The long-awaited JRPG Xenoblade 3 is finally out. I’m able to get my hands on playing it. I’m 20+ hours in and I like everything I see so far. This is my first impression of the game.
Screenshots in this post were captured from Xenoblade 3 異度神劍 3 on Nintendo Switch.
Post updated on Tue, 8 Aug.
The story is about six soldiers from two different nations and they’re rivals at first. Noah, Eunie and Lanz are from Keves while Mio, Sena and Taion are from Angus. They’ve been told to fight against their enemies to death and live a life span of ten years. Their fate was sealed even before they were born. People from two nations are trapped in the loop of an endless war. Our main characters Noah and Mio are Off-seers whose duty is to perform rituals on battlefields—send peace to the spirits of the fallen.
After the encounter, they later find out there’s some dark secret behind the war between nations that lasted for ages. They started questioning the purpose of life and decided to journey together to find out the truth. The overall tone of the game is a bit serious. But there’re still fun moments. I think it works a bit better than before.
Exploring the World
Exploration plays an important part in this massive game. I think the world itself is one of the most precious assets in the franchise. The vast open world not only looks stunning. It’s cleverly designed with landscapes and terrain. It feels so seamless to wander around from a desert to a grassland area. You can travel anywhere on the map very early on and there’s no apparent invisible wall blocking the road. Some places require special skills to get to and will be open up once the player progresses the story. But of course, there are enemies maybe 30 levels higher than you but you can still challenge them if you wish. They planted plenty of things for you to do aside from combat as well.
The map is five times bigger than in the second game. We’re talking about at least 100 hours of playthrough. I also want to mention that the wayfinding feature is a nice add-on. I bet you’ll know what I mean if you play the previous games.
The character’s design went back close to the first game. More realistic and serious looking as compared to Xenoblade 2. And I like that. They are still Anime characters but they’re more grounded without the cringey and somewhat poor taste towards females in the second game.
The female protagonist Mio looks a lot like Nia in Xenoblade 2.
Even her weapons are the same as well.
<nerd-mode>Who doesn’t like short-haired Anime girls with cat ears?
I’m pretty sure the designer Masatsugu Saito likes that too.
The combat can now have six playable characters. The visual presentation is very busy and has many effects going on and sometimes you can’t tell who is fighting who. That’s very chaotic even if you’re not a newcomer to the franchise. Despite that, it’s still very addictive. Unlike Xenoblade 2, this time the auto attack doesn’t have a three-part combo for Art Canceling, instead, they introduce Fusion Arts which combines two different Arts effects into one skill. Other than that, it has so much more to offer. I try not to spoil it for you but let you experience it yourself.
The resolution will be affected dramatically once entered combat mode and the graphic turn into a blurry mess. I played in dock mode on a TV and honestly didn’t mind it at all. We play Switch for gameplay and RPGs, not graphics. But the framerate somehow managed to be stable at 30fps for most of the time.
They introduce Class System that is very similar to Bravely Default II which also reminds me of Final Fantasy XII. You can switch between classes which can be classified into three types: Attacker, Defender and Healer. There’re side missions to recruit Heroes to the team, and players can acquire their classes once complete their side quests. Overall, very fun gameplay.
Outfits and Game UI
I can tell you the developers did put in a lot of effort to improve the game. They added tons of long cutscenes with nice looking fighting sequences. The game’s UI, menu and button layout in combat feels so much better. It looks “modern and clean” but I think I’m in doubt of the Combat UI relying too much on glowing edges and transparency.
The outfits of each class will be different and I think that’s kind of fun which it allows players to pick their favourite to wear specifically once maxed out the class rank. I kind of miss the 2D character art though because they made everything in 3D.
What I love the most is the music. They’re so good. I read the developer’s interview and learnt that they made two different flutes specifically for creating the theme music. The pair of flutes are real musical instruments for recording that you can hear in the game. It’s beautifully done! You can listen to A Life Sent On here.
I am still super hype for this game. I write this down to express my excitement. It has been a long time since I feel so invested in a video game. I want to immerse myself in the game world. Monolith Soft distilled their experience from prior titles and packed them into this masterpiece. This is truly the dream JPRG everyone is waiting for.
If you’re into RPGs, I hope the Anime style won’t stop you from playing it. It’s so much more than how it looks.
This is #Day42 of #100DaysToOffload.
- For your info, in the Japanese and Traditional Chinese versions of the game they simply called Xenoblade without “Chronicles”. ↩︎
- I first played Xenoblade 2: Torna–The Golden Country, the stand-alone expansion in 2018. Because it was so good that I immediately bought the Xenoblade 2 without a second thought. I don’t have a Wii U so I haven’t got the chance to play the original. I did buy the definitive edition on Switch but only played it for 20 hours. ↩︎
- Xenoblade 3（ゼノブレイド3）：仲間と連携して戦う via Nintendo ↩︎
- Ask the Developer Vol. 6, Xenoblade Chronicles 3–Part 2 via Nintendo ↩︎