Xenoblade Chronicles was a phenomenal RPG when it first hit the Nintendo Wii in 2011. After that major success, it spawned a sequel title on Nintendo Switch, and a spin-off title on the Wii U. But now, the series continues with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which was released on July 28 on Nintendo Switch.
Set in the world of Aionios, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 tells the story of Keves and Agnus, two nations that are constantly at war. You play as Noah, a young off-seer, which is the term utilized for a person capable of playing a special ceremonial song and sending off the husks of the dead into the afterlife. After awakening to a special power, he is branded as a traitor, and alongside his friends, tries to find the truth of the world.
▍A Bunch of Content to Sink Your Teeth Into
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a massive game that can take 60, or even 80 hours to complete, especially if you’re the type to wring all of the available content. There are plenty of side quests and additional content to do aside from the main story.
It can be extremely easy to miss a quest if you’re not careful. And because of how the game throws you into an open world, you need to pay close attention to the enemies and their levels, or you’ll attract the attention of an LV 90 enemy and die right there, on the spot.
In fact, Chapter 3 is when the “kid gloves” are off, I’d say, because with the number of side quests that immediately open to you, don’t be shocked when it’s already been eight hours and you have yet to continue the main story. It sure happened with me, but that just proves just how much time you’ll be able to sink into this game.
▍Highly Customizable Battle System
In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, the battle system has become very intuitive. It’s as if they took the good elements from past games and improved them greatly. You can quickly switch between party members with a simple button combination, and the game also allows for greater customization by letting you set Arts however you like. But it takes it a step further and lets you change between different Classes, so you can try out different battle strategies.
The Battle AI also got smarter because given that everyone has the correct skills equipped, you can inflict the Break > Topple > Daze status effect combination at a much easier pace now. Chain Attacks have also been revamped, where if you end up overkilling an enemy, that extra damage is converted into additional EXP for your party. Talk about handy!
▍Weird Performance Issues In Docked Mode
Do you usually play your Nintendo Switch docked to your TV or on the go in handheld mode? Your choice might impact how Xenoblade Chronicles 3 performs, shockingly. I had friends tell me the performance was really good in handheld mode, but the moment you dock the console, you immediately start to notice some blurriness and FPS drops.
Not to mention that sometimes, if you leave the game open for too long, you might get issues as it tries to load certain cutscenes, requiring a restart. Thankfully, auto-save occurs frequently, so you don’t risk losing too much of your progress, but I hope the developers add some patches to address this, as such a wide open-world RPG is just super better to play on a bigger screen.
▼ A movie was supposed to play on this cutscene, but it didn’t, and the game crashed at the end of it, requiring a restart.
▍A Bit Overwhelming for Beginners of the Series?
If you never played a Xenoblade Chronicles game yet, I wouldn’t exactly recommend playing Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The Xenoblade series are notorious for introducing thousands of different systems and mechanics.
While this game does try to mitigate it somewhat by having comprehensive tutorials, it was still very easy for one to get overwhelmed, especially since the battles can go from simple to very chaotic really early as Chapter 3, where you get a party with up to seven party members.
▍The Expansion Pass
By paying 30 additional US Dollars, you can obtain the Expansion Pass, which is a DLC package divided into four different waves that are set to be released by the end of 2023. The first pack is available on release, with packs 2 through 4 yet to be released.
It apparently includes a new story scenario, but since only pack 1 has been made available so far, I can’t really say if it’s really worth it. However, pack 1 contains the Adventurer’s Essentials, with a lot of really useful items that you can equip on your characters, in addition to many extra Silver Nopon Coins, which have a variety of uses in-game.
▍Dig into the Massive World of Xenoblade Chronicles 3!
Despite the weird performance bugs and the fact that this game, unfortunately, makes for a very bad entry point into the series, as its story assumes immediately you have at least some knowledge of the other titles for an optimal experience, I still had an enjoyable time with Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes the best elements from both the first and second games and improves them to be as flexible as possible. And get ready to spend upwards of 60 hours because all of the side quests have high-quality content, making it a massive JRPG for you to explore. I give Xenoblade Chronicles 3 a 4.5 out of 5.