Review – Xenoblade Chronicles

Definitely Definitive

Courtesy of the folks at MonolithSoft, for the past week or so I’ve been taking an in-depth look at the recently released Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition. This J-RPG is a remaster of the 2010 Wii classic, but brings its own game to the table.

The definitive edition of Xenoblade Chronicles doesn’t just up the graphics. The HD visuals are also joined by remastered music, and an entirely new epilogue adventure which will add a fair chunk of time on, even for veterans of the franchise. The new adventure, Future Connected, is set one year after the events in the main game, and can be accessed at any time. I would definitely recommend new players discover the original journey first, however. Before moving on to the new content.

The story revolves around the Monado sword, a legendary weapon which could win the war

The Basics

For those who’ve not played Xenoblade before, where have you been? The gameplay here takes place on the remains of two epic titans. Down at ground level, you’ll be fighting to put an end to the perpetual war between your own people and the mechanical Mechon race.

On your adventure you’ll discover a winding narrative, but it just wouldn’t be a J-RPG if there wasn’t an almost obscene number of side quests and random encounters available. The engaging story is enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean you won’t lose yourself for hours just trying to complete the side missions along the way.

The title has a real-time combat system which will be quite familiar for fans of modern day Final Fantasy.The auto-attack based combat has some in depth mechanics which can take a little time to master, as well as including more focussed Arts which will allow you some control over battle strategy.

The new Definitive Edition adds facial animations, one area where the original fell down

You’ll also find chain attacks with your other party members, which become available as you build party affinity, and battle on together.

If you haven’t played it before, Xenoblade Chronicles has everything you would expect from a J-RPG, including plenty of outfitting options, levelling systems and tactical real-time combat. If you did play it previously, as well as a graphical overhaul and smoother mechanics, the entirely new epilogue adventure makes it well worth a look.

Parent’s Eye View

The title is rated by PEGI at 12 and by the ESRB as T for Teen. This is based on a couple of elements. Firstly on the combat, as it depicts a realistic view of battles. Secondly the title does contain some language. In honesty, I’ve not come across enough bad language within the title to make it a huge concern.

Overall, the content in the title doesn’t worry me hugely, and it’s one I’d be happy to play in front of the Micro-Bandits. The huge amounts of reading within the title, as well as the complex and intricate nature of the title’s battle system, I definitely think would put it off the younger crowds.

The story takes place on the remains of two collosal titans

The Run Down

Visuals – Great: Visuals are really well worked in the Definitive Edition, and animations also appear much smoother. There’s not really anything I can fault this one, and while the camera controls may take a little getting used to before you can use them in their entirety, once you do they are a great boon to the title,

Audio – Great: The sweeping orchestral pieces really are the epitome of the J-RPG genre. I’ve really enjoyed the score for the title, and the voice acting hasn’t made me angry, which is notable in itself. The option to switch between retro and contemporary music is a nice touch, but I’ve happily stuck with the remastered score throughout.

Narrative – Great: This is really just as you’d expect from the genre as well. An engaging narrative runs through the title, and will keep you going for some hours. The addition of the new epilogue content is, of course, also very welcome. It’s definitely possible to ignore the story for hours, and as a great touch if you do this, you’ll also have a quick catch up for the story so far available whenever you need it.

Replay – Good: There’s an absolutely huge number of side quests within the title which completionists will love and hate. While it’s great that they are there, I don’t think there’s a realistic chance of anybody completing them all. One thing to note is that the missions are mostly kill or fetch quests, and there could have been a little more variety just to mix it up.

Overall the Pixel Bandits Monado Level for Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is Grab It. I do think this one will be a great grab for any J-RPG fan who hasn’t tried the series previously. The additional epilogue content also makes it a good idea for any fans of the series who completed the Wii version.

There are a huge number of customisation options, side quests, plot lines and back stories throughout the title. In addition, it works splendidly on the portable Switch platform, bringing fast and tactical real time action with you wherever you go.

Customised looks can be a little silly, but the customisation options are welcome.
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