In 2010, some traveled across the vast plain with their wiimote before going up to pilot skells with their mablette in 2015. Then we lived a very naive love story in 2017 followed by a high quality standalone one in 2018 with joycons . Then, we returned in 2020 to the titanic plains traveled in 2010 but this time in high definition and always with our joy-cons . The common point of all these unforgettable and high quality adventures is the studio at the controls: Monolith Soft . Besides, many of you are certainly waiting for Xenoblade Chronicles 3and its new “story linking the past and the future”, we had the chance to live a few hours of this story to tell you about it here.
The new story projects us onto the world of Aionios , an immense land of conflict between the nations of Keves and Agnus . A conflict in which each faction mutually steals the life energy of its inhabitants. In this war, the nation of Keves relies on their advanced technology and machinery while Agnus uses his etherbending and magical technology. The inhabitants of this world know only the fight from their birth until the end of their life expectancy fixed… at ten years.
The first chapter of the game explains this background to us by placing us mainly from the point of view of several soldiers of Keves, three of whom are the protagonists of the game: Noah, Yunie and Lanz. Other Keves soldiers have a key role in this introduction, some being childhood friends of our three heroes, others their elders in the trade. The chapter starts us off with our heroes on the battlefield facing troops of Agnus. A beginning that mixes psychology, presentation of the protagonists and flashback .
An effective recipe for representing the experiences of the different characters and better understanding their motivations in this conflict. It also allows these heroes to be much more endearing from the start than previous Xenoblade Chronicles heroes were able to be . We can all the more sympathize with their short life destined to end after ten years (if not much less by falling on the battlefield). No inconsistency at this level on their appearance since the birth of each person does not look so natural compared to what we know in real life…
Although in the reality of our heroes, their birth and their duty to fight is the most natural thing within the scenario. Among the soldiers of each faction also fight people called “soul ferry”. Noah is one of these “soul carriers”. In addition to fighting, he also has the mission of using his flute in order to guide the souls of the deceased who have fallen in battle. While our mission at the start of the game unfolds with a great victory for our heroes, we quickly move on to a new mission to intercept an unidentified object. The briefing also mentions that the object seems to attract the curiosity of Agnus’ army as well.
We then discover Guernica Vandham, his men and automatons fighting the two armies to defend the object that we had to intercept. We also arrive in front of this one at the same time as three members of the army of Agnus: Mio, Sena and Taion. The opposition between Keves and Agnus is so strong that the six individuals who have just been assembled kill each other, completely forgetting the purpose of their mission. As Vandham separates the factions to give them a big reveal about their world, a ray pierces our man right in the stomach.
Our man still manages to take advantage of the many unforeseen events and ensure that the six individuals fight a powerful hideous Titan who has come to recover the object. After a series of mysterious scenes and on which our motivation to continue is at the maximum, we can only conclude that this beginning of the game is very catchy and we are impatient to see more to give an opinion on the story of this new Xenoblade . Note that this is only a feeling but the writing seems much better from the outset than the previous opuses and that the lifespan seems just as substantial. To see what it really is.
On what we experienced from the game, the progression was close to other classic Xenoblades . We say classic to speak to those who were thinking of Xenoblade X. In other words, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 chained cinematics with then phases where we led our heroes through vast sets. However, as vast as they are, we did not have the possibility of going where we wanted. We were always limited by the story which invited us to follow a specific route.
However, in the stretches we covered, although limited, the sets were large enough not to feel cramped. In addition, the inspiration of the developers always motivated us to want to go left and right to explore everything to the fullest. Collecting fruits, vegetables, insects, materials among other elements allows you to complete the encyclopedic maps of the different NPCs in the game in order to obtain bonuses. This element thus replaces the large encyclopedias to be filled in Xenoblades.
Some of these items can be found in containers scattered around the world map. These containers are often located in very unusual places that always invite you to take a look around and thus reward your exploration. There are also supply crates sent by Keves or Agnus around the map that can provide you with some nice things. These crates but also some containers can be guarded by stronger than average monsters. Thus, the exploration is rewarded but the combat also can be more fruitful than you would have imagined.
Moreover, speaking of combat, our short crossing forced us to face enemies to defeat. As in previous games we can engage in combat by seeing an enemy or vice versa. The beginning of the game mainly offered us clashes with four units in our group against the enemy group that could bring together as many units or even more than us. Not to mention the creatures that roam the world and are happy to join the party on their own. We only control one unit while the AI takes care of handling the other members of your group.
Each character attacks automatically and our role as players is to position our unit and trigger arts. Those who have already played a Xenoblade know this, but positioning is important. Some new arts effects or boost effects are added to your arts if you use them behind the enemy or on their flank among other possibilities. Once used, an art must be recharged to be used. Depending on your units, the arts recharge over time or by the number of auto-attacks. A subtle mix of the system of Xenoblade Definitive Edition and Xenoblade 2. The system will quickly speak to connoisseurs of the first two games and is gradually enriched with many elements that we have barely touched on at the time of writing.
It’s certainly the richest system in the series since Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U and we need a lot more in hand to present it to you. Combat with more than four characters, character classes, gem crafting or arts mastery are on the agenda, among many other things. Let’s just end here for now by mentioning that the game seems to feature a nice visual evolution since Xenoblade 2 . Technically, we still have to check but on what we were able to browse the portable mode loses in resolution but seems technically more solid than the TV mode. To dig here our final verdict. There remains the soundtrack which always looks sublime and the presence of dual audio (Japanese or English dubbing) available immediately in the game options.
The hype has certainly rarely been higher for JRPG enthusiasts playing on Nintendo Switch. And this palpable excitement is understandable. We are lucky to have been able to travel through part of the world of Aionios before you to draw up this small overview which nevertheless seems far from the overall experience that Monolith Soft will offer us. While it is difficult for us to condense for you today into a brief overview all the elements and qualities already glimpsed in our sessions of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, we can very well imagine the difficulty you have in reading its lines in counting the days left before the game’s release. Let’s end this first report on the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is perhaps the JRPG surprise of this year on Switch or even of the genre itself on all platforms.