Xenoblade Chronicles Game Poster Image

Xenoblade Chronicles

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Great adventure has themes best suited for teens and adults.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Narrative themes include duty, friendship, trust, sacrifice, and discovery. It's a story about good versus evil, and paints a fairly typical, black-and-white picture about right and wrong. The game glamorizes fantasy combat, but the fighting is so otherworldly that it won’t be easily equated with real-world violence.

Positive role models

The protagonists actively fight for what they believe in. While they spend a good chunk of their time in combat, there are also plenty of side quests that don't involve battle, but instead force players to hunt down various artifacts. They use violence to solve many problems, but not all.

Ease of play

Navigation and interaction controls are mapped to buttons on the Wii remote and nunchuk. It may be simpler for some players to use a traditional controller, which is better suited for this sort of game. The unusual combat system is deeply complex and will take players a dozen or more hours to master. However, the game walks players through each feature as it is introduced, and players can revisit these tutorials at will.

Violence

Players engage in fantasy combat against both fantastical creatures and humanoid characters. Players use melee weapons such as swords as well as magical abilities to strike down enemies. Blood is seen only rarely, usually in cut scenes, and there is no gore. Fallen characters disappear.

Sex

Some of the game's female characters are depicted in revealing clothing that shows their bellies, upper thighs, and cleavage.  

Language

Light, infrequent profanity, including "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some characters can be seen drinking and smoking, though not the primary protagonist.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Xenoblade Chronicles is a Japanese role-playing game with frequent fantasy combat. Its story features a cast of noble protagonists battling to save their world from menacing monsters and machines. Players will encounter mild profanity, some scantily clad females, and characters that drink and smoke. While much of the game is focused on combat, players also spend time exploring a vast open world and carrying out tasks to help many of the secondary characters they encounter. Parents should note that this game is controlled using buttons rather through gestures.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension
  • reading

Social Studies

  • exploration

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • strategy
  • applying information

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • set objectives
  • achieving goals

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Dimension-shifting shtick creates a wave of satisfyingly brain-breaking concepts that seems never to stop rising, making for a profoundly compelling puzzle/platforming experience. And it looks lovely.

Learning Approach

Kids can learn how to think abstractly and solve problems. Kids’ memories will be challenged, too, as they’re forced to retrace their steps through the game’s complex web of environments.

Support

Complex and strategic game systems take hours to master, but that's supposed to be part of the fun. Kids who require additional help will find plenty in unofficial community sites online.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension
  • reading

Social Studies

  • exploration

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • strategy
  • applying information

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • set objectives
  • achieving goals

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Kids can learn about storytelling, strategy, and exploration in this action-oriented role-playing game. Players take in a rich, Japanese-flavored tale where characters learn to deal with duty at a young age, loss of friends, and responsibilities that come with camaraderie. They'll also explore a vast world, setting and achieving goals while persevering in battles that require players to analyze situations and devise strategies for dealing with different types of enemies. Xenoblade Chronicles central focus on action means kids will only occasionally practice their logic, reasoning, and reading skills.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

At first blush, Xenoblade Chronicles seems a lot like any other Japanese role-playing game. However, you're quickly introduced to a cast of energetically animated characters sporting unnatural hair colors and bizarre outfits before setting out learning an elaborate real-time melee combat system, the intricacies of which will take most players dozens of hours to fully comprehend and master. Its wildly imaginative plot, which features a small population of humanoids living upon the massive body of a fallen god while fighting off murderous mechanical invaders, is decidedly within the domain of inspired Japanese fantasy. However, things eventually take on a more Western flavor. Players get to journey across a massive, free-to-roam world, engaging in literally hundreds of side quests along the way. Plus, a complex and dynamic social system allows players to interact with and alter their relationships with not just fellow party members, but also secondary characters scattered throughout the world. It's an enormous game. Dedicated players can expect in excess of 100 hours of play time.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Xenoblade Chronicles places a priority on the sorts of features for which Western role-playing games are often extolled. It offers a seemingly never-ending series of tasks to complete and locations to explore. And the world is beautiful. It takes hours of dedicated cross-country adventuring simply to conduct a full survey of the grassy plains and hills that compose the leg area on the mammoth deity's fallen body. And as you're exploring, you'll glimpse more foliage-covered body parts kilometers away that offer a tantalizing preview of adventures still to come.

The big question is whether the older gamers who tend to drive the popularity of RPGs in this hemisphere will warm to the game's distinguishing Japanese flair: its emo characters, fanciful monsters, bright color palette, and often whimsical vibe. But those who do are in for a treat. Not only is Xenoblade Chronicles a lovely swan song for Nintendo's soon-to-be-succeeded Wii, it represents what could be a bright new future for a classic genre many had long since written off.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the psychological impact of violence in games. Does it matter if the enemies players fight are human or fantastical? Is there a difference between a body that lies where it falls and one that disappears from the playing field? Ask your kids what they think.

  • Families can also discuss the idea of becoming immersed in vast virtual worlds. Do you enjoy the sense of discovery? What sort of in-game activities do you like that don’t involve fighting? Having conversations with non-player characters? Hunting for treasure? Crafting items? Playing the role of messenger?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Price:$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:April 6, 2012
Genre:Role Playing
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:T for Blood, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco

This review of Xenoblade Chronicles was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bySynchronicity April 6, 2012

Never have played finer - one of the best RPGs ever made. Teens will appreciate.

I'm a member of the fan movement Operation Rainfall, which convinced Nintendo to bring this game over to the Americas, and with the recent release of Xenoblade, perhaps the best Wii game ever, our efforts of contacting Nintendo and bringing the demand have definitely not been in vain. Although our friends in Europe had this game since last August, it's finally here, and definitely worth a look, whether you're into JRPGs or not. The game centers on the human inhabitants of the Bionis, which was forever locked into battle with the other titan, the Mechonis. The Mechonis' inhabitants are, as you might've guessed, machines. However, the Mechon are evil machines that have a tendency to kill the Homs (humans) and Nopons (the infamous "cute animal" race in JRPGs). You play as Shulk, the 18-year-old human protagonist, who sets out with his friends for revenge against the Mechon. However, there are many plot intricacies to be found, and it's a great story, especially for a genre as cliche-ridden as the JRPG (I love them anyway, but some people don't really think highly of them just for that). Alongside the amazing story and believable characters is one of the biggest and most beautiful open worlds I've ever seen in a video game. Who knew a system such as the Wii could pull this off? Why, Monolith Soft, of course! The studio behind Xenoblade Chronicles also worked on the two other unrelated series with the Xeno name (Xenogears and Xenosaga), which were intricate JRPGs that had sci-fi elements and a cult following. Xenoblade is a worthy successor to them, in that regard. The open-world nature of the game means there's very little grinding, and for the most part you can choose who to fight and how to do it. I really like the battle system, where you automatically attack the enemy as you move towards it, but have to combine special arts and powers in succession in order to fully win. It's not just about the combat, however, as there are well over 500 sidequests for you to do. Not only is the game itself great, its presentation is equally so, with lush graphics (especially by Wii standards), beautiful music (from well-known RPG composers who have worked on Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and many other games in the past) and great English voice acting (since the game was released in Europe first, it has British actors, and it's a nice change of pace). This is definitely a five-star game. As for age appropriateness, this game's got a T rating for several reasons. Not only are the themes mature (changing the future, getting revenge), they're also unlikely to be picked up by anyone other than older preteens and up. Violence is pretty rampant, with quite a bit of combat featuring sparks, light flashes and other things, mainly against fantastical enemies. There's some more realistic violence every now and again: in one cutscene, a character coughs up blood, and you can see blood on the claws of a Mechon. There's also a bit of sexual content, mainly in the form of scantily clad women, and the very fact that you can buy a bikini for your female characters can be a bit off-putting. Language is limited to "d*mn" and "h*ll", not bad at all, and some characters smoke cigars and drink (not the main protagonists, however). But, overall, I'm glad to have helped bring this game over. Xenoblade Chronicles will be hailed as the Holy Grail of modern RPGs for years to come, as even with its complicated release history and convoluted release scheme (only available at GameStop and Nintendo's online store, for the time being), it's a dazzling world well worth your while.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old May 14, 2012
LEARNING

A Good Game, For A Ten Year Old

Xenoblade Chronicles is a good game for someone that's 10. Entering the tween age, they could like some violence, (in the game, swords) and they can learn something. There are positive supporting messages, and you should have a lot of fun traveling the vast universe. There is some, well, bad things. Girls were skimpy outfits showing some parts of their body. But, as a ten year old, they wouldn't pay attention to that. So I'd have to say 10+.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byKai Wu April 23, 2013

GREAT JRPG good for pre-teens!

Great JRPG for pre-teens/teens lots of action some puzzles one of the best stories is recent JRPG's there are some scenes with bloody violence but not much.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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