Going small isn’t always a bad thing.
Xenoblade Chronicles released for the Wii a few years ago, at the tail end of the console’s life. A massive open world role playing game that almost didn’t see a release in the US at all if it wasn’t for Gamestop. The truth of the matter is, not many folks had the opportunity to check this out at the time of release. Luckily Nintendo has decided to have a port released on the “new” Nintendo 3DS, but was anything sacrificed in the move over?
Players take on the role of Shulk, a young man who soon finding himself using the mysterious Monado sword and gets involved with violent robotic creatures known as Mechon. Killer robots, mysterious sword and a plot that has more twists and turns then a rattle snake, everything that made the original release so wonderful is still included in this hand held version.
Price I’d Pay: $40
Combat takes place in real time, and has more in common with MMO style of combat then say a typical old school Final Fantasy. That being said, the world is huge to explore, and when engaging in combat playerscan simply move their characters around the enemies and engage them using normal or special attacks. There is no loading or changing of screens when engaging combat, so it comes off very seamless and smooth. When enemies are defeated players find a plethora of items dropped and can go exploring for more. The combat and world exploration combine extremely well, perhaps more so than expected, as I suddenly found myself spending hours just doing side quests, collecting loot, and not even progressing the main story.
One feature that was in the original release and still featured here is the “affinity” system which tracks player relationships with other characters. This can increase the effectiveness of how teammates work together, gem crafting and can also open new story elements. It’s one of the aspects that really allows the player to focus on who they want to get closer to and how much they want to get invested into the story and characters. While the main story will take close to 40 hours strictly adhering to the plot, going for side quests and using the affinity systems in the game to the maximum can easily see 100 hours plus.
Audio and visual wise, everything looks and sounds like it did on the Wii version…mostly. The screen is smaller and the resolution therefor being affected, players will still find themselves in awe that a game of this caliber was shrunk down from a console release to a handheld and has mostly persevered as it was. Sure there might be some textures that appear a bit muddier at times, but the quality hasn’t been severely impacted in the slightest, and is a huge compliment to the port team. You’ll see huge vistas and expanding environments, and take in all the sights as a wonderful soundtrack kicks in whether it’s during peaceful sonatas during exploration or intense upbeat tracks when fighting. The voice acting was also well done and full of characters that came off charming and silly, yet serious when needed, which added to the story when it was on screen.
Xenoblade Chronicles on the NEW 3DS system is a marvel. It offers one of the most complete, fascinating, and downright huge RPGs experiences you can fit in your pocket. It’s great to see a release on another console to give new players a chance to experience it, granted you still need to own the new handheld. I feel nothing major is lost in the port to the smaller screen and in doing so, you now have one of the best RPGS ever made literally at your fingertips on the go. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.