The Binding of Isaac Rebirth

Xenoblade Chronicles X - review round-up

Like Mira itself, trying to get a grasp of Xenoblade Chronicles X can be inscrutable and vexing at times. But in a way, that quest for knowledge often mimics the plight of the humans who find themselves stranded on the alien planet that becomes humanity's new home. Understanding Xenoblade's complexity isn't easy or always immediately obvious, but stick with it and you'll find a vast, untamed land where simply existing is its own reward.

Nevertheless, this is contemporary Japanese RPG-making at its boldest and most imaginative in years. For every cliché - the helium-voiced furry mascot who totters along behind your group, the incongruous, schizophrenic rock-cum-rap soundtrack - there's an invention that hauls the open-world JRPG into the present, and then another that shunts it breezily into the future. Perhaps the game's greatest achievement is that, over the course of this journey, you settle into Mira and, in that mystical way of all video game greats, Mira settles into you.

Nintendo World Report
My own run through Xenoblade Chronicles X was an unintentional low level run, but I suspect this may have been because of the timing of when I got the game and playing super-extended sessions. Once the game is out and Christmas comes, I’m actually tempted to replay the game at a slower pace to really get the full experience out of it and to see if I avoid the extended grinding sessions (the 8th and 11th chapters of 12 had pretty heavy grinding required for my 1st playthrough). The fact that I plowed that time into the game and want to go back with more information to replay it should say a lot, though; Xenoblade Chronicles X is required playing for anyone with the slightest inclination toward RPGs, and if you need to buy the system then do it. It’s an essential part of the Wii U library.

This is one of the more interesting reviews I've done as of late because I know Xenoblade Chronicles X will be divisive. But it truly feels like an MMO world I've been living in for several weeks now. The more grimdark theme isn't quite as charming as the original Xenoblade, but everything else makes up for it.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is as sprawling, diverse, complex and entrancing as we hoped. It utilises the Wii U's capabilities not only to produce a beautiful world, but shows how something as simple as a map on the GamePad screen can be invaluable. What's most impressive is the dynamism and impression of freedom in play - level caps and grinding are naturally part of the equation, yet they're managed within a structure where even small missions or Affinity quests greatly enhance the narrative and sense of place. To truly experience the story of this human colony and the vast planet Mira requires exploration and patience, and Monolith Soft has found an impressive balance in bringing its vast range of gameplay systems and mechanics together.

Occasional bottlenecks are infrequent and easily overcome in the broader experience, and overall Xenoblade Chronicles X delivers a hugely impressive RPG adventure. It's an enormous accomplishment for Monolith Soft and an irresistible part of the Wii U library.

Xenoblade Chronicles X finds itself in a constant struggle between scale and bloat. When I crested over the game's first mountaintop and saw a dinosaur drinking from a lake in the valley below, it was amazing — one of those rare video game moments that can be described as "epic" without hyperbole. But the UI is just one example of how X gets in its own way, hiding its beautiful world beneath overly complicated and under-explained systems that just don't add enough. Monolith Soft has once more created something special under the Xenoblade name; it just happens to have buried that something special under a mountain of annoyances.

Mira and its inhabitants are awe-inspiring, and experiencing everything X has to offer is a monumental and rewarding task. It makes the journey consistently interesting by giving you intricate control over your characters' abilities and gear, and by offering a wealth of new toys to play with as time goes on. You will roll your eyes at characters, and bemoan the unnecessary story padding, but these frustrations are quickly forgotten when you head into the wilderness in search of unexplored territory and unforeseen challenges. X is a grand adventure that satiates your appetite for exploration and combat in ways that few games ever do, but because getting started is half the battle, it’s an experience reserved for dedicated players who have the patience and energy to unearth its greatest treasures.

Nintendo Everything
The Wii U has been lacking in large-scale games like this, and Xenoblade’s arrival is long overdue and one that belongs in every system owner’s library.

Nintendo Enthusiast
There are many complaints to be made with Xenoblade Chronicles X. The game is certainly not lacking for issues, both small and large. And yet when I look back at my experience as a whole, I find myself just not caring about those problems. The story and characters are a bit dull, but I still played the game over five hours a day. The music may not have fit very well, but I still was in love with exploring everything I could. There are almost no moments of serenity, but I still stopped to stare at the view. I was confused about some elements 50 hours in, but I still kept playing and figuring stuff out. Some quests are a bit frustrating, and most lack any real depth, but I still did them anyways and had a blast doing it.

That is because ultimately, in what the game tries to do, it succeeds completely: it creates an incredible, breathtaking, awe-inspiring world that is an absolute joy to run around in, to fight in, to collect in, to look around in, to be in. It may not have done so flawlessly, but Xenoblade Chronicles X gave me one of the finest worlds gaming has to offer, and it populated that world with incredible things to do. You have the option to be a part of that world as well. And while you should not expect perfection or anything near it, I can say with absolute certainty that you should play Xenoblade Chronicles X.

There's no such thing as a perfect game, but we believe that, in this case, our score and absolute recommendation is justified. Xenoblade Chronicles X is an amazingly well rounded game. There's so much to do on the planet Mira, from quick-fire quests to experiencing great adventures alone or with four other players in online mode. And that's not mentioning customising your base and your Skells. There's so much to do that we often forget that the future of humanity is in our hands... Time flies when you're having this much fun.

The Jimquisition
There are moments that make me scratch my head, infuriate me, and even make me cringe, but when I consider the layered mass that is Xenoblade Chronicles X, all I can think of how damn arresting it is. How much of it is there. How much of it is thoroughly enchanting.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is a genuinely enthralling game. It doesn’t take it easy on you though, and the perseverance and attention required may override the spectacle and beauty found here. Fans of the last game may also struggle with the tonal and technical shift, but if you want to experience one of the most involving, creative and expansive open worlds ever created, Xenoblade Chronicles X is essential.

Nintendo News
Xenoblade Chronicles X is the most ambitious console RPG I’ve ever played, and quite easily my favorite Nintendo game of 2015. The overall scope and the sheer amount of content is mind-boggling. Monolith Soft has once again demonstrated its fantastic ability to push hardware to its limit. Whether it’s a continuation of the Xenoblade series or not, I’m extremely excited to see what this talent could do with an even more powerful system. Until then, I’m climbing in my Skell and getting stuck in every nook and cranny of the astonishing world of Mira.

I have enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles X so much that I am planning to start it all over again from the beginning, so I can really take my time with this absolutely gargantuan adventure, and I rarely feel that way about any game, let alone one I’ve been playing almost non-stop for a month. This is an essential purchase for all Wii U owners who love the JRPG genre.

Nintendo Feed
With over seven hundred achievements and a solid campaign which lasted around fifty hours for me personally, I expect the longevity of this game to far exceed most other titles on Wii U.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is epic in scope. Most of the time, it’s better for it; other times, it’s clear that the developers didn’t have a golden thread sewing together all of its various parts. It’s an unconventional JRPG in many ways, most notably in its reliance on gameplay and multiplayer over an involved single player adventure ripe with quality storytelling and climactic plot twists. Its narrative is lacking at times — pulling inspiration from some of the most overused tropes out there — and its presentation is problematic to say the least. All of that aside, the sheer number of ways to custom tailor the experience, the wonderful combat, the inclusion of an astounding multiplayer mode and the compelling, massive world that’s presented make it one of the Wii U’s best games as well as one of 2015’s most complete RPGs. It may not be the follow-up that hardcore Xenoblade Chronicles fans were hoping for, but it’s a worthy sequel all the same — just one that marches to the beat of its own drum. Its unflinching tendency to do things that were not part of its predecessor’s legacy will solidify it as not only its own game, but the best role-playing experience on Wii U.

This week's European downloads - December 3/4 (Zack & Wiki, Xenoblade and more)

Nintendo eShop (3DS)

Pokemon Picross (The Pokemon Company) - Free
Pokemon Picross: 200 Picrites (The Pokemon Company) - €1.49/£1.39 (€0.99/£0.89 the first time)
Pokemon Picross: 1000 Picrites (The Pokemon Company) - €6.99/£6.29
Pokemon Picross: 2000 Picrites (The Pokemon Company) - €12.99/£11.69
Pokemon Picross: 4000 Picrites (The Pokemon Company) - €24.99/£22.49

Turn puzzles into portraits with Pokémon Picross! Solve over 300 number puzzles to complete pictures of your favourite Pokémon. When you complete a puzzle, you’ll add that Pokémon to your collection! Collected Pokémon can help you solve puzzles using a variety of skills. There are 12 skills in all and their effects vary. Have fun collecting a lot of Pokémon and solving puzzles with their help!

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. (Nintendo, available December 4) - €39.99/£34.99
Two Marios are better than one in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros., a comical RPG mash-up for Nintendo 3DS family systems! When two unique universes collide, Paper Mario jumps off the page and joins a super team of Mario Bros. Together, Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario must save the Mushroom Kingdom from the only thing more threatening than one Bowser: two Bowsers!

The Winx at Alfea – A fairylicious school (Rainbow, theme available December 4) - €1.99/£1.79
The Winx love Alfea, especially when they can spend their time together in Stella's room!

Mia and Me - A Centopic friendship (Rainbow, theme available December 4) - €1.99/£1.79
No matter if it's little elves or unicorns… friendship is always magic in Centopia!

Special offers
AeternoBlade (CORECELL) - €4.99/£4.50 (Ends December 31, normally €14.99/£13.50)
3D MahJongg (Joindots) - €3.99/£3.59 (Ends December 17, normally €4.99/£4.49)
Darts Up 3D (EnjoyUp Games) - €0.99/£0.89 (Ends December 31, normally €2.99/£2.69)
Football Up Online (EnjoyUp Games) - €1.99/£1.79 (Ends December 31, normally €3.99/£3.59)
Gardenscapes (Joindots) - €5.99/£4.49 (Ends December 17, normally €7.99/£5.99)
Pazuru (Joindots) - €4.49/£2.99 (Ends December 17, normally €5.99/£3.99)

Nintendo eShop (Wii U)

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Nintendo, available December 4) - €59.99/£49.99 (€49.99/£40.99 if you downloaded Xenoblade Chronicles. Offer ends December 18)

Explore a massive open world RPG and fight for humanity's survival in Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U! In this role-playing game for Wii U, players take control of one of the last surviving humans and discover an enormous alien world through an epic story. Players battle against threatening enemies of all shapes and sizes using a variety of special skills, track down resources and look for other survivors. It's also possible to play online with other players.

Special Introductory Offer until 18/12/2015: €10.00 off for users who downloaded Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) before on the same Wii U.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Disc version): Basic High-Speed Data Loading Pack Impact: High (Nintendo) - Free
This data pack is a free download designed to speed up load times by installing a part of the game onto the Wii U or a USB storage device. The Basic Data Pack installs frequently used data, such as terrain. It speeds up load times in the city and in the field. For the greatest impact on your experience, download this pack this.

These data packs are designed for the disc-based version of Xenoblade Chronicles X and will not improve load  times on the downloadable version of the game.

*For greater load-time improvement, install this in conjunction with other data packs.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Disc version): Enemy High-Speed Data Loading Pack Impact: Medium (Nintendo) - Free
This data pack is a free download designed to speed up load times by installing a part of the game onto the Wii U or a USB storage device. The Enemy Data Pack installs frequently used data in the field, such as enemy data. It speeds up load times in the field, especially in conjunction with the Basic Data Pack. Recommended for players who like to explore and fight enemies.

These data packs are designed for the disc-based version of Xenoblade Chronicles X and will not improve load times on the downloadable version of the game.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Disc version): Player High-Speed Data Loading Pack Impact: Medium (Nintendo) - Free
This data pack is a free download designed to speed up load times by installing a part of the game onto the Wii U or a USB storage device. The Player Data Pack installs the data for character graphics and equipment. It speeds up load times in the city and when you change equipment, especially in conjunction with the Basic Data Pack. Recommended for players who like to complete lots of missions.

These data packs are designed for the disc-based version of Xenoblade Chronicles X and will not improve load times on the downloadable version of the game.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Disc version): Skell High-Speed Data Loading Pack Impact: Medium
(Nintendo) - Free

This data pack is a free download designed to speed up load times by installing a part of the game onto the Wii U or a USB storage device. The Skell Data Pack installs the data for skell graphics. It speeds up load times when loading skell data, especially in conjunction with the Basic Data Pack. It also speeds up load times in the city and field. Recommended for players who own and like to customize Skells.

These data packs are designed for the disc-based version of Xenoblade Chronicles X and will not improve load times on the downloadable version of the game.

Human Resource Machine (Tomorrow Corporation) - €9.99/£8.99
Program little office workers to solve puzzles. Be a good employee! The machines are coming... for your job. Human Resource Machine is a puzzle game for nerds. In each level, your boss gives you a job. Automate it by programming your little office worker. If you succeed, you'll be promoted up to the next level for another year of work in the vast office building. Congratulations! Don't worry if you've never programmed before - programming is just puzzle solving. If you strip away all the 1's and 0's and scary squiggly brackets, programming is simple, logical, beautiful, and something that anyone can understand and have fun with! Are you already an expert? There will be extra challenges for you. From the creators of World of Goo and Little Inferno. Have fun! Management is watching.

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure (CAPCOM) - €14.99/£13.49 (Offer ends December 18, regular price €19.99/£17.99)
Enter a world of puzzles and piracy in Wii adventure Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure. Crafted exclusively for Wii by Capcom, this point-and-click puzzle-solving adventure will have you racking your brains as you guide budding pirate Zack and his sidekick Wiki the monkey through eye-popping levels in search of untold riches. As an apprentice pirate, Zack spends his days searching for a long lost treasure that is said to be buried on a mysterious island. One day, he stumbles across a talking skull that turns out to be part of the remains of legendary pirate Barbaros. The ghost of Barbaros promises to lead Zack to the island he seeks if the young pirate will lift the curse he has been placed under and bring him back to life by collecting treasure from chests scattered throughout seven dangerous locations.

Kirby Mass Attack (Nintendo, DS VC) - €9.99/£8.99 (€4.99/£4.49 if you downloaded Kirby: Power Paintbrush. Offer ends December 10)
Upon exploring a mysterious island, Kirby gets divided into 10 copies of himself by the evil leader of the Skull Gang. Kirby must gather all of his clones and defeat the gang to reverse the curse. Kirby Mass Attack is played with the stylus and touch screen of your Wii U GamePad. Find the copies of Kirby and guide up to 10 of them at the same time by tapping on the screen. The more clones of Kirby you control, the stronger you are; some obstacles can only be passed by having the right amount!

Special introductory offer until 10/12/2015: 50% off for users who downloaded Kirby: Power Paintbrush on the same Wii U.

Kirby: Power Paintbrush (Nintendo, DS VC) - €9.99/£8.99 (€4.99/£4.49 if you downloaded Kirby Mass Attack. Offer ends December 10)
Kirby has been transformed into a ball by the evil witch Drawcia! Fortunately, your stylus has been infused with magic paint. By drawing colourful rainbows, you can guide Kirby through the seven stages of this critically acclaimed game that inspired 2015's Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U. Draw lines and ramps to collect power-ups, draw loops to help him speed up, and double-tap on Kirby to help him fight enemies and collect their abilities. Collect medals to unlock secret features!

Special introductory offer until 10/12/2015: 50% off for users who downloaded Kirby Mass Attack on the same Wii U.

Special offers
Wicked Monsters Blast! HD PLUS (Corecell) - €2.99 / £2.69 (Ends December 31, normally €7.99/£7.19)
EDGE (Two Tribes Publishing) - €0.79/£0.71 (Ends December 17, normally €1.99/£1.79)
RUSH (Two Tribes Publishing) - €0.79/£0.71 (Ends December 17, normally €1.99/£1.79)
Swords & Soldiers (Two Tribes Publishing) - €1.19/£0.99 (Ends December 17, normally €2.99/£2.69)
Toki Tori (Two Tribes Publishing) - €0.79/£0.69 (Ends December 17, normally €1.99/£1.79)
Toki Tori 2 + (Two Tribes Publishing) - €2.99/£2.49 (Ends December 17, normally €14.99/£12.99)

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam - review round-up

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. sadly falls flat on its face at the final hurdle, but is a light-hearted and hugely enjoyable romp up until that point. There are great nods to both Mario & Luigi RPG and Paper Mario franchises, and the three protagonists make a great team in this 3DS RPG. Questionable decisions around the use of Amiibo and the mini-game side-quests can’t be ignored, but the charm of Paper Jam Bros. can’t be understated.

Nintendo World Report
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. was enjoyable, but it suffers from some severe pacing problems. The missions became a little too much to endure and became sort of mean as I inched closer to the end. The story didn't blow me away either, but the writing itself was cute and interaction between characters was fantastic. The environments mostly touch on known ground, but it is well put together and accompanied by some great tunes to boot. What made me finish the game were the puzzles and combat, which are as grand as ever. While I don't want to spoil any bosses, you are ensured that they will give you a smile. Sometimes that smile is enough to keep going.

God is a Geek
This game is in no way a revolution of what’s come before, but that doesn’t matter one bit - the mechanics are still as solid as they always were, the humour still makes my face ache from smiling, and not once did it ever outstay its welcome.

Nintendo Insider
With unwavering charm, this resoundingly action-packed quest for the superstar trio succeeds on all fronts. There's little to criticise in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros., an epic collision that results in a Mushroom Kingdom mash-up of near perfection.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. totally succeeds as an accessible, entertaining and lengthy crossover for fans and newcomers alike. It introduces a solid list of worthy new mechanics, particularly building upon the battle system in some exciting new ways, and breaking exploration up with random quests. It's more of a mini RPG than ever, but doesn't quite nail it when it comes to environmental design and storytelling. In the end it's Paper Jam's simplicity that makes it a great starting point and an easy recommendation, but also holds it back from taking full advantage of more dimensions than ever before.

My Nintendo News
With an incredibly charming and beautifully witty storyline twinned with some great musical numbers, Paper Jam Bros. is a delight to play. Though the game has some minor setbacks, its core mechanics feel refined while the addition of Paper Mario fits like a dream. It’s paper almost at its finest.

With Paper Jam Bros being the fifth entry in the series, perhaps it could have done more to shake up the formula, but when the status quo is this inventive, it’s hard to hold a grudge. Delivering another excellent and original entry into a consistently brilliant, and heartbreakingly overlooked franchise, might just make this the highlight of Nintendo’s Christmas line-up.

Famitsu - This week's review scores (11/24/15)

Monster Hunter X (3DS) – 9/9/9/9 [36/40]
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS) – 8/8/8/9 [33/40]
The Legend of Dark Witch Episode 2 (3DS) – 7/8/8/8 [31/40]
Gudetama Hanjuku de Tanomuwa (3DS) – 7/7/7/6 [27/40]