Xenoblade Chronicles originally released on the Nintendo Wii in Japan way back in 2010. A year passed and the game eventually made its way to Europe with a delayed North American release following in the year after. The original game was a niche title that delivered extremely high quality JRPG gameplay with an incredible story to boot in a vast open world environment.
In 2015, Nintendo decided to re-release the game on the New Nintendo 3DS as a major title making use of the portable console’s newer hardware capabilities. Generally the reception to both the original Xenoblade Chronicles and the New Nintendo 3DS port were favourable.
It has now been 5 years since the re-release graced us with its presence and Nintendo have once again decided it would be a good idea to reintroduce Xenoblade Chronicles to the world. We now have what is arguably the best version of the game in the form of Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch.
Xenoblade Chronicles follows a group of lowly human or “Hom” characters that inhabit a small town known as Colony 9. Colony 9 is located atop the corpse of a giant being known as the Bionis. A quick history lesson is in order here. The Bionis has a counterpart known as the Mekonis. The Bionis and the Mekonis were powerful beings that existed eons ago.
These beings battled each other to their deaths leaving behind their titanic lifeless bodies in a world of endless oceans. Life in Xenoblade Chronicles features organic creatures inhabiting the Bionis and mechanical creatures known as “Mechons” or machina inhabiting the Mekonis.
The protagonist of Xenoblade Chronicles is a teenager named Shulk, who unexpectedly wields the Monado, an incredibly powerful blade that has the ability to predict the future. The Monado itself is a key plot point that drives the story forward thanks to Shulk’s unusual ability to wield it. After your hometown and your friends are attacked by a group of Mechon, it’s up to Shulk and his party of friends to track down those responsible for the attack and enact sweet vengeance.
Of course, being a JRPG that is incredibly lengthy, there’s a lot more on offer in Xenoblade Chronicles in terms of the story. There are plenty of plot twists and a tonne of entertaining story scenes that will keep you engaged for hours as you explore the world and learn more about it. Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition also contains an additional chapter in the form of the “Epilogue”. This adds a brand new scenario to the game that didn’t exist in the New Nintendo 3DS port or the original Nintendo Wii game.
The Epilogue in Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition kicks off directly after the original game’s ending and is known as “Future Connected”. Old school veterans that played the original game or the New Nintendo 3DS port will be glad to know that they can select the epilogue right from the game’s main menu and don’t need to play through the base game to unlock it.
When launching the epilogue, players will be treated to a brief recap cutscene showing the end of the original game and introducing you to the current story. Shulk and Melia crash land in a previously unexplored area of the world and together with small creatures known as “Nopons”, you’ll play through a much more streamlined storyline with far less tedium than the base Xenoblade Chronicles game.
While you may start the epilogue at level 60, the epilogue is still quite hefty in length. The epilogue is well worth playing through because not only is it more Xenoblade Chronicles but it’s also remarkably enjoyable thanks to the variation in the battle systems over the base game.
I’m really feelin’ it
Gameplay in Xenoblade Chronicles involves auto-attacking enemies while selecting from specific abilities from a horizontal bar that’s displayed at the bottom of the screen. These are contextual in battle and require a fair amount of strategizing with correct implementation in later battles for you to be successful.
The game has a large open world to explore and players will have a lot of standard JRPG-style quests to embark on. Thankfully, since the game is portable on Nintendo Switch, you can play it in short bursts and this makes its chunky length far easier to digest.
Graphically, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition runs without any stuttering or frame rate issues. Both in handheld and in docked mode, the game runs at 30 frames per second and the graphical upgrades it has over the original source material is mind-blowing to say the least. Everything looks sharper, colours are less washed out, there’s less “blockiness” and the game’s visual upgrade has been perfectly executed.
The fresh coat of paint coupled with the game’s already diverse environments makes for a great visual feast for the eyes as you explore the world. The sound track is as excellent as ever and the various quality of life improvements to the game’s systems are extremely welcome. Being able to save the game anywhere and being able to pick up and play on the go is quite literally game changing (albeit already possible if you owned the NN3DS version but I digress).
Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is essentially an old game with a shiny new coat of paint and some extra sprinkles to sweeten the deal. This is a recurring theme with Nintendo since both The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX have got similar treatment.
Thankfully though, newcomers and veterans alike should have a great time playing this game on Nintendo Switch and we can highly recommend it purely because of its excellent storyline and flat out amazing soundtrack. The additional chapter is the icing on the cake and expands upon the already great base game even further.