Monolith Soft - Tested on the Nintendo Switch in 2023
Tetsuya Takahasi was on a big mission. He wanted to make a huge game series with a complex storyline where he could include all of his ideas. But alas, often his ambitions were cut by publishers - and so Xenogears and Xenosaga never achieved what he wanted them to achieve. However, after Nintendo stepped in and he could create the Xenoblade Chronicles series, the team could finally work on the magnum epos they've been striving for. And this game is the third part of this series.
The Xenoblade Chronicles games are somewhat connected in their story (except Xenoblade Chronicles X), but they perfectly work as standalone games. Maybe that's why they've been more commercially successful than Xenogears or the Xenosaga games, which where planned to be a series of interconnected games from the beginning (Then again, this perfectly works for the "Trails" series, though...). Xenoblade Chronicles 3 wanted to connect Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2, whilst working as a game on its own, again.
The world of Aionios was in a state of constant wars. The two powers of Keves and Agnus fought each other in an everlasting war, never gaining real ground. The whole population was made up of soldiers, and there was no concept of settlements, cities or towns anymore - everyone lived in so-called colonies, short-term settleements that more resembled camps, led by giant fighting machines. The people living in the colonies were just on standby for the next battle. The goal of these battles: Kill as many people as possible to gain the life force of these people so that the colonies can survive on their own.
Amongst these soldiers were Noah, Lanz, Eunie, Mio, Sena and Taion. The first three from Keves, the latter three from Agnus. As they met on the battlefield, they discovered a special power as a third party, who was not Keves nor Agnus, joind the skirmish. They were enemies, but they've been bound together by this special power, which made them enemies to everyone on the planet - except the third party, who was from a place simply called "the city", where some of the citizens wanted to end the world war.
However, the reasoning behind this war was not as simple as it looked at first, and, in typical Xenoblade Chronicles style, there is so much more to unfold in the course of about 100 hours.
The Xenoblade Chronicles games always were designed to be a "MMO style battles in an offline game" type of RPG. Xenoblade 3 goes even further here - the battle stylee is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy XIV. Fighters can have classes (tank, healer, damage dealer), and a party should consist of all of these three classes. Actions are mapped to the front buttons of the controller and the D-pad. Some actions need to be charged by attacking the enemy, others recover over time. This is the first Xenoblade that has more dedicated healing actions.
Other than that, the game is - again, in typical Xenoblade fashion - a party of systems that seem complicated at first, but really work together well and aren't as difficult to maintain. The party is able to transform into mighty forms, called Ouroboros, and these Ouroboros have their own actions that can be powered up. There are items to equip, jewels to make and equip (which boost some stats), there are classes to master based on special characters that join the party and skills to unlock with special missions.
Missions, character and world building are some of the most important parts in Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The world and characters are equally important, and even if you could rush through the main story in some 60-ish hours, there are many tragedies to uncover in the form of some quests. Basically every little quest adds to the world building.
The game has been made exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, the team tried to create the most detailed visuals of a Switch game yet. The music has been again done by Yasunori Mitsuda and the ACE team, with lots of different tracks. Every region in Aionios has not only a different music, but also a different battle music. Some areas even have multiple ones (like Cadensia, where battles on water have a different music than battles on land).
The game has some downloadable content, with one additional sub-game that extends the story and explains the reasoning and ending of some parts of the story.
Just as in Xenoblade 2's Torna: The Golden Country, an additional story for the game was released as downloadable content which added some background story to the games' past.
It's difficult to explain what happens in this story if one doesn't want to spoil the whole game. Within Xenoblade 3, the party members have to reach a city, a place full of people who do not align either with Agnus or Keves, the two ever-warring kingdoms. "Future Redeemed" goes into the background of this city, and how the city became the source of the mysterious powers that allowed the heroes of the main game to utilize their full potential.
The game plays similar to the main game, although everything is a bit more difficult. Item equipment slots have to be unlocked, as do have skill slots to further expand upon character's abilities. Everything has to be found in smaller missions or by fighting special bosses.
The difficulty has been increased a lot. It's wise to always check out enemy levels and try not to get too motivated and slay too many foes at once.
The game plays in a region inaccessible in the main game, which is pretty big for its own. The whole motif of Xenoblade 3: Future Redeemed is to bring together the stories of Xenoblade 1, Xenoblade 2 and Xenoblade 3. If there are even ties to Xenosaga or Xenoblade X is still being discussed by fans.
There is no more hero to tag along like in the original game, also the characters' classes are predetermined and can't be changed. There's no option to alter clothing as well.
The variety of music presented in the main game is expanded by a couple of original tunes and some music from Xenoblade Chronicles 1.
The DLC also provides some additional heroes for the main game as well as a battle mode.
While the additional review has been written, our friend hectique sold two of his Switch RPGs. Priorities, eh?