Xenoblade Chronicles is on the Wii. Which is, at times, a shame. It is too big for the Wii. It is perhaps even too lovely for the Wii. The amount and scope of its imagination cannot possibly fit on Nintendo’s last-gen system! I keep waiting for everything to abruptly stop because the disc has run out of space.
Part of what this means is that you’re not getting elaborate animation, or even very good animation. When you come to a mining node indicated by a mining pick icon, your characters don’t actually swing a mining pick. It’s as if the developers just decided pick swinging animation wasn’t worth the bother. So the character stands there impassively and sucks colored dust into his body. Mining.
After the jump, where animation counts
In the opening cutscene in Xenoblade Chronicles, the guy in the middle up there — his name is Dunban — gets injured. The injuries render his right arm nearly useless, so he can’t be the hero of the game. Sorry, Dunban. Fortunately, the actual hero of the game takes over while Dunban recuperates.
It’s only later in the game, many hours later, that I wonder, hey, what happened with Dunban’s injuries? That’s when I notice he’s fighting with his left hand. He wears his sword on his right side and he draws it with his left arm. All of his attacks are one-armed swings. What’s more, when he runs, his right arm hangs useless by his side, which is distinct from every other character’s running animation. No one calls attention to this. Dunban doesn’t have any sort of stat sheet explaining that he’s partly disabled. Instead, Xenoblade Chronicles assumes I was actually paying attention, and that I’ll notice how the animation is related to the story.
I’ll take that over swinging a mining pick any day.