Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is massive. Just understand that when reading the review. Total review time for this now hand held title is over 120 hours, and I have still yet to do all the extra content. Xenoblade Chronicles is what I would imagine a Nintendo MMO would be like. But that also begs the question, was it a good 120 hours? You will have to read below to find out.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
Reviewed: New 3DS (Review Copy Received)
Developer: Monolith Soft, Monster Games
Released: April 10, 2015 (Nintendo 3DS)
MSRP: $39.99 (Nintendo New 3DS)
This game is beautiful; some of the best design in an open end games today and even after 120 hours there are always new and interesting details being presented to the player. It is rare we will ever mention hardware capabilities in a review, but in this case it must be mentioned that the graphics and design go a long way in making the sense of scope look so massive and gorgeous that some players will question their understanding of the 3DS hardware capabilities.
The only time you get snapped back to earth on expectations is when the game brings you to a cut sense, and gets close to the character models. This is not really an issue, but you can tell that the focus of design and graphics were directed toward the many hours exploring the world and quests, rather than the two or so hours of cut scenes.
Characters, equipment, monsters, and named npc all feel very robust visually, and convey a sense of style appropriate for their areas, and could be described as making the game lush, and fuller. The Collection Gallery actually holds a great deal of weight if you are interested in examining the designs of all of these things, in greater detail.
There is one glaring flaw that will haunt many players throughout their first play through, and that is the use of the New 3DS right “nub” to control the camera. It is extremely painful to use over a long period of time, and is so bad that it will make you questions the extremely poor design choice consistently. While this could break the deal with many gamers, it can be overlooked for many players.
Outside of the issue mentioned above, there is a whole lot of enjoyable game play to be had. Quests open up large pieces of information and lead you to new areas and lore. Collectables are fun and easy to get as you wonder around the world, and rarely cause any questing problems, unlike many other games with similar systems. Character customization is huge, from gear, passive skills, and “arts” which can also be affected by how well each party member likes each other, which is also a very interesting mechanic that interacts with elements of the story.
As I stated in the intro, get ready to spend a good 120 hours with this game. There is a possibility to rush through the game at a staggering 60-80, but I can’t see that being the case or active goal for the majority of gamers.
Music and Sound:
Monolith has some astoundingly talented composers making some of the most enjoyable music to grace the ears of RPG fans. It truly builds the feeling of adventure, and the good times and bad times that come with it. Mood is played out very well, and music accents the story perfectly.
The voice acting is somewhat campy and some characters battle dialog can be fun at first, and interesting to see how they interact with each other in battle, but can drag on, as you will hear the same thing, over and over. Outside of battle, the voice acting is all played with a sense of fun loving enjoyment, and of character constantly looking toward a better future, with a slight knowing that they are in an extremely grim situation. Most players will find themselves smiling at the banter in cut scenes.
Just wow, this has to be one of the most unique stories ever written. You literally live on the body of a giant, locked in battle with another giant. Not only that, but the story itself does something that rarely any game has ever done, and that is show the good with the bad in such a way that really adds weigh to every crisis, making you feel for ever character involved.
Most RPG games tend to be as shallow as an emo kids Jr Highschool journal, while Xenoblade Chronicles truly elevates itself beyond the rest. While the story is complicated, it will never lose you, giving you bits of information as you go along in an alarmingly well done pace. It is really a game you don’t want to rush, and should be embraced at your own pace.
This game is solid. Graphics, music, sound, story, and gameplay outside of the issue with the camera, are like clockwork gears all ticking to the same beat. Nothing was out of place, even when landscapes and people changes are like night and day. It has definitely set a new bar for not only hand held games, but all games, when it comes to being a complete and cohesive package that just works together.