Xenoblade (Final)

It’s so good.

IT’S SO GOOD.

I could probably just leave it there, but no, I’m fucking serious.  Xenoblade is one of the best games I’ve seen in ages.  At first I was thinking “This is pretty much as good as FFX” since that was the last time I remembered being heavily invested in characters, but then it got better.  And then it got better.  And then it GOT FUCKING BETTER.  I kept thinking “This is so fucking amazing it cannot possibly get any better” and then it kept doing it.  And I was thinking to myself “This is super amazing but I’m sure the ending will be pretty cliche, but that’s okay because it’s really fucking good”, and then the ending surprised me.  Oh my fucking god.  It’s so good.  Game of the decade, sitting on the top shelf right beside FF6 and Chrono Trigger and Earthbound and all the other RPGs I have enjoyed more than anything else.  This game is already somewhat hard to find, so I am going to enshrine my disc for the inevitable day that it becomes a priceless rare collector’s item because it’s so fucking good.  I can’t believe how good it was!  I keep repeating myself but that’s because it was really good, guys!

Now for confession time – I didn’t finish playing it.  I put many many many many many hours into it and started feeling really burned out (I really dislike the real-time combat, which is the huge glaring flaw in the midst of everything), and then discovered that after all of those hours I was only just under half done.  But I really wanted to know what happened!!  But then I’d play more and be like “nnngh.”  But I REALLY wanted to know what happened!!  So I totally cheated and looked up a youtube channel that would show me all the cutscenes.  Watching the cutscenes loses a bit from the game, because a lot of the inter-character development occurs while running around or through cheesy heart-to-heart events, but I was already sufficiently attached to all of them that I was happy just seeing how the story ended.

The cutscenes alone?  ELEVEN HOURS.  ELEVEN FUCKING HOURS WITHOUT ANY GAMEPLAY OR SIDE QUESTS OR WALKING AROUND OR TALKING TO RANDOM NPCS.  ELEVEN. HOURS. OF STORY.

I watched all of it and it was the most epic movie I have seen since the Lord of the Rings trilogy (and at a comparable length too, huh).

Oh my god it was so good.

The worldbuilding.  The character development was good, but there were a lot of flaws with the characters that popped out at me.  They’re all so self-sacrificing and then everyone else in the group gets mad at them for being self-sacrificing and then they go “I’m sorry guys I didn’t want to worry you” and then they all go “TELL us next time – we’re a team!” and then next time they don’t tell them and it happens all over again.  There were plenty of character cliches at work under the surface too, but they were sufficiently buried that I felt it didn’t detract.  Also the romance got a little sappy.  But the worldbuilding.  This is a case study for excellent worldbuilding.  What an amazing world they built.

It really makes me sad that it was lost on the Wii, where the majority of people will not play it because they don’t own it, and the majority of those who remain will not play it because they think the graphics suck.  The graphics did kinda suck, but that’s because it’s a Wii.  I got over it.  It makes me even sadder that they’re supposedly developing the sequel as a Wii-U exclusive.  The console is already considered an abandoned husk :/.  I have no idea how they’re going to top this game, but if they DO, lost in the wasteland of the Wii-U library… noooooo… tragedy of the decade in the making.

This bears repeating: It’s really fucking good.  If you see a Xenoblade Chronicles disc, buy it.  If you don’t own a Wii, buy a Wii after buying the disc, solely so you can play it.  Or just put the disc somewhere for when it becomes a collector’s item because I am totally calling that right now.  Buy the disc to support the game and at the very least cheat and watch the cutscenes like I did, because you cannot miss this.

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3 Idiots

As a continuation of our “Apparently we have seen every movie except foreign films” adventure, the next movie I pulled from the top list on IMDB was 3 Idiots, the story of three engineering students and their trials and tribulations.   It’s from India and apparently the most successful film that’s been produced over there.  So successful, that apparently it’s being re-made everywhere, including a possible North American version in the works.  Or at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me.

I have never actually watched a Bollywood film before.  The whole thing was sort of a cultural experience, really – I was surprised that the entire film was a mash of Hindi and English speech.  It was so odd to be reading the subtitles and realize half of the sentence was English, just sort of randomly jammed in.  Wikipedia suggests that all of it is pretty much expected from a Bollywood film, so consider me enlightened, I guess.  When they broke into song, my husband said “That’s kind of what I was afraid of when I saw it was from India.”  I knew song and dance was the norm for Bollywood, and I usually enjoy musical stuff as long as the music is good, but it felt really forced in this one.  I’m not sure if that’s typical or not.  It’s like they were expected to have an average of 3.5 songs so they made sure to plunk a scene or two that led into them, even if it wasn’t necessarily a smooth transition.  I hate to say it but I don’t feel it added anything except running time, and I think the film would have been better without it.

Speaking of running time, the movie was 2 hours and 45 minutes long.  Holy crap.  There wasn’t nearly enough plot for that amount of running time, man.

We actually enjoyed it quite a lot, though.  The vast majority of the plot was very cliche.  I sarcastically commented “Wow, what a shocking twist!” on numerous occasions.  The main character was also a huge Mary Sue/Gary Stu, to the degree of almost following the template for one. That said, there was a lot of really good plot buried under all the generic plot.  If it does get a Hollywood release, I’m interested to see how they edit and clean things up (there is no way it will be a 3 hour movie after running through the Hollywood wringer).  The movie is a “comedy-drama” and it does it rather awkwardly: there are some genuinely funny moments, some really forced jokes (oh god, the slide whistle sound effect that accompanied some of them… AHAHAHAhahahaahaha), some jokes that are somewhat inappropriately placed… and a decent amount of dramatic moments that address serious topics.  The overall message of the movie was a good one, and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

I also see that it’s based on a book.  I was tempted to see if I could pick it up, but then I read that the book is more of a string of anecdotes and a lot of the plot had to be invented for the movie (which probably led to the whole Gary Stu thing), and I kind of lost interest.

I guess the bottom line is: I really wish it hadn’t been three hours, and I could have done without the dancing, but I don’t feel like we wasted our time and that’s always a good thing when dealing with entertainment!  I’m interested to see if it gets an American remake and what they will do with it, now.