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Round 3, Match 25: Xenoblade Chronicles - Winner (4) vs Dark Souls (1)

JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: KirinAdministrators
edited June 2014 in Battle Royale!
Match 25: Which battle system do you prefer?
Xenoblade Chronicles
Dark Souls

This one starts about 10 minutes prior to midnight for the east coast crowd, but Monday will come on the clock soon enough.

Who's arguing this match? Adriaan, Glenn, Nathan, and Mac. Fun times for all concerned I'm sure!
Ended this about 5 minutes after midnight on Wednesday.
It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
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Comments

  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    Xenoblade vs. Dark Souls, eh? This could be interesting.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Since I already know all the voters' opinions on Xenoblade (or at least I think I do), I'll poke about Dark Souls.

    My questions are for Mac and Adriaan (and I have no idea what the answers are because they replayed Dark Souls recently):

    In the GotY voting in 2011, both of you played Dark Souls but didn't list it as a top 3 battle system. In the results, it came in 3rd that year to Radiant Historia and Disgaea 4, two games that lost in round 1 of the Royale. I'll be nice and not say which games you guys listed instead, but I don't understand how you two can go from this game not being one of the top 3 battle systems of 2011 to it being one of the top Best Battle Systems ever in this Royale.

    But in this Rorale you've defended it. What happened? Both of you bought this game on release as major Demon's Souls fans and were disappointed (you both listed it for Biggest Letdown of 2011). The patches didn't change the battle system, but you both came away with a high opinion of the game after replaying it. It's the same system you were letdown by.

    Did multiple playthrough attempts, referencing guides, and watching YouTube vids of how to play it make this a great battle system? If so, does it really deserve to be considered one of the best battle systems ever if it's bad unless you research help online and make multiple attempts at it? Isn't that the definition of a bad battle system?

    Is a battle system that Mac said was worse than Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars better than Xenoblade?
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    *pulls out popcorn and coke, then sits to watch the show*
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  • BogrotBogrot New Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    I mean, isn't xenoblade just a bit more rpg-y? I actually loved Dark Souls (as a From Software aside, Shadow Tower is one of my favourite dungeon crawlers, sue me). But xenoblade has little stat numbers that appear, buffs, debuffs, party interaction. Just gives me a more "rpg" vibe. For me, it made grinding fun and I think that deserves acclaim.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Bogrot wrote: »
    I mean, isn't xenoblade just a bit more rpg-y? I actually loved Dark Souls (as a From Software aside, Shadow Tower is one of my favourite dungeon crawlers, sue me). But xenoblade has little stat numbers that appear, buffs, debuffs, party interaction. Just gives me a more "rpg" vibe. For me, it made grinding fun and I think that deserves acclaim.

    Well no, not really. Dark Souls is very rpg-y. Stats are very important in that game.
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  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Wheels wrote: »
    Well no, not really. Dark Souls is very rpg-y. Stats are very important in that game.

    yes and no. Stats are really only important for equipment purposes, with enough skill you can beat the game at soul level 1. However that does not make it less rpg-y
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I'm leery of a "whether a game is RPG" enough conversation, but providing things don't get crazy, carry on.
  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    there is no need to go any further the rpg ness of the games are are not in question

    even thogh i dont have a vote Xenoblade is my pick, better customization more fluid battle system and far less cheap imo, its biggest knock is it sometime shoddy character AI

    oh and its a heck of a lot more fun and far less frustrating
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Haven't played any Souls, so all I an do this round is cheerlead. Go Xenoblade go!

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    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
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  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    7thCircle wrote: »
    Since I already know all the voters' opinions on Xenoblade (or at least I think I do), I'll poke about Dark Souls.

    My questions are for Mac and Adriaan (and I have no idea what the answers are because they replayed Dark Souls recently):

    In the GotY voting in 2011, both of you played Dark Souls but didn't list it as a top 3 battle system. In the results, it came in 3rd that year to Radiant Historia and Disgaea 4, two games that lost in round 1 of the Royale. I'll be nice and not say which games you guys listed instead, but I don't understand how you two can go from this game not being one of the top 3 battle systems of 2011 to it being one of the top Best Battle Systems ever in this Royale.

    But in this Rorale you've defended it. What happened? Both of you bought this game on release as major Demon's Souls fans and were disappointed (you both listed it for Biggest Letdown of 2011). The patches didn't change the battle system, but you both came away with a high opinion of the game after replaying it. It's the same system you were letdown by.

    Did multiple playthrough attempts, referencing guides, and watching YouTube vids of how to play it make this a great battle system? If so, does it really deserve to be considered one of the best battle systems ever if it's bad unless you research help online and make multiple attempts at it? Isn't that the definition of a bad battle system?

    Is a battle system that Mac said was worse than Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars better than Xenoblade?

    Nothing has really changed as far as Dark Souls goes; it was never the battle system I had a problem with, it was the level design. I gave it a second shot this year, and after I got the warping function for bonfires, enjoyed the whole thing a heck of a lot more. It helped that I was able to skip over pretty much the entirety of Blighttown, which is the zone that made me quit the game in the first place.

    If I didn't nominate it for a best battle system in 2011, that was probably because the combat is virtually identical to Demon's Souls (which I believe I DID nominate in 2009). I usually don't give remade or moderately improved combat systems a nod because I'd rather see something new up there. It's the same reason I very rarely nominate Pokemon games for anything, even though they're all amazing games. They just don't change that much from iteration to iteration.

    That said, in this matchup it doesn't even matter for me. I do not like Xenoblade Chronicles at all. I found it clunky and dull and far less engaging than Final Fantasy XII which it tries to mimic. The only thing Xenoblade had to keep me going was the giant world, but once I realized that there really wasn't anything there to make exploring worth it, I gave up on it. It still baffles me that this game is as highly praised as it is, because I just don't see it.

    I've been in every Xenoblade matchup thus far, and every time I've voted against Xenoblade. This won't be any exception, obviously. Vote: Dark Souls
    God's Final Message to His creation, written in thirty-foot high letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains:
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  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    omegabyte wrote: »
    That said, in this matchup it doesn't even matter for me. I do not like Xenoblade Chronicles at all. I found it clunky and dull and far less engaging than Final Fantasy XII which it tries to mimic. The only thing Xenoblade had to keep me going was the giant world, but once I realized that there really wasn't anything there to make exploring worth it, I gave up on it. It still baffles me that this game is as highly praised as it is, because I just don't see it.
    My feelings are pretty much the opposite of that. Xenoblade is the game that vastly surpasses FFXII.

    I wouldn't say that Xenoblade tries to mimic FFXII, though. It really doesn't, at all. They are similar in that they have large open areas, a party in which you control just one character, and no transitions between battles and field exploration, but that is about it. The .hack games beat both to that kind of thing in single-player RPGs, and all of these were heavily influenced by MMOs. Most of the solutions they have for the problems of their sub-genre are very different between the two games, so they are ultimately very different games. I can't see any meaningful similarities between them. FFXII is, naturally enough, a direct descendent of FFXI, and Xenoblade takes far more from western MMOs like WoW, and ends up resembling games like Mass Effect more than it does FFXII as a result.

    Still, as for why it gets praise... At its simplest, it is because it is fun. Battles in the game are fast-paced and complex, with a lot going on and a lot to consider. Enemies are very interactive, particularly thanks to the brilliant future vision system, so there is always a counter to the different abilities enemies use and you have to constantly adapt your tactics to new situations. The game gives players a gigantic toolbox of options to play with and really demands that they player use the full depth of it in order to deal with its many interesting opponents. As part of that, the game gives you seven characters who each play very differently and provide different experiences. Shulk plays completely differently from Dunban, who is very different from Melia. At the same time, pretty much every team combination is viable, and each one has its own strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. It has variety and complexity, and it all pulls together into a great experience.

    I could probably sing Xenoblade's praises for quite a while, but that doesn't mean I don't feel the same about the Dark Souls battle system. That one is also quite excellent. Both are games I'd like to have seen make it to the final round of this competition, so it's a little disappointing that one has to be defeated here. I'll need to think about it some more.
  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    My feelings are pretty much the opposite of that. Xenoblade is the game that vastly surpasses FFXII.

    I wouldn't say that Xenoblade tries to mimic FFXII, though. It really doesn't, at all. They are similar in that they have large open areas, a party in which you control just one character, and no transitions between battles and field exploration, but that is about it. The .hack games beat both to that kind of thing in single-player RPGs, and all of these were heavily influenced by MMOs. Most of the solutions they have for the problems of their sub-genre are very different between the two games, so they are ultimately very different games. I can't see any meaningful similarities between them. FFXII is, naturally enough, a direct descendent of FFXI, and Xenoblade takes far more from western MMOs like WoW, and ends up resembling games like Mass Effect more than it does FFXII as a result.

    Still, as for why it gets praise... At its simplest, it is because it is fun. Battles in the game are fast-paced and complex, with a lot going on and a lot to consider. Enemies are very interactive, particularly thanks to the brilliant future vision system, so there is always a counter to the different abilities enemies use and you have to constantly adapt your tactics to new situations. The game gives players a gigantic toolbox of options to play with and really demands that they player use the full depth of it in order to deal with its many interesting opponents. As part of that, the game gives you seven characters who each play very differently and provide different experiences. Shulk plays completely differently from Dunban, who is very different from Melia. At the same time, pretty much every team combination is viable, and each one has its own strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. It has variety and complexity, and it all pulls together into a great experience.

    I could probably sing Xenoblade's praises for quite a while, but that doesn't mean I don't feel the same about the Dark Souls battle system. That one is also quite excellent. Both are games I'd like to have seen make it to the final round of this competition, so it's a little disappointing that one has to be defeated here. I'll need to think about it some more.

    See, I didn't find it fun at all. I found it all very tedious and bland. FFXII at least gave you more control over how your allies behaved, which made all the difference to me. I despised to UI in Xenoblade and found it very clunky and frustrating to deal with. And the big open world that everyone praises so much is empty and boring when you actually delve into it. Nice to look at, but boring to actually explore (note: this is an area where every JRPG I have ever played that tries to go for the open world motif completely fails at. They haven't grasped what makes the open world concept popular in WRPGs).

    FFXII was just better in every way to me, and Xenoblade bored me to the point where I just didn't want to waste my time anymore. I tried going back to it a year or so after the fact, and it was just as boring to me then as it was when I quit. It's not something I expect I'll go back to again. Dark Souls, on the other hand, I gave a second shot and actually enjoyed. It's interesting that both of these games are ones that I initially didn't like all that much, but Dark Souls ended up winning me over once I was able to get past the block that was bothering me, and everything beyond that point was pretty amazing. Xenoblade didn't manage that.
    God's Final Message to His creation, written in thirty-foot high letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains:
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    7thCircle wrote: »
    But in this Rorale you've defended it. What happened? Both of you bought this game on release as major Demon's Souls fans and were disappointed (you both listed it for Biggest Letdown of 2011). The patches didn't change the battle system, but you both came away with a high opinion of the game after replaying it. It's the same system you were letdown by.
    For me, I didn't like either game when I first played them. Dark Souls was too vague for me compared to Demon's and Xenoblade was boring me to tears after 10 hours. I can't say I was a fan of either game, but the upside to Xenoblade came from the fact that I played an imported version before the NA one came out, so I was able to give it a second chance before our year end voting. I really started to like the game a lot more, mostly from the fact I could play as anyone else but Shulk. Shulk was just so dull to control, but Reyn and Dunban made things so much better. I still wish you had more AI control (gambits!) and could swap characters mid-battle.

    I didn't get back to Dark Souls until this year, and after a lot of patches, the pacing of the game improved. Not to mention, I really started to dig into Dark Souls lore and learned about a lot of the shortcuts, etc. I liked the game itself better the more I played it, and I even started to feel like I was getting good by the end. I had a pyromancer instead of a Dex build and that was much better. I did improve by watching videos and such, because I sure wasn't doing well the first time around.

    PS: And I really did enjoy Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars. Don't knock that game!
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    omegabyte wrote: »
    See, I didn't find it fun at all. I found it all very tedious and bland. FFXII at least gave you more control over how your allies behaved, which made all the difference to me. I despised to UI in Xenoblade and found it very clunky and frustrating to deal with. And the big open world that everyone praises so much is empty and boring when you actually delve into it. Nice to look at, but boring to actually explore (note: this is an area where every JRPG I have ever played that tries to go for the open world motif completely fails at. They haven't grasped what makes the open world concept popular in WRPGs).

    FFXII was just better in every way to me, and Xenoblade bored me to the point where I just didn't want to waste my time anymore. I tried going back to it a year or so after the fact, and it was just as boring to me then as it was when I quit. It's not something I expect I'll go back to again. Dark Souls, on the other hand, I gave a second shot and actually enjoyed. It's interesting that both of these games are ones that I initially didn't like all that much, but Dark Souls ended up winning me over once I was able to get past the block that was bothering me, and everything beyond that point was pretty amazing. Xenoblade didn't manage that.
    I'm still surprised our opinions are so opposed on this. I never found Xenoblade boring at all. I save that word for Final Fantasy XII, the game that bored me for over a hundred hours. I played Xenoblade all the way through, did pretty much every sidequest I could, and went pretty far through the postgame in order to achieve my goal of unlocking every talent tree and seeing every Heart to Heart. I had a blast doing so.

    I certainly don't agree with your open world comments, since I found Xenoblade's open world to be very interesting to explore. It had a lot of hidden things, beautiful scenery, imaginative design, and a lot of unique enemies to fight. It often took some effort and creativity to find some of the more remote locations, and was overall an incredibly beautiful and amazing world to explore. I've never seen an open world that was as enjoyable to explore.

    As for controlling allies, I think Xenoblade does that about as well as you can expect. Many of its characters have abilities that are far too complex for something like the Gambit system to have worked. To illustrate the point a little, I'll talk about Dragon Age 2 a bit. That game has something akin to the gambit system, though more customizable since it lets you determine the condition and target for an action separately (a change I don't like from FF12, but that is too much of a tangent). At the same time, it contains some reasonably complex abilities like the Spirit Healer or Anders' spell that shifts the character into a healing mode, which is needed in order to use powerful healing spells but comes with drawbacks. Those two things are incompatible. I never found any way to remotely make that work within the Gambit-like AI scripting system they gave me, so I just manually controlled my Spirit Healer Hawke for the whole game and benched Anders. Many mechanics in Xenoblade, such as Melia's element summoning/discharge system, are significantly more complex than that binary healing mode system from DA2. Any AI scripting capable of making that work is far too complex to expect a normal player to use. There is a tradeoff being made here, and Xenoblade chooses to emphasize complex characters that are fun and complex to control on an individual level, which is worthwhile even if it means the player has to give up total control over allies.

    Before, I've said that I really like how FFXII gives you total control over allies because of Gambits. That is still true, but that is simply a different choice. It is also a choice that has its drawbacks, since it really prevents characters in FFXII from being as complex as the ones in Xenoblade.

    Anyways, Xenoblade still does let you control what your allies do, through the same way you control what your own character does. Characters can only equip so many abilities at once, so naturally you need to equip them with the abilities you want them to use, and remove the abilities you don't want them to use. At the same time, the characters are very different so choosing which character to use is a very big deal. You can't control character actions as precisely as you can in FFXII, but Xenoblade does let you adjust your strategy both more quickly and more dramatically. It's also a game where you can control the overall situation of the battle more completely, since 9unlike pretty much every other game in the Battle Royale) it actually has transparent, meaningful aggro mechanics, and it also gives you quite a few powerful tools to work with such as future visions, chain attacks, and simply good character abilities.

    Umm... I really should bring this back to Dark Souls at some point, but I don't know how to. Needless to say, though, I have a high opinion of Xenoblade.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    I'm actually with Twin on this, I loved Xenoblade to death, and FF12's battles bored me to tears. By the way, customizable AI feels a lot like a lazy option to me, simply because it makes it feel like the programmers didn't have the time or the patience to make it satisfactory themselves. Also if one doesn't like the battle system of Xenoblade Chronicles, I must ask whether or not they've been trying out every character or not. Shulk bored me until I got Sharla, at which point I had a blast with her until I got Dunban, and then ultimately Riki and Seven. If one STILL feels like the battle system is boring, then I do believe they are not a fan of MMOs, which the game's battles heavily feel like.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    I hated Xenoblade's combat at first, but then when I went back and tried replaying it several months later & set the main character to people other than Shulk, I really enjoyed it.

    Dark Souls' combat, on the other hand, I loved from day 1. One of the best Action/RPG systems out there.
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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    That reminds me, for the record, here is what every character basically is in MMO terms:

    Shulk: Jack of all Trades
    Reyn: Defense/HP Tank
    Sharla: Healer
    Dunban: Evasion Tank
    Melia: Glass Cannon Mage
    Riki: Debuffer
    Seven: DPS god
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    I hated Xenoblade's combat at first, but then when I went back and tried replaying it several months later & set the main character to people other than Shulk, I really enjoyed it.

    Dark Souls' combat, on the other hand, I loved from day 1. One of the best Action/RPG systems out there.
    For once, I'm close to being in 100% agreement with you! :)
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I've got a lot of time off work the next few weeks... Maybe I'll give the game one more chance, start from scratch. Still expecting to be bored to death, but this will be the absolute last chance I give it
    God's Final Message to His creation, written in thirty-foot high letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains:
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    My party was almost always Dunban (controlled), Shulk (for the Monado), and Sharla (for healing).
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  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    omegabyte wrote: »
    Nothing has really changed as far as Dark Souls goes; it was never the battle system I had a problem with, it was the level design.

    That said, in this matchup it doesn't even matter for me. I do not like Xenoblade Chronicles at all.

    That makes sense. That was my biggest issue with Dark Souls too. It was mainly Mac I was making fun of for the 2011 nominations. The ones you listed were all great. And no kidding about Xenoblade. I think your complaints about it are very fair, and you've always been clear about your opinion on it. I was close to quitting the game for similar reasons, then switched to someone other than Shulk, decided side quests were a waste of time, and greatly enjoyed the rest of the game.
    Macstorm wrote: »
    I didn't get back to Dark Souls until this year, and after a lot of patches, the pacing of the game improved. Not to mention, I really started to dig into Dark Souls lore and learned about a lot of the shortcuts, etc. I liked the game itself better the more I played it, and I even started to feel like I was getting good by the end. I had a pyromancer instead of a Dex build and that was much better. I did improve by watching videos and such, because I sure wasn't doing well the first time around.

    That's my point, though. Without info from outside the game, you didn't like it and didn't think much of the battle system. Also, you quit on your first playthrough before reaching the part where the patches fixed the pacing, so that didn't impact your impressions from the first attempt. You saw everything the combat system had to offer in 2011 and didn't like it. Does looking up cheese strategies and How To Plays make the battle system go from bad to amazing?
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    That reminds me, for the record, here is what every character basically is in MMO terms:

    Shulk: Jack of all Trades
    Reyn: Defense/HP Tank
    Sharla: Healer
    Dunban: Evasion Tank
    Melia: Glass Cannon Mage
    Riki: Debuffer
    Seven: DPS god

    The thing I like about Xenoblade is that even this description is a very incomplete look at the characters. Examing more how I used them...

    Shulk : backstabbing rogue with defensive buffs
    Reyn: Massive spike damage and AoE attacking (I love having a Magnum Charge -> Sword Drive or a Berserker/Lariat combo on him)
    Sharla: healing and insta-killing enemies with massive spike damage (Head Shot ftw)
    Dunban: Evasion Tank and DoTing
    Melia: Healing/support and heavy armor
    Riki: More DoTing and spike damage (gotta use Say Sorry)
    Seven: Tanking and debuffing

    Overall, I think the Dunban/Melia/Seven team was my favorite, and Melia was my favorite character to control. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to control Shulk and play with the Shulk/Reyn/Sharla team all the time, but that really isn't true at all. Unlike FFXII, which doesn't give any exp to characters who don't fight, Xenoblade gives full exp to all party members no matter what, so it really encourages you to use the whole team, and rewards you for doing so.

    ...

    I better find something to say about Dark Souls soon, or else this will turn into an easy decision for me. Anyone have any thoughts on that one?
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    7thCircle wrote: »
    That's my point, though. Without info from outside the game, you didn't like it and didn't think much of the battle system. Also, you quit on your first playthrough before reaching the part where the patches fixed the pacing, so that didn't impact your impressions from the first attempt. You saw everything the combat system had to offer in 2011 and didn't like it. Does looking up cheese strategies and How To Plays make the battle system go from bad to amazing?
    It sure helped to learn how to play better. Dark Souls is a game I really enjoy because of how you can game the systems. The shortcuts, the neat strategies for beating bosses, the creative builds, etc. are all things I enjoyed about it. It's a game about gaming the systems to survive and a social game where the community is designed to help you find ways of doing this, either through in-game messages or out of game help. The best part of Dark Souls for me is the level design and the tricks you can do to avoid things.

    I don't think I've been super passionate about its battle system. In the first round, I stated that I was not a strong supporter of either Dark Souls or SMT Devil Survivor. The fact that Dark Souls gives you a deep, addicting battle system that gives you a great feeling of satisfaction upon winning, still wasn't enough for it to win my vote over Ys Seven last round.

    All that said, when it comes time to cast my vote, the choice will be for the battle system that I enjoyed the most. Dark Souls was a challenging, but not super hard game that really gave me a sense of accomplishment when I beat it. It just took some outside learning to get to that point. For Xenoblade, I hated the first part where I was playing as Shulk. Once I got Sharla and started playing as Reyn, things really opened up for me as I loved the tanking elements. Does either game offer my favorite battle system? No, that would be Final Fantasy XII which you heathens bashed, called boring, and smashed to pieces last round! (No, not bitter at all, am I? Mwhahahaha!) Xenoblade isn't FFXII. It has its own interesting properties, such as seven unique, playable characters and a great open world battle system. Like I've said before, it needed better AI options or the ability to control party members in combat and some other tweaks.

    So when it comes time to cast my vote, it will be for my favorite of the two.

    It's time to cast my vote.

    Vote: Xenoblade
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    To quote M. Night Shyamalan, "What a twist!" I never saw that vote coming Mac.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    The thing I like about Xenoblade is that even this description is a very incomplete look at the characters. Examing more how I used them...

    Shulk : backstabbing rogue with defensive buffs
    Reyn: Massive spike damage and AoE attacking (I love having a Magnum Charge -> Sword Drive or a Berserker/Lariat combo on him)
    Sharla: healing and insta-killing enemies with massive spike damage (Head Shot ftw)
    Dunban: Evasion Tank and DoTing
    Melia: Healing/support and heavy armor
    Riki: More DoTing and spike damage (gotta use Say Sorry)
    Seven: Tanking and debuffing

    Those are some really cool uses for the characters! That's one of the cool things about Xenoblade's combat system. You can use the characters in their most obvious roles, or really dig into the system and find creative (and often highly effective!) uses for all of them. One of my favourite parties involved hybrid tank-DPS specs for Dunban and 7, with Riki as debuffer/healer. I'd control 7 and use her aggro drop to ping pong mobs between her and Dunban. It was fun!
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
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  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I already said my piece on Dark Souls last time around, so just going to link to my review and say VOTE DARK SOULS!

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  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Wheels wrote: »
    I already said my piece on Dark Souls last time around, so just going to link to my review and say VOTE DARK SOULS!

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    No you just need to relax have a beer and VOTE XENOBLADE

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  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    No you just need to relax have a beer and VOTE XENOBLADE

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    oh no you didn't

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    VOTE DARK SOULS
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  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Well, it looks like Dark Souls is really just getting drowned out here. Even inviting conversation about didn't seem to do the trick (though I did real Wheels' review). Also, while I'll still sing its praises, I'm just not sure I can vote for it over Xenoblade. Both games can be fun, challenging, and encourage creativity, but Xenoblade does this all while being exciting and energetic, while Dark Souls can be far more stressful. It's just easier to keep playing Xenoblade for long stretches of time.

    So, and I guess this was a foregone conclusion, I'm voting for Xenoblade.
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Yeah, 3 rounds in, anyone paying attention could see where this one was headed. I did expect Mac to vote for Dark Souls, though, since he was so positive about the game after his second playthough and not as keen on Xenoblade overall.

    One thing both these games had in common for me was a point near the middle where I realized I wasn't having fun and considered quitting them. In Xenoblade, I switched from Shulk to Riki and never went back to controlling Shulk again. It saved the game and the battle system for me. Here too is a game that was too big and too long in my opinion, and something as simple as changing which character I controlled brought a new hook and fresh gameplay to something that had become stale. This is an excellent example of what I mean when I say long RPGs need some sort of progression or hook to keep my attention through the mid and endgame. I also think the interface was poorly designed for controlling Shulk and the Monado. Combat worked much better when I controlled anyone else. Riki was my fav though.

    On the other hand, Dark Souls never did become fun to me again after the midway point. After Anor Londo there was too much backtracking, grinding, and wasted time trying out new weapons and builds and running back to the far reaches of the world to see if I was geared and leveled enough to handle them. As I said in the Dark Souls v Devil Survivor match, that was when the flaws in combat and particularly the slowness of it started to grate on my nerves. I loved the atmosphere, but the level design in the last half of the game was atrocious in ways that exposed combat flaws. The only new hooks and progression in the mid and endgame were related to grinding and a major slowdown in progress. I think I kept playing more out of a stubborn mindset than anything else, not because the combat was saving it, and I hated the use of trigger buttons for action commands (which it bears repeating that NO OTHER ACTION GAME DOES RARGH!!!) to the end.

    Dark Souls wasn't a game where combat was good enough to make up for other issues, and made some of them worse. In Xenoblade, combat saved the game for me in a world whose size was too large for its content. To the surprise of no one:

    Vote: Xenoblade Chronicles
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
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