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Episode 466 Part 2: A Lot More than We Could Manage

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Guillaume Veillette - March 6, 2016, 4:00 pm PST
Total comments: 13

The long awaited Xenoblade Chronicles X episode is finally here.

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After months of promises, Radio Free Nintendo finally is delivering the Xenoblade Chronicles X spoilercast. If the previous sentence doesn't give enough warning, there are plenty of spoilers for Monolith Soft's world-exploration JRPG in this episode; so you'll probably want to skip this one if you haven't finished the game. Conveniently, if you still need a Radio Free Nintendo fix, we already released an episode covering last week's Nintendo Direct - we moved it up just so you would still have something to listen to. Surprising even to us, we care.

We talk mechanics, story, world, and whatever else we can think of in this massive show. We ponder hot topics like "at what point is xenophobia justified," and "how many arms manufacturers is the bare minimum for space exploration." Loose threads are tied, Skells are perfected, Hexad Particans are polished and giant space gorillas vaporized.

Thanks to everyone who sent in emails for this episode. We had more participation than we had time to use, which is an awesome problem to have.

Next week we're returning to our regular format, so send your questions or comments to our mailbag.

Also, stay tuned to the RFN feed for a special interview of frequent guest Michael "TYP" Cole, by former RFN host Dr. Jonathan Metts, later this week.

This episode was edited by Guillaume Veillette. The "Men of Leisure" theme song was produced exclusively for Radio Free Nintendo by Perry Burkum. Hear more at Bluffs Custom Music.

This episode's ending music is 46-ri9 (Part II) aka "Sylvalum night theme," from Xenoblade Chronicles X. It was composed by Hiroyuki Sawano. All rights reserved by Nintendo.

Talkback

EnnerMarch 06, 2016

Not even a distant land; we're stuck on a whole different podcast!


Looking forward to this! Listening now.

Evan_BMarch 06, 2016

Very interesting opinions.

I played about up until chapter 8 or 9 before doing a really deep dive into the different (non-mandatory) xeno recruitment, so I experienced a lot of each respective races' lore and interaction back to back. Starting to see them interact with each other and with humans is amusing, because each one does have a niche in the community, but I do think there's a healthy balance of seriousness and silliness. A lot of your reactions to the ambivalence of NLA's populace was something I didn't notice at all- but then again, I tried to stay out of the city when I could, and rough it off in the wilds. I agree that their reactions were a bit ridiculous, but there is something to be said about the burden of being "humanity's last hope" and how people might cope with it in different ways. Some go crazy. Others drink coffee.

I thought caves had a ton of variety, though I can see your points. My personal favorite cave was the one in Cauldros- no, not THAT cave, the one where you have to hop from stone pillar to stone pillar to fight the Tyrant at the end of the labyrinth. It's one example that is really the highlight of cave design, which I'd like to see them go back to.

Xenoblade Chronicles will always be one of my favorite games of all time. While the sense of scale on Mira is impressive and the skyboxes are gorgeous, it will never have the sense of wonder that the original game's twin gods brought to the fold. However, as I mentioned previously, and something that I think you guys summed up well, was that Xenoblade Chronicles X is like the original but completely different in a number of ways, and that makes it the perfect sequel. If we had gotten Xenoblade Chronicles 2, it likely would have never lived up to the hype of the first game, and with the way that game ended, I'm not sure if anything else needed to be said (although I'll always want more Shulk). In a funny way, XCX doesn't wrap things up neatly, but it doesn't have to. It is an online game and the main story was really only the beginning. We got a game that is different, better, and in some ways, more obnoxious than its predecessor, but I'd rather see something like that than direct sequels. You guys spoke very honestly about the "overhearing" mechanic of the game- it fleshes out the citizens and the world, and it makes XCX feel like a fully realized thing. Guillame mentioned how some games have Easter Eggs- this game has so many that you could spend hundreds of hours and not see them all. It is a triumph of game design, particularly for Monolith Soft, and something that I will always look back on fondly.

But yeah, they gotta figure out those crystal collectables because those things SUCK.

EnnerMarch 07, 2016

One thing to be instantly sure of is that Guillaume should never play World-of-Warcraft-vein MMORPG, unless it was for academic reasons.

With the reveal of the end of Yelv's Affinity Missions, my interpretation had shifted to memory manipulation as I played past the story. However, this podcast reminded me of the line about "J-bodies" and of how Eleonora and conspirators wouldn't have access to the digital consciousnesses that were supposed to be in the Lifehold Core. Still, I think the memory manipulation angle still holds true because a hearsay line describes how Elma's Reclaimers team that were witness to the destroyed digital consciousness hold of the Lifehold Core have exited the Mimeosome Maintenance Center appearing pale.

One tragic interpretation I wish I was able to e-mail in about is the sad and depressing reality that humanity faces in NLA. For one thing, the Earthlife Colonization Project has lied about the true nature of the Lifehold Core. Second, most (if not all) of the digital consciousnesses have died. All those lives that the population of NLA thought would be resurrected are dead. The mother that hoped to be reunited with her young daughter will no be able to. The fallen BLADEs are gone forever. The mimeosomes that people thought were temporary, and have used them as such, are now faced with these mechanical bodies being the ones they live in. The mimeosome doesn't have the digital consciousness (as far as we know); there is nothing (or should be nothing) to transfer to a biological body made from the Lifehold Core's proto-plasma. The ruling bodies of NLA may be looking at a future of civil unrest or mass memory manipulation.

Of course, this is only interesting if you grew to care for the city of NLA and the world of Mira. The many narrative shortcomings and dissonances that were brought up by the panel I have made peace with by recognizing the first-time-developing-in-HD nature of the game's development and Monolith Soft shackling themselves to having some familiar aspects of a JRPG. With the variety of themes and plot lines explored, while their shallowness is disappointing, I ultimately enjoyed them. I wish all the stories in the game dug deeper and twisted harder, but it was fun to have so many of them that surprised and amused me with their turns.

Melia is my favorite character in Xenoblade Chronicles, in part due to her having the most complete character arc. After realizing Elma and Lin weren't going to fill Melia's shoes at all, I was desperate to find any character that I can attribute Xenoblade Chronicles X's soul to. The limit of three Affinity Quests to each party member made my search hard. But all along my time with the game, I keep helping a young woman blaze her own path in the dangerous world of Mira. She's a bit aloof, but you spend a lot of time with her. You get to know a bit of her past and her dreams. How she lost her parents to the wilds of exploration, and how she wants to follow in their foot steps. Through all the odds, hell fire, and pesky doppelgangers, she finally becomes a full-fledged BLADE. And it's all thanks to you, chief! Mia ends up being the perfect singular character to embody Xenoblade Chronicles X for me. She's kinda odd, tedious to track down, surprising when she appears out of nowhere, and is kind of a hassle to work with. But she has such a strong spirit for exploration and for adventure that I can't help but love.

Also, echoing Jon's laud for that one eavesdrop about Lara Mara, Mia says how she misses her two dads like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is a game that you wish you had time for, wish made time for you. The negative way to take it is that Xenoblade Chronicles X is a game you don't have time for and doesn't respect your time (material crystals are the worst). I have about ~85-90% of the game surveyed, an Ares 90 (the uber mech that you slagged a prototype of in Chapter 11), and some good headway in to an Infinite Overdrive build. My game clock reads 290 hours. I'm not proud of having a game grabbing and holding me for so long, but I wouldn't want trade away all the joy and fun I had living on Mira for the past three months.

But I certainly wouldn't mind if the next game Monolith Soft and Tetsuya Takahashi clocked in at less than 100 hours.

fred13March 07, 2016

I'm playing and enjoying this game very much, but I LOVED the story in Xenoblade Chronicles and I don't want to hear your spoilers...yet.
I will save this episode in my phone and listen to it after I conquer this game.


Thanks, I really appreciate the podcast and I'm excited to listen to it when I get to that point.


P.S. Would you consider doing the same thing for Fire Emblem Fates? Because of the portable nature of it I'll probably finish it before XCX and I'd love to hear all of y'alls thoughts on this one.

NinfernoMarch 07, 2016

Not to sound cliché, but this podcast rules! Totally enjoyed this 2-hour show, great to hear most of the points being made here, be it praise or criticism. Hope to have more episodes like this, I mean, in depth discussions/analysis of a single recent game, though I guess there might not be that many games like XCX, which is so interesting to talk about because its strengths and flaws are just both so remarkable.

ClexYoshiMarch 08, 2016

i'm glad I listened to this, because I honestly lost all interest after I got the skell, strangely enough. I stopped being nearly as bold with my exploration and save scumming a whole lot after that point, and the game lost it's fun, and having hit up so much of all 5 maps before getting the bloody thing made my desire to set out with the skell a lot less tantilizing.

Further, the constant Handcuffing to Elma and Linn made me feel FAR more detatched from this game's cast.

I was also very disappointed by the monumentous grinding for tickets that I would need to do set up the fashion I wanted and got very, VERY heavily discouraged because for some dumb reason, seeing Doug dressed as a Chippendales dancer was far higher on my priority list than dealing with quests that have far too tiny of text for me to read or exploring Mira itself.

Good show, though.

KobeskillzMarch 08, 2016

I once sent an email about finish games and I remember the Gui specifically laughing and telling me why are you playing games you aren’t enjoying or forcing yourself to finish games. Lol.

By listening to the episode it sounded like that’s exactly what he did for 100+ hours playing Xenoblade X.



I loved the game but for sure could have used some UI improvements to help with some tedius quest.  I would have killed for Skyward sword dowsing at times for some of these blue crystals. Lol.

We had been mostly praising the game in the months leading to the spoilercast so I basically unloaded everything about the game that bothered me. So naturally I sounded more down on the game than I actually was. There was a lot to enjoy while exploring Mira. I just needed to vent on the stuff that bugged me.


Admittedly, I might have played a bit more of it, or playing through it faster than I would have liked, due to the spoilercast we promised.


It's surprisingly easy to sound negative on a podcast. At least one person managed to come away from the last retroactive thinking we didn't like Viewtiful Joe, when I thought we were all very positive about it.

KobeskillzMarch 09, 2016

Quote from: Pandareus

We had been mostly praising the game in the months leading to the spoilercast so I basically unloaded everything about the game that bothered me. So naturally I sounded more down on the game than I actually was. There was a lot to enjoy while exploring Mira. I just needed to vent on the stuff that bugged me.


Admittedly, I might have played a bit more of it, or playing through it faster than I would have liked, due to the spoilercast we promised.


It's surprisingly easy to sound negative on a podcast. At least one person managed to come away from the last retroactive thinking we didn't like Viewtiful Joe, when I thought we were all very positive about it.

  You know playing Xenoblade X was like eating a very spicy delicious meal.


Chili lovers and people who love spicy food will understand this.

Sometimes a dish is so hot its making you sweat, your nose is running and overall is killing you but man you love it. Something about it is just delicious and you can’t stop eating it.

Xenoblade X has some parts that just kill you. The wondering around aimlessly and more text than the bible to read and so on and so forth but there is something about the game that you just can’t stop playing it.



LemonadeMarch 10, 2016

I might be one of the few who liked X more than the Wii game, but I havent finished either of them. I got stuck on chapter 10 and didnt want to do hours of grinding to continue.

The podcast was very interesting, especially the spoilers. I really want to see what happens at the end of the game now.

ClexYoshiMarch 12, 2016

I've actually begun revisiting this game a bit now that I listened in, strangely enough.

I still get the feeling I'm playing this game incorrectly. there HAS to be a more efficient way to assemble a party than hunting down HB in the middle of the residential district every time i want that snide bastard in my party instead of Lin.

That's probably my main issue with this game, is hunting down a character I want to talk to that isn't immediatley accessable by just pulling up a quest or initiating follow ball.

Evan_BMarch 12, 2016

They have certain hours of activity, and you can alter the clock in the Blade Barracks. But that's as easy as it's going to get.

EnnerMarch 12, 2016

"An exhibit of Xenoblade Chronicles X not giving a fuck about your time."

Actually, party members don't have certain hours. Normally, they are always at that one spot to be available for you party. HOWEVER, as your affinity levels rise with a party member, they will move to a different hex in NLA for a Heart-to-Heart conversation when they are not in your party. You do not know where this Heart-to-Heart location is. You do not know when (some of them are 24 hours, some of them are specific blocks of in-game time). The only way to know is to either stumble upon the Heart-to-Heart location at the right time serendipitously, or to eavesdrop in a conversation of a random NLA citizen or BLADE member that details the Heart-to-Heart hex on FrontierNav.

When you complete the Heart-to-Heart, you can't recruit the party member to your squad right then and there. You have to go to his or her default location. There is no stopping that party member from being in one Heart-to-Heart location to the next if your affinity level with that party member is high enough.

"You wish Xenoblade Chronicles X made a bit more time for you."

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