“Most ambitious entry in the series ever!”
- Management: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: monolith soft
- Release Date: 29 July 2022
Don’t be afraid though! In the third numbered entry in the series, Nintendo and developer Monolith Soft once again prove themselves worthy of praise with the incredibly polished and surprisingly accessible Xenoblade Chronicles 3. With a fresh cast of characters and mechanics that take advantage of the best of both previous installments, this is truly a game anyone can jump into.
Players from previous games will undoubtedly be eager to uncover the little bits of lore that ties the franchise together, but Xenoblade Chronicles 3, unfortunately, made for an easy entry for new players, but led to a disappointing conclusion to the series. falls short in that regard. fan.
With all that in mind, join us on Honeys Anime today as we review Xenoblade Chronicles 3—not a complete spoiler!
A lot was promised in the lead-up to the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3. From various gameplay and reveal trailers, we were treated to detailed shots of Aionios, a new world for adventure and exploration. It’s actually one of the largest games Nintendo has produced, with a world mass five times larger than that of Xenoblade Chronicles 2—after the credits roll, you still have vast areas of the game to explore. For, more powerful monsters will be defeated.
Once again, Xenoblade Chronicles draws us in with a fascinating story about an incredibly foggy world locked in a state of endless war. The two nations of Caves and Agnus have been engaged in a futile war for centuries, shedding blood and gathering “life” to advance another cycle of bloodshed. Each soldier in Aionios is born with a ten-year, pre-determined life span – assuming they do not die in battle – and at the end of that decade, they will receive an honorary death at the hands of their country’s queen.
Make no mistake, this is Xenoblade’s darkest story ever. There is intense discussion about war, death, legacy and the meaning of life during the 60 hours of the main story. It may sound melodramatic, but Monolith softly pulls off the story, creating a plot that is genuinely heartwarming at times. It’s the most “real” any character in Xenoblade has felt, helped by superb voice acting that brings back the beloved regional UK accent and snappy dialogue.
Throughout most of the game, you’ll control a party of six, consisting of three characters each of Cavs and Agnus. Much of the opening story is devoted to the approach of confrontation between these opposing nations, but our six unlikely comrades soon unite against a common enemy that threatens the peace of all Aionio. When they are gifted with the ability to “interlink” and transform into a hybrid mech called Ouroborus, our characters begin to learn the uncomfortable truth about endless warfare and the cycle of life and death.
With main character Mio only 3 months left before the end of his ten years, the story has a serious urgency that is only heightened by further revelations. Campsite Chats—a returning feature of Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s expansion, Torna: The Golden Country—deepens our understanding of the characters and their individual personalities. Dil Se Dil is unfortunately absent this time, but the characters interact with each other so often that it is rarely missed.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s anime extravagance is gone, replaced instead with the grittier tone matching the first game. Depending on how much you loved (or hated) Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s anime-inspired vibes, this will either be a huge positive or a disappointing negative. Personally, we enjoyed the saturated color palette and dramatic characters in Rex’s Journey, but for a gritty story about war and freedom, this more serious tone is arguably a better fit.
Speaking of color, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a great looking game, complete with some much-needed improvements to Monolith Soft’s engine. In particular, the characters’ eyes are more alive than ever, hair moves with a natural bounce, and grime is visible on your characters’ clothes throughout their journey. In docked mode, the game renders at 1080p, and 720p when undocked—a huge improvement over Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and delivers a much crisper image wherever you play. At times, textures can appear very blurry, which appears to be a tradeoff for the number of characters and monsters on screen. Improvements in cutscene rendering also make for some truly cinematic moments – and lots of screenshots on our Switch!
With that improved engine comes a wide array of gorgeous landscapes, from vast deserts to vast oceans, along with some of the familiar locations from previous games. Compared to Xenoblade Chronicles 1’s Bionis or the myriad Titans of its sequels, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 feels a bit “gray” at times. There are less exaggerated set pieces, with everything feeling a bit homogeneous at times. Beyond that, the world is still fantastic to explore, although it is sometimes huge, the early areas of the game heavy enough to explore.
The combat system in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a hybrid of the previous numbered installments, although it closely follows the rhythm of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. As always, your characters will auto-attack the enemy while engaged in combat, and major damage is done by activating the “Arts” mapped to the Switch’s face button. Timing your art for the end of an auto-attack does extra damage, while slowly building up your special “talent arts” assigned to the A button.
Each of your characters is assigned an overall class type—Defender, Attacker, Healer—that controls their base stats and their role in combat. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 adds a new layer of depth with the ability to choose specific classes within that overall type. For example, you can opt for a traditional tank defender, or opt for a hybrid defender that can also do some damage. Each of these classes comes with its own unique arts, and these arts can be used in conjunction with each other in the new “Fusion Arts” system.
This Fusion Arts system allows you to use directional buttons to draw art from a class you’ve already “mastered”—essentially, up to level 10 by earning class points from combat or exploration. has reached. By pressing the matching Face Button and Directional Button simultaneously, you’ll be able to use your own class’s ability as well as another class’s ability before going back to your original arts.
Although it sounds complicated, in practice it is incredibly streamlined. Monolith Soft clearly wanted to make combat more accessible than in previous games and start with only a fraction of the system available to the player. New systems are gradually added along with tutorials, all of which can be replicated in a VR-like setting via the system’s Help menu. If you ever get stuck, you can freely practice a variety of battles that replicate how the game’s mechanics work, including the newly added Interlink system.
Combining with another character, you will be transformed into Ouroborus for a short time. These massive mech-like forms can deal serious damage while at the same time protecting your transformed characters’ HP. Ouroboros isn’t a “quick win” ability, but just another tool in your kit that you’ll need to use deftly throughout the fight. Since Interlink mode has a cooldown, you’ll need to plan when you want to use the mode, and whether you want to cancel early to preserve cooldown time.
Each of the six different Ouroboros has its own skill tree to level up and unlock, allowing you to build them up in different ways and give you a fighting edge while replacing your AI teammates. Since the battles are so chaotic, it can be hard to keep track of what your allies are doing at any given moment, but for the most part, the AI fights more logically than in previous games. We wish there were more strategy options available to the player, such as ordering allies to maintain their health, or going all out altogether.
Despite the tireless effort that Monolith Soft has put into crafting one of the greatest JRPGs of all time, no game is without its flaws. The class-switching system is an improvement over Xenoblade Chronicle 2’s weapon modes but ultimately feels like an unnecessary layer. For at least 50 hours of gameplay, you can’t level up a class after level 10, and since each class has a “Performance Rating” for each character, all classes get along well with your character. won’t work. While it might be a fun idea to attack all six characters without a balanced team of defenders and healers, you’ll get KO’d pretty quickly. We found classes we liked early on, and focused on getting the pace of the battle down rather than moving classes around.
The side quests are also somewhat disappointing. As you move around Aionios, you’ll unlock various side quests and item hunts to complete, freeing both Kevasi and Agnions from the yoke of the never-ending war. Xenoblade Chronicles 1’s Collectopedia makes a comeback, but in the form of a (quite literally) endlessly full log, where you can “complete” a single item to gain a tiny amount of XP. Most of the other side quests boil down to monster hunting or fetch quests, and although sometimes they’ll provide more insight into the world of Aionios, often they feel like pure filler.
As we mentioned in our introduction, the biggest downside comes in the form of the series’ conclusion. As an individual game, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is fantastically satisfying, with a heart-wrenching ending that left us in tears. But given the abundance of references to previous games—seeing Nia and Melia in the trailers—you can expect a fair “answer” for three games. Monolith Soft has explicitly stated that this is the “conclusion” of the trilogy, but as the final credits roll, there is no payoff for fans wanting to learn more about the groove and Trinity processors prevalent in previous numbered titles.