Woo hoo! Finally reached Agniratha! I say “woo hoo!” because I’ve spent at least 20 hours supposedly trying to get there, but actually exploring as much of the world as I can. I killed my first ‘red’ mobs too, though they were just harmless sardines and flamingos. I tried to take on a level 74 caterpie with my level 68 party, and we were doing pretty well. Then some Vangs got involved and the whole thing turned nasty, but I’ll get them yet!
In story news, I kinda got annoyed at the cheesiness and ‘accidentally’ skipped a couple of cutscenes in the Hidden Machina Village, so I’m not too sure what we’re doing in Agniratha. If I recall correctly my party’s there to waste some kill-everyone-but-my-people Egil guy, but that’s about it. He might as well be Necron, for all I care about him.
I’ve also been doing a LOT of quests. It’s funny, because I was adamant when I started Xenoblade Chronicles that I wouldn’t bother with any non-mandatory quests. Yet here I am, running and jumping and hiding and swimming for 30 minutes to get one drop of water to a lazy adventurer. Whatever happened to my willpower? Then again I’m the same person who spent the first 20 hours of a story-heavy RPG doing nothing but quests, thereby semi-ruining the game for myself. I should have known it would turn out this way.
As for my opinion of the game, it hasn’t changed much in the past 70 hours. I love the exploration. I’m enjoying the quests. I’m not sure when the timed ones will expire, so I’m focusing on those for now. I still don’t care much for the 7th party member, but I’ll survive.
Battle-wise, the battle system itself got stale a few hours in, but I’ve been keeping things fresh by switching my party around. I got tired of Shulk, Melia and Riki, so I’m trying Dunban and Reyn as mains now. One of them should have been the main character instead! Story-wise… yah, I still don’t care. And I’m okay with that. Let’s just get this over with, but not too quickly because I have a lot of exploring left to do.
And so it is with the utmost reluctance that I enter my final break before I finish Xenoblade Chronicles. This time I don’t want to stop playing, but there’s a lot going on around this time of the year. The sad thing about console gaming is the time and energy commitment involved. You can’t just roll over on your side, flip a switch and play for 15 minutes before bed. You need peace and quiet (well, I need peace and quiet) and at least a solid two hours if you really want to enjoy a console RPG. Once the hue and cry of Christmas and the New Year is over I hope to get the time to devote to finishing this dang thing already.