Peglin my way through Xenoblade Chronicles

Rabbit and I took the boys for a walk last week. What was supposed to be a nice afternoon activity took a turn though. I managed to lose my balance, put my foot in a hole, and fracture my foot in 2 spots. At least I did it properly!

So I have been largely confined to my office and the couch. Foot up, lying back, wouldn’t you think this would be a great time to play video games? But no. A sore foot does not make for a great gaming ambience.

Luckily I had just started getting into the new Xenoblade Chronicles, and it is great for pick-up and put-down play.

Peglin

Sitting back and looking for something quick to play that I could put down quickly while working. Of course Peglin got a look this week!

The pachinko-style battles require little from the player once the ball is launched. Your game is also saved every time you reach the map, so it’s hard to lose progress in Peglin. I have made pretty good progress this week as well, reaching Cruciball level 6!

20220808 - Peglin - Hello level 6
Progress has been relatively quick after level 2

Given I am looking close to finishing what the Early Access version of Peglin has available, I might turn quick games to something else. I’m not saying that Peglin won’t be on my playlist anymore. I have too much silly fun playing it. Not to say there isn’t a challenge. The rougelite gameplay mix is nicely balanced, and I often hear myself saying “One more try”.

I will shelve Peglin until another update comes out. Yes, I have 2 more levels to attempt to beat, but if I beat that there isn’t anything left. Well, excluding Custom mode. Peglin added the custom start letting you pick starting orbs and bonuses. It disables achievements but gives you a better chance at that ‘dream run’ of items.

20220808 - Peglin - So many trees
The actual gameplay is simple, it’s hard to show in screenshots

So there is plenty left to explore, but again, I am worried it will end before an update and I will lose interest. So Peglin is being moved back on the playlist, and I will keep the Switch near me for random battle grinds. That sounds like a plan. Let’s see how that goes next week!

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

You would think I would have lots of time to play games with an injured foot. Unfortunately sitting uncomfortably means enjoyment from games takes a bit of a hit. Luckily Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is cutscene-heavy, so I watched a lot happening. Combat is still forgiving as I am still well in the tutorial phase!

I was referring to this last week where Xenoblade Chronicles isn’t a series for everyone. You either enjoy the erratic pacing and story-heavy nature of the games, or you don’t. About 8 hours in, I am still being drip-fed new mechanics. I am enjoying it all though.

20220808 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - Some tutorials are quality of life improvements
Some new machanics are quality of life improvements. Others are far more detailed.

My band of characters has been fleshed out, and the story setting spelled out. Our party has received the power of Ouroboros. This is Xenoblade Chronicles 3 way of sending our plucky band against the world and the ‘true evil’. It also gives us an edge power-wise compared to our fellow soldiers, explaining how 6 kids can take on armies.

Some may ask where the hook of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is. Why do people enjoy playing it? It all sounds cliche filled so far! Well, that’s kind of the point. The story beats are all familiar to JRPG fans. It’s like watching the same types of TV shows. You know the basic premise of how the story is presented, but not the twists that make it unique. You watch the same type of show because the good ones do something different with the formula.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is no different. A small band of unlikely heroes is going to save the world from an unknown evil. But what happens along the way? That’s the fun bit.

20220808 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - Combat is gettting more complicated with extra choices
Roughly every hour, the fights get more complicated with new options available

Eight hours in, I would prefer to be a fair chunk of the way through the game. Instead, I have just been shown the main story path and still given new tutorial mechanics to learn. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 gives you a new mechanic (e.g., switching characters), then gives you 10 minutes to play with what you learned. You then get something new to learn.

This handholding is great to ease people into surprisingly complex gameplay. But it does grind for people used to the games. Because the tutorial is wound into the story, there is no way to skip any of it. It might sound like a gripe, but I do appreciate this style of game presentation. I would rather have a refresher and know that the start of a new game is going to be pretty casual.

Where this style of game does fall down is replayability. Having to sit through a multi-hour tutorial every time is pretty off-putting. I don’t like going back to games with 20 minutes of forced gameplay at the start! So I think for the majority of players, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a one-time playthrough.

20220808 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - The face of the enemy
The face of Evil?

I still plan to play at least a couple of hours each week, so I am in with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 for quite some time. Even though I have been playing docked, Xenoblade has always been a great portable game. Being able to fire it up for a bit of combat grinding in small bursts is handy. This might mean I play a bit extra as a ‘lunchtime’ game over the coming weeks.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,

JohnHQLD