shulk, Reyn and Fiora, especially given the boys' design, I was like "Hey, it's Isaac, Garet and Jenna." Totally get it.

Then Alvis ending up reminding me a little of Alex by how mysterious he was.
comment #18414 Xagzan 8th Mar 13
I agree quite a bit with this review. To me Xenoblade gotta be perhaps THE most overrated RPG this gen. The combat system necessitated grinding over strategy and battles where just a constant repeat every time. And to me the story was both incredibly hollow and predicable. And don't get me started on the sidequests. At least some of those of say NieR added some flesh to the story.
comment #24703 matteste 7th Jun 14
@matteste No, if the combat necessitated grinding over strategy, there wouldn't exist superbosses beyond the level achievable by the player characters, nor the gems system than essentially multiply a character's stats when utilized properly. If anything the problem is potentially overthinking it, but with the effectiveness still paying off.

And the sidequests in this game do the best thing a sidequest can do. Allow it on your own damn terms and at your own pace. If it took sidequests to add flesh to the main story and gameplay, then the main game at hand just plain isn't that good when it's as story-driven as something like NieR, and that's exactly what kills its lasting appeal. Xenoblade puts more of that effort on the forefront and core mechanics and lets the minor tasks exist on the side, hence the damn term.
comment #24758 BloodRawKnuckle 11th Jun 14
To address what seems like the biggest complaint in this review, the game is practically an AVERSION to padding. If the game essentially forces the more menial tasks at hand to get across the main campaign and with no alternative within the game's core mechanics, then it can be called padding. The closest thing to that in this game is a fetch quest about thee fourths through. Everything else encourages exploration at one's own pace, and as far as I care, that's a simple pleasure that's been dreadfully missing in both previous JRPG's and the other games of Operation Rainfall. Tedium is only there when someone's focus is absent, and that pretty much has to be by choice.

The entire menu system is only as nightmarish as you allow yourself to overthink on it. That's something I learned about a dozen hours in, and the only boss fight I ever had my frustrations on was the last fight with Metal Face. I don't know what methods you have in terms of battling the monsters. On that note, complaining about that against the OPTIONAL boss fights is pracitally where the complaint falls apart to begin with. They're dubbed super bosses by the fanbase for a good reason, namely because the fans who DID beat them had the capacity TO strategize against even the ones past the characters' level limit. If your set up is going to be as generic as possible in a game where the sense of scope within the mechanics matches with that of the environments, I don't think you should enmtirely blame the game when the 90% or so of the playerbase that praises the game makes an especial note of that. That goes again for the entirety of the stats menus. Proper utilization of it can lead to a character such as Dunban having agility levels to the point of not even getting hit.

Your criticism on the story's hollowness and initial set up might have some merit if it weren't for the twists that do occur, and the fact that the almost deconstruct the portagonist's motivations once it starts going into a paralell with other characters, namely with the first major quest with Melia. Predictability is not a sign of hollowness when the level of effort to go into detail of the plot points is as high as it is here. That's what makes a message as simple as emboding the Screw Destiny trope as epic as you'd expect from a 200+ hour game.

So really, what you call tedium and banality is what I'd call scale and scope along with a refreshing simple pleasure.
comment #25421 BloodRawKnuckle 30th Jul 14
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