Review

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Another Chance To Experience JRPG Greatness
by Kimberley Wallace on Mar 25, 2015 at 06:26 AM
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Monolith Soft
Release:
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: 3DS

Xenoblade Chronicles reminds me of why I fell in love with RPGs in the first place. From the thrill of stepping into a vast land with endless possibilities to the surge of a hard-fought battle against larger-than-life creatures, Xenoblade holds plenty of excitement. Even now, three years after the original release on Wii, the journey is as fun as I remember. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is your chance to find out what you missed, or remind yourself why you hold the game in high regard.

If you are a returning player, that desire to experience the adventure again has to be your primary motivation for delving into this version; don't expect to see an array of new features or additional content here. This is a great game, but it remains largely unchanged. The jump to handheld works well, and the controls feel like a natural fit. The only enhancements are minor, like StreetPass and Amiibo support, helping you earn tokens faster to unlock extra music and 3D models. The lack of ambition in the rerelease might be disappointing for some fans, but it doesn't change the fantastic game at the core.

Xenoblade is an imaginative fusion of RPG traditions and new ideas. From the combat to the setting, you encounter a mix of the familiar and surprising at every turn. You're journeying across colonies that rest upon the backs of warring giants. Grasslands, flowing rivers, and waterfalls surround you, and I had fun exploring the map. The world has its own story to uncover, and finding out the history of the warring giants and even the mysterious Monado is exciting.

The cast isn't particularly memorable - Shulk is a typical "boy with a destiny" - but their interactions can be compelling. I love how harmonious everything feels between your party members; tracking down special places to have heart-to-heart chats levels up your relationship, and encouraging party members or reviving them on the battlefield raises your friendship. This builds a sense of connection among your party, and also earns you extra skills and permanent buffs that pay off in combat.

Xenoblade has one of the best battle systems in recent years. It's a cross between action and tactical combat, something more akin to an MMORPG. You have characters that fit the tank, helper, and DPS roles, and victory comes through allies performing their tasks well. You control one person in a party of three; your character automatically attacks while you manage special abilities on cooldowns. Not having to constantly tap a button is a nice change of pace, and keeps you focused on more strategic matters. Positioning is important - land a special attack from behind and reap the damage rewards. This is all wrapped up in a fun upgrade system that allows you to pick which skills you want to pack the biggest punch.

One of my favorite parts of Xenoblade is how it uses a plot device to enhance its gameplay. Shulk has the ability to see the future, which plays into battle. Before an enemy is going to deliver a deadly hit, Shulk is able to see that fatal moment, allowing him to prepare for it by warning his teammates and putting up shields. This mechanic adds tension and urgency; I loved knowing when a big attack was coming and rushing to thwart it.

Xenoblade Chronicles remains a must-play RPG. While this version doesn't do anything special to entice old fans to return, it still holds the same fun it did the first time around. Don't let it pass you by again if it did previously; this world captivates and takes hold of you like a great game should. 

Only On The New 3DS

If you want to play Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, you must own the New 3DS. Unfortunately, any previous version won't be able to run it. Make sure you own the latest hardware before you purchase this exclusive for the New 3DS.  

9
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Game Informer's Review System
Concept Search high and low for answers behind the Monado sword and put a stop to vicious Mechon invading the lands
Graphics The graphics weren’t all that impressive on the Wii, and that hasn’t changed. However, being in such a vibrant and imaginative world is exciting
Sound This is one of the most memorable RPG soundtracks of recent years. Every track paints the world wonderfully and battle music keeps you inspired
Playability Despite a lot of early tutorials, eventually everything clicks and you’re in the groove
Entertainment Xenoblade innovates, while also remembering the things people adore about the genre
Replay Moderate