Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Cover Art - Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Join Noah, Mio and their friends as they traverse epic landscapes, battle ferocious creatures and fight to break the never-ending cycle of violence that binds their homelands.
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Developer Monolith Soft
Publisher Nintendo
Player Count 1
HomePage https://www.nintendo.com.au/games/nintendo-switch/xenoblade-chronicles-3

Game Review

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Journal Entries

August 22nd, 2022

My journey through Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is progressing well. My save is telling me I am at the 47-hour mark. Not too bad a timeframe to hit Chapter 5!

I have met the Golden Consul and the Keves ‘Queen’. This is important only in my theory on the Queens was off – it’s not what I thought was happening exactly.

That said, I wasn’t off by much from the looks of it. I missed by one rank! So Xenoblade Chronicles still has some surprises for me.

20220822 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - The power behind the power
The power behind the throne – always one to be wary of

Chapter 5 sees you at the Swordmarch. This introduces you properly to the third faction in the story. Here you have the history of Ouroborus explained to your party.

This feels like the start of the ‘final attack’ preparation phase. A new huge city base, with plenty of opportunities for side quests and level grinding.

20220822 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - The great sword hold many secrets
Swordmarch holds many secrets

Every time I talk about Xenoblade Chronicles 3, it is hard to know how to write. I am enjoying it immensely – but it’s a game that many might not.

In some ways, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has the same ‘problem’ as The Quarry. It’s a story you almost know before you start, told over many more hours than it needs to be.

That doesn’t make Xenoblade Chronicles 3 bad. It does mean people that enjoy a brisker pace or more interaction will likely overlook it.

20220822 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - Lots of heroes and combat styles to unlock
Unlocking new heroes, combat style classes, and other things begins now

I can’t imagine anyone wanting to watch it streamed either – that’s a huge time investment. But I think many more people would enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles 3 than people think.

That said, it’s not exactly an overlooked classic – it was the best-selling game in July and went on sale right at the end of the month!

August 29th, 2022

I was a little out with my prediction on what I thought Chapter 5 was setting up. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has let me return to the open area exploration in Chapter 6. Chapter 5 was a more ‘on rails’ section of the game, and shorter in length than most chapters. In the end, there was a Kojima-level exposition dump!

Most of the story points I was expecting have been confirmed. The most significant big bad I believe has finally been revealed. Now in Chapter 6, I should be seeking out the one to explain my new power and bring peace.

20220829 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - This is not the biggest bad
No, this isn’t the biggest bad. But they keep popping up!

Instead, I have spent another 8 hours unlocking content I should have done about 20 hours ago. Some side quests, a couple of new Heroes, and finally making my way to inaccessible areas of old maps. Going back to this exploration so late has me severely over-levelled in a lot of areas.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has ways of limiting the return of such a strategy. Experience, Class points, that kind of thing scale with the difference in levels. I am not building up character classes the way I could be, but to be honest, that’s OK. I don’t need to get everyone to max level in every class.

20220829 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - This fight still isnt easy
This fight should be harder than it is for me at the moment

I am in the camp of the Switch needing a second revision soon. The tech was 4 years old when it came out, and that was 5 years ago. I don’t need a portable Xbox Series X (although if it existed, wow).

People talk about how ‘ugly’ big open-world games look on the Switch. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a game I heard described as “at times made my eyes hurt”. And blown up on a big screen, I can see the lower-resolution rendering looking terrible in comparison. But Xenoblade Chronicles can do something even Breath of the Wild can’t do well. It can show you monsters and areas in the distance.

20220829 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - I cant see the small enemies but I can see the huge one
I can’t see the smaller enemies, but I can see the huge enemy in the river

I am now on a self-imposed timer for finishing Xenoblade Chronicles 3. I would like to have it finished by September 11th, or close to it. The reason is as simple as it is arbitrary. The following weekend, I want to replay Monkey Island 1&2. This will get me ready for Return to Monkey Island on September 19th!

September 5th, 2022

Thanks to a slow start to the week, I got to put a lot of hours into Xenoblade Chronicles 3 this week. So much so that I managed to finish the story!

I haven’t completed the game by any stretch. There are still some classes to unlock and skills to master, and optional boss fights to discover. That said, it’s probably safe to say my journey with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is over.

The story is pretty much what I expected it to be. Predictable and formulaic isn’t always a bad thing, especially in a game with as much scope as Xenoblade. It’s the side missions that I know I have blown past that I am sure will take up another 90 hours of my game time. You play Xenoblade Chronicles for these side missions, kind of like Monster Hunter. But for now, I am content.

20220905 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - Hello big fella
Still not the biggest monster I have seen

During the week, I had a rough night sleeping and started work at ridiculous o’clock – even for me. So by the time my normal start time came around, I thought I was safe to take an hour off and tackle the final boss fight. Ooops.

Two hours later and so many final boss stages that I lost count, I made it to the end. Well, technically closer to 90 minutes – the first time tackling the boss I did lose. A quick respec, and I was back into the fray.

This is one thing I love about the portable nature of Xenoblade Chronicles. Lose an important fight? Restart the fight after a chance to modify your party. No taking you back to a checkpoint to let you travel and modify your party, and travel again to the boss location!

20220905 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - All of the big guns come out
Everyone comes together at the end

I have gushed about Xenoblade Chronicles over the last few weeks. It’s a series I enjoy, but I have said many times it isn’t for everyone. 90 hours in, do I feel my gaming time was well spent?

Absolutely. There are games I want to play, like Horizon Zero Dawn, that I have happily left in the ‘to be played’ pile. I could have finished Horizon twice in the time I finished Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and I would do it again.

If you are interested in the series at all, try Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition or jump straight into Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Try the Definitive Edition if you are new to RPGs in general. This is because there are some grinding shortcuts inbuilt that reduce the initial onslaught of information. Otherwise, jump straight into 3.

Either way, I think you will be surprised by how deep yet accessible these ‘simple portable’ RPGs are.

20220905 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - The end is not the end
The end is never the end