A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some of the game's female characters are depicted in revealing clothing that shows their bellies, upper thighs, and cleavage.
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Light, infrequent profanity, including "hell" and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some characters can be seen drinking and smoking, though not the primary protagonist.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.