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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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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?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii
- Subjects: Social Studies: exploration
Language & Reading: reading, reading comprehension
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses, set objectives
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, logic, strategy
Emotional Development: empathy, moving beyond obstacles, persevering
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.