‘Xenoblade Chronicles 3’ Preview: JRPG Meets Existential Crisis


Xenoblade Chronicles is a series that has never shied away from telling a grand and explosive story. From Shulk’s quest for revenge against the Mechon, to Rex’s journey to return the mysterious Blade, Pyra, to the legendary land of Elysium, and even the Wii U’s slightly forgotten tale of the human race struggling to survive. on an unknown planet after being Forced to flee Earth due to an alien war, Monolith Soft has always aimed big when it comes to the narratives of these big JRPGs.

If you are already a fan of the series, I’m sure it will absolutely not be a surprise to hear this Xenoblade Chronicles 3 looks like no exception. In fact, the game’s debut seems to set this highly anticipated trio to even greater heights than its predecessors – and that’s saying something.

Check out the trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 here.

The game absolutely packs no punches when it comes to throwing you straight into its war-torn dystopian world. Aionios is ravaged by a constant battle between the two nations of Keves and Agnus, who are not just fighting to survive, they are fighting to Direct. And yes, there is a difference, I promise.

Each of the nations’ colonies has what is called a flame clock – filled with the life force of those who live there. No life force equals no life, obviously, but the only way to keep the clock charged is to kill those of the opposing nation, and that’s exactly what every living person is dedicated to doing.

Just in case things couldn’t get worse, each person is born with a lifespan of just 10 years (or 10 terms, as they call it) – indicated by a red mark on their body that loses its color over time. year. Each person lives as a young soldier, rather than a baby, which is a whole other box of worms that, naturally, the start of the game doesn’t give you an answer to.

So a world of people who will only live 10 years at best, constantly trying to kill each other? It’s not a happy setup, so it’s a good job that our cast of characters are so likable. We are immediately introduced to Noah, Lanz and Eunie – three friends from Keves’ Colony 9 (no, not that one) who, like everyone else, stand against the enemy in hopes of seeing another day. Noah, who looks a bit like an off-brand Shulk, is an outcast – beyond his duties as a soldier, he’s also responsible for dispatching the dead with a wistful tune from his flute. He also has a signature bright red sword (no, not one of those) that longtime fans of the show should expect by now.

As the blind, Noah is responsible for sending the dead. / Credit: Nintendo.

As for Lanz and Eunie, both seem straight out of the world of XC1, with them being Machina and High Entia respectively. Lanz exudes a lot of beefy jock energy (which you can probably get from his design alone), while Eunie is very sarcastic and sassy (she definitely has the potential to become a huge fan favorite).

After that, it’s not long before we meet Mio, Sena, and Taion, all from Agnus. Sena is a small but mighty carefree girl with a hammer. Taion is a stern and serious tactician, who fights using a swarm of seemingly sentient “Mondo” (they look like little origami creations). Finally, Mio, like Noah, is an outcast and, at first glance, seems like easily the most interesting character of the lot. She’s a compassionate Gormotti girl (that’s Xenoblade for catgirl, for the uninitiated), who we quickly find out has just three months of her life left.

These two trios first meet as sworn enemies, but when a greater enemy arises, they end up having to band together to take him down, and in the process discover the power of Ouroboros (aka, fusion) when Noah and Mio accidentally ‘interlink’, taking on a huge and immensely strong combined form. From then on, they team up and embark on their quest to put an end to this threat and restore order to the world.

Mio is only three months old, as shown by the mark on her neck.  / Credit: Nintendo.
Mio is only three months old, as shown by the mark on her neck. / Credit: Nintendo.

The combat gameplay is admittedly slightly limited at the start of the game – it seems to take advice from the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 school of throwing new tutorials at you over the hours (with more that I’m sure are still to come, given the amount of mechanics I’ve seen in the ad campaign that I haven’t haven’t met yet). Even so, it’s great fun and draws inspiration from both XC1 and its continuation in its operation.

For those unfamiliar with the series, every Xenoblade game so far has used a real-time combat system, and 3 is no exception. Your party members will all automatically attack enemies within range, and you as the player can select a number of different moves (called Arts), which offer a variety of effects and levels of strength. For example, some deal more damage from behind, some heal your allies, and some can inflict status effects on enemies.

Between the first game and its sequel, Xenoblade Chronicles 3the gameplay is more like that of 2mainly due to its inclusion of the “cancel attack” mechanic (essentially timing an art at the same time as an auto-attack, for bonus effects), but it still stands out nicely.

It must be said that on first impressions alone, the regions and landscapes are breathtaking, as you would expect from the series. From the desolate warzone you first find yourself in to the plains of the Aetia region, Aionios is beautiful and begs to be explored. Honestly, my only complaint with the world so far is that the start of the game limits your journey somewhat, simply because of the events of the story. It’s not off-putting, but as a veteran of the series, I couldn’t help but feel slightly frustrated at constantly being faced with invisible walls as I wanted to see what was around the corner. street.

Aionios' environments are stunning and feature landmarks that series veterans will recognize.  / Credit: Nintendo.
Aionios’ environments are stunning and feature landmarks that series veterans will recognize. / Credit: Nintendo.

The soundtrack is also wonderful, and although so far I haven’t heard anything as memorable as “Mechanical Rhythm”, “You Will Know Our Names” and “Drifting Soul”, I am of course, there is plenty of time for the absolute bangers to arrive. Either way, the music is still beautiful and matches the atmosphere of the game perfectly.

So far, as a returning fan, I’m thrilled with Xenoblade Chronicles 3, but I can easily see how anyone, even someone who had no knowledge of the series, could be sucked into the world of Aionios. As I write these words, I’m just looking forward to getting back into the game, exploring more places and discovering more of its fantastic story – so if you don’t mind, I’m going to go ahead and do exactly that.


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