Eric Kelly On May 6, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D LogoBack in 2010 the original Xenoblade released in Japan for the Nintendo Wii, and a European version released about a year later as Xenoblade Chronicles. Nintendo of America kind of dragged its foot about a North American release, but thankfully in 2012 they answered the demand for the game, using Nintendo of Europe’s localization. It had a limited release restricted to Gamestop and Nintendo’s online store, but despite all odds, the game sold amazingly well for Nintendo: Enough to warrant NOA’s involvement in the localization for the upcoming Sequel Xenoblade Chronicles X. In the meantime, they are debuting their first title for the New Nintendo 3DS and XL as a port of Xenoblade Chronicles. And while it’s a bit of a visual downgrade, it’s still a terrific game.

The game is about how the world of the game takes place on the bodies of two gigantic titans that fought in battle millennia ago; the aftermath of which saw the birth of lifeforms on their dormant corpses. Only now the humans living on one of the titans are being attacked by a group of machines that came from the other titan. A sword called the Monado seems to be the only thing that can effectively damage the Mechon though. But only one person can wield its power without harming themselves. Unfortunately in their last battle he finally succumbs to it. However through a series of incidents following that event, it finds a new wielder. Of course the story unfolds and what starts as a war on the Mechon evolves to become a struggle for freedom from the true enemy.

Gameplay takes place in the form of an open world MMO styled action RPG. You can target an enemy and hit the combat button to engage them. Once battle starts, as long as you are nearby the target, you will automatically attack them. Skills can also be used indefinitely, but they all have cool-downs with different rates. Although there are ways to reduce the wait times like leveling them up or using other skills. There’s also a gauge that allows you to revive fallen party members or execute attack skill chains. If you string together several attacks of the same type, the damage bonuses can skyrocket. This is essential for the tougher monsters that you can battle. Most enemies in the game are not aggressive though, but they do drop materials that are used for the multitude of quests. In fact quests are the primary method of money and experience grinding, as monsters tend to not have high yields. And there are ton of them. Players who are diligent should expect the game last about 120 hours. Exploration and completion of achievements also award additional experience, especially with landmarks, which act as a fast travel for the game’s large maps. Load times are brief and the game is really good at maintaining a consistent 30 frames. The story is also pretty interesting despite slipping into a tiny amount of tropes seen in other JRPGs. The voice acting is also a pretty interesting choice, using an all British talent cast. It’s a solid package that hits all the right notes.

As for the quality of the conversion there isn’t much that the game takes advantage of. It’s pretty much a bare-bones port. The control scheme is pretty easy to use, and the Wii Classic controller setup works well on the New Nintendo 3DS. But of course the game is weaker visually. It’s not as colorful or as detailed as the Wii counterpart, but it still looks really good. In an effort to not clog the top screen’s HUD, the game’s mini-map and menu functions are all displayed on the bottom screen. There are no touch screen functions though. It might have been nice to tap the minimap to get a larger overview though. Another omission is the lack of a Japanese voice-track, which is understandable considering that the game was too large for a 3DS cart to keep in. Most people likely won’t miss it though, as the quality of the English cast is pretty good, and sounds great on the consoles surround sound. Despite the downgrades, Xenoblade is a great game, and it lends itself well to the portable platform as you can save anywhere. There’s a lot to do and the many quests you can do are great for quick bursts of play. The original game was my favorite game of 2012, and it still is as good as it was then despite the weaker presentation. The portable trade-off is definitely worth it. Solid recommendation to buy.


It’s the same exploration based MMO-style action RPG from 2012, only now in 3D.


Despite the visual downgrade, it still looks very good. Quite the technical feat.


While the game loses the Japanese audio track, the music and voice acting still sounds great in the New 3DS surround sound.


A truly great RPG that’s one of the best in its class, with plenty to explore. Despite its downgrades, it’s still a stellar title.

Editors note: this game ONLY works on the New Nintendo 3DS.

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