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Why Xenoblade Chronicles Makes Me Want To Punch A Kitten

Xenoblade Chronicles is an amazing game. The characters are engaging, the storyline is epic, and the fresh combat blends MMO style cooldowns with the feel of an old-school, turn-based RPG.

However. 

The graphics. Dear god, the graphics. I can’t decide whether the technical capabilities of the Wii make me want to projectile vomit or take a 12-gauge to my television, and it makes me angry enough to mail a severed unicorn head to Nintendo’s main office because this game deserves better. It deserves better than gasping fish mouths bobbing up and down through beautifully crafted dialogue. It deserves better than jagged edged fuzzy textures comprising a breathtaking landscape set within the body of a fallen god. IT DESERVES BETTER THAN WHAT YOU’VE FORCED THIS GAME TO BE, NINTENDO.

<deep breath>

I honestly believe that Xenoblade Chronicles could have been this generation’s Final Fantasy VII. Not since I was a child have I been as absorbed by a world; not since the heyday of JRPG’s during the SNES era have I spent my time away from a game solely consumed by thoughts of playing that game, anxiously awaiting whatever new plot wrinkle might be revealed. This game is that good, and it does it all in spite of the absolute turd monster of a graphics engine the Wii poops out on screen.

I have to commend the folks at Monolith Soft. They’ve done the best they can with what they have available, and you can see the vision they’re so desperately trying to make a reality. The ideas on display in Xenoblade Chronicles are nothing short of amazing. We’re talking Shadows of the Colossus crossed with Final Fantasy amazing. Unfortunately, and through no fault of Monolith Soft, the Wii laughs at their dreams. It takes those dreams and flushes them down the toilet of GameCube-era hardware Nintendo likes to call cutting edge.

I for one am sick and tired of it. I’m tired of Nintendo having these awesome franchises and brilliant developers and shafting them with an absolute garbage can of a system. I’m tired of seeing Mario relegated to kitschy ideas because there’s no horsepower under the Wii’s hood; I’m tired of seeing Link fighting through the Temple of Brown Textures and Jagged Edges; I’m tired of seeing games like Xenoblade Chronicles, games with a world vision that dwarfs the imagination and fills the mind with awe-inspiring jaw dropitude, get thrown under the bus by Nintendo insisting on Grandma Waggle Party IV as its core demographic.

So this is what I say to you Nintendo. It’s time to s*** or get off the pot. You used to be great at hardware; hell, you were one of the companies that STARTED video gaming as we know it. Remember the NES? Remember the Super Nintendo? Those were cutting edge systems, and you did great games the justice they deserved. In today’s world, technology has evolved to the point where it’s not acceptable anymore to give us dross when we know there exists the capability for diamonds. It’s not acceptable to shackle an obviously talented team like Monolith Soft to the ball and chain of the Wii because you want to sell waggle. Either take your hardware seriously, or get out of the game entirely and let those more capable take over.

I’m asking, no, I’m begging you, Nintendo. Cut those shackles. Let Mario, let Link, let our beloved heroes of youth soar like we know they can. Let us visit the worlds they deserve to inhabit.

Chris "Warcraft" Kluwe is the Minnesota Vikings' punter, Tripping Icarus' bass player, and Andrew Reiner's hand model.

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