Why buying Xenoblade is important

Tomorrow marks the long awaited U.S. release of Xenoblade Chronicles, the epic 90 hour long Wii JRPG that nearly didn’t see a U.S. release. But, thanks to a massive fan campaign and a deal with GameStop, we will see Xenoblade.

And buying this game is important.

I know there are many who are hesitant about the prospect. It’s true the game may have received more hype than it deserved due to it formerly being unavailable in America. European gamers were excited to finally get something America doesn’t get and wanted to rub it in our faces. Meanwhile, importers always hype things. When you’re paying $80 to play a game no one else you know will ever play? Well, folks tend to hype that kind of stuff up. I’ve seen this first hand many many times with PS1 imports.

However, let’s look at the facts: What we have here is a big budget, highly polished, incredibly lengthy, sidequest caked, JRPG with a massive Skyrim sized world. The fact of the matter is that even if it isn’t the best JRPG, it’s one worth purchasing (especially when you remember that Wii games are only $50 tops, not $60). Especially when you remember how few JRPGs we have received this generation. Yes, the portable market has seen it’s fair share of quality Japanese RPGs, but consoles have been almost barren aside from sporadic releases from The Grand Council of Low Budget Japanese RPG Developers (a.k.a. Nippon Ichi, GUST, Idea Factory, and Compile Heart).

It’s here that one needs to remember why Xenoblade nearly didn’t come here in the first place! Despite being such a high quality title, next to no news was ever posted about it. There was little to no coverage of it as it was in development, it never made the covers of any magazines, and people just didn’t seem to care. More time was spent posting YouTube videos of game music than actually discussing Xenoblade!

Why? Well because while JRPG fans still exist in large numbers, the gaming media chose to avoid discussing the genre anymore. Couple that with it being a Wii release, a console that no one wants to say anything positive about anymore, and the lack of news is a no brainer.

It’s almost disgusting then that the only time Xenoblade received the attention it deserved was when news broke that it wouldn’t be coming to America. It’s then that magazines and websites gleefully discussed it. Not because they wanted to support the title and regretted it’s lack of a U.S. release. No, it was because now they could use it as a way to paint Nintendo as the bad guy and write articles about how the JRPG is dead. It should probably come as no surprise then that now that it’s coming out, their reaction is “Meh. This game was so overhyped.”

I know there are some people who still have complaints. Some may want to boycott it because it’s a GameStop exclusive while others want to wait for an HD remake. Don’t. I will tell you right now that an HD remake is not coming anytime soon. Xenoblade Chronicles will not be coming to PS3 or 360 as it is a second party Nintendo game (they bought Monolith). So the only chance it will be played in HD is when the WiiU comes out (or through emulation, but if you use that as an excuse not to buy the game, you’re a horrible person). Even then, it’s not farfetched to believe it will just upscale Wii games, meaning there’s no reason not to buy it now. If you still have a Wii, it should be dusted off to give this game a chance. Why? Well because if you don’t, what message will that send to Nintendo? It will tell them that they were right all along, that JRPGs don’t sell in America. It will tell them they shouldn’t localize another Mother/Earthbound game ever again. It will give them a reason to prevent the next Monolith game from coming out here.

Let’s not even think about the field day the game journalists will have. If this game doesn’t sell, then Project Rainfall will look like a joke. Fan campaigns like that may never be taken seriously ever again. Not to mention it will make the hardcore JRPG fans look like a bunch of whiny unpleaseable flakes. Even outside the Wii, it will make the prospect of localizing JRPGs look bad. If Xenoblade doesn’t sell, it could have some very serious repercussions throughout the industry.

But why should so much weight be placed on this one game? What if it’s really not that good? Well, chances are it is good. A game doesn’t come out and get this much wanton praise without at least being decent. Again, it’s a polished and well made game chock full of content with a massive world and over 90 hours of gameplay. I think it’s safe to say it deserves a chance.

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