Xenoblade Chronicles X’s premise sounds familiar: Earth has been destroyed by a mysterious alien race and the remnants of humanity have set up a colony on a giant foreign planet called Mira, filled with dangerous wildlife, unfamiliar settings and enough resources to start up an entirely new civilization. The aliens, however, are determined to pursue the survivors and continue their quest for total extinction, leaving military organization BLADE no choice but to fight back.
The game is not for the impatient. It will take hours to get used to the real-time combat system. Even with the aid of capable AI party members, death will happen often. The solution is to grind and, unfortunately, experience doesn’t come quickly, whether it’s through battle, exploration or side missions, of which there are plenty.
New weaponry and armor can be unlocked after contributing toward a variety of manufacturers, with resources raised through probes placed across the world. There’s an insane amount of depth to how characters are upgraded and while some of the more nuanced ideas can be ignored, it’s worth learning the ins-and-outs of these systems to create the strongest character builds possible.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a truly breathtaking effort, evidenced by how much love has gone into crafting each and every inch of its massive planet. The story gets off to a slow start — and can last well over 40 hours. The game also doesn’t waste much time with tutorials. The combat, equipment, stats and party system are far more complex than the simplistic tutorial tips let on.
With that said, investing dozens of hours into the game does feel rewarding. There are immensely satisfying moments for those who choose to stick with it, but those moments need to be earned. Nothing will come easy, but nothing truly worthwhile ever is.