Back in 2012, Monolith Software released Xenoblade Chronicles, an exclusive JRPG for the Wii that many fans fell in love with due to its superb story, addicting gameplay, and engaging battle system. For it being a Wii exclusive title, not a lot of gamers played it. For those who never had a chance to experience it, and with the game being hard to find and expensive now, a portable version of the game was released but this time, it’s exclusive to the New Nintendo 3DS. Taking advantage of the faster CPU of the hardware, is the port any better than the Wii version? Not exactly as there are compromises that needed to be done to make it run smoothly on the device.
When it comes to the content, it’s exactly the same as the Wii version. Unfortunately, Monolith didn’t add any new things or new quests to the game to make it unique from its console counterpart. What they did add in the 3DS version is the use of Amiibos. Those who have a Shulk amiibo, he can be used several times a day to get items. Aside from the aforementioned feature, nothing has been added to make it a buy now to those who have already finished the game on the Nintendo Wii.
For newcomers, Xenoblade Chronicles is what pretty much you are looking for in a JRPG – brilliant story, interesting characters, engaging battle system, and a vast world with plenty of secrets that delves within. The game follows the story of Shulk as he finds a way to unlock the power of the Monado in the unique worlds of the Bionis and the Mechonis, two dead titans who have become a home to a variety of creatures and races. With the Mechonis terrorizing the colonies, the power of the Monado is the only resort Shulk has to drive them off. As always in a good JRPG, there are unexpected twists and shocking revelations that gets revealed as you play through the game. Those who are looking for a story that they will remember for the years to come, you have come to the right place with Xenoblade Chronicles.
As far as how the gameplay is, there are a lot of quests waiting for you to uncover, tons of items to collect, and uncover a lot of secrets hidden within the Bionis and Mechonis. Gamers are looking for around 60 to 80 hours of playthrough in Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, which is now quite rare to find in a JRPG. By doing the sidequests alone, it can easily add up more hours as there are tons that can be found in the game, although some are senseless pick ups and slay quests. Not to mention there’s a Collectopedia, an encyclopedia-like feature, that you can fill up as you venture through the game. With so many things that you can do in Xenoblade Chronicles, it’s very hard to track of your time as it draws you closer to the game.
If there’s one thing that I like about Xenoblade Chronicles aside from the story, it’s the battle system. The combat system in Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is in real time and it’s quite similar to Final Fantasy XII. When you approach an enemy, you can engage them in battle, and choose whether to attack them behind or sideways. Depending where you attack them, bonus damage can be dealt. With the enemies being on-screen, you have an option to fight or ignore them, though there are some that gets aggressive as it spots you. In other words, there is a strategy involved when it comes to fighting enemies. You simply can’t spam buttons to fight enemies and win.
Putting Xenoblade Chronicles on the New Nintendo 3DS is a good idea as it gives people the freedom of playing it wherever they want. Sure, it’s a portable version but there’s a drawback to it. Compressing a console game to fit on the New Nintendo 3DS made the visuals look pixelated, and there are times that it looks like graphics from two generations ago. For a 3DS game, it looks good, but for those who have played the Wii version, it’s impossible not to compare it and notice the big downgrade the N3DS version has. In addition, there are also occasional pop-in issues, but it’s not really that big of a drawback. As for the 3D, it’s quite consistent throughout the game, thanks to the stable 3D feature of the system. Even if the N3DS’ 3D slider is all the way up, you will not strain up your eye.
Another omission they did with the 3DS version of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is the Japanese track. Since game cards are limited to 4GB in size, Nintendo has to remove the Japanese track. While the English voice overs are decent enough, thanks to the British voice actors, it’s quite sad that they have removed the original voice acting. If it’s something that really bothers you much, then it’s best to stick with the Wii version.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a must-have game for any JRPG fan, especially to those who have the New Nintendo 3DS and never had a chance to play the Wii version. It’s actually a decent port, despite the downgrade of the visuals from the Wii version, as it offers what a JRPG fan would want- a captivating story,likable characters, engaging battle system, and most of all, a complete JRPG console experience that you can play wherever you go. Is it worth getting the New Nintendo 3DS over this game? Only if you have never played it.
[Editor’s Note: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D was reviewed on the New Nintendo 3DS platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]