Oh wow, is an odd way to start a review, but this is how I felt when I heard Nintendo was bringing Xenoblade Chronicles to the Nintendo Switch in a Definitive version, I was actually bouncing off the walls. My excitement was building on launch week, and I could not wait for my copy to arrive on the 29th of May 2020
It was around midday when it arrived, but I could not play the game until the Sunday, as Friday and Saturday I deliver food and supplies to families and individuals isolating from CORVID-19. However, I made a slight excuse to take my switch lite with me and during my breaks, you know what I did, I sat in the car and played the game.
You might be thinking this review is a little early, no way has the writer completed this game on the Switch, and you would be right, there is no chance. However, what you are forgetting is the game was also released on the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS, which I can promise you, I did complete the game on the 3DS. However, as of the 05.05.2020 I have delved into around 40hours of the game and found little to no issues, so its all good so far. The only difference between this version and the 3DS and Wii versions are graphics, sound, animation and the additional story content called ‘Future Connected‘, which is HIGHLY recommended you play after you finished for game.
Future Connected is set one year in the future, peace has been restored, races are working together to rebuild. Story starts as Shulk and Melia sets off to find her home, the city of Alcamost. On their way there onboard the Machina Junk, they are fired upon through the clouds, and land on the Bionis Shoulder. The Bionis Shoulder is a strange place as somehow, bits of land can flout in the air, but not only that there is a new enemy known as the Fogbeasts and Nopon rangers called the Ponspectors which can help you unlock new moves.
The Bionis Shoulder is also the place you meet two new members of your team Nopon Riki and Oka, very power Nopon. You will need your new members as Shulk no longer has the power to see into the future after the battle against Zanza, the final boss in the original game while wielding the Replica Monada.
The Future Connected does not add much to the final game, but it is nice to have some new content to experience, only issue would be drops in FPS which is viewable more when docked and playing on the Big Screen.
So from now on this review will be based on the core game which for me is one of the finest JRPG’s I have every had the pleasure of playing. So why have I gone out of my way to get another copy of the game which I have completed in the past. Well, for me it is about memories, the experience, not only that Monolith Soft has updated the games visuals, audio, gameplay and of course the added addition of the epilogue ‘Future Connected’.
Just look at the changes from the images below, this is no joke Definitive Edition like we have seen from the other game developers.
So as you can see they have improved the character models and environments, this is an amazing update for fans of this game.
But Monolith Soft did not stop there they also upgraded the soundtracks, offering up the original or the new arranged for the majority of battles and areas you walk around. There has also been some improvements to battling, one that stands out to me is the exclamation mark that appear next to an art, if you are in the correct position to pull off that move to its maximum effect. This exclamation mark makes choosing the correct art, much easier than in previous iterations of the game.
There was also something that popped up when I died, casual mode, this was new. Casual mode simply reduces the difficulty without diminishing your experience of the game, you even get the same loot, even though this is random. So basically it is a way to experience Xenoblade Chronicles story without having too much trouble on your way.
There is also EXPERT MODE, which I skipped after I found out what it offered. You simply get to control how much XP each member of your team receives, I guess this is a good way, if you want to level up a member, for a new art or something else. In all honesty I do not see many people using it, as Xenoblade Chronicles is played for the story, my opinion of course, some might like the added pressure.
There was also one thing I did not like about the original iterations, losing the gear I liked the look of or having gear that did not match up. This all changes with the introduction of appearance which allows you to choose from gear you have picked up in the past, even the very first gear you saw Shulk wearing. You simply choose the gear you want to wear with the best stats for you, then choose the appearance you want your character to be seen wearing.
The story is amazing, and for me the adventure starts when someone dies at the start of the game, revenge is what fuels me, as well as a gripping story.
The story takes place not on a planet like us, but on the Bionis and the Mechonis, two giant titans locked in a timeless battle with a day and night cycle. By having a day and night cycle, the game can in act special events, spawn different enemies, apply quests and spawn bosses during certain times only, making your gaming experience more flushed out, more real in a sense.
The first Colony (Colony 9) I spent hours and hours just completing all the quests during the day, then during the night, when I first thought I was done, more quests would pop up, it was almost never ending, but it seems to be linked also to story progression. A lot of the quests were easy to complete as you get a blue trail to follow on the mini map that guides you to your destination, either a boss, a selection of enemies or a collectable. But this is not always available, as I said before, we have a day and night cycle, so sometimes the blue trail is only available during curtain times of the day. Yet, sometimes the trail is simply not there, and you will need to explore to find what you are looking for.
You do not have to worry much about the day and night cycle, like waiting around, as you can turn the time forwards and backwards as and when you wish through the menu system.
As this world is so huge, you really do not want to walk everywhere right? You want a way to quickly get back to a quest giver, or an area, well you can with fast travel. However, I tend to walk everywhere, I like the experience and I like to keep things as real as possible, not like I was in Star Trek with a transporter.
So what about combat?
Well combat is not turned based, as you see many JRPG’s, its what I call time based. Every Art (Skill) has a timer, which stops you from spamming that Art, and you have a standard attack which auto starts once you initiate combat with an enemy. You choose an Art by using the D-Pad, then action the Art by clicking the A button. On top of Arts, you have chain attacks that allows each party member to pull off an Art in succession, chain attacks, if actioned correctly can turn the tide of a battle against a boss, or a powerful enemy.
We then have Visions, this is a gameplay mechanic, which allows Shulk to predict the future, this is a skill that is activated when an enemy is going to incapacitate or do high damage to a member of your party, this will allow you to choose a skill to stop this from happening.
To improve your damage you of course level up to a maximum of level 99, you can upgrade your Arts and improve your Skills all through the in-game menu by pressing the X Button. Skills you improve are things like Humanity (ether improvement), Integrity (Block Rate) and Intuition (Agility). Of course all the Arts with all the characters can be upgraded, but always be mindful of your choices.
Fun times here, there is an option called Collectopaedia, Collect everything within an area then add them to the Collectopaedia, collect a row get a gift, this is for everyone to do, not just completionists. You then have 150 Record achievements to achieve and 50 trials to complete, you do not know how or what they are till you done that achievement or trial, there is so much to be done.
Moving on to the end
I do not want to add another spoiler and spoil the whole story and game for you as that would not be fair on you or me, I want you to read these next few words and wonder if this game is for you.
Do you want an adventure in a HUGE world, with so much to do and so much to see, you will never want it to stop? Characters that you will remember for all time, a story that brings you in and wants you to stay? A world brimming with life, colour, wonder, a world that you need to save? The world is massive with an almost endless adventure to be had, so much to see and explore, so many things to collect, so many things to kill, this is truly and amazing game to own and play and beyond doubt still one of my favourite JRPG’s of all time.
One final note
One of the craziest things about Xenoblade Chronicles is the ludicrous amount of side quests reaching over ninety-five thousand, and putting them into the quest tracker would make that wonderful quest tracking screen unbelievably massive, seeing you scroll forever (Not really). This does not mean you should ignore them, just be aware that there are a load to get through, some have a good story behind them, some are plainly poop.
Some of you will most likely want to know FPS and Resolution, Monolith Soft has done an OK job with around 30fps and 720p docked, with drops here and there, but nothing game breaking.
That’s its, do you BUY this game? I would, well I have, question is are you, or have you already?
You can grab Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition here for £49.99
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Xenoblade Chronicles: The Definitive Edition
A sprawling RPG classic is reborn in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch. In the aftermath of a devastating invasion, embark on a journey that will take you beyond the horizon. Can you change the future, or is your race doomed to extinction?
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 49.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut