Been a while, but I finally got back into Xenoblade Chronicles earlier this month. It’s got to be one of the longest games I’ve ever played. When I picked it back up, I had already logged in about 55 hours. At around the 70 hour mark, I had the uneasy feeling that I may only be halfway through. I am now past the 80 hour mark. I’m worried that at 127 hours, I might have to cut my arm off.
But I forge ahead.
Something I like about the game is that when a new member is added to the party, it actually feels exciting. I think the reason is that in this game, once a new character joins you, it’s more or less permanent. There are a lot of RPGs where characters frequently come and go based on the story, and that makes them feel somewhat arbitrary. It diminishes the satisfaction of building up those characters and forming a party when they can be whisked away from you at any given moment.
I like it better when earning a new character is essentially the same as a power up. Just as you build up one particular character the way you want, it’s fun to be able to build up a team of them, and form strategies for how they’ll work together. It also helps when you have to work a little to earn that character. In Xenoblade, I would get the sense that I was about to recruit a new character, but it often made me jump through a hoop or two to get them. It built up my anticipation, and made the payoff that much better.
In a way, I suppose it’s also better than RPGs where you create your entire party from the get go, because you don’t earn the extra characters.
Anyway, I have no idea how far away I am from the end, but I’m in no rush.