This has been a long time coming. Anybody who has spoken with me about games, especially role-playing games, knows that Final Fantasy 13-2 captivated me. I was never sure when (or if) the time would come that I would find a productive and self-contained angle from which to approach it.
Many people like many different things about Dungeons & Dragons – the storytelling, the fantasy action, the camaraderie, the layers of customisation. It’s safe to say that I like the philosophies behind D&D Next: understanding what the game means to everybody who plays it (or might play it given the chance) and reconciling those motivations.
However, I did enough talking about general goals in WIHILA D&D Next. Instead, let’s talk about something more specific which I’ve had some experience with during the playtest: non-combat rules in D&D Next (because rules for engaging with games which don’t involve combat don’t generally get enough love). More specifically, new rules for Exploration.
What did I like about Xenoblade Chronicles? Nearly everything. The sheer scope of the world is deserving of the description ‘epic’, approaching the scale set by games such as Skyrim (and by ‘such as’, I mean ‘the one and only’). If you’ve just come from my WIHILA Xenoblade post, then I can confirm for you that this is a JRPG through and through, but one that shows the genre can keep with the times, evolve and innovate.
But you know what’s really great? I sat and played for upwards of 130 hours and loved every minute of it. I didn’t just explore the nooks and crannies of the world, I wanted to. So let’s talk about what I’m going to call the ‘good pacing’ in Xenoblade Chronicles, which is to say the spread of engaging gameplay throughout the game. Continue reading