Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is the latest exclusive in 2020 to hit the Nintendo Switch. For old fans, it’s the perfect excuse to jump back into a classic game. For the newly-initiated, they get to experience why Xenoblade Chronicles has a strong following nearly nine years after its debut.
Nintendo Brings Back A Classic
Back in 2011, I had no idea what Xenoblade Chronicles would offer. Through and through, I was a JRPG enthusiasts that was hitting up the classics and modern titles as much as I could. But I also understood the genre’s shortcomings, including their stubbornness to implement modern game mechanics.
Xenoblade Chronicles flipped the switch though, making the story and its game mechanics feel seamless. Wanted to save your game anywhere, anytime? You could do that. Do you want to ignore side quests? Go right ahead. The freedom to explore a giant, fully-realized world and play how I wanted was incredible. With Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, I was reminded of how much the game was ahead of its time.
The story’s premise is simple: A tragedy befalls upon our main protagonist Shulk in his quiet hometown of Colony 9. With a newfound resolve and the ability to wield the Monado, a sword that gives Shulk visions of the future, he sets out to get revenge against those same enemies. While JRPGs usually take six to ten hours setting up its plot and characters, Xenoblade goes full throttle in the first three hours.
The face-value of the story is humans vs. mechs, but it goes deeper than that. Xenoblade Chronicles tackles themes like inner-strength, revenge, legacy and fate. Even if the game shows its age at times, there’s more than enough here to keep me engaged.
Explore The Vast World Of Xenoblade Chronicles
As soon as Shulk and his longtime friend Reyn set off to get revenge, the game gives you full reign to venture onto the large imaginative locations of its world. Each area is riddled with side quests, strong monsters, and landmarks as you fill in sections of the map. It’s a world you immerse yourself in and peak around every corner as you listen to the incredible soundtrack playing in the background. Some locations can overstay their welcome, but Xenoblade Chronicles is a game you take your time with. The story itself is nearly 100 hours to complete, so do your best not to rush through it even if the story is engrossing enough for binge plays.
For those looking for impactful side quests like Mass Effect 2, you won’t find them in Xenoblade Chronicles. There’s one arc of side content that relates to story, but it’s a minor base-building event littered with fetch quests. Another portion, and new to the Definitive Edition, is the timed challenges that offer different outfits for the party. Case in point, think of side quests as compliments to the exploration you’ll be doing and monsters you’ll be fighting rather than primary objectives. I love this particular game design because I get to sate my inner-explorer while finishing tedious content.
The Monado’s Power
In terms of battles, Xenoblade has MMO-like mechanics where players select abilities strategically placed on a bar during real-time action combat. In a team of three, you have your damage dealer, a tank and preferably a healer of sorts. The most unique aspect of battles is Shulk’s specialty I mentioned earlier: seeing into the future. If an enemy is gearing up for a big attack, Shulk will see it and be able to prevent the devastating outcome. In the end, it’s all about being prepared and making smart decisions to not get wiped. Nine years later, this battle system is still incredibly fun, especially when you dabble into other play styles.
What’s New In Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition
So, what’s new in this version of the game besides the character model upgrades? Well, the Definitive Edition emphasizes ease of play with an overhaul on quest management and the user interface. Other features tailor to personal style, like switching between the remastered and original soundtracks and layering cosmetic outfit over your equipment builds. The biggest selling point for old fans is the Future Connected epilogue available as soon as you boot up the game. I haven’t played the epilogue yet since I wanted to complete the main story for our review.
So far, I clocked in about 40 hours into the game and on chapter ten of seventeen. Our review is some ways away, but I’m coming off of Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition with very positive impressions. The game is just as fun and great as I remember.
Also, if you’re like me and happen to find the game’s button layout a bit clumsy, check out this video. It’ll do wonders: