LifeisXbox’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3 review | As a long-running fan of the series, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was absolutely something I had to check out and make time for. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the third installment in the mainline series. What is great about this particular Xenoblade entry is that the story is not tied to any of the previous games, meaning you can go into this one blind if you have never played a previous title and still have a great time. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes place in a world called Aionios with a war raging between two rival factions. As Noah, you must take your squad and wipe out the enemy forces, but not all is as simple as it first appears to be. Developed by Monolith Soft, and Published by Nintendo, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will have you gasping for more after only a few minutes of playing.
Most Memorable Moment
The most memorable moment for me was seeing the members of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 come together quite literally, to form a new super weapon called Oroboros. Each of the opposing characters transforms via the power of two to create a stronger ally that can help you defeat some of the bigger and harder enemies. Visually impressive transitions when activating this art makes this a must-see.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- The Story | With the most deeply emotional story out of all of the Xenoblade games, you can guarantee that even if you are a newcomer to the series, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will tug at your heartstrings. The game’s story has many anti-war anecdotes, including the use of child soldiers and how to treat prisoners. The narrative touches on ideas of forgiveness and regret, as it explores how certain characters could have turned out if they had chosen different paths. The game delves into these themes in both its main narrative and its side quests, allowing the player to better understand and bond with the game’s characters. A lot of the story is told through in-game cutscenes which are incredibly well choreographed and really add to the AAA budget anime style. There are so many instances where I didn’t want these to end as they were so engaging.
- The Graphics | Whilst the Nintendo Switch may not be the most powerful console on the market, the team at Monolith Soft have done a great job and getting what they can out of this little machine. This huge world is filled to the brim with monsters, creatures, cities, and NPCs to interact with. Not only this, there is hardly any loading between locations. Most of the stuff is culled at certain distances to save on performance, but it’s there. Always running, always ready in the background. It’s an incredible feat of engine work that allows for the game to really push the Switch to its limit and still look great.
- The Music and Audio | The soundtrack to Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are nothing short of incredible. The epic music that accompanies each cutscene really helps drive the message home. Sad scenes require sad and subtle music. Action scenes have upbeat and demanding music with epic fanfare. The general audio is also really well made. The dialogue that is delivered is some of the best in the series with each character feeling accurate for the role. Noah is a calm, level-headed guy who speaks up when necessary but hides his true feelings, and for him, the lines are delivered perfectly in a quiet yet confident tone. The enemy sound effects work well, with each creature feeling like its natural tone and noise when attacking and dying.
- The Combat system Refined | The combat system in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has been refined in some ways allowing for more UI-based options and input. The auto attack feature is still there but you can now do fusion attacks where you take your base class and pair it with another class and perform an attack based on those together. This can be accessed by holding the ZR button and pressing up on the D-pad. The ZL button and up also performs team actions, allowing you to control what your team does as a group instead of selecting them individually. Pressing up again with ZL held will have all members focus on attacks reducing the healing, buffs, and random AI choices. There is a lot here to go into so I will keep it short, but the biggest change is using the power of two, where you and your partner fuse together to create an Ouroboros which gives you access to stronger attacks for a limited time before needing to cool down. Each of the characters can do this as you later find out in the game, so you can really deal some damage to the bosses and world enemies.
- Chain Attacks | Although these were present in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the chain attack system in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 gets more exciting since the heroes get involved. Once you’ve chosen your chain order, you need to choose different arts to build up the chain attack gauge with tactical points (TP). The more tactical points you build up, the more attacks you can chain together. Acquire less than the 100% TP you need to chain an attack together and the chain finishes and the damage you dealt is done. However, these can be built upon by a rather large amount. The more TP you can put into the gauge the better chance you have of an Ouroboros order at the end as mentioned above.
- A lot of backtracking | With such a large game, and with such a large amount of side quests, there was inevitable that there would be some backtracking. Not that this will be an issue for some, but there are a few side quests that become mandatory meaning you can’t avoid them all. Even with the quick travel ability in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, it only takes you so far and a lot of the time, you are left to wander the world searching in a rough area for the completion event. There was one side quest where I was running around for an hour in a small yellow zone looking for this person only to realise they were hiding up on a cliff behind a rock. This ties into the point below with the confusing UI, because whether you are fighting or simply running around, the UI can get very cumbersome.
- A confusing UI | The UI in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 can get very messy at times. During combat, you have the usual UI HUD that acts as your player’s health, status, abilities, and so on. On top of this, you have the enemy’s health, your health that gets negated every time you land a hit. To add further UI elements to it, when certain special abilities are available the UI will bombard you with big flashing letters to let you know you can perform one of them. This can easily get in the way of where your character is and what enemy to focus on since there is so much happening on screen at once.
- The dialogue after battles | Don’t be confused about the dialogue during cutscenes and the dialogue after the battles. Every time you win a fight, one of the characters will deliver a line to let you know how easy the fight was. The issue here is, is that each character has about 3 different lines and you do a lot of fighting. Within the first hour of the game, I must have heard these lines at least 100 times. It is insanely repetitive and can be very annoying. I would have loved a feature to turn this off.
What we Disliked
- The frame rate | The frame rate in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 can get quite bad. Especially in larger, more open areas with more enemies around. Adding more characters to your roster, and the effects that fire when you attack all add to a reduced frame rate. Whilst the team at Monolith Soft has done a good job at implementing various LODS (levels of detail) it can sometimes get below 20 frames per second when playing and it really impacts your playthrough. Implementing a locked frame rate here & reducing enemy counts, along with variable resolutions would have ensured a constant 30 fps, resulting in a more playable experience.
- Too many systems | This one ties into the UI to some degree. We already talked about how the UI can be quite overbearing, but in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I never felt that they let go of my hand during the entire campaign. There was always some tutorial I had to go through for something. Often more than not I had to constantly refer back to the menu where they have a full catalog of tutorials that you can access at any given time. This is good, but it shouldn’t really be necessary in my opinion. Having to ensure that tutorials are available to re-read after going through an extensive amount of them in the first place just goes to show that there are too many systems in place. You can feel very lost navigating them, and if you dare leave the game for too long, I will bet that you will forget how to do half of the things that are available to you.
How long to beat the story | 60 hours (+40 hours for side quests)
How long to unlock all achievements? | There are no achievements in Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Please consider supporting us!
Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.