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haha damn, i personally was on grimrock, but just got done with that so hopping back on xeno!
I've been playing a few hours a night. I believe I am close to 30hrs played at the moment. The game is quite long in my opinion, and I will say I have skipped most of the side quests that I wasn't simple able to complete as I moved along. I have still found myself a few levels above the enemies in the zone despite skipping them.
The highlight of the game for me is the story. It is somewhat cut-scene heavy, there is some dialog that obviously aims for humor that isn't my style, and some other dialog is present that is cliche and overly dramatic. The way it unfolds and the setting is unlike any RPG I've played in many years. It is refreshing to experience a setting that is not Tolkien inspired. I find myself wanting to progress further just to see where the story is going to lead.
I'm not a fan of the million fetch quests you pickup seemingly everywhere. The good news is I don't seem to have to do them. I'm a fan of the less is more school of thought when it comes to side quests. Give me a few really interesting side stories and I'll be thrilled to play them. If anything, I'd say the one con the game has right now is its length. It's a great story, but not one I would ever want to endure from the beginning again.
At this point, I feel comfortable saying that this game deserves the praise it is getting. I could do without the endless side missions and perhaps a slight reduction in the size of some of the zones, but that is a credit to the game's strong main plotline rather than a true criticism. It is one of the best JRPGs I can recall playing and I'd go further to say it is one of the best RPGs in general. There is more intrigue, politics, and interesting developments than any western RPG in recent years in my opinion. The mixture of futuristic elements along with fantasy elements is a great escape from the Tolkien-esque fantasy worlds that western RPGs are stuck repeating.
I have been tempted a few times to put the game down or stop playing when I got too caught up in trying to do the side missions. When I focus instead on the story I enjoy the experience much more. That is where the heart of this game lies.
I should get back to play this game again, i prolly will do most of the sidequests, i'm a completionist when i love a game.. i dont chase acheivements, but i like to clear as much as i can without help of any means.
Looking foward to this, ive got some good time before D3 is out so i may be able to clear this one !
Currently playing : The Pit : Sword of the stars / Dota 2 / Don't Starve / Age of Empires 2 : Forgotten Empires / Dishonored / Antichamber
I beat the game tonight after putting in about 60 hours. I skipped the VAST majority of the side quests including one very large "side mission" that consists of a lot of collecting/fetching side quests. I also did not unlock any of the additional skill trees that are available to the characters (there are 2 additional trees per character in your group). I primarily focused only on the story and the game still took that long to defeat. It is very easy to see how people spent twice that much time or longer in one playthrough.
It is very hard to sum up a game the size of Xenoblade. I will say that the final 10 hours were some of my least favorite. My characters had maxed all of their skills and there is some repetition in environments and also a bit of grinding if you want to fight the bosses and stand a chance. Up until that point I had been able to get by on just progressing through the story and killing enemies that crossed my path normally without having to spawn more enemies to fight (usually by zoning out and then back in).
Despite the shortcomings of some of the final hours, I will say that the story of Xenoblade is fantastically different than anything I've played in recent years. There is a bit too much emotional dialog between some of the characters that I could have done without, but for the most part the story as told through cutscenes and adventuring is outstanding. In some cases, some of these cutscenes continued for up to 10 minutes and I just laid my controller down. The game ties up all of the loose ends nicely and you really start to understand what has been going on behind the scenes the whole time.