More than a decade has passed since Xenoblade Chronicles began, Nintendo’s RPG saga, developed by Monolith Soft, and recently released its third installment, with a game that takes adventure to the next level.
Xenoblade Chronciles 3 is a game that maintains the roots that have made the saga so popular with a gameplay that is based on that presented in the second installment -launched in 2017 for Nintendo Switch- while implementing a series of new mechanics, an attractive story, and a huge world that makes it one of the most attractive RPGs found on Nintendo’s hybrid console.
This new adventure takes us to the land of Aionos, in the midst of a conflict between the nations of Keves and Agnus, which are mired in an endless war, marked by the struggle to expand their lifespan. In the same way, the plot tells us how the life time of the soldiers is limited to 10 years of life, not knowing what old age is, something that becomes one of the central axes of the development of the game. It is in this context that we take control of a group of Keves soldiers who for various reasons end up collaborating with a group of Agnus, and they begin a journey to end the true evil that afflicts their world, and discover the truth behind the war between the two kingdoms and their limited life.
The story, as has happened with this RPG saga, shines and is quite attractive, if you are patient, since its rhythm feels a little slower than other games of the genre, and after playing a few hours you will feel that you are still at the beginning -after 10 hours you finally feel that you are really starting the adventure-. This makes a lot of sense, if we take into account that this game is truly immense, beyond its extensive history, it has a huge world to explore, and a series of elements that will keep us away from the central story doing other activities.
Going back in history, as we are introduced to two groups of rival nations, the The game explores in a good way the relationships of these, the distrust, and the objections they have with each other, only to realize as the game progresses that they are more similar than they think. This is nicely portrayed when they meet other characters or visit certain places from one of the two kingdoms, who look askance at those from another nation. All this development is achieved in a good way, and little by little we can see how the group is feeling more united.
One aspect to note in this area is that the game does not focus solely on the two protagonists, Noah and Mio, since it also develops in a good way the relationships of the rest of the group.
But let’s go to the gameplay, It should be mentioned that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has a wide variety of aspects in its gameplay, to the level that several hours of play will pass and mechanics will continue to be added, to the point of having the screen full of indicators, attacks and different options, something that at first glance may seem somewhat overwhelming, but that is well explained and with the certain time.
Let’s start with the basics, the game takes its roots in what is already known from the franchise, with the automatic auto-attack while we have the enemy unit in range, to this we must add that in each of the buttons we will have a special ability with a certain recharge circle, which can be shortened in different ways, and a special ability. These skills have a positional aspect, so we will be constantly rotating through the combat area in order to get the most out of it. To this, it is added that each of these Arts, as these skills are called, present different aspects such as knockdowns or ruptures, being able to interrupt, knock down or lift enemies into the air.
As we progress we gain new abilities, and when we can change the classes of our characters, it is that we can begin to create different combinations. It is worth mentioning that each character can use any class, and together with that of the main characters we obtain that of other characters, in a system called Heroes. This is how the number of available classes and variations is enormous, being able to generate different combinations, and being able to adapt the gameplay of the group to your liking.
Another aspect of combat, and one of the great novelties presented in this title, is the Ourobors system, which makes two characters take the form of a powerful creature under certain conditions. Given the power of these creatures, it is that they can cause a real twist in combat, and turn the battle. If we add to this that they have different skills, and a skill tree that we can improve, they become a fundamental part of the gameplay, especially when facing bosses.
Along with the above we have the Chain-Atack (chain attack), a system that presents some changes in relation to its predecessors, and where we can use the entire team in a series of attacks, being able to inflict very high amounts of damage. This system makes us go from a more action-focused combat, to one similar to a turn-based combat.
It should be mentioned that each of these mechanics has its own specifics and a depth to the level that you will spend several hours trying to discover the best way to proceed with each one. To all this are added the effects that are activated by the field, such as more attack or life regeneration, and the actions of the rival, in combat that at first glance may seem overwhelming, however, the game, as we already mentioned, takes its time, and little by little the mechanics are introduced, with which we can get to know the basics of each one, and then perfect the different aspects, without becoming overwhelmed by the amount of information that appears on the screen.
If there is something to be highlighted the gameplay of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, is that it gives players enormous freedom, since with the large number of options available, each combat is attractive, due to the different paths and strategies that can be chosen to win.
In relation to the graphics, the game has an anime aesthetic, with characters and settings with cel-shading. On this occasion, it should be noted that despite the limitations presented by the Nintendo Switch, Monolith has been able to squeeze the most out of the hardware, and have created an immense world, with great visual appeal. The graphics aren’t the best, but the setting and character design is top notch, with a world that feels alive and invites exploration.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is one of the biggest RPGs to come to the Nintendo Switch, and it is a complete game in all its aspects. With an engaging storyline, a huge world to explore, and gameplay so deep and multi-faceted, but crafted in such a way that it’s enjoyable every time. Perhaps the only problem with the game has more to do with the capabilities of the Switch than the game itself, since in battles against many enemies the frames per second sometimes drop. Despite this, the game makes the most of the console’s capabilities.