Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Review
The epic saga returns and is bigger than ever with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 on the Nintendo Switch, my full review.
There's something to be said for a game that can make you feel like you're living a grandiose adventure, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 does this in spades. The compelling characters, stunning amount of lore and unique otherworldly eco-system pulls you into the Xenoblade universe. The game is absolutely massive, both in terms of scope and scale. There are so many things to do and see, and the world is just begging to be explored. The story is also very engaging, and while it might not be the most original tale ever told, it's certainly one of the more enjoyable ones I've experienced in recent memory. Let's dive into all Aionios has to offer and explore if this adventure is one worth taking.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, Nintendo OLED, and Nintendo Switch Lite
Developer(s): Monolith Soft
Genre: Action role-playing
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
An epic journey
Before delving into the story it's worth mentioning, especially if you are new to the series, that the game is absolutely massive. In both scope and scale it is truly something to behold and you can easily get lost in it for hours and barely scratch the surface. In order to complete the main storyline and a few side quests, you're looking at over 60 hours of playtime.
"In both scope and scale it is truly something to behold and you can easily get lost in it for hours and barely scratch the surface."
If you are looking to complete all the side quests and extra content, it could easily add another 85+ hours on top of that. With that being said, the story in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is very engaging and well worth your time.
A complex, but ultimately satisfying story
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes place in the world of Aionios which is as beautiful as it is deadly. The planet is inhabited by two groups: the mechanical Keves and the ether-oriented nation of Agnus, they are locked in a perpetual war over resources. The game is split into 7 different chapters, that follow the journey of six characters, including two protagonists: Noah, his along with his childhood friends Lanz and Eunie. A central protagonist Mio, and her fellow servicemen Taion and Sena. Not to spoil too many plot points but each group is thrust together by fate as they attempt to find a way for their two warring nations to finally live in peace. Along the way, you'll visit some amazing locales, meet fascinating characters and uncover some shocking secrets about Aionios.
"Along the way, you'll visit some amazing locales, meet fascinating characters and uncover some shocking secrets about Aionios."
It's one of the most ambitious JRPGs out there, and it absolutely delivers on so many levels. The story is engaging, the world is gorgeous and there's just so much content to enjoy. The story is complicated and takes dozens of hours to complete but it is engaging, well written and full of surprises. The game does an excellent job of world building, and it's clear that a lot of thought and care went into making the Xenoblade 3's universe. If you're looking for an JRPG with an excellent story, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is definitely worth checking out it will keep you hooked from start to finish.
"The story is engaging, the world is gorgeous and there's just so much content to enjoy."
Satisfying gameplay and combat system
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a action role-playing game that has you controlling a party of characters as they explore and fight enemies. The combat is quite satisfying, with a lot of depth and variety, especially as your party grows. What helps keep it fresh is the 6 characters, plus an NPC that you can swap in and out of your group. In total, there are a whopping 23 classes, each with their own unique play style that can be combined with others in your party. It's a lot of fun to experiment with different party compositions and find what works best for you. It's a deep and complex system that adds a lot of strategic depth to the combat.
"In total, there are a whopping 23 classes, each with their own unique play style that can be combined with others in your party."
A new mechanic also allows you to "borrow" combat traits from allies allowing you to re-tool characters. Each member of your party has their own unique abilities and skills, and you'll need to make use of all of them in order to defeat the tougher enemies. Overall, the gameplay is very solid, incredibly deep and I found it kept me entertained for dozens of hours.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3's Graphics and Performance
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is one of the best-looking games on the Nintendo Switch, but it pushes the console to it's limit. I played the game on my Switch OLED often moving between docked and handheld mode and there were some visual compromises made in order to keep the game running smoothly. Overall, the game's textures are low-res and there is some noticeable aliasing. However, the art style is so beautiful and the world is so large that these technical shortcomings are easy to forgive, and I quickly got lost in the experience.
In terms of exploration, the game is absolutely massive. There are dozens of hours of content here, and you'll often find yourself getting lost in side quests and exploring every nook and cranny. The world is just so well designed and you are rewarded for your exploration with items or new party members. It's one of the most satisfying and rewarding exploration experiences I've had in a game.
"It's one of the most satisfying and rewarding exploration experiences I've had in a game."
The character models are also very well done, and their animations are fluid and smooth. The frame rate is mostly stable, but it does dip occasionally when there's a lot of action on screen. It's not a deal breaker, but it is worth mentioning overall the game runs at a consistent 30fps. It's a gorgeous game with a massive world to explore, and while it does have some technical flaws, they are easy to overlook.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Audio and Sound Design
The audio and sound design in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is top-notch. The music is absolutely fantastic, and it really helps to set the tone and atmosphere of the game. The compositions by Yasunori Mitsuda, Manami Kiyota, Kenji Hiramatsu, and Mariam Abounnasr are detailed and massive in scope. The scores really match the on-screen action, and they are some of the best in the series. The sound effects are also well done, and they help to bring the world to life.
"The scores really match the on-screen action, and they are some of the best in the series."
The English voice acting is also well done, but at times the script gets in the way and can sound awkward in some segments. Thanks to strong acting performances it helps to push past some of these spots and deliver an emotional and powerful story.
Final Thoughts on Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is an excellent JRPG that features a deep and strategic combat system, a massive world to explore, and beautiful graphics. While it does have some technical flaws, they are easy to overlook in the face of such an ambitious game. If you're looking for a new adventure to get lost in, Xenoblade 3 is definitely worth checking out.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Game PROS
+Open world is stunning
+The art design is beautiful from start to finish
+Deep, rewarding combat system
+Excellent musical score
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Game CONS
-Graphics are limited by the Switch hardware
-Boss fights can feel repetitive
-Some side quests can feel like "filler"
Overall Rating: 32.5/40 (81%)
A copy of the game was provided by Nintendo for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!
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