Xenoblade Chronicles X is, to this day, my favorite Wii U title. It’s also my favorite overall Monolithsoft project as I’ve written about before.
This is marked by the fact that I’ve played through the game on several occasions since its release in 2015. With each play-through, I’ve racked up several hundred hours worth of play time trying to discover all of Mira’s secrets.
In my opinion, it is the best Xenoblade in the series in terms of gameplay, especially the battle system, but it is not a perfect experience by any means.
I recently played through it once again with a critical eye towards what could be enhanced in a Switch or future hardware port, which is probably coming despite Takahashi downplaying this bit because of money. The basis for my assertion is the fact that each Wii U release that has found its way to the Switch has at least doubled its sales numbers. Futhermore, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have both exceeded sales expectations, so at this point we’re playing a waiting game — will it be for Switch or the next thing? I can’t imagine Nintendo leaving a first party underrated gem on an underselling legacy system.
I suspect that some of these improvements would have been implemented through a patch already had the Wii U been a bigger hit. However, as the game released at nearly the end of the life of the console, it’s understandable that the plan was abandoned and we received no further support.
There are those who want things to change in the game like NLA’s “horrible” music or “terrible” art direction for characters (both very subjective critiques), but there are real inconveniences that need to be addressed in the game for an updated re-release.
Practical Things That Need To Be Improved
1. Inventory Management
The inventory system in XCX is not the most intuitive. During my most recent playthrough, I needed to sell a ton of equipment once I hit level 60 because I ended up hitting the equipment storage limit.
When you try to sell things, you can’t do it in bulk, you have to do it one at a time, a tedious prospect. Not since Final Fantasy 2 on Super Nintendo have we had such an oversight. The Switch port needs to address this shortcoming.
Organizing also needs to improve with more options. Players can organize by weapon type and element type, which is necessary, but there needs to be another level to this type of sorting.
Sorting by weapon/armor rarity should be the next level down, and if they wanted to get really deep, by augment type.
2. Saved Outfits
Related to inventory, there needs to be an option to save favorite outfits with accompanying augments for both ground gear AND skell gear. The Monster Hunter series already has an effective way of handling this, and I was surprised that this wasn’t addressed in the base game. It’s tedious to search through a ton of armor each time a player wants to change for different battle situations.
3. Party System
Probably the most egregious oversight is how managing playable characters is handled in the game. A player has to actively seek out characters in predetermined sections of NLA, which is a huge time waster. Keep these locations, but allow all character management to be handled by menu additionally.
While the bestiary is excellent for determining stats and weaknesses for each creature in the game, it’s practically useless when searching for exact locations of said enemies for equipment farming. An enemy location radar and parts database aspect would go a long way to improving usefulness for missions, weapon and skell development. The thing about enemy location is that this particular radar is already baked into some of the missions, so this should not be a huge hurdle.
5. Music Slider
Another pretty obvious oversight was the lack of sound-mixing options in the game. There are several times when you can barely hear cutscene dialogue because of invasive music.
6. A Wider Selection of Skells
Though the skell selection was not terrible, I fully expected to get some DLC designs; that clearly did not happen. Not even special paint jobs in Nintendo colors, which would have been bare minimum.
7. Level Cap Increase
Realistically, the level cap should have been increased to 99 in the post game. Level 60 as a max feels incomplete even if you can eventually overpower enemies through maximizing skills, skells and overdrive. Etrian Odyssey is a good model for this as the player can only reach level 70 in the base game and must battle hard elemental dragon challenges to increase the level cap by 10 in the post game. Monolithsoft could do something similar in an updated version.
8. New Game Plus
Perhaps not feasible, but desired nonetheless, I would love to start a new game with all of my equipment. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 handled this through dlc, and I’d like to see something similar with XCX. I realize some story elements would have to be revamped for this, particularly for skell acquisition and progression.
9. In-Menu Augment Descriptions
Instead of running to the shop terminals, I’d like to have a compendium of all augments and their descriptions readily available from the main menu. Especially since enemies randomly drop worn/advanced equipment with different augments from base equipment.
10. Save Slots
Less and less games seem to be using save slots these days, and Xenoblade Chronicles X is no exception. The fact that I have to create a new account for each play through is an inconvenience even if it is a minor one. I think multiplayer plays a part in this, but if that’s the case, having a single player mode without networking capabilities should be implemented.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a game that is often overlooked simply because of the platform it released on. Though I love the game, it is not infallible; as the first HD game that Monolithsoft produced, there are many things that could have been refined but likely were not because of release schedules and the writing on the wall regarding the Wii U. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 answered many of these issues, but I think those improvements can carry over to a port of X, which I still think is coming.