This review is a rough one for me, as there are aspects of XEL that make me wish I could be more positive in my ultimate opinion of it. While implying in any way that the action-adventure you embark upon in the game is Zelda-esque would be heavily exaggerated, the exploration, simple and mostly tight combat, and eventual gadgets you’ll accumulate to work with to help get to new areas do show glimmers in that direction. The problem is that in the game’s current state it is an absolute mess on the technical front, and I’m not sure all of its issues can even be patched. Stutters in the action, the action pausing with regularity to again tell me what known item I’ve picked up, and truly embarrassing pop-in aren’t bugs when they show up this often, they feel like features. While I’m usually someone who will let some wonkiness slide when it’s mild, for this game it absolutely isn’t. Throw in design choices like the very pulled out camera that can make details suffer, and a lack of control of the camera mixed with elements in the environment that can obscure combat (that I doubt will be altered) and even if the performance side gets to where it needs to be the experience will likely still suffer as a whole. It has a great deal of promise, and I’d love to be proven wrong as the developers (hopefully) get some patches going, but this is absolutely not how you want to make your first impression for early adopters in the eShop.
Justin Nation, Score: