I just started Xenoblade Chronicles so I'm reserving my full opinion for now. However, I noticed a number of great things it does to make the new player experience more palatable. Attention to properly introducing the player to gameplay mechanics and keeping them engaged is sorely missing in most JRPGs. Games of any genre could stand to take notes from XC:
Xenoblade Chronicles allows the player to save anywhere, from what I've seen so far. Save points have always been a pet peeve of mine and JRPGs are notorious for them. They are unnecessarily unforgiving to players who may have to stop playing at a moment's notice when real life intervenes. They do not really impede progress or increase challenge as much as they increase the frustration of defeat. I prefer my challenges delivered via the tasks at hand.
As someone who plays a lot of games, I often take breaks during the longer experiences. This leads to me coming back to a game with no idea what just happened or why I'm doing something. This quick overview of the current state of the game will prove invaluable if I decide to take a hiatus.
Contextual Combat Hints
Xenoblade Chronicles does an excellent job of onboarding new players by allowing them to immediately access information they need about new aspects of combat. The explanation of special status effects comes not in a long-winded, overwhelming initial tutorial. Instead, these useful nuggets of information are delivered exactly when you need them.
Finally, being able to look through any tutorials one has missed or simply forgotten about is a great asset. The tutorial compendium also provides a non-obtrusive location for the game to deliver more advanced hints and tutorials. The player is always given only the necessary level of detail, along with the tools to delve deeper should they be inclined.
I'll probably have lots more to say about the game itself in time. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this guided experience and I feel like I have a grasp on the mechanics. The game could pretty much leave me alone at this point, and I would be just fine. As someone who frequently misses key game mechanics when I experience information overload, I am pleased!