I just finished Xenoblade and at the same time I am making my first post on RPGFan. I'll try to make it a good one. I clocked in at 110 hours and all in all I loved the game.
The world that Monolith Soft made is huge and incredible. There are a few points in the game where the views that you can take in are astonishing. It isn't just that the view is incredible so much as you can GO to what you can see. You aren't protected, you can go find enemies that will destroy you. It was fun making those types of mistakes. There aren't a lot of invisible walls in this game which was refreshing. The world of Mechonis was pretty boring for me compared to what Bionis had to offer but it was a relatively small amount of the game.
The character models are pretty bad, especially if you have an Xbox or PS3. On top of that, some of the outfits are awful, but I guess that comes with the territory in a JRPG. I found myself relieved when certain female characters found a new piece of armor so they could stop looking like a seven year olds fantasy.
I enjoyed the story quite a bit, there are events that happen in the beginning of the game that do a really good job in giving Shulk a purpose. He isn't just an empty shell, things happen to him that make him fight back. Shulk was a good protagonist that was well relatable. I hated Riki. I hate the silly characters like that are thrown into games. He's like the Jar Jar Binks of Xenoblade and I wish developers would stop creating this type of character. It bugged me that the game spent a decent amount of time letting you know that there was a love triangle going on with Shulk, Melia and Seven, but really didn't do anything with it. It just existed, but had no conclusion. Disappointing. The twists in the story were fun, pretty predictable but I enjoyed the story that Monolith wanted to tell.
I don't play MMO's, but I have read that the combat is similar to MMO's in a lot of ways. I thought it was fun. I started to get bored of Shulk, but then I wanted to raise the affinity of all the other party members so I switched it up for the last half of the game. That kept the combat somewhat fresh in that I had to learn the different strategies involved with each character. There are a TON of side quests and I did the vast majority of them. I beat the game at a lvl 80 so there are plenty of end game quests that I will get to in my free time. The problem with the side quests is that they are so generic. I appreciate that for a lot of the quests you don't have to run back to town, but they just didn't have any sort of impact to draw me in. I still did them, but they just weren't exciting. If you wanted storytelling you had to go to the main storyline. That in my opinion is a lost opportunity.
A lot of my impressions make it look like I didn't like the game, that's not true at all. I think we can all agree that the game is incredible, I wouldn't have spent 110 hours playing it if it wasn't. I wrote this pretty quickly so I apologize if it jumps around a bit. I just wanted to get what I was thinking on paper.