From the Wii to the Wii U and to the Switch. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (hereinafter referred to as Xenoblade 3), the latest in the Xenoblade series, which has been released for three generations and has established itself as a classic Nintendo first-party RPG today, will be officially released on July 29th. ‘Xenoblade 3’ is a title that caught the attention of series fans at the same time as its first release. It wasn’t just because it was the latest installment in the series. Not only new elements as a new work, but also various elements reminiscent of parts 1 and 2, every time related information is released, the hearts of fans of the series are heating up.
So did I. I encountered ‘Xenoblade’ for the first time through the Wii, and I couldn’t get out of its charm. I bought a Wii U through an acquaintance in Japan to play ‘Xenoblade Cross’. As much as that was the case, the expectations for ‘Xenoblade 3’, the latest in the series and full of all kinds of rice cakes, were no less than that of other gamers.
While spreading happiness in the unresolved rice cakes, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to try ‘Xenoblade 3’ before the official release. In this experience, which I was able to experience through Nintendo Korea, I was able to play the part corresponding to Chapter 1 of ‘Xenoblade 3’. Unfortunately, the curiosity did not get resolved, but grew bigger, but I was able to directly check the various elements of ‘Xenoblade 3’, which was different from the previous work.
I thought it was 1→2→3, but 1+2=3 ‘Xenoblade 3’. Let me tell you about that first impression.
We will not discuss the details of the story in this experience. The reason is simple. This is because it was difficult to grasp the overall story as the amount of content that was possible in this experience meeting was only Chapter 1. Therefore, in this experience, I will mainly explain the systemic part.
First, it is an improvement compared to the previous series. The first improvement felt in ‘Xenoblade 3’ is the enhancement of the navigation system. Let’s talk about the previous works for a moment. The Xenoblade series boasts an absurd open world. It’s not just about being wide. It is divided into several layers, so the depth is comparable to that of any online game.
It’s not that there’s no talk about playing online games as single player for nothing. Unfortunately, despite such a vast open world, the navigation system was not very good. The remake of Xenoblade 1, ‘Xenoblade Definitive Edition (hereafter Xenoblade DE)’, improved somewhat and displayed the route and goal of the quest goal on the mini map, but it was lacking in many ways compared to the massive quest.
The navigation system has been greatly improved. Now, it does not just show on the minimap, but leads to the target with an orange line in the actual field. It does not tell you the best route considering the placement of monsters and the level, but at least helps you go the shortest distance. Because it is an open world, the shortcomings of the Xenoblade series, which can sometimes get lost, have been resolved at once.
The improved navigation is not the only performance. It does not stop at simply guiding the route, and when you need to collect items for a quest, it will even show you where the items are at once.
For example, when conducting a quest that requires collecting items A, B, and C, in the previous work, you not only had to find out where it came from, but you also had to keep collecting items at random until you know the gathering points, but in ‘Xenoblade 3’, there is no need for that.. Because it tells you exactly which items are where. If you just follow along, you can get all the monsters and materials that give you items.
It may be said that the joy of exploration has diminished, but since most of these collection quests are simple forms that require repeated play, at least from the perspective of those who have played the previous work, I think it is a pleasant change that you want to welcome with dual arms. In previous works, in order to collect the materials required for the quest, there were cases where the materials were collected repeatedly for several dozen minutes.
If the navigation system is a much improved form compared to the previous works, the combat system is basically a form that is almost the same as those of the previous works. To explain in more detail, it is easy to understand if you think of it as a fusion of the battle systems of Part 1 and Part 2. The basic combat system is not much different from its predecessors. Battles in the Xenoblade series are automatic by default. When the character you control is near the targeted enemy, it automatically attacks with ‘auto attack’.
The battles of the Xenoblade series may seem simple at first glance, but this is the basic battle. Attackers, defenders, and healers are divided into three main roles, and even the same attackers have completely different combat styles. Of course, each class has its own unique arts (skills) as much as the class, so when you catch a powerful monster, you have to think about which character to combine and how to compose the arts. In the case of certain arts, not only are they powerful, but they can also give status abnormalities through combo linking, so the more you play, the more things to think about.
‘Xenoblade 3’ maintains this system, which is the basis of the series, but has been newly refined with its own elements. Part 1 and Part 2, each with a feeling, but with unique elements unique to Part 3. As can be seen from the fact that the battle system of ‘Xenoblade 3’ is not very different from the previous works, the battle system itself of the previous works was similar.
It was a method of linking combos by activating arts while performing an auto attack. What’s important here is how the arts are activated. The first recast system (the way the arts gauge kicks in) was a so-called cool-time system, which kicks in automatically over time, whereas in episode 2, the arts gauge kicks in when you attack the enemy. It might sound like a minor change, but it wasn’t really the case for players playing the game. As the conditions for the activation of Arts changed, it evoked a completely different sensation.
Then, how about the recast system of ‘Xenoblade 3’? Surprisingly, ‘Xenoblade 3’ took the method of bringing the first and second recast systems respectively. Let’s talk about the background of ‘Xenoblade 3’ for a moment. ‘Xenoblade 3’ is set in Ionion, a world where two nations, Cebes, who built a nation based on mechanical technology and Agnus, who built a nation based on magic technology, are constantly at war.
What is unusual is the concept of two countries, Cebes and Agnus. If you look at the members of Kebes, they have an appearance that reminds you of high-entertainment or Machina from the first episode. In the case of the weapon used by Kebeth, it is also similar to the special gimmick face that appeared as the main enemy of the first episode. As if intended for this purpose, Kebes, to which Noah and the main character belong, follows the recast system of the first episode in a round shape like the first episode of Arts.
Another main character, Agnus, to which Mio and his party belong, is a reminiscent of the second part. Mio reminds me of Nia and Gullin from the 2nd movie, and besides that, her hair is on fire like a blade, and even if it’s not, the core crystal, the symbol of the blade, is embedded in her chest. It’s not just the looks. As Noah and the group mentioned earlier, the art of Mio and the group is rhombus like the second part, and the recast system follows the second part as well.
Arts isn’t the only one who brought the system from the first part. Along with Arts, the combo, which is one of the axes of the combat system, also brought the first and second episodes. In the case of the Break→Down→Stun→Buster combo in Part 1, when the combo is achieved, the enemy not only drops items but also releases anger, making the battle easier. It can inflict great damage, so in ‘Xenoblade 3’, you have to use combos effectively depending on the situation. It means maximizing strategy through different recast systems and combos.
I’d like to, but I think you can stop worrying about whether the combo will work properly. Compared to the previous game, the AI has improved a lot, and now, when the brake is applied, the allies naturally follow the combo, so there is no need to put all the combos alone.
Of course, we didn’t just take the systems of Part 1 and Part 2 and put them together. While bringing the battle system of the previous work, we also did not miss the introduction of the system unique to ‘Xenoblade 3’. Realm Arts is a typical example. Among the healer arts, there are arts that create an area that applies a buff or debuff in a certain area. Increases attack power, defense, evasion rate, etc.
It is also worth noting that the recast system of Talent Arts (Special Move) has been improved. In the previous work, it was the same as other arts. The way we did it has completely changed. In ‘Xenoblade 3’, the gauge fills differently depending on the class. The Talent Arts gauge is changed to fill up when the Attacker activates the side and rear attack special effects, the Defender activates Guard or Evasion, and the Healer restores or revives party members. It may seem a bit complicated compared to the previous work, but on the other hand, if the conditions are satisfied, the gauge fills up faster than the previous works.
In addition, the target line makes it much easier to see who the enemy is targeting. The target line is largely divided into two when the defender and other classes are targeted. In the case of the defender, the blue line is displayed, but the other classes are marked with a red line, making it easier to see the battle situation at a glance.
If it was a defender, it would aim for a healer and attack the allies’ aggro.