Nintendo seem to have a knack for creating classic games, coupled with classic characters and consoles. Although when the ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ and the ‘New Nintendo 3DS XL’ were announced, there was a mixed reaction. One of the phrases going around was ‘What’s the point?’ Well the new consoles came coupled with hardware upgrades, which weren’t going to be completely evident until played in conjunction with games exclusive to these new consoles. Thus the first game was thrown into the ring; Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, the first exclusive title for the ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ and the ‘New Nintendo 3DS XL’.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a port from the 2010 Nintendo Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles. The story is set in a world which initially had endless seas, until two titans, Bionis and Mechonis, appeared and fought timelessly until with one last strike their bodies remained solidified and lifeless. As time passes on other lifeforms develop, and our main story follows Shulk, a ‘Homs’ (humanoid). The Homs fight for survival against an invasion of Machon, robotic warrior machines looking to claim the lives of every Homs. Shulk finds a weapon called the Monado; a legendary blade which enables him to cut through these robots and see into the future, and thus our journey begins with Shulk attempting to stop the robot invasion.
The concept of Xenoblade Chronicles is interesting, however if you are somewhat familiar with Japanese RPG’s it becomes obvious that the storyline is a tad generic. That being said, it does not stop the game from being enjoyable. It slowly allows you to build somewhat of a bond with these characters and enjoy their company. Whilst you may guess the direction the story will head, you are attached because you actually want to see it for yourself.
The storyline and mechanisms make the game feel similar to the Japanese light novel All You Need is Kill, which was adapted into the American blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow. However the darkness is toned down a bit, sharing similarities to Kingdom Hearts, although very different at the same time.
Where the game excels is its world, architecture and cut scenes. Beginning with an amazing cut scene of the two titans fighting, whilst I do find it very irksome and uncomfortable viewing games in 3D, on this occasion I decided to keep it on full anyway. It was beautiful, especially with the new mechanics of the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Although that can only be said for the cut scenes, when the 3D was put on for the remainder of the game, it looked sluggish and clunky. When the 3D is off the merits of the game’s world really shine. The world feels very spacious, and intriguing, which makes exploration feel enjoyable as opposed to a tedious task.
The combat in the game combines elements of the Monado sword into the fight, so Shulk’s sword essentially gives you a warning for heavy damaging attacks. The battle system works so that you have to undergo specific tactics for different types of enemies, so in a way it allows for the game to be more interesting. However, it does incorporate automated attacks, which is a bit disheartening, but doesn’t take long to adjust to.
While graphics and storyline are key, no game is complete without a good soundtrack. The soundtrack gained composition from Manami Kiyota, ACE+, Yoko Shimomura and Yasunori Mitsuda; a power which on paper alone can excite JRPG fans. The spectacular soundtrack certainly delivers, giving us an assortment of music to go with the various paces that the game introduces. Standouts include the soft and gentle ‘Main Theme’ by Yoko Shimomura, reminiscent of her ‘Dearly Beloved’ theme from Kingdom Hearts, although more progressive, and the fast and aggressive song ‘Crisis’, by ACE+ and the eerie ‘Uneasiness’ by Manami Kiyota.
The game incorporates the uses of Streetpass and amiibo to unlock 3D characters and models, which may be interesting or completely irrelevant depending on who you are.
Overall Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is very interesting, and it would have been even more interesting to see a port on the Wii U. However seeing as the successor, Xenoblade Chronicles X, is due out later this year, this offering almost feels like a taster as to what’s to come. Whilst Xenoblade Chronicles 3D does highlight the improvement of the New Nintendo 3DS, I don’t feel as if it is the game to highlight the greatness of the new console, but it is a step in the right direction. Just by playing Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, it’s almost as if you yourself have Shulk’s sword and can see the future potential of the console.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is available now on Amazon and is only available for the ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ and the ‘New Nintendo 3DS XL’.
Originally Published: MCM Buzz