The future is ours! Let's Play Xenoblade Chronicles

Put your Let's Plays in here.
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:siren:NO SPOILERS.:siren:

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Xenoblade Chronicles is a game that defied the odds to rise up to greater heights than anyone could have fathomed. Released in 2010 in Japan and developed by MonolithSoft as the latest in Tetsuya Takahashi's collection of RPGs with the Xeno- prefix, this game was the culmination of years of experience and lessons learned from the other Xeno- games. The game launched on the Wii and was one of the first big name RPGs to be released after Final Fantasy XIII famously eschewed traditional exploration for a more streamlined experience, and Xenoblade was a sign that big sprawling adventures could still be made. The game stars Shulk, a young engineer who sets out on a journey to eradicate the Mechon, a robotic army that laid seige to his hometown, armed with the Monado, a mysterious sword that's the only hope the Homs have to stand a fighting chance against the Mechon.

The game was a modest success in Japan, but it seemed that it would see the same fate as Mother 3, as Nintendo of America opted not to localize the title, expecting poor returns for the high investment that they would have had to make to produce the game. Nintendo of Europe took on the title in NoA's stead, but despite this, the game was still denied release on American shores. It took a massive fan-petition, Operation Rainfall, along with an exclusivity deal with GameStop, for NoA to relent and finally release the game stateside. The game enjoyed a lot of positive buzz from very passionate fans and enthusiasts, but the exclusivity deal with GameStop was a striking blow to the game's overall availability; the game released in 2012, about half a year before the Wii U would launch, and GameStop had free reign to sell all of their copies as used with a higher price. Despite everything riding against it, Xenoblade seemed to be a smashing success in the states, enough so that Nintendo would continue to invest in more Xenoblade titles to build a franchise. The game was successful enough to warrant its main protagonist, Shulk, joining the roster of Super Smash Brothers for Wii U and 3DS! Then, in 2015, Nintendo was gearing up to launch the newest iteration of their 3DS line of handhelds, the New 3DS, which touted better specs, head-tracking 3D, a full compliment of four shoulder buttons and a C-nub thing to be used as a second stick for games that warranted it. Alongside the announcement of the New 3DS, Nintendo unveiled Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, a port of the Wii original to the smaller handheld. Developed by Monster Games, who had also done the Donkey Kong Country Returns port to 3DS, XBC3D was a game that could punch well above its weight class in bringing the grand console adventure to the smaller handheld. Monster Games had to create a new graphics engine and rebuild all of the environments to ensure the game ran smoothly, but the game ran far better than it had any right to and was an amazing technical success. Unfortunately, as the headliner for a mid-generation console upgrade, it did not do as well as it could have. The next release would be the original Wii version on the Wii U eShop, which should speak for itself.

Which brings us to the Switch release, the Definitive Edition; Nintendo had tapped Monolith to assist with the development of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, having helped out with the original BotW's development years before. Not wanting the staff that wasn't assisting BotW's development to sit around doing nothing, the rest of Monolith began a smaller-scale project to bring the original Xenoblade to life in HD. Built on the engine created for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, XBC: DE boasts enhanced visuals, an updated artstyle, remastered music, a streamlined user interface and many quality-of-life improvements across the board, making this the best way to experience this game. In addition to the enhanced original game, there's a new epilogue chapter, Future Connected, that teases future developments for the series and wraps up some character arcs in the original story.

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This will be an informative LP where I show off the main story and as much content as I can manage. I'm joined by my usual co-commentator, Jobbo_Fett, who's going in blind. We're also joined by Artix, who has played about half of this game, and Nine Gear Crow, who has completed this game and is able to serve as a secondary source of knowledge in case I drop the ball on anything. Videos will hopefully go out Mondays and Thursdays, but no promises. I will reiterate, Jobbo is going in blind, so no spoilers. None. Anything seen in updates is fair game, but none of that wink-wink-nudge-nudge stuff going on.

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Chapter 01
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Chapter 02
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Chapter 03
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Chapter 04
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Chapter 05
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Chapter 06
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Chapter 07
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Chapter 08
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Reserved

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Look forward to our Xenoblade 2 LP in *checks notes* 8 years or however long it takes to finish this monster.

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I know basically nothing about Monolith's RPGs, but regardless, I'm always hyped for a Chaos LP!

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The madman's going for it, but will this time be the time a legend is born? Can you change the future, Argate?


In all seriousness, I'll probably have to keep up with this just because apparently I played through this entire game barely understanding it's mechanics.

:negative:

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Oh boy, this game. One of my favorites, a game I’ve beaten twice on the Wii, and yet I still haven’t found the will to just end my DE playthrough despite being right at the final boss. Curse my obsessive need for top-tier equips.

The original LP by Lethemonster was hit by problem after problem: months-long update gaps, inexperienced audio editing and Youtube stubbornness, illness and family traumas, moving to a new thread, and then the game save crashed just after two updates and she had to give up completely. I really enjoyed how relatively quiet the commentary was for that LP, reminded me of Bobbin Threadbare’s Thief LPs. Plus the thread itself had a couple interesting posts and topics over its lifespan.

If this LP manages to get going (since not actually going all the way is a legit risk, what with not just SA’s first attempt to LP this game being aborted so quickly that LPMaster doesn’t even have it listed - though they also don’t have LetheMonster’s LP listed either- but Xenoblade X screenshot LP several months ago that just quit after a couple weeks), it’s not only going to still have a niche over her LP (and Chuggaaconroy’s legendary signal boost) through the group commentary, it should hopefully be a much easier game to play through thanks to Definitive Edition’s ability to minimize the impact of a lot of the original game’s niggling annoyances (namely keeping sidequest/equipment grind overleveling from hurting boss fights through Expert Mode de-leveling, and just being able to freely dress units however you want them to look even if they’re wearing underwear armor).

General spoiler warning for everything I’ve linked there. Also, one of those posts was actually from Nine-Gear Crow. Now does anybody know a way for me to read archived SA threads without buying a credit card? I have an X-COM audience participation thread I really need to read for myself.

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Yay, one of my favourite games of all time! How much of the side content do you intent to show off? The main story alone should be plenty of work already, doing lots of sidequest will further bloat this massive undertaking.

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So my best friend describes this game as "not quite as good as the original Xenosaga, but still pretty good."

Having played neither the original Xenosaga nor this, I'm curious to find out.

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What’s Dash Rendar/Blind Sally’s actual/original forum handle?

Either way, they’re leaning really hard on the thread’s spoiler policy, to the point where I don’t know why it’s not just being closed until the next update.

This game was reason enough to own a Wii, and it's reason enough to own a switch. Can't say I like the sequels much, and this one's got its problems, but it's a masterpiece.


Also, yes, Dickson is the best.

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Night Zap wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:51 am
Yay, one of my favourite games of all time! How much of the side content do you intent to show off? The main story alone should be plenty of work already, doing lots of sidequest will further bloat this massive undertaking.
My current plan is to be kinda choosy about which sidequests are in the videos we commentate over, and anything else I captured gets shoved into a commentary-free cleanup video.

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ChaosArgate wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:42 pm
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Night Zap wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:51 am
Yay, one of my favourite games of all time! How much of the side content do you intent to show off? The main story alone should be plenty of work already, doing lots of sidequest will further bloat this massive undertaking.
My current plan is to be kinda choosy about which sidequests are in the videos we commentate over, and anything else I captured gets shoved into a commentary-free cleanup video.
Both halves of your image link to the same video. I decided to fix it in this reply.

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:argh:

I don't know how I got the Cut video onto both thumbnail links but thanks for the heads up.

So are the uncut and cut videos supposed to be the same length?

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I know I'm a video behind, but Vangarre sounds almost exactly like Michael Palin's Sgt. Major character from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

Also Chaos, you're gonna love this - Vangarre's voice actor is Simon Belmont from Mirror of Fate. Seriously!

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Hunt11 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:36 pm
So are the uncut and cut videos supposed to be the same length?
Yes, the Uncut/Cut commentary distinction is for hearing us talk over cutscenes.
theenglishman wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:36 pm
Also Chaos, you're gonna love this - Vangarre's voice actor is Simon Belmont from Mirror of Fate. Seriously!
Fucking what???

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Yeesh, I once heard the complaint that the scene Fiora’s introduced is her ass walking onto camera, and now you point out the upskirt shot, too...
Last edited by Greener223224 on Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ChaosArgate wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:41 pm
Yes, the Uncut/Cut commentary distinction is for hearing us talk over cutscenes.
Considering how long I have watched lps who do this I feel like an idiot right now. Anway enjoying the lp so far and looking forward to seeing what happens.

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I’m sorry.
Last edited by Greener223224 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Greener223224 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:52 pm
BEEP BEEP TOO GRINDY TOO GRINDY, WHY ARE YOU LEVEL 10 WHEN YOU'VE JUST ENTERED TEPHRA CAVE, WHY ARE YOU BOOSTING CHARACTERS AT ALL WITH EXPERT MODE XP

Also, you're about to face a miniboss of two Level 8 enemies, and you thought lowering yourself only one level ABOVE them was enough? I feel like you need to be level 7 or 8 max throughout the whole next sequence if it's going to carry any weight or difficulty at all. If you see you're about to level up, then you should be manuallty resetting your XP bar so that you don't get too many Arts or Affinity Coins too soon. Because just as a reminder, you can turn back the clock on levels, but you can't turn it back on Arts, which is why Shulk still has Shadow Eye from reaching Level 10 despite being lowered to level 9. If you really feel you need to take down a Unique Monster, then switch the character you're controlling, level up your arts, or just come back for it in a later video.
Look boss, I don't have a nice way to put this, but this? This ain't it, chief. Let the man play the game however he wants; you want a challenge run so bad, you're welcome to do it yourself. This is not the place to criticize someone for LPing a game 'wrong' and if it continues, we'll be happy to show you the door.

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For the record, this LP is fully recorded, so for better or worse, the footage seen in the LP is more or less set in stone.

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Welp. You go out to get some gas and the whole world goes to shit. What is this, RE2?

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I played Xenogears, and all 3 Xenosagas. I never got to play Xenoblade, so I'm going in as blind as a bat and pretty hyped for this LP.

Plus, hey, Informative and Showing off as much as is possible without going insane? Hells yes.

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Honestly, this episode is up there in regards to well-made ways to draw the player into being motivated to see where things start to go.

While the 'Doomed Hometown' is a tried (and often tired) trope and story beat, the big hammerblow is always going to be what basically had everyone in the video clam up.

There's an incredible number of games and stories that don't manage that balance between 'getting to know people' and 'seeing all your hard work get kicked square in the danglies', but The Invasion pretty much perfectly encapsulates how to do it right.

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13:23
"You cannot play as (Dunban) if you go into the party to swap characters around"
But...you can. You could in the original version, too:
http://polsy.org.uk/play/yt/?vurl=https ... tart=9m56s
I'll stop my backseat gaming, I promise. But I still can't help myself from letting incorrect statements in the commentary slide if nobody calls them out.

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Greener223224 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:58 pm
13:23
"You cannot play as (Dunban) if you go into the party to swap characters around"
But...you can. You could in the original version, too:
http://polsy.org.uk/play/yt/?vurl=https ... tart=9m56s
I'll stop my backseat gaming, I promise. But I still can't help myself from letting incorrect statements in the commentary slide if nobody calls them out.
Hm, I remember seeing on one version that you couldn't play as Dunban here, but I guess I could have misremembered?

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ChaosArgate wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:01 pm
Greener223224 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:58 pm
13:23
"You cannot play as (Dunban) if you go into the party to swap characters around"
But...you can. You could in the original version, too:
http://polsy.org.uk/play/yt/?vurl=https ... tart=9m56s
I'll stop my backseat gaming, I promise. But I still can't help myself from letting incorrect statements in the commentary slide if nobody calls them out.
Hm, I remember seeing on one version that you couldn't play as Dunban here, but I guess I could have misremembered?
There are some guest party members who you can't play as, but Dunban's not one of them. Monado-wielding Dunban is basically the same as he was in the intro anyway so there's not much to look at, just Monado Buster and Monado Enchant.

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I adore the way this game begins. It's so carefully crafted to draw you into the world, give you a sense of scale and wonder, then dial it right back down to just Colony 9 for a while. And then the Mechon attack hits just as you're getting comfortable and wrenches you right out of it. It's big, it's gutsy and it gives Shulk and co. a very understandable motivation: revenge.

Honestly I could do a lot of gushing about this game, but the intro in particular is a real highlight and a brilliant way to get you to care very quickly.

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So far, everyone who has been named and gone down has gone down like a fucking champ.

All except one.

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A video thumbnail with Reyn and his muscles is an excellent video thumbnail.

...What are you looking at? You know it's true.

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Gem crafting is kind of overwhelming at first glance but it breaks down pretty simply once you look into it. Each character has a unique ability as the shooter and different affinities with each flame as engineer. Strong flame boosts one trait a lot, medium boosts all of them a bit, mild flame boosts cylinder gauge to get you more cylinders. Traits above 100% get you a gem, above 200% gets you a ranked up gem, above 300% gets you two ranked up gems of maxed out quality. Usually you want to use a character good with weak flames to purify gems into cylinders, then strong flame to turn the cylinders into maxed out gems.

In about a hundred hours, that is. I don't usually bother with crafting until endgame.

Incidentally there is a reason to not open chests right away. You can savescum opening them to make rare drops less of a pain.

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Man, the music gets loud in cutscenes, and it tends to drown out the voicelines too. I could swear it wasn't this bad in the Wii version.

And it really sucks that you can't change the volume of cutscene music, because this isn't even the worst of it.
Last edited by Greener223224 on Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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The Flying Twybil wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:33 pm
A video thumbnail with Reyn and his muscles is an excellent video thumbnail.

...What are you looking at? You know it's true.
You aren't going to hear an argument from me

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It has Reyn and his muscles in it, so this is by definition a 10/10 thumbnail.

I always particularly liked this mechanic, even if it's sometimes a bit fussy to handle. The usefulness really doesn't start picking up until you get more party members though.

The beginning of this game is handled masterfully, and I don't know if I've ever seen "female love interest stabbed and male main character goes on a revenge quest" handled better than this. Fiora definitely doesn't just get fridged, the characters react believably, she has motivation and agency and all that.

I still wish that Shulk was the one that got stabbed and Fiora was the one with the Monado on a revenge quest. (Not anything against Shulk in particular. I think he's a really well written main character and I play the fuck out of him in smash.) This is the best execution of this trope that I've seen, but I'm still tired of "something bad happens to the female love interest to motivate the male main character."

Kingdom Hearts 3 was the absolute worst recent example of this - Sora was already as motivated as he could be and then the bad guy says "perhaps you need motivation."

Really what I'm saying is that I want Sora to get stabbed.

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metal wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:01 pm
I still wish that Shulk was the one that got stabbed and Fiora was the one with the Monado on a revenge quest. (Not anything against Shulk in particular. I think he's a really well written main character and I play the fuck out of him in smash.) This is the best execution of this trope that I've seen, but I'm still tired of "something bad happens to the female love interest to motivate the male main character."

Kingdom Hearts 3 was the absolute worst recent example of this - Sora was already as motivated as he could be and then the bad guy says "perhaps you need motivation."

Really what I'm saying is that I want Sora to get stabbed.
I mean, for as much as I like Shulk, I'll personally say that this would've been a really neat switchback with the chosen hero being the one who doesn't make it while the expected love interest manages to power through on revenge. Although, part of me knows that would never happen with this series or this game thanks to reasons we'll see far later on.

Honestly, I think the part of this game that actually has the most unused potential is Fiora, but it'll be many flashbacks later before we get there.

(However, this is all coming from a LoZ fan who's also been wanting for years now to see a LoZ game where Zelda's the player character.)

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