By Louis Polite / May 22nd, 2015
|Title||Xenoblade Chronicles 3D|
|Developer||Monolith Soft, Monster Games|
|Release Date||WW: April 2, 2015
NA: April 10, 2015
|Age Rating||ESRB – Teen|
Five years ago, a magical role-playing game by well-respected Japanese developer Monolith Soft was blessed upon this gaming world. This game was called Xenoblade Chronicles. Through many trials and tribulations, Xenoblade Chronicles was held back from North American release until 2012. Europe got it almost a year earlier than North America, mostly because Nintendo of Europe saw the potential in a game from the same developers of the cult classic Xenogears. All we asked for was a game to be brought over to North America in English. Never in our lives did we think that it’d warrant another outlet of media with Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, exclusively for the New 3DS.
It feels amazing to be able to talk about this game, being so closely connected to the campaign to bring it over from the start. Keep in mind, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is the only New 3DS title at the time of this writing, and, to be quite honest, somebody had to be the one to get a New 3DS early and review this game. That would be me. This is what Nintendo is using as their premiere New 3DS title. The reason that it’s exclusive to their newest portable console is because Nintendo has apparently wanted to make this for the 3DS for a long time now, but could not due to the lack of CPU power. With the New 3DS, they decided it was time to take advantage of the higher CPU. This port is handled by Monster Games, developers of games like Excitebots: Trick Racing and Pilotwings Resort. They’ve also previously handled the 3DS port for Donkey Kong Country Returns. The last game listed is what will probably influence this game since this review will also inspect their portjob skills in converting Wii games to 3DS.
First, let’s cut to the chase. For those who haven’t played Xenoblade Chronicles (or for those who just want a review to justify the quality anyways), I must assure you that you are definitely going to be buying a quality game if you choose to pick this up. When you buy Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, first time player or not, you’re getting the same glorious package. You’re getting the same masterpiece comprised of rich storytelling, extremely well-written dialog, authentic delivery, emotionally gripping plot twists and heart-soothing interpersonal connections between all of the characters. All this surrounds a boy named Shulk who is, at face value, the chosen one to see the future by touching a sword called the “Monado.” He takes a sojourn of vengeance, joined by a lovable cast of characters full of a colorful variety of “supposed” face value Japanese RPG stereotypes.
These characters are a delightful breath of fresh air, and it’s helped by the Heart-to-Heart chat system which lets everybody just breathe. The discussions they have outside of the plot gives you time to know them in a broader scale. It’s like exfoliation for character development. It’s also aided by many tools regarding downplayed subverted storytelling. This goes for any traditional cliché tropes, reveals or even subtle screenwriting such as the glowing Monado not being so bright. Compared to the overly clichéd storytelling seen in the genre, it’s a huge breath of fresh air to not see overly hammed up dialog and over-the-top animations. It makes it even better when the affinity system from getting characters relationship levels up from battling along side each other actually aids them in battle with extra abilities depending on how strong the relationship is between two specific characters.
You’re still getting an average playthrough of 100+ hours of content in the 3DS port. I’ve spent a month with this game again, and I’ll surely be happy going through those 100 hours plenty of times more. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, like the original, never drags with its story or the plethora of content in those 100 hours. It contains exploration of a vast variety of beautiful-looking worlds and open-ended progression. It’s very beneficial to the player that they can choose whether to focus on the linear story, taper off every once in a while to do a sidequest or completely turn the guiding arrow off and just explore whatever breathtaking lands you discover or one of the many anti-tedious 400+ side quests to pick up (many of which you don’t even have to turn in).
You’re not playing some typical Final Fantasy-formula RPG here; this game is a true progression of the genre and cuts out all of the fat of other RPGs — replacing the tedious backtracking of other games with more stimulating substances decreasing the emphasis on potions, backtracking to inns and hoarding items to save yourself in battle. The emphasis is more on selecting which arts to use at the right time, pre-micromanagement before the battle and, sometimes, that quick trigger finger. It feels like this game wastes less of your time and only requires your immediate intellectual and reflex skills to succeed in battle. This all takes place in a battle system that people will swear to you took inspiration from Final Fantasy XII and World of Warcraft. It feels MMORPG-inspired, for sure, especially with the amount of gem crafting, skill tree organizing and skill link organizing.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D will also still treat you to the lack of time wasted for losing a battle. You will not lose anything, even if you haven’t saved for a while. You will retain everything and just be sent back to the nearest landmark.
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