Xenoblade Chronicles: A fitting stage at last for Nintendo's hard done by masterpiece

Damien Charles Lucas June 4, 2020
Xenoblade Chronicles: A fitting stage at last for Nintendo's hard done by masterpiece

by Julien Hoad

Those who have followed the Xenoblade Chronicles since its launch in 2012 will know its backstory is one of hard luck and somewhat unrealised potential.

It was never through any fault of its own, though. It just came at a time when the Wii had reached the end of its lifecycle. Ports on the 3DS were good but XC was always so much bigger and better than that, it just never had the chance to prove it. Until now.

One of the best in class

Approved asset image from Nintendo.

At long last this massive JRPG has a stage where it can showcase what fanboys and girls have known all along – it is one of the best in class.

While we are set to embark on the next generation of gaming consoles with the launch of the PS5 and Xbox X last this year, the Switch has carved out a big section of the market with its impressive roster of titles and is going to be around for some time yet. And that means XC will get the room it needs to throw its considerable weight around.

Veterans of XC will find the Definitive Edition boasts enhanced visuals and controls, remastered music and several other improvements, including a brand new epilogue titled Future Connected which is set one year after the main game’s events.

Best played on big screen with a Nintendo Pro controller or similar, XC Definitive Edition boasts a deep, refined and hugely satisfying combat system which really belies the tiny console it is packed inside.

Stunning to behold

Approved asset image from Nintendo.

The open world you inhabit is huge and stunning to behold. This remake comes nearly 10 years on from the original but this is much more than a touch-up and graphics upgrade her and there. Under the bonnet it has been properly upgraded too.

I touched on Future Connected earlier and this really is a superb add-on to the main story arc. I get the impression developers Monolith Soft were hellbent on showing off some of their best designs and skills here and it truly paid off.

The soundtrack is awesome too although some of the English voice acting is a touch peculiar – although that in itself has lots of quirky charm like a good Manga cartoon.

Approved asset image from Nintendo.

Some elements, like the Affinity Chart, can be a bit intimidating for non RPG fans. I myself found it a touch over complicated and unwieldy – but this is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.

Other elements have not aged as well as others but the overall package makes XC one of the Switch must-haves, even if your interest in JRPGs is only fleeting.

This is the Xenoblade the studio and fans have deserved all along.

Rating: 9/10

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Damien is a vastly experienced, award-winning journalist who has worked in the industry for over 20 years in a wide variety of roles from sports reporter to video and digital editor, head of news and now senior editor. Damien was adamant from an early age that if he could not play football for a living then he wanted to write about the beautiful game instead. Armed with a degree in English and multimedia journalism he embarked on that mission and specialises in his beloved West Ham United. He has seen it all as a West Ham season ticket holder of 30+ years. Well, everything except a major trophy - sorry Intertoto. Jimmy Walker would have saved it!