So I've logged around 6 hours with Xenoblade Chronicles so far, not enough to give an in-depth review but certainly enough to give some fair impressions. This is one of the more fun rpgs I've played in awhile, for a Wii game the graphics are tremendous but it's clear that this would benefit highly from the power of an HD console. The battle system, which plays out quite a bit like FFXII is extremely addictive and I love that much like an MMO battles take place right there without going into another field. The full voice acting (which is all-around pretty stellar) and achievement system are nice bonuses. And unlike many jrpgs, it includes a great fast travel system and a save anywhere feature not too mention a generous checkpoint system which really makes running into powerful enemies that kill you quick much less frustrating.
However there is one major area where the game falters and that's quest management. It's just a mess. There's no efficient way to even just list the quests you currently have, but you also can't place markers and at best the game only gives you a very vague idea of where to go rather than just having the markers on the map like virtually every other rpg in existence. Granted for quests where you have to kill X amount of a certain monster or find items that just randomly spawn thats fine, but many involve finding specific NPCs and since they actually do move around on their own internal schedule, something that tells me where the hell to find them would remove a lot of frustration. Also, some of the game's systems are not explained very well, specifically the "heart-to-hearts" which are optional scenes you can activate to increase party affinity. But all I ever seem to get is ones I don't currently have the correct characters for. It's kind of pointless to have those markers there if I can't use them, other games (i.e. the Tales series) have similar features where such scenes can simply be triggered at the right moment, there's no reason they couldn't do the same here.
But it's really a minor complaint for an otherwise amazing game. If you like rpgs at all there is pretty much no reason not to pick this up, it's a real gem and between this, Skyward Sword and Last Story, I probably will spend more time playing my so-called dead system more than any other this year.
That's all for today, should probably have another post up Tuesday or Wednesday.