Sticky post: Xenoblade Chronicles 3 preview


As soon as Nintendo announced that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 would be released on July 29, 2022 rather than the originally revealed deadline of September, my faith in Monolith Soft as a leading third-party developer has once again proven to be more than justified. The gaming industry constantly sees disappointing delays due to over-ambition, and it’s not very often when you see a AAA game pushed forward rather than backward, while still managing to keep that necessary ambition intact. It’s been almost five years since Xenoblade Chronicles received its well-deserved sequel to Nintendo Switch, finally and deservedly establishing Xenoblade as Nintendo’s main franchise by being the first game in the series to sell over a million dollars. ‘units. Due to the indisputable success of the sequel, not only did we finally get a proper Switch remake of the Wii original, unique DLC story-based expansions were also produced for both games, “Torna – The Golden Country and “Future Connected” respectively, further expanding the already expansive world of Xenoblade. Now that the threequel is almost here, let’s take a look at what Nintendo and Monolith Soft have prepared for the long-awaited third entry in the fan-favorite series.

New characters, new story, same world, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes place following the events of its predecessors. It begins with the introduction of Noah, one of the game’s main protagonists, in a flashback sequence of him as a young child. He and his friends are happily on their way to attend the Queen’s birthday celebration, when suddenly the world of Aionios freezes in time around him as he watches two mysterious balls of alternating colored lights crash into the sky. As the scene abruptly shifts to modern times, we learn about the state of anarchy and chaos their world finds itself in. Noah was literally created for the purpose of war; a weapon of martial nation Keves designed to defeat those of rival martial nation Agnus. When he and a few of his soldier friends stumble upon a group of Agnians on an important but unclear mission, through a messy series of events, they all hesitantly decide to form an alliance and work together to stop a much larger and more dangerous force. power.

Based only on the first chapter of the game, the plot that is set up feels like it is going to be very deep and meaningful. Serious and emotional themes of life and death are apparent, my mind drawing immediate comparisons to philosophical games such as NieR: Automata. I intentionally keep the story elements vague as part of this overview, because I think the best way to play plot-driven games is to dive straight into it as blindly as possible.

As already confirmed previously by Nintendo, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is an open world, with its large and vast areas perfectly connected to each other. There’s no shortage of useful items to find, side missions to complete, and enemies of varying difficulty to defeat. Combat isn’t quite turn-based and not quite real-time, but somewhere in between, perfecting the already established Xenoblade formula. Not all gameplay mechanics are introduced to you at once, but instead new abilities are learned in a way that feels like part of the story, slowly introducing you to the intricate and elaborate combat system. For example, you start out only being able to control one party member, but eventually you have the ability to swap between them as you please during battle and exploration. The user interface is incredibly robust but still easy to understand, and there are three standard difficulties available to you at the start of the game: easy, normal and hard, so no matter what, you’ll be able to find your niche.

Each character is assigned one of three roles, attacker, defender, or healer, with the role determined by the character’s individual class. As soon as you draw your weapon in front of an enemy, you’ll consistently deal damage to them by auto-attacking, but the real engagement comes in the form of ‘Arts’ and ‘Talent Arts’, which recharge differently not only in depending on the class, but also whether or not you control a Keves or Agnus character. Arts are basic movement types, like attacks and healing abilities, and Talent Arts are more powerful abilities with a special gauge that must be filled by performing various actions during battle. There are many different arts and talents to learn and master for each character, and you’ll need to be strategic in using them while fighting off some of the toughest enemies.

Luckily, it doesn’t seem like too much grinding is needed to maintain your strength as you progress through the game. Leveling up your party members is mostly done by defeating enemies and continuing through the game. story, but naturally earned bonus EXP allows you to level up even further at various Rest Stations spread across the world. While you’ll level up frequently, thankfully, you won’t be constantly bombarded with level-up screens and immersion-distracting messages, which is one of my most common pet peeves of this genre.

There are an abundance of quality of life features available in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, including autosaves, navigation options, and more, but one of the most notable is that the camera controls are fully customizable in terms of distance and position. This means that the entire game can be played in first person mode if desired, making the traversal and combat experience totally different from the default options. However, it’s clearly not meant to be played that way, but it works surprisingly well, especially for exploration purposes. I opted for third person during my gameplay though, as it gives a more traditional JRPG feel.

Technically, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is undoubtedly the best in the series to date. Not only is the art direction fantastic, but it’s also beautifully executed, making it probably the most graphically beautiful Nintendo Switch game. This very clearly pushes the Switch hardware to its absolute limits without going overboard. Load times are very fast, with most of the loading done in the background during long cutscenes. The framerate is generally smooth and consistent, which is a step up from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. So far, everything points to the developers at Monolith Soft being some kind of helper, but it’s too early to tell. with certainty, because we haven’t done it yet. gone through the entire game. Keep in mind that the screenshots shown in this article do not do the visuals justice, as the Nintendo Switch significantly compresses captured footage directly on the console to save storage space .

If the first two chapters are anything to go by, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 seems like a Nintendo Switch-exclusive JRPG, whether or not you’ve played the first two entries in the famed trilogy. I think it’s now safe to say more than ever that Nintendo’s majority acquisition of Monolith Soft in 2007 was one of the best decisions the company has made in recent memory. First impressions have shattered my expectations and I can’t wait to continue exploring the world of Aionios.

A copy of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 for preview purposes was provided by Nintendo UK. A full review of the game will be posted in due course.


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