Published on August 4th, 2022 | by Abdul Saad
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Nintendo Switch Review #XENOBLADE
Summary: Despite some of its flaws, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a highly unique, incredibly entertaining JRPG that provides players with hours of enjoyable content, from its engaging story and endearing characters to its fun, in-depth gameplay mechanics.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is one of the year’s most highly anticipated Nintendo Switch games. It’s been so anticipated, in fact, that it’s made newcomers like myself raise an eyebrow and grow some interest in the game and series enough find out if all the hype is worth it or not. After thankfully securing a copy and spending a frightening amount of time on the game, I can gladly say that it is in fact worth the hype despite a few noticeable issues.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the third installment in the highly beloved Xenoblade Chronicles JRPG series. The game follows soldiers of the two warring nations, the Keeves and the Agnus. One of our protagonists, Noah, is a Keeve off-seer, a soldier whose primary duty is to see the spirits of fallen soldiers off to the afterlife. During a mission assigned to him and his longtime friends and colleagues Eunie and Lanz, they encounter a rival group of Agnus soldiers led by Mio, the game’s second protagonist and a fellow off-seer. Despite being rivals at first, the two groups join forces when a much larger threat surfaces that threatens their lives and the lives of many others.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 sports a remarkable story that will hook you regardless of whether you’re a newcomer or a devoted fan of the series. The game features several themes, such as acting on and coming to terms with a limited life span, the struggles of war, building relationships, and much more. While there are some aspects of the story that might fly over the heads of those who never played the first two games, such as why some characters look the way they do, histories of certain races, items, and more, it still is an easy story to understand and be engaged with as it is still its own story from start to finish. And while the plot succeeds in many ways, it’s mainly thanks to the core entertaining story and endearing characters.
Gameplay-wise, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is more than meets the eye in more ways than one, as I found the game is highly dense with mechanics. Players start out simply with the same mechanics seen in other Xenoblade games. First we’re introduced to the auto-attack mechanic, which lets players focus on strategic placement in combat rather than dishing out attacks, and Arts, which serve as the meat and potatoes of combat and how players dish out real damage in the game. However, as you progress the game, these simple mechanics become not-so-simple as more elements are introduced, like Classes, which comprise of the Attacker, Defender, and Support (healer). These let players mix characters and their abilities, costumes, and Arts to create an optimized party. There are also ultimate attacks, a gem system that increases each party member’s stats and even improves abilities such as how fast you heal a downed opponent or how many auto attacks you do in a given period.
There’s also the “Hero” mechanic, which adds certain extra story and non-story characters to your party during specific chapters. While these heroes have set attributes that aren’t customizable, they add even more depth to the game, especially as players can have a roster full of these heroes of varying classes. Then there’s the Ouroboros system which adds even more depth and a mecha sub-genre to the game, which is already filled with sub-genres. Without spoiling too much, the Ouroboros system essentially lets a pair of two characters from the core party transform into an ‘Ouroboros’, a temporary mecha-like robot form that deals more damage and unlocks more Arts and abilities combining the classes of the pair. This system also opens up more strategies in the game.
As an example, players can trigger the mode right before a party member is knocked out to keep them going or right after a healer runs out of healing Arts in order to use the Ouroboros healing Arts. The system can, of course, also be customized via a skill tree that unlocks more Arts and passive abilities with Skill Points that can be acquired in numerous ways.Outside combat, players can also explore the world of Aionios, visiting colonies, taking on quests, fighting monsters, and much more.
As you can probably guess, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is jam packed with mechanics and gameplay features that can quickly overwhelm players, especially those not versed with JRPGs. In fact, so many mechanics are introduced that some older mechanics become useless (specifically for combat) and only make it more complicated to manage it all. Of course, it also doesn’t help that Xenoblade 3 and the Xenoblade games overall have incredibly in-depth combat mechanics i’ve not seen in any game prior, like an actual aggro mechanic for distracting enemies and protecting other party members.that classes like the Defender class are built for.
Visually, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is one of the best-looking games on the Nintendo Switch. It sports crisp visuals and detailed models both docked and undocked and features no lags whatsoever. It also noticeably has very few loading screens, especially during the transitions from combat, unlike most JRPGs these days. The only graphical issue I encountered was that the visuals would occasionally dip during combat when a lot was happening on screen.
What’s more, the game has a banging soundtrack with many fitting, melodic songs chiefly seen through its menu music which I would buy a vinyl of if I could. Though I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out how few combat BGMs there are outside boss fights. I quickly got bored of listening to the same song repeated every time a battle begins. In the same vein, I’d also like to point out that while the voice acting for both languages is impeccable,(despite one being more British than the other), the Japanese dub has a lot of missing subtitles in several moments in the game, even in some cutscenes, which I found disappointing.
All in all, despite some of its flaws, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a highly unique, incredibly entertaining JRPG that provides players with hours of enjoyable content, from its engaging story and endearing characters to its fun, in-depth gameplay mechanics.