Wednesday, 24 June 2015

#001: Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) Part 4

FatePlaysGames #001 Xenoblade Chronicles Part 4 - All Day And All Of The Night

Summary: Shulk continues to spend his days exploring the Residential and Military Districts of Colony 9. Along the way he gets inundated with quests and we learn what became of Dunban and the Monado.


Location: Colony 9

Despite a pressing desire to get to Shulk's lab and some story, I do a quick run around town for anything I can do during the day, though I still can't enter Dunban's house. Including those I pick up later in this part my new quests are as follows:

  • Biscuits for a Grandson
  • Challenge 2 & 3
  • Collection Quest 1, 3 & 4
  • Lonely Niranira
  • Material Quest 3 & 4
  • Monster Quest 1 (Part 1), 3 (Parts 1-4)
  • Search Quest 2 & 3

I complete 'Collection Quest 4' there and then and get another 300G. Still haven't come across whoever is hiding 'Material/Search Quest 1'. 'Biscuits for a Grandson' can be completed in the Residential District so I decide to head there first (and later learn it must be completed at night).

A car sized mech lies damaged against a house.

Learner driver?

This would seem an ideal place to give me a quest, not the least because of Shulk's tinkering abilities. But we're just told to back away and leave them to it.

I complete 'Search Quest 3' (reward: 1000G, 50 EXP) just by collecting the 'Key' Key Item from behind a house in the Residential District. Maybe I'm being too hard on it but the game helps me out here again far more than I would think necessary. Not only are quest important items marked on my mini-map but picking up the 'Key' automatically completes the quest.

I don't have to go back to the quest giver or anything! I may have skipped over an option to disable the mini-map when I first booted up and adjusted the settings to my liking (inverted y-axis if you want to know), but that it's on by default generally means I'll leave it on. I (after several minutes of frustration) use the B button to jump onto some boxes to reach 'Blue Glass Bead' and also complete 'Search Quest 2' (reward: 1200G, 50 EXP).

A selection of Nopon of different colours (left to right): Blue, Pink, Purple, Yellow.

Blue-skinned Nopon: "Man on bench over there is Kenny Rohan. Me watch him every day. Sometimes he depict beautiful women in his paintings... I wish he would paint me!"

After several blue-skinned Nopon I encounter a pink-skinned Nopon and get worried. But I'm glad the game is not so literal as to have blue Nopon be male and pink be female (skin colour appears to have no relationship to biological gender and/or sexual orientation); the yellow-skinned Nopon on the far right is a young male who gave me the 'Lonely Niranira' quest, for instance.

The map indicates there's a small area up some stairs just outside the colony but it's swarming with red dots so I'll leave it for now.

Current Affinity Chart. 20+ small face icons roughly grouped on a large board.

Exploring all of Colony 9 during both day and night has added many faces to my Affinity Chart.

There looks to be five levels of reputation within Colony 9, so there's a long way to go. Along those lines the vast majority of people here had very little of interest to say... for now.

More interesting are the various conversations with nameless NPCs that expound of various topics covering the Bionis, the origins of life and Ether.

"The Bionis isn't shaped like us. We're shaped like the Bionis. ... Apparently the laws of physics say that the world should be round."
"Well, that's because everything is made of ether! Even monsters!"
"You could say that we are all born of the Bionis."
"Ether's really amazing stuff. It's basically energy. ... makes machines run ... street lights lit ... make you stronger and heal wounds."
"All the lights in the night sky are ether particles. The bright light source in the sky during daytime is ether as well. The light source has a light-dark cycle which makes night and day."

I'm not sure what to make of it all quite yet. It seems a little... conclusive(?), so I'm either preparing myself for some plot twists or some more in-depth talk on not just the way things are (in this game) but why they are that way. A nameless member of the Defense Force casually reminds me to trade with people. I've really got to start checking that more often.

Night falls over the functional Military District buildings.

It's night time again as I return to story related business. I have to say I'm not a fan of games that have day/night systems that tick away at you like in this game. So far I thankfully see no consequences to taking my time, but it still makes me more mindful and inclined to rush. Dark Cloud & Dark Chronicle (Dark Cloud 2 in America) also had day/night systems but they tracked how many 'days' had passed. I clocked up a lot of 'days'. And not surprisingly a lot of days too.

As I finally reach my destination, the Military District, I gain a third level. That's one more than I gained in the wild! Makes me curious on what the max level is in this game if simply walking around town (and completing a few EXP rewarding quests) is a better way to level than to fight enemies.

A moustached colonel gesticulates wildly.

Colonel Vangarre: "Then I want a million press-up from both of you! And you better not stop until your biceps explode!"

This is Colonel Vangarre. Reyn had earlier referred to him as 'square-tache'. It's certainly unique. He's chewing out the two soldiers who crashed that mobile artillery gun from earlier but I still can't help in some way (quest or otherwise). All my gaming instincts say Shulk is going to fix this mech. Square-tache also mentions joint manoeuvres with Colony 6. It's no surprise they are on friendly terms (Dunban lives here and fought there) but I'm really curious now for some more information on the other colonies and our relationship with them!

Dickson rests casually in civilian clothing. Still wearing his red bandana though.

Dickson! Rocking that style by the way.

Shulk is surprised to find him in Colony 9, turns out he's not long returned. From where, we don't learn. Then he drops this on me: Shulk in the one in charge of research on the Monado (with assistance from Dickson). WHAT?! Do they have no-one else? Is Shulk a prodigy of some sort?

Dickson: "So you can activate it now then?"
Shulk: "Well, anyone can activate it. The problem is controlling it."

Half points there? Anyone can wield the Monado but it looks like only a select few can control it. How those few are determined we don't learn here. Is it an innate in-born ability? Does the Monado decide? Does it simply take time and practice?

Dunban is the only one able to control the Monado that they know of. Shulk mentions that its power, used by someone other than Dunban, could surpass any military force in the world. It's an interesting choice of words, "military force" and not "Mechon". Is there war between other colonies?

Shulk has also discovered that not all the Monado's power is being utilized at present. It "might be far more significant than just a weapon for defeating Mechon". It still doesn't come across to me as though the Homs created the Monado, so it's odd they refer to it's main purpose as defeating Mechon. Technobabble about multi-layered glass and symbols follows that basically means it has more functions.

I had the presence of mind to consider using a video here when the flashback started so I didn't pause it to take notes. In lieu of that you get my reactions/thoughts in list format!

  • Flashback? In sepia? Shulk and a young woman watch on as Dunban is carried from a transport on a stretcher.
  • I was a little worried, given his house, that only Dickson may have survived, but Dunban is alive too!
  • What does Dunban whisper to Shulk? Bad game!
  • The Monado is also brought back, and maybe appears to be giving off some vapour of some sort (steam seems too simplistic)? It might just be the image quality though.
  • The Monado controlled Dunban?! It does have a will of some sort it can exert?
  • Shulk actually looks quite tanned for a blond? And wasn't the scrap yard that place we were before. You know, outside?
  • Dunban! Oh no, injured Dunban.
  • Next party member? I don't get the sense she is family or romantically involved with Dunban. Just what is their relationship.
  • Dunban is keen to wield the Monado again. The way he denigrates himself, he feels like he isn't the same person anymore since his injuries.
  • It's not a good response, but I expected Shulk and this clearly important woman (Fiora) would likely be the main love interest as soon as she appeared. I won't judge how well that works here, but on the surface it's a little disappointing to stick to such a tired concept.
The game leaves us in control of Fiora? I obviously thought she was gonna be a playable character, but aside from the introduction where I controlled Dunban I wasn't expecting to change from Shulk as my viewpoint character again. 'Delivering Food' is our first Story Quest. Is this the only way the game's story will progress? No judgement there, just curiosity.


Next time: Fiora brings Shulk cold soup?!