Xenoblade Chronicles

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Xenoblade Chronicles Game Poster Image
Great adventure has themes best suited for teens and adults.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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.

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 & Representations

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
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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 Xenob... Continue reading
Adult Written bySong of Storms February 23, 2013

Xenoblader

Excellent game for adults. One very disturbing violent scene that is replayed throughout the game.
Kid, 12 years old May 14, 2012

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... Continue reading
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'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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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