#WeeklyGameMusic: Snowy Valak Mountain / Night (Xenoblade Chronicles)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

A bit late, but this week’s (last week’s?) music plays on Valak Mountain during night in the cult classic Xenoblade Chronicles. ACE+’s composition is simple, calming, almost silent tune that fittingly brings awe to a snowy mountain lit by glowing crystals. It’s one of the many beautiful pieces cleverly placed in the game that can be described as Nintendo’s answer to Skyrim.

In a very unique premise, Xenoblade Chronicles‘s world is actually two massive giants that stands still after a long battle eons ago. In the present, the denizens of one giant, the Hums and Bionis respectively, is defending against the Mechons from the other giant, Mechonis. While the majority of the Hums cuddle at the back of the leg of Bionis for safety, the bookworm Shulk discovers how to utilize the magical sword, Monado. Not only are Mechons weak against the Monado, it also doesn’t physically harm Hums, and even provides the user the power to see the future. Feeling powerful, Shulk and his best friend, Reyn, attempts to defend their colony from a surprise Mechon attack. Naturally, by JRPG logic, this causes their next-door neighbor/girlfriend(?) to die, leaving the two in grief. Thus, the duo to go on a long journey in a revenge mission against the Mechons.

Exploration is the highlight of this real-time action JRPG where taking on over 700 side quests, fighting area-specific enemies, or even just walking up to a check point gives you experience points. In battle mode, standing close to an enemy causes your character to automatically attack them in regular intervals. More important are the magic system: every playable character can use their magic as much as they want, as they don’t have an MP gauge, but every magic suffers from a cooldown where they are rendered unusable. This allows for a surprising amount of magic combos your party can dish out. For example, Reyn uses a lot of defensive and attention-seeking magic that causes the enemies to focus on him, while Shulk has a lot of position-based magic that are more effective on the sides or backs of enemies. Certain status effects, such as stuns, require a certain sequence of moves to be executed as well, requiring one to carefully configure their party for optimal use.

Xenoblade Chronicles was originally developed for the Wii. A port for 3DS is currently in development.

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