Good morning. I feel like I’ve been asleep for the last 10 years. I had convinced myself this was a game, but the intricate detail of the shadows convinced me this place was real after all. The rest of my life was a dream. The world wasn’t round or flat, we lived on the organic ecosystem of a defeated titan. My memories of wielding the Monado still lingered in black and white, but now it was time to fill them back up like an old colouring book. Just being back in Colony 9 was enough to feel energised with purpose.
Xenoblade has a rare magic that puts you in a good mood without telling you to be in a good mood. Shulk isn’t kidding when he says he’s really feeling it. It presents a reality where you feel useful and invited, as everyone does their best to contribute.
The Homs situation is so dire against the Mechon, but everyone is wholesome and supportive. Somehow a bulletproof, faceless, technologically advanced race with no emotions or weakness feels beatable, simply because you believe you can beat them. The battle system incorporates this energy into its very structure with the ability to run up to team members and “Encourage” them to restore HP, revive them from fainting, or warn them of upcoming enemy attacks. Nobody has to go it alone.
Colony 6 is a town that was savagely attacked by the Mechon, but standing here still gives me a feeling of hope. It doesn’t look like much yet, but rebuilding is a process that takes time. Watching this lifeless crater become a populated thriving town again feels very rewarding. Everyone works together to build it up, one upgrade at a time. With every stage of remodeling, the music changes to add another melody or an extra instrument. Making progress in this game isn’t just something you can see, but something you can feel. NPCs in the colonies get on with the day and move to different places at night, offering sidequests, stories and opinions on current events.
Large boss battles have amazing music to make them feel like a duty rather than an obligation. The roaring guitar riffs inflict Daze on your enemies and buff your motivation. From a visual standpoint, the vast landscape, lively enemy design, and wondrous elevation changes make exploring feel exciting and natural. Finding secret places gives you large amounts of EXP which makes having fun and being curious feel like a worthwhile goal. When you find a nice lookout point, waves of ether in the air nourish your very soul.
Prison Island looms in the distance with an ominous uncertainty. The water of Eryth Sea ripples calmly under the sunset to re-assure you that you can handle anything that might be coming. We had a long way to go before we could take on the Mechon, but every day we were learning more and getting stronger. The sun went down, but we stayed out here on the beach all night collecting materials while Reyn told us stories. The more we joked around, the more motivation we had to protect our way of life and fight for it. Being alive didn’t mean much if we couldn’t feel anything.
To be continued…