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Round 4, Match 29: Xenoblade Chronicles - Winner (4) vs. Tales of Graces f (3)

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Comments

  • Severin MiraSeverin Mira News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Hmm, still tough but I'm gonna follow the lead and go with the battles I'm looking forward to doing more of in future. As others have said, I'm more than happy for either of these to go through but my choice is gonna be Vote: Xenoblade Chronicles.
    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."
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  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Paws wrote: »
    Wonder if this will motivate me to play the winner :P
    I don't think you can lose here. At a minimum, you will get a great battle system.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Hrm, ok! Because of greater player control and a wider variety of characters that I enjoyed maining in battle, I'm going to vote: Xenoblade Chronicles.

    Wow, the reader vote is very close, too!
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2014
    Close it is, but the reader vote is pointing just enough in one direction to tie this sucker up until the final vote is cast. So... I suppose we're keeping this one around a bit longer than intended. Can't very well end on a tie.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    JuMeSyn wrote: »
    Close it is, but the reader vote is pointing just enough in one direction to tie this sucker up until the final vote is cast. So... I suppose we're keeping this one around a bit longer than intended. Can't very well end on a tie.

    Maybe starting this round, when a vote isn't cast in time it gets added to the reader votes? Hey look at that... Graces f barely wins! Woot!
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Not much time so Xenoblade. I'll explain later.
  • JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2014
    Lemme hurry and try to get this back on schedule...
    Tales of Graces f 157 53.77%
    Xenoblade Chronicles 135 46.23%
    Total Votes 292
    Yep, that was a tie without the final vote, so good to have!
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    At this point I think you guys are just trolling me...

    Seriously??? Again??? Ugh...
    God's Final Message to His creation, written in thirty-foot high letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains:
    We Apologize for the Inconvenience
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    omegabyte wrote: »
    At this point I think you guys are just trolling me...

    Seriously??? Again??? Ugh...

    I expected this to go to the reader poll once the assignments were given. I wasn't certain what Becky or Mac would do, but I thought one or both of them would vote for Graces.
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Maybe they play more MMOs than you? Just throwing that out there...
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    I have to say that while I'm still fully behind my vote, I'm kinda shocked that Xenoblade won out. I thought this would be a Tales landslide.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I would be shocked too, but I'm already used to staff members having weird taste.

    At least the reader poll more often agrees with me than not.

    Then again most of the really good battle systems weren't even in this contest. Even if Tales of Graces's battle system would have won, it would still be worse than let's say the battle systems of Eternal Sonata and Baten Kaitos.

    Xenoblade Chronicles is a pretty bad game if you ask me. It takes all of the bad things in MMORPGs and puts them into an offline RPG. MMORPGs don't have these crappy battle systems because the developers think they are good but rather because it's easier to implement with the huge complexity of having so many players playing together and having to see each other. There is no reason at all to use these elements for offline RPGs because they have the possibility to do much greater things. At least Xenoblade's battle system is still a bit better than your average MMORPG combat system.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Yes, clearly nobody likes Xenoblade. Stop being a dingbat.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    Xenoblade Chronicles is a pretty bad game if you ask me.
    I'm objectively glad I didn't.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited July 2014
    The game is completely overrated.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    That's code for, "Lots of people like this thing that I don't." It's ok to not like things, but it's not ok to be a jerk about it and say people have weird taste because they do... especially when it's something that is widely adored, making that definition of "weird" highly suspect.

    Anyway, to everybody interested in actually discussing the ins and outs of this one... I believe Xenoblade wins out over ToG for a few reasons. ToG doesn't do the best job of explaining its combat, which makes it less accessible... it has a bit of a learning curve, and I admit that I limited the number of characters I controlled in combat because I simply couldn't figure out how to use some of them effectively. Also, as was mentioned a couple times, with the major density of battles in ToG it would have been nice to not have to go through the battlefield transition and especially the ending screens so often.

    These aren't things that are normally a strike against Tales of Graces, because as the fact that it got this far in the contest shows, it's an excellent system that many of us greatly enjoyed. They just come into play when it comes down to direct comparison near the top of the contest. Both systems have things worth nitpicking... for Xenoblade I agree with Mac that Shulk is probably the most boring character to control, and the combat is much more fun once you get access to Dunban, Melia, Riki, and 7... though those four characters are also the most unusual and complex, so there's something to be said for starting the player off with tank Reyn, healer Sharla, and deeps Shulk. It just seems like Xenoblade got the edge with a few fewer nitpicks and just a bit more longevity for many of the voters.

    This was a close battle... the reader vote was extremely close and most of us on staff had to think pretty hard about which game to choose. I think it was a win either way.

    In conclusion, and in celebration of our Real-Time faceoff:

    [video=youtube_share;3P7Ic9RarhQ]
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    I think we can all agree that Xenoblade's fantastic. The only thing that would have made it better in my eye would if it had been on a handheld.

    Portable Xenoblade would be the best thing ever.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I would be shocked too, but I'm already used to staff members having weird taste.

    yes, this whole exercise has proven that we are the ones with weird taste.
  • TexsideTexside Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Macstorm wrote: »
    I think we can all agree that Xenoblade's fantastic. The only thing that would have made it better in my eye would if it had been on a handheld.

    Portable Xenoblade would be the best thing ever.

    I'd love to see the series on 3DS or Vita, myself. I've never played it, but it'd be nice to have it for a handheld. Did the controls use the motion sensors of the Wii much? I didn't see a reference to it in the discussions, but I might be plain forgetful here.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Nope, Xenoblade's controls are completely traditional. You could play it with the Classic Controller if you wanted.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Okay, I should take some time to explain my vote now...

    This was honestly a real hard one, and I'm still a little back and forth about whether I even made the correct choice. Still, I can justify it. I've said a lot about Xenoblade so far, so I'll take this chance to spend more time talking about Tales of Graces.

    First off, I almost chose Graces over Xenoblade simply because the former supports local multiplayer play. It can be a rare thing to see in offline RPGs, and I always appreciate it. If Graces didn't have some of its flaws, this would be more than enough to set it over. Alas, it was far from the only consideration.

    At its best Tales of Graces f has an incredibly fun battle system that has fluid action and a lot of depth. The CP system is a big improvement over the TP-based Tales games I was previously familiar with, as it does a much better job of encouraging you to use combos and keep up an even pace in battles. Each character has a very different playstyle from the others, and they are all well-animated and fun to control. Each character also has a nice wide range of attacks and abilities, and even basic things like guarding and dodging can be quite complex. There is a lot to like in this system.

    However, as good as Tales of Graces is, there is also a lot to dislike about it. The biggest is that it suffers from its Tales heritage almost as much as it benefits from it. The game's straight line movement and awkward targeting system can be counter-intuitive and frustrating to work with, and it doesn't use any meaningful aggro mechanics, or any other equivalent method for letting the player control space and defend allies. These things worked perfectly fine in the old 2D Tales games, in which you only moved in 2D space and could protect allies simply by getting between them and attacking enemies, but they don't function well in the 3D space of Tales of Graces. Partly because of the lack of any defensive actions, most characters are pretty self-sufficient and generally are either pure attackers or attackers with healing powers. Unlike Xenoblade, which has strong party interaction and interdependency, with tanking, buffing, flanking, and so on, Tales of Graces feels much more simplistic, on that most of what you need to do is just attack enemies as much as possible and stay alive on an individual basis. That process is much more complex than in games such as, for example, Final Fantasy VI, but it is still pretty much the same kind of activity.

    It can be said that complexity for its own sake isn't a good thing, and sometimes it feels like Tales of Graces falls into that trap. The most basic controls shared by every character are actually rather staggeringly complex. You have various kinds of dodging, a guard move that shifts between several different colored auras that each have different effects, management of not only CP, but also the current maximum value of your CP, two different kinds of attacks each powered by different stats, a wide spectrum of attacks which are each effective against different kinds of targets and have different ranges and movement patters, eleth bursts and associated super moves, and possibly a few things I'm forgetting about. It can easily turn into information overload, and that's even if you are only worrying about the character you are currently controlling. I appreciate the depth it offers, but sometimes it feels like it put all the depth and complexity in the wrong places...

    Also, a big problem with the game is that, for all the complexity the game offers, it feels like most of it is ether unneeded or limited by other elements of the game. Playing on Normal, you can win most battles simply by spamming attacks and dodging the most obvious attacks of bosses. It often felt like I never even had much need or opportunity to practice the higher level combat techniques of the game (and by high level I mean pretty much anything other than spamming random attacks). The AI allies will win many battles for you (which is not really how I like to see AI allies work in RPGs...). When battles that do demand more advanced skill appear, then I often felt out of my depth because of my lack of practice. The gap in player skill demanded between normal battles and difficult ones is pretty huge. On top of that, the game's somewhat poor character progression system built around unlocking titles means you are actually rewarded for spending most of your time spamming the same attacks over and over again without thought.

    I really do enjoy Tales of Graces, but it is hard for me to look past a lot of these flaws. Really, it is partly due to them that I burned out on the game and haven't yet finished it, keeping my successful completion of a Tales game record at zero out of five. I just have no luck with this series...
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Thanks for the write up, Twin. That's super insightful and helps me to understand more about that combat system. I have not played enough Tales to have a strong opinion, but the two times I tried, I also did not get super far. I believe that some of the points you iterate here run parallel with my own, early impressions. Of course, I shall put more time into some of those games later down the road so I can have a more informed opinion of my own. Interesting, interesting.
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  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Super late to this one: I have to go with Tales. The entire series has always gripped me, and I find myself replaying certain entires (Xillia, Vesperia, Symphonia) just to experience the constant sense of tension and progression I get from the battle system. I love how Graces feels a bit slower, but more nuanced than Vesperia or Xillia. So my vote goes for Tales of Graces.

    With that said, I adored Xenoblade's combat. It reminded me of FFXII but a bit more clunky. I do think that navigating the menus and battle system was pretty infuriating on the Wii nunchuck but I had a great and smooth experience with the classic controller.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
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