Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Preview – A Wild Ride

    This Xenoblade Chronicles 3 preview will contain no story spoilers and only cover gameplay mechanics that were revealed prior to release.

    For MonolithSoft and Tetsuya Takahashi, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the most important title yet. This release marks the studio’s first since the inclusion of Pyra and Mythra in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and really the first since the massive uptick of popularity in the Xenoblade Chronicles series. As a long-time fan of the series, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 looked to be everything I ever wanted from a follow-up to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Having spent over 15 hours in the world of Aionios, I can confidently say that this is easily MonolithSoft’s most ambitious project yet.

    Just within the opening minutes of the game, it is made clear the darker tone Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is going for. Two enemy nations – Keves and Agnus, are forever fighting in an endless war between each other. Born to fight. Live to fight. Die by fighting. Those are the lives of the people of Aionios. Players are met with vast landscapes of stunning battles and depictions of war right from the start of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, a sight that will be somewhat familiar to fans of the series.

    On that point, it should be noted that newcomers to the series can start with Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The title is a self-contained story that offers a brand new experience with no previous knowledge required, however fans of the series have lots of references to look forward to with knowledge of the previous games. The main six party members are all brand new characters in the world of Aionios.

    Xenoblade Chronicles 3 preview: Monolith Soft's ambition on full display - Polygon

    The story picks up with one of the protagonists, Noah. Noah hails from Keves, the colony consisting of Machina, High Entia, and others from the first Xenoblade Chronicles game. The other protagonist, Mio, hails from Agnus, the other nation in Aionios. Agnus consists of Gormotti and others from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The two’s fates are intertwined and they are forced to put the war aside and work together for the greater good. The party’s goal is to reach Swordmarch, the land where the former sword of Mechonis lies.

    Combat truly is the best of both Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, by offering mechanics from each with brand new features that dive deep into customization. This title introduces class switching, which allows players to equip any playable character with any unlocked class. Over the course of the game, players will encounter characters who are known as Heroes. These characters, once unlocked, fill the party’s seventh slot and allow players to put their class on any one of the main party members.

    The additions do not stop there, however. For the first time in the series, MonolithSoft has added the ability to seamlessly switch between characters mid-combat. This change opens up combat so much and really allows the fun to never stop. I found myself discovering new combos and uses between all of the characters and classes throughout my entire time with the game so far.

    The main mechanic of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is an ability called Ouroboros, which allows two characters to combine into one being. This ability allows players to power up and deal massive amounts of damage, which spices up combat quite a bit as you can imagine. Pairs for Ouroboros include Noah and Mio, Lanz and Sena, & Eunie and Taion. Each pair offers unique arts and skills, which players can use to their advantage when switching between characters in the middle of combat.

    Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Gets Additional Combat Details – RPGamer

    An aspect that many players were concerned about was tutorials. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was highly criticized for its lack thereof, and as a result, this was fully addressed. Tutorials walk you through every single action and are incredibly extensive. All can be accessed from the main menu at any point in the game. There also is a brand new section entitled Training Drills, which allows players to learn how to master mechanics such as attack canceling.

    One of the most noticeable improvements in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 lies in performance. With up to 7 characters on screen individually attacking, MonolithSoft has truly harnessed the Switch’s power in this entry. The game only had two frame dips throughout the entirety of the first two chapters. Graphical fidelity is also Something I noticed right out of the gate was how fluid character models look this time around. Character expressions and hair physics all have seen lots of detail, with even the smallest things being high quality.

    Handheld mode is another area that received a drastic improvement. Image quality is extremely high compared to previous entries and the game is running at a locked frame rate. I have played around 3 hours of handheld mode in my time with the game and have loved it. The game feels like it can be easily enjoyed here with not much compromise so far, a contrast to the previous entries which offered extremely low graphical fidelity. The UI is sharp and crisp, yet does not feel too crowded on my OLED model’s display.

    Lastly, as expected the music in this title is just out of this world. Yasunori Mitsuda and the team behind Xenoblade Chronicles 2 have returned for the third entry and have once again brought a magnificent soundtrack to accompany this adventure. There is a lot of focus on the flute, with it being incorporated into a lot of the game’s soundtrack. I have loved what I have been been able to listen to so far and cannot wait for more later on.

    Having only played through the first two chapters of the game for this preview, I am ecstatic to see what is next. Everything so far can simply be described as “grander” than its predecessors. The cinematography takes an incredible leap forward, as does the combat, presentation, and just about everything. I have had an incredible time thus far and can only imagine where the story and gameplay will go from here.

    Xenoblade Chronicles 3 releases on July 29th, this upcoming Friday. This Xenoblade Chronicles 3 preview was just a tiny taste of what the game has to offer. Stick around for our full review when it releases next week!

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