Xenoblade Chronicles 3D Review
Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii was an underappreciated late-comer to the console. Very few people played it, yet those that did were very vocal about it: the looks of the game, how big it was, and how mainstream it could be, despite falling into the JRPG category. When Monolith Soft announced a remake of this beloved title on the New 3DS – first exclusive to the New handheld – fans began to get excited, and some even purchased the New 3DS just for this.
This is very much a review-in-progress. To complete everything in this game takes well over 100 hours. As of writing, I’m about 55+ hours in, and have tackled a lot of the main campaign. Take whats below for what it is. Obviously, this review will be void of a discussion on the conclusion of the game or some things that happen along the way; but the gameplay, sound, and graphics opinions are all valid and will not change.
Off the top things can be a bit confusing, but you eventually realize you are living in a world that has just seen war. A war between Bionis – a land inhabited by creatures and humans – and Mechonis, who are mechanical enemies who can only be killed by using the legendary weapon, the Monado. It’s not a great story, but not altogether terrible either. Like most JRPG titles, the focus of the game is character driven; here, Monolith Soft has done an excellent job. While all the characters have their fair share of amazing and dull characteristics, Shulk will prove to be most people’s favorite, and the most understood character.
Taking Advantage of New Hardware
Xenoblade Chronicles is HUGE. The areas you can explore are packed with content from monsters to blowing grass, to bugs…almost every area is unique, and just walking through it is a reward in its own right. Monolith Soft took advantage of the New 3DS in the best ways. It’s not secret that this game is massive, to a point where Nintendo sent us a physical copy rather than a download code to avoid having to upgrade SD cards just to get it on our systems.
Using the new nub – yes, that is what I’ve nicknamed it – to look around is flawless, and Monolith has done an excellent job porting over all the other button combinations to 3DS. The in-game menus remind me of when you open the menu in the middle of a Blu Ray movie. The menu comes up from the bottom and expands towards the top of the screen as you move through it.
I can only imagin the load times if this wasn’t on the New 3DS XL. While they are still long at times – especially when loading a completely different area – I think it is very understandable. While they could be faster, I really have no gripe with the speed of loading.
Disappointment – Not Playing in 3D
The one bonus to having a New 3DS XL is being able to use 3D all the time because of the face tracking feature. Unfortunately, I’ve begun to play Xenoblade exclusively with the 3D turned off; frankly, it actually looks a bit better and cleaner without 3D. In 3D, I noticed a bit of choppiness and some rough edges, which were not as present when playing with the slider turned off.
Unlike the visuals, the soundtrack in Xenobalde Chronicles is fantastic! Obviously, like other games that use a primarily orchestral sound, players will need an appreciation for the type of music that it is. If you enjoy that, however, you are in for a real treat. The music that plays as you explore the world around you will quickly make you forget about the less than spectacular visuals.
Is Xenoblade the Game for You?
If you plan on grabbing the new Xenoblade game when it launches on Wii U later this year, than grabbing Xenoblade Chronicles 3DS is probably a good idea. At the least, you will get an appreciation for the style of JRPG that this title is. Having a familiarity with the characters, the games economy, and other little things will also help with your understanding of Xenoblade on Wii U.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3DS is a loot lovers paradise. Everything drops loot, some of which is good for selling while others is good for customization, crafting, and more. Xenoblade is a huge world with lots to explore. In a year void of many great 3DS titles – especially between now and December – there is a good possibility that you will see this game to compleation. There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot on the horizon that will make you put down Xenoblade.
Take the plunge and be one of the few who will actually complete Xenoblade Chronicles. A game this big is bound to have people stopping before they reach the end, but if what I’ve been told is true, the end is worth the time it took to get there.