Should You Buy Xenoblade or The Last Story?

Also available for : Wii

<LINK REL="stylesheet" HREF="http://guidesmedia.ign.com/guides/uni/IGNE_style.css" TYPE="text/css">Following much ado and a couple of highly organized underground movements, it was finally announced that The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles would be seeing a stateside release in 2012. But with the 3DS finally picking up steam in the software department and a whole new home console heading our way by the end of the year, it's an expensive time to be a gaming enthusiast. <br/><br/>IGN reviewed the UK versions of these games months ago, and they scored within half a point of each other, with Xenoblade taking away the higher mark. But as I've played through my imports of these titles, I've personally come to favor The Last Story - and to believe that other gamers of similar tastes might feel likewise.<br/><br/>So what's a gamer of limited resources to do? Luckily, IGN Nintendo has you covered. While both games won't disappoint, below you'll find a brief description of a couple of the strengths and weaknesses of each title to give you a better idea of which one you might prefer. Read on so you can make an informed monetary decision about which game most deserves your pre-order dollars... then start saving so you can just buy both anyway.<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_header">Xenoblade Chronicles</div>Other than the fact that they are both high quality, Japanese role playing games for the Wii, these two titles are actually rather different from one another - but let's start with a quick look at Xenoblade, which is only about a week away from its April 6 release. Xenoblade Chronicles certainly makes a strong argument for your money. <br/><br/>Xenoblade's expansive worlds and vibrant graphics alone are enough to impress - providing ample eye candy, the likes of which is rarely seen on the Wii. From dark caves to big, green fields, the world of Xenoblade is absolutely pulsing with life. There's also a ton to do in the game. Even after beating the 60 or so hour campaign - which involves people living on the backs of ancient robot gods - you'll still have plenty of side quests to wade through if you so choose. And no, I'm not joking about the robots.<br/><br/> <object id="vid_d7a901f1f98afd9a1de85182a1a79aa6" class="ign-videoplayer" width="468" height="286" data="http://oystatic.ignimgs.com/src/core/js/../swf/IGNPlayer.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="movie" value="http://oystatic.ignimgs.com/src/core/js/../swf/IGNPlayer.swf"/><param name="" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"/><param name="flashvars" value="url=http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/12/02/xenoblade-chronicles-trailer"/><param name="wmode" value="opaque"/></object> <div style="width:480px"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/12/02/xenoblade-chronicles-trailer"><center>Xenoblade Chronicles - Trailer</center></a></div><br/><br/>The battle system, while still quite impressive, is where The Last Story may actually pull ahead of Xenoblade. The Last Story relies on more traditional JRPG mechanics (alongside a healthy dose of innovation, mind you). By contrast Xenoblade takes a bold risk with its battle system - providing an experience that is fresh, though perhaps not as refined as what you'll find in The Last Story. You only control one member of your team at a time, who you move around the field in real time and target enemies with. Attacks are essentially automatic, you just select an ability that's fully charged, target, and the game does the rest. It's fun, to be sure, and anyone looking for a new take on an old genre may want to lean towards Xenoblade - RPG purists, however, may want to consider saving their money a few months longer&#x2026;<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_header">The Last Story</div>Set to release in just a few months (right now it's simply slated as a Summer 2012 title) The Last Story is the latest epic RPG from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the legendary creator of the Final Fantasy series - and its pedigree speaks volumes. The Last Story sees Sakaguchi once again pairing with Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu to create a deep, stirring experience with fittingly sweeping instrumentals to back it up. <br/><br/>The Last Story's greatest strengths are its memorable characters, compelling world, and captivating battle system, which combines third person action combat with stealth elements and real-time strategy. Heck, you can even adjust the controls to allow for manual attacks, making it feel like a traditional action RPG with some slick new moves. Much like Xenoblade, Last Story also looks great - sporting a style that may be somewhat less ambitious but, in many ways, is a better fit for the system it's on.<br/><br/> <object id="vid_4cbf3aa02db5b9605500d99b" class="ign-videoplayer" width="468" height="286" data="http://oystatic.ignimgs.com/src/core/js/../swf/IGNPlayer.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="movie" value="http://oystatic.ignimgs.com/src/core/js/../swf/IGNPlayer.swf"/><param name="" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"/><param name="flashvars" value="url=http://www.ign.com/videos/2010/10/20/the-last-story-second-trailer"/><param name="wmode" value="opaque"/></object> <div style="width:480px"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ign.com/videos/2010/10/20/the-last-story-second-trailer"><center>The Last Story - Japanese Trailer</center></a></div><br/><br/>One advantage Xenoblade has over Last Story is the amount of content it brings - while Xenoblade clocks in at around 60 hours, Last Story can be bested in about 20. Given how well-paced the story is (and how little fluff it packs) this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're looking for a huge RPG to dedicate weeks of your life to, Xenoblade may actually be more bang for your buck. Last Story's multiplayer component does extend the adventure a bit though, providing a fun way for players to team up against bosses from the story mode or partake in a fight to the death.<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_divider"></DIV><br/><br/>Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story are fun, well-made games, and both well worth the attention of Wii owners looking for something to play during the system's last year of prominence. In the end, whichever one you'll like better ultimately comes down to a matter taste. Looking for an expansive RPG world and a fresh battle system? Might want to go with Xenoblade. Want a more traditional affair with tight gameplay and amazing characters? Last Story is probably your best bet.<br/><br/>So, given the above information - and paired with whatever gameplay clips and trailers you've seen - which of these games looks better? Which are you going to actually drop the cash for? Vote in the polls below and let us know, then elaborate on your choices in the comments. And if you're looking for a more detailed description of each game, be sure to check out our<a target="_blank" href="http://wii.ign.com/articles/118/1187845p1.html">Xenoblade Chronicles review</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://wii.ign.com/articles/121/1219299p1.html">The Last Story review</a>.<br/><br/><center><script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://static.polldaddy.com/p/6087406.js"></script><br/><br/><noscript><a target="_blank" href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6087406/">Which of these two games are you actually going to buy?</a></noscript></center><br/><br/><center><script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://static.polldaddy.com/p/6087535.js"></script><br/><br/><noscript><a target="_blank" href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6087535/">If you could only buy ONE, which would you buy?</a></noscript></center><br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_divider"></DIV><br/><br/><i>Audrey Drake is an Associate Editor of IGN.com and a proud member of the IGN Nintendo team. She is also a lifelong gamer, a frequent banisher of evil and a wielder of various legendary blades. You can follow her zany exploits on her <b><a target="_blank" href="http://people.ign.com/Aminka">IGN blog</a></b> and <b><a target="_blank" href="http://twitter.com/GameOnAminka">Twitter</a></b>. Game on!</i><br/><br/><br><br/><br/>&#169;2012-03-28, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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