Monolith Soft has struggled to recreate and amplify the novelties of the primary Xenoblade Chronicles journey since its 2012 launch. The third chapter within the science-fantasy JRPG sequence suffers the identical irritating destiny as XC X and XC 2. Despite its first-rate fight and character development options, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a bloated trek throughout huge however lifeless environments additional diminished by an unaffecting narrative with one of many worst ensemble casts within the franchise.
XC 3 employs a real-time battle system the place “Arts,” superior expertise mapped to the controller’s face buttons, give fights a pure, simple cadence. By canceling auto-attacks into Arts whereas balancing cooldown timers, I made fast work of most early-game enemies. However, looking for stronger challengers defending uncommon treasures or just grazing off the overwhelmed path compelled me to rethink standard assault patterns and work together with each mechanic. From taking management of a healer and issuing a “group up” tactic so I might save my group with wide-reaching AoE Arts to toppling staggered enemies with combos, each determination I made felt helpful and rewarding.
Classes add extra pleasure to the loop. The six playable occasion members can be taught any class, encouraging me to experiment with mixtures. Even seventh “hero” characters, recruited from predominant and facet quests, provide rarer, hybrid courses to select from. Some of my fighters touted sturdy well being and defensive stats, making them shoo-ins for tank courses, whereas the dexterous had been higher fitted to DPS roles. Each class got here outfitted with its personal set of Arts/passive expertise and was a pleasure to play. I preferred drawing aggression with heavy guard taunts after which switching to a dual-sword attacker to pierce the preoccupied foe within the again. Healing the squad moments earlier than a devastating strike made mid- to late-game engagements invigorating.
My favourite fight options had been Interlinks and Chain Attacks. Both are activatable after filling gauges by performing class talents, with the previous permitting two occasion members to fuse right into a humanoid robotic referred to as Ouroboros. These gargantuan deities remove swaths of opponents in a single fell swoop and even the chances with mighty bosses. Chain Attacks are team-wide specials that dramatically sluggish the motion, permitting a sequence of character Arts to not solely dole out extreme injury but in addition allow bonuses like lowered aggression and excessive evasion. Interlinks and Chain Attacks had been energy journeys that at all times made me smile, even when my endurance with the plot and exploration wore skinny.
The Keves and Agnus nations are locked in perpetual battle, with either side struggling large losses. Soldiers are topic to morbid, bloody 10-year lifespans. So, when Noah, Eunie, and Lanz be a part of forces with Agnus operatives Mio, Taion, and Sena, the crew settles on new targets: finish the intercultural violence, defeat the “true” enemy, and discover a righteous motive to dwell. This premise is eerily much like final yr’s Tales of Arise. Where infectious, likable personalities remedied that sport’s occasional thematic blunders, XC 3’s protagonists are forgettable caricatures that lack the emotional complexity a narrative of this nature requires. Stiff cutscene animations coupled with mind-numbingly repetitive barks – “I’m the MVP!” or “That’s a rare doodad!” – do the six champions no favors.
This superficiality extends to the explorable backdrops, which lack the awe-inspiring factors of curiosity and vistas from earlier Xeno entries. These open-world zones are chockful of harmful creatures, from flying stingrays to ferocious, kaiju-sized apes and collectible gadgets which may be bought for a revenue or submitted to fetch quest NPCs. Beyond difficult monsters, amassing respawnable drops, and recruiting heroes at Keves or Agnus settlements, there’s not a lot to do or see. The generic locales – forests, deserts, mountains; you’ll be able to in all probability guess the remaining – had been barren areas I’d navigate for hours to reach on the subsequent underwhelming story checkpoint.
Thankfully, character development programs helped alleviate the monotony. XC 3 provided a powerful variety of methods to amplify the power of my occasion. At camps scattered all through every biome, I’d stage everybody up, craft gems that improve particular stats, and prepare dinner meals that have an effect on XP and CP (Class Point) positive aspects. There’s even an Interlink talent tree that allow me increase the fight prowess of my Ouroboros. Smaller-scale upgrades, like improved working pace or meal impact length, got here from finishing fetch quests, talking with NPCs, and liberating Keves or Agnus settlements – this normally amounted to working alongside a hero to beat a strong adversary. The customization depth made gameplay extra pleasing, however after dozens of hours doing the identical actions to bolster my fight effectivity, the sheen wore off.
My occasion of seven felt like a little bit military when explosive Arts and flashy Ouroboros combos lit up an already-chaotic battlefield. And the quality-of-life enhancements like customizable shortcut hotbars and in-game GPS streamlined menu-surfing and traversal. Still, the narrative and world designs left a lot to be desired as vital plot twists are frustratingly apparent, character development is just about nonexistent, and navigation in every uninspired setting proves to be a tiring train. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a double-edged sword that wants a bit extra sharpening.