Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition Review
I did a preview of Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition here. The following is my full review of the game. I will take a look at the main game and its epilogue, as well as Future Connected. Is Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition worth checking out?
I originally played Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii, and I thought it was good game then. But many years have passed since that version was released, and with so many advancements in RPG titles like this, it ultimately made me ask one question going in: How does it hold up on the Nintendo Switch? Let’s take a look at the main game first!
If you played Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii, then you’ll find the game play on the Nintendo Switch version to be about the same. Some additional modes like Time Attack, Theater, and Casual/Expert have been added but the battle system and exploration are what was on the Wii. To be clear, that’s not a bad thing in the slightest.
The battle system in Xenoblade Chronicles is, on the surface, pretty simple, but as you play it you will have to develop strategies to take on bosses and other, tougher enemies. You can’t just let your team auto-attack and do nothing, hoping to win the fight. Your lead character has to be active and use special attacks at the right moment if you want to survive. If you’re finding things too hard, casual mode is worth checking out. When people hear about games that have an auto-attack feature, they always assume it’s simplistic – this is far from that.
Xenoblade Chronicles on the Nintendo Switch is a bit more casual RPG friendly than the Wii version. The game will help you out if you get stuck (with advice and power-ups first). And Casual mode is your friend if you’re having too much trouble. On the other hand, if you want things to be harder, Expert mode has you covered, and is a must for those who have already played through the main adventure on the Wii!
Like any RPG though, even in casual mode, you will find that you’ll have to build your characters up to match what is ahead of you in any given area. There is a lot of grinding in this game. There is a ton of walking too. The world in Xenoblade Chronicles is huge! I did use the auto-run option a few times. Thankfully there is a fast travel system that will let you go back to places you’ve already been.
One more thing to note about battles – the camera can sometimes get funky and move to an odd angle. This can happen out of battle too. You can adjust the camera but it does occasionally have a mind of its own! It’s a minor annoyance for sure, but not a game breaking one!
As for the game’s story, its the same as it was on the Wii. If you’ve never played it, you are in for a treat and if you have, its worth revisiting. Its a very interesting RPG which does things – or I suppose did things – with the story that wasn’t just common “Japanese RPG fair.”
Graphically, Xenoblade Chronicles are improved from the Wii but the game doesn’t look as good as Xenoblade Chronicles 2, or the DLC released for that second title, Torna. The most notable upgrade in the Definitive Edition is the characters. They look great in HD, especially if you are playing the game on the TV. The environments look better on the TV than they do in portable mode too, but I still think Xenoblade 2/Torna had better looking environments overall, which is understandable.
Even with the hit the graphics take in portable mode, I still prefer playing the game in handheld. The menus in and out of battle, which have been improved over the Wii version, are easier to read and I just prefer playing the Switch in portable mode. It’ll be up to the player to decide whether they must have the full HD experience or if they’re okay with the game looking a little less than perfect. I still think Xenoblade Chronicles looks better in portable than it did on the Wii.
Finally, the audio which is, without a doubt, the best part of the game. The voice acting is excellent. When you watch cut scenes, its like watching an animated movie. The music is very good in this game as well, and so are the sound effects. Xenoblade Chronicles is a great game on the Switch.
But what about the new epilogue, Future Connected? Should you check it out?
Our best advice is to not play Future Connected unless you beat Xenoblade Chronicles on the Nintendo Switch, or previously when the game was originally released. There is no recap at the beginning of this story which takes place after the main game. There are some flashbacks to the main game, but if you haven’t played or replayed Xenoblade Chronicles, the flashbacks will likely just confuse you. I wish there was a recap, and that would be a great addition via an update, perhaps on day one!
The story is pretty interesting though. I won’t spoil it but I think players that enjoyed the main game will enjoy this epilogue.
Graphically, Future Connected looks a lot like the main game in portable mode. In TV mode, I was really impressed by the epilogue’s graphics. The character models and environments look even better in Future Connected. Almost Xenoblade Chronicles 2/Torna level! Very detailed. Just like the main game though, the game camera can be funky at times. The menu systems still look great.
The music, voice acting, and sound effects are just as good as the main games.
Future Connected has a tweaked battle system. Its not as radically different as I thought it would be though. Basically the battle system is the same as the main games but with some things added (and some subtracted) to keep things interesting. Also you start with high level characters. Of course that means that the enemies are stronger in Future Connected too!
The epilogue isn’t as vast and sprawling as the main game but it is well worth checking out and one of the main reasons players who played the game on the Wii should check the Definitive Edition out too.
Both Xenoblade Chronicles and Future Connected are great games.
Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition lives up to its name. This is absolutely the version of Xenoblade Chronicles that everyone should play. If you played the game before, the enhanced graphics (even in portable mode) and the extra story are worth checking out.
If you’ve never played this game and you love RPGs, then Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition will be waiting for you on the Nintendo Switch this month! I’m really feeling it!
Thanks to Nintendo Canada for providing a digital code for this review. Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition will be out on May 29th, 2020. It will be available via retail and in the Nintendo Switch eshop!
Overall Score: 8.5