Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

August 27, 2013

Let's discuss Xenoblade Chronicles (Part 2).

You know what?  I just thought of some flaws for this game.  And it only took me two months!

--One of my biggest regrets with this game is that I didn’t get all of the “Heart-to-Heart” sequences scattered about…but I wonder if that was my fault, or the devs’ overestimation of the player’s dedication.  Unless I played the game wrong (a real possibility, I admit), in order to get these special sequences you have to find them in specific spots all over the game world -- which, need I remind you, are MASSIVE.  But that’s not enough; the characters have to have a high enough affinity for each other to even start the sequence, and the best way to do that is to have them as your active party…which I didn’t.  And even then you have to answer questions during them that you have no way of knowing the answer to.  It feels like a needlessly complicated system that locks you out of character insights, rather than promoting them.

--I’m not going to take back what I said about the battle system (i.e. I think it’s awesome), but I don’t think the terrain is used as effectively as it could be.  It’s true that you can blow enemies off high ledges to win your fights, but outside of that there really isn’t too much done with it in the middle of a fight.  If it was, then a late-game boss wouldn’t have been as much of a pain in the ass as it was; because of its size, the small paths you can fight on, and the acid surrounding you, it’s more than common for you to get blown -- or even brushed -- into pools of the stuff so you can watch your party melt before your eyes.  Why that stipulation to battle would be added in the game’s later skirmishes is a mystery best left for the ages.

…And I think that’s it for now.  At least, those are the big ones.  So with that out of the way, let’s get to the game’s strength: it’s story.


…All right, time to ruin the game for you.

So if you read the last post on Xenoblade, you may remember me saying something along the lines of “this game is all about triumph.”  And that’s still something I believe.  It’s something that I’d argue is proven thanks to three elements of the game.  The first is my favorite song in the entire game, and one of my favorites introduced this console generation.  It’s the one and only “You Will Know Our Names”, which I will continue to post until everyone in the world has heard it.

The second element is the plot proper.  I can say with some confidence that the “spirit” of the game is triumph because several dozen events are geared toward proposing and proving that idea; in a sense, they’ve already done the legwork for me, and saying anything more would almost be redundant.  On the other hand, I’m here to tell all in case you missed it, or haven’t played the game yourself.  (Though of course, my opinion isn’t undeniable truth; feel free to come up with your own theories.)

But the third and most important element is also the most obvious one: the lead character.  And let me be perfectly honest: if ever there was a character that deserved to be called “badass”, it’s Shulk.

“Badass” is a term that gets a lot of use lately -- especially in the game industry (CliffyB’s design philosophy is at once a boon and a death knell for games as we know it).  But let me be clear about the term: in my eyes, being badass is not about who you are or what you can do; it’s about why you do it, how you do it, and what you overcome.  So no, being a seven-foot tall super soldier isn’t enough.  Nor is being able to swing a sword in a flush of angel feathers.  It’s not enough to look like a tough guy, or stomp all over anything that comes a-knocking with little more than a scowl and a quick quip.  Not anymore.  Never again.  A “fake badass” is just a character that gets by just with being something and doing something.  A “true badass” is a character that’s ABOUT something.  Not just a force of nature; a force of will.  And big air.

So let’s move back to Shulk.  See, one of the big complaints about JRPGs is in its characters -- more often than not, they slide too perfectly into set archetypes and never move out of them.  In a lot of cases, that’s true (*stares daggers at Magnacarta 2*).  In a lot of cases, the lead character slides into one of two modes: brooding, surly jerk, or grinning idiot.  There are exceptions out there, of course, but more often than not those are the defaults...especially for bad JRPGs.  And even the exceptions can slide into the defaults, if not collapse entirely.  I remember thinking to myself that Edge Maverick of Star Ocean: The Last Hope was shaping up to be a pretty cool character…and then certain events led to an implosion of his character, even with the justification of the story.  He never recovered, and neither did his game.  Not even the typically-fantastic Tales Series is immune to this; Symphonia’s Lloyd was as dumb as you’d expect a guy wearing cowboy pajamas to be, and the entire third act of Abyss was pretty much an effort to turn Luke into a midriff-bearing sad sack.

But Shulk is different.  For starters, he’s actually something of a scientist, or at the very least an engineering student; that’s something you don’t see very often in games in general, let alone a JRPG.  He’s made it his mission to figure out the secrets of the Monado, a massive red blade (the same one on the box art, of course) that’s one of the only weapons that actually works on the Mechon, the robotic invaders that harass and threaten the human race.  He’s -- usually -- a calm, thoughtful person that asks the questions nobody else will, all in an effort to better humanity’s lot in life.  He tends to get absorbed in his work, but he’s not without his humanity…or the awkwardness that ensues whenever he’s brought out of his shell.  He’s the type of person that’s fascinated by the world of Xenoblade -- as he should be, considering that A) the game takes place on a pair of colonized Gundams, and B) as our guide for the world, if he’s not interested in and excited by the surroundings, the player has no reason to be, either.

(I just had to include this shot.  It's just too hilarious.)

The hidden benefit to having Shulk be a man of science -- at least as much of a “man of science” one can be while atom-smashing robots with a laser sword -- is that science itself becomes a theme that pervades the game.  And indeed, there are a lot of different aspects to science even outside of the context of the game…but for the sake of argument, let’s pare it down to a few extremely basic ideas:

1) Science is an understanding of facts about our world.
2) Science is an effort to understand the mechanics of our world.
3) Science is an application of processes and facts to alter our world.

It’s a bit of generalization, but work with me here.  The presence (or lack thereof) of science -- and more importantly, knowledge -- is what defines one’s capabilities in this world, from the individual level all the way to a global scale.  The search for and application of that knowledge is what helps one grow and even survive…and of course, helps them stand next to, compete with, or even surpass others.  Remember, the Space Race was a thing that happened once upon a time, bringing with it not only competition and a frenzied rush to see the stars, but no shortage of other benefits -- some abstract, some tangible.  The key word here, for better or worse, is progress.  It’s something that can change the world for the better…or in Xenoblade’s case, threaten to turn everything to shit.

The entirety of Xenoblade’s plot hinges on an arms race between Shulk and his party (and by extension the other biological races living on the Bionis, AKA Nature Gundam) and the robots that want to kill and even harvest the humans (making a home on Robot Gundam…redundant as that sounds).  Pretty much every event in this game is a goal post that just gets higher and higher the more you play, raising the stakes along with the destructive power.  At the start, Shulk and friends are struggling against one nasty Mechon; find a way to beat him -- albeit through cheap tactics -- and suddenly it’s revealed that he was just part of a mass-produced line of the model…and you’re very nearly swarmed by a dozen more.  

Of course, before game’s end you’re able to take on the same model of enemy without too much difficulty, but that’s only because the real challengers just keep ramping up their power and their stakes.  Each elite unit (and ultimately their leader) is such a massive leap in power and ability that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d switched to the wrong file in the middle of a play session.  Or to put it in a different light, imagine watching the tail end of the Namek saga in Dragon Ball Z, only to sneeze and suddenly have Perfect Cell smirking at you from on-screen.

The lynchpin of the heroes’ efforts and hopes is, of course, the Monado.  Shulk may be a smart guy, but if he’s out to win the arms race, he needs time, facilities, and resources that the gang just doesn’t have.  (And even if he did, he’d be dragging the story to a sloth’s pace).  It’s explained that the Monado, for all its mysteries, works on a simple principle: it’s the manifestation of willpower that allows its wielder to change his future as he sees fit…assuming he’s up to the task, of course, considering that Shulk still can’t save everyone even with his foresight.  In any case, over the course of the game -- just as you’d expect from a video game -- Shulk learns new abilities with the Monado that help him overcome new challenges, allowing the heroes to keep on competing in the arms race.  

The basic ability is the Monado Buster, which turns the sword into a giant glowing robot-swatter; that’s eventually followed up by a party buff that lets them fight robots, a shield ability that protects them from certain attacks, a speed boost that…boosts speed, a debuffing Genmu Zero, and a big whompin’ area of effect attack.  (And as I learned right before fighting the last boss, you can unlock even more Monado abilities.  That’s what I get for playing without a guide, I guess.)  There’s no time for Shulk to stop his journey and do research, but thankfully he has the Monado to compensate, evolving right alongside him.

What I find extremely interesting about this whole Monado business is that for the longest time, it’s the one getting the credit for the team’s victories, not Shulk.  The dialogue reflects this repeatedly; when there’s a job well done, it’s not Shulk that’ll get the credit, but the Monado.  “Thanks to the Monado, we managed to pull that one off,” someone might say.  Or maybe “As long as we got the Monado, there’s no way we’ll lose!”  The sad thing is that they’re absolutely right -- they ARE only winning and surviving because they’ve got the Monado. Everyone -- even Shulk -- is putting all their faith into a weapon far beyond their understanding, but they know there’s nothing they can do about it.  They’ve become dependent on the weapon -- on the tool, a piece of technology and nothing more, in order to eke out even a basic existence. 

And what’s even MORE interesting is that it’s not just Team Shulk who’s putting all their faith in their technology.  Team Robot is doing the exact same thing.  As it turns out, the Mechon that you’ve been going up against for the entire game are just the foot soldiers of Egil, part of the Machina race -- which is to the Mechonis what humans are to the Bionis.  In a nutshell, his plan is to have all life on Bionis erased as a means to steal away the life energy the Bionis is using to sustain itself and reawaken (among other things, but I’ll get to that).  So basically, all the technology employed by the bad guys -- or bad guy in this case, considering that Egil’s essentially a rogue with untold thousands of emotionless followers -- is an effort on Team Robot’s part to win the arms race and the war at large.  And because of it, you can start to see the price one might pay for devoting themselves too passionately to a cause, especially to technology, and double-especially to tools of warfare.  Team Robot is the literal embodiment of discarded humanity, showing what could happen if war and destruction (and in Egil’s case, revenge for past slights) become all that matter to a person.  And it’s no accident; Shulk himself very nearly loses his humanity for the sake of his mission and his revenge, entrusting his very being to a weapon nobody knows a damn thing about besides “it’s red” and “it breaks robots”.

If memory serves me right, the Destructoid review rightly named “revenge” as one of the key elements of the plot.  And I agree with that.  Virtually every playable character (except the little fuzzball Riki, maybe) and dozens of NPCs have every reason to want revenge against the Mechon.  Shulk wants revenge because a Mechon attack leaves Fiona KIA -- and with Fiona being Dunban’s sister, the war veteran is looking to bust some mechs to compensate.  Reyn is also a friend of Fiora (and Shulk, of course), and he’s eager to get some payback after Mechon ransack the trio’s beloved Colony 9.  Sharla wants revenge because of what the Mechon did to Colony 6, along with her lover Gadolt meeting a grisly fate by their hands.  Melia wants revenge because…well, Melia has any number of reasons to hate the world and everyone in it, but let’s just say it’s because her dad bites it in a Mechon attack and leave it at that.  Maybe the reason these people can become so comfortable with one another is because they all seriously fuckin’ hate robots.

But once again, as the lead character Shulk steps in to change the nature of the story -- and he doesn’t even need to swing the Monado to do so.  In fact, if he DID swing the Monado, he’d just be making things worse.  A big reveal of this game is that the Mechon -- at least those that are important enough to the plot have faces -- are forcibly piloted by abducted humans…with Shulk’s main squeeze Fiora being one of the prime candidates.  As soon as Shulk finds out the truth, suddenly revenge doesn’t become as captivating an idea, and he starts to realize the implications of any rash actions (something that he, in fact, has to teach Dunban before he can make a big mistake).  It’s easy to assume that Shulk is forced to a halt because of the reveal that Fiora is alive, if turned into a cyborg against her will.  On the other hand, I think the idea goes a few steps further.  And to explain what I mean, I’ll have to invoke the specter of a very obscure franchise.

In all fairness, the only campaign I’ve played is the one in Black Ops 2 -- and even then not to completion, as I wisely decided to leave the suffering to my brother -- but if my guess is correct, one of the main complaints about the games is that you’re just expected to shoot the enemy without any thought or consideration of who they are.  They’re just Russians, or terrorists, or “brown people”.  It’s dehumanization -- and really, you can’t blame the devs for it.  It’s a lot easier to kill someone when you don’t know who they are or what they’re all about.  It’s better to imagine them as faceless.  But by giving enemies in Xenoblade a face -- and standing in contradiction to everything the cast knows -- it’s a way to make them stop dead in their tracks.  It’s information that changes the way the fight plays out, especially for Shulk and his Monado-brandishing antics. 

It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder -- could it be that Xenoblade isn’t as much a fantastic romp across worlds of wonder as it is an allegory about the threat of our obsession and dependence on technology?  Or if not that, then an allegory about the nature of war and the corruptive effect of competition rather than cooperation?  I mean, sure, the party of six (and eventually seven once Cyber-Fiora joins the fight) is working by themselves for the most part, but that’s only because they’re a sort of “advance guard”; it isn’t long before they’ve got every sentient species on the Bionis banding together for the sake of waging war against the Mechon.  Hell, the game STARTS with a battle the year before the game’s main events are set in motion.  Who’s to say that Xenoblade isn’t just one big war story taking place atop a pair of Gundams?

I would say I’m reaching and that they’re just unintentional parallels, but…frankly, I think I’d be lying to you, and to myself.  There’s no way that the undercurrents of thought in this game were an accident.  No way.  It just lines up too perfectly.  The devs had something to say here, even if they didn’t say it quite as loudly as the theme of revenge or the wonders of the adventure proper.  No, what’s on display in this game has to be a calculated effort -- loud enough to get a point across, but soft enough to keep everything moving at a brisk and almost-cheery pace. 

That’s something conveyed by all the characters, as well; they’ll stop to consider things and lament over the occasional sour turn of events (maybe), but there’s never the wall-to-wall angst that most people expect out of JRPGs.  Nor is there stupid-ass conflict between characters over trivial matters.  These people are acting as friends and comrades, but they’re all also acting like adults and thinkers; even Reyn, the guy who’s supposed to be the big lunkhead of the group, is just as mentally and emotionally developed as the rest.  He knows what’s going on.  So do the other characters.  So do I.  And it’s my guess that everyone that’s played the game to completion knows it too.  There’s plenty happening on the surface, but cut past it and you’ll find a verifiable gold mine of depth, thought, and merit.  And that’s precisely why the game deserves every last bit of praise it’s gotten.

…But I’m getting off-topic.  Like I said, the real draw of this game -- the spirit that defines it and transforms so many of its elements -- is triumph.  And indeed, triumph is bursting out of every orifice.

It goes without saying that, even though Shulk and company face some massive trials, they overcome them each time with guts, smarts, teamwork, and of course effort.  As they should.  They’re men and women on a mission, journeying across the Gundams not only to beat their foes, but to learn the secrets of the Monado (and get involved in the cultures and struggles of fluffballs, humans with wings on their heads, and kind-of-but-not-quite cyborgs) and gain whatever advantage they have against Team Robot.  Most of the group’s goals -- save Sharla’s little brother, save the old man, save Melia’s father -- are blocked off and punctuated by incredible challenges…or more often than not, challengers

The game is constantly trying to top itself in terms of what it can throw at the cast, up to and including pitting your team against an enemy that’s likely the size of an actual Gundam.  Not to mention that the Monado isn’t the be-all and end-all weapon; time and time again, the Mechon find ways to suppress, outmaneuver, or outright shut down the Monado and leave Team Shulk scrabbling for a reprieve.  You know they’re going to succeed eventually, but the game -- again, as it should -- puts up a convincing illusion of struggle and hopelessness.  Time and time again I found myself thinking, “Oh man, how am I going to beat THAT?”  Especially because, this being a video game, I couldn’t finish it without beating THAT.  But eventually, it reaches a point where it just gets downright ludicrous.

Seriously, what is up with that pose?  What is he, a dolphin?

Okay.  Remember that DBZ analogy I made earlier?  The one that likely made you want to look at a clip of the Final Flash?  (Got you covered.)  Well, let me twist that around a bit.  Going to the REAL villain of the game from the fight that preceded it -- the guy with his own personal Gundam that can pilot the Robot Gundam to destroy Nature Gundam, mind -- is like going to the battle with Kid Buu straight from the first episode of the original Dragon Ball.  Let me see if I can explain this succinctly, and have it make sense even for those who’d need about seventy hours’ worth of play time to even begin to understand the context.

*deep breath*

It turns out that Shulk has been dead for more than a decade but because he came in contact with the Monado he ended up becoming the retainer of the spirit of Zanza, the ascended being and effectively god who, along with Meyneth -- who resides in Cyber-Fiora for a large portion of the game -- created the world of Xenoblade and is virtually the embodiment of the Bionis, and plans to absorb all life on the Bionis to start the world over, all while simultaneously enacting his plan of destroying the Mechonis and everything on it -- something he’s more than capable of doing by virtue of not only having virtually all of the powers of the Monado, but after a clash with Meyneth/Fiora, ends up wielding TWO SOUPED-UP MONADOS at his leisure -- and ultimately Shulk is left for dead, the gang is stripped of its only viable weapon, they’re betrayed by the people they trust the most, an entire race is transformed into Zanza’s killing squad of antibodies, the Mechonis gets wrecked, Meyneth is lost, and within minutes Zanza’s forces are knocking on your door.


 …You know, usually in fiction, it’s not very often where you’re left thinking “There’s no way they can beat that!”  If there really was no way, then the story would be over and it’d jump straight to the Bad End.  Of course they’re going to get out of it.  Of course they’ll win.  That’s what it means to be a hero in a story -- overcoming the odds with skill and strength of heart.

But this game…this game does things differently.  I don’t think there’s ever been a game that not only managed to strip the characters of their hope, but also strip ME of my hope.  After watching the string of cutscenes that revealed the truth, I felt something I hadn’t before.  The game actually made me sick.  Physically ill.  I honestly didn’t believe that there was a way for Team Shulk to win, especially since Shulk himself had been shot in the back and left a lifeless husk.  There was just no way to make a comeback.  And without that feeling of hope, that ability to bring about the happy ending I’d expected of the game -- a privilege I’d taken for granted in any given game -- I felt like giving up.

It was over.  Team Shulk and I had entered our darkest hour…and this time, there would be no dawn.

…Except there was, and I felt silly for ever doubting the game.  Whoopsie daisy!

In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t be surprised.  If there’s one major problem I have with Xenoblade’s story, it’s that it falls on the old “Hey, guys!  Let’s go kill God!” shtick.  (Or if not God, then the religious figure du jour.)  I mean, haven’t gamers done that enough?  Haven’t games in general done that enough?  It seems like such a cop out to make God or the pope a main villain, especially when so much of Xenoblade was about a struggle between opposing yet largely-equal forces.  It’d be like having the Cold War come to an end because a new group came to earth riding on Voltron.  

So in a lot of ways, it’s something that threatens to break the war motif in two.  On the other hand, having the gang decide to take on God and win supports the idea of changing fate that’s so obvious I feel silly even mentioning it.  The game is a blend of mundane concepts and fantastic elements, after all, and as such it’s hard to heap too much hate on matters of deicide.  I’d argue that the game could have stopped after the final fight with Egil -- making sure to weave some of those plot twists in toward him, of course -- but for what it’s worth, I suppose Zanza’ inclusion isn’t exactly a deal breaker.  He does get a spiffy final boss form, after all.

Besides, the endgame reveal shows that Zanza isn’t exactly the god he’s made out to be; as it turns out, like Team Shulk and Team Robot, he’s a victim of the obsession with technology, only taken to an even further extreme.  Turns out Zanza was actually a scientist named Klaus who, once an experiment goes wrong, destroys his world and has to create a new one alongside Meyneth.  (Side note: having beaten Xenosaga but not having played much of Xenogears, I’d like to think that XB is an extension of XS, wherein Klaus’ efforts pick up on Shion’s efforts in her game to try and find a solution to the end of the universe.)  So basically, Klaus becomes so enraptured by what he’s wrought that he ends up forgetting who he is and what he stands for.  And more importantly, he’s the sort of person who believes that as long as he’s got the tech -- the power, be it from godhood or ownership of the Monados -- he can do whatever he wants.  He’s right, and everyone else is wrong.

Except he isn’t.  The thing that Shulk’s trying to prove -- that the game’s trying to prove -- isn’t just a matter of technological might making right.  It’s the intent behind it.  The willpower.  That willpower is what creates the drive to make those machines in the first place; it’s the drive to create the means to change one’s fate.  Instruments that facilitate change, and make it easier, sure -- but in the end, they’re just tools.  Corny as it may sound, the real power comes not from within --and with it, even the lowliest of men can bring about true triumph.

So.  At the end of the day, what else is there to say about Xenoblade?  Besides the obvious?

I know it’s good.  Others know it’s good.  Hopefully by reading this post, now you know it’s good.  It’s common opinion -- if not fact -- that this is one of the Wii’s greatest games.  And it shows; it’s got more than enough content, creativity, depth, and even deviousness to satisfy any given player.  Hell, I’ve blown almost five thousand words talking about it in this post alone, and I STILL don’t feel like I’ve covered everything.  But I guess there’s only one remedy for that.  If for some reason you haven’t played this game -- or even watched a playthrough on YouTube -- you owe it to yourself to do so.  This game…this game is something special.

It took me well over a year of on-again, off-again sessions to clear it.  And I enjoyed virtually every second of it.  The characters.  The world.  The battles.  The ideas.  It felt complete.  Thoughtful.  Bursting with energy, but restrained by wisdom and focus.  In an industry full of misguided efforts, shenanigans, and all-out disappointments, to get a game this complete and this well-crafted is a triumph in itself.

And that’s precisely why, from this moment on, I’m inducting Xenoblade Chronicles into my Top Ten Favorite Games.  Because that’s precisely what it deserves.

What else is there to say?  Well, I can think of one thing, at least.

Thank you.


  1. I can relate to that hopeless feeling. It happened when I first played Persona 3, which was my very first Atlus game and I was ignorant to the kind of games they make. I decided to see the ending on Youtube while I was a little past the halfway point of the game. I didn't want to play the game for a good 2-3 months, but I managed to muster the motivation to complete it. Thankfully, Helel cheered me up.

    The plot twist of the story kinda reminds me of Star Ocean 3's plot twist, which is strange considering that a good number of people didn't like SO3 because of it, yet everyone praises this game in spite of it. Maybe I would watch a LP of this game since I don't have a Wii.

  2. Ah, Persona 3. Fun times to be had for sure as you try to repel the undeniable, unstoppable pressure of death and despair, ultimately managing just a potential fix with great lost instead of a genuinely happy ending. A heartwarming tale, indeed.

    As for SO3, I think I can see why people had issues with that and not Xenoblade. With Xenoblade, there's no connection to any canon or bindings to earlier games (well, technically you could count Xenogears/Xenosaga, but XB is practically its own beast). With Star Ocean, it's a more direct connection. And even if it isn't -- it was the first game in the series I played -- it wasn't necessarily the revelation of a God you have to kill that could cause a problem; it was the fact that the revelation of a God also potentially invalidated your efforts so far, the universe you'd explored for dozens of hours up to that point, the people you met, and satisfaction all of those entail...and then on top of all that, if you ARE a fan of the series then that means SO1 and SO2 are ALSO invalidated. It was a twist on the universe that didn't have to be...which probably explains why The Last Hope --


    ...why The Last Hope had to be a prequel. They didn't know what to do with the story from there. And it shows.

    But enough of that. It goes without saying, but if you can find a good LP somewhere on YouTube, then watch it ASAP. Although you should probably be prepared for a long haul; there's no telling how long you'll be watching, but if it's anything like playing the game, I would probably not recommend clearing it in one sitting. Unless you have some sort of superhuman endurance.

  3. xenoblade chronicles looks cool, will enjoy playing it.
    Hotline Miami

  4. And rightly so. It's amazing how much adventure the devs managed to cram into a disc on the supposedly under-powered Wii -- proof enough that using the resources you have > using the almighty dollar to throw superficial weight around. If this is what they can do this generation, no doubt they'll offer something even better next time around...and teach other devs how to do it.

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the game...though I'm a little worried I might have spoiled everything for you.

  5. haha, no problem i m sure i will enjoy it anyway.
    Hotline Miami

  6. Ha ha.... I kinda feel bad for stumbling on this 9 months late and doing this too you but.... The fastest way to gain affinity between characters is to give the little 'blue ball' items you find all over the world to them as gifts. Find a four star gift and spam it, and the character you are playing as and the character you gave the items to will be chums in no time.

    Fun read mate. Now, if you are ready to go back to the world of Xenoblade in time for it to blow your mind before X arrives...

    Look up the definition of a Monad in Greek Philosophy, its definition in computer programming, and Gottfried Leibniz's 'Monadology'.

  7. Wait a second. Monad? That sure does sound a lot like 'Monado'. I wonder if there's a connecton. Let me just put that into a Google search and


    Also, I'm really starting to feel stupid about not being able to boost affinities. Not just the fact that I missed out on the Heart-to-Hearts, or the fact that the back half of my party were pretty much strangers even by the endgame -- no, I never would have even guessed that you could give those blue ball items to your teammates. Was I just in a coma or something when I played the game? Man, what an embarrassment.

    I'll just have to be better about things in X, I guess. Then again, I might be too busy RIDING IN MECHS! *air guitar*

    In any case, glad you enjoyed the post. Got plenty more where that come from, so feel free to check around. It'll (potentially) be fun!