It will surprise many, but Xenoblade Chronicles definitive edition, one of the Wii classics, will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in Japan in June. The title of Monolith Soft is considered one of the best role-playing games of its generation and has been adapted from the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS and is today rewarded with an epilogue in the form of the last edition on Switch. With this episode, Tetsuya Takahashi, Squaresoft defector, and creator of Xenogears and Xenosaga, explains the last lines of his creation and delivers a remaster, both visually and musically, of the highest caliber. We were able to get our hands on this ultimate iteration for a few hours and we pass on our impressions to you for the test.
Exceptional and unforgettable, Xenoblade Chronicles is one of those games we’ll talk about in two decades. Condensed by emotions, awe-inspiring landscapes, and epic battles, Monolith’s play was not unanimously accepted, including the flaw of very special character design. This dissatisfaction has been very common among developers, and this new generation version has allowed them to fix this defect, as well as a significant improvement in the graphics.
The view is now closer Xenoblade Chronicles 2 with a much more colorful style, finer models, and more detailed environments. In addition to this visual divide, the musical themes, which were already fantastic at the beginning, have been re-orchestrated for the needs of this new edition. That gives even richer harmonies for total immersion. This dusting in order of the original work is, therefore, more than welcome and allows to really rediscover the game and for the purity of the purists, it is possible to choose between English and Japanese voices!
EQUAL TO SELF (Xenoblade Chronicles)
It is impossible not to have a pinch in the heart by re-visualizing the sublime introduction, be it the battle between the two titans or the prologue Dunban organizes during the Mekons’ attack. Xenoblade Chronicles remains an exceptional game backed by rich gameplay. The combination of the arts, the relationships between the different protagonists, the multiple sequences … each mechanism has been carefully thought out.
The clashes combine tactics (when it is necessary to unbalance the opponents) and placements for a very effective result. Yes, Xenoblade Chronicles is a talkative and dense adventure, but one that knows how to be fluent enough not to let go of the player on the go. On this point, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition should not deviate from the qualities of the original. But of course, this version’s dual interest stems from the additional chapter entitled Future Connected, translated by Un Avenir Commun chez nous.
IN THE MIST
Epilogue required, the game logically invites you to complete the main adventure before smearing yourself with this extra content. Somewhat different from the basics, this story takes place on the shoulders of Bionis and sees Shulk and his mates (Melia and two Nopons named Kino and Nene) confronting a new threat: The King of the Mists, an entity that barricades the capital, Alcamoth Imperial. His strength is such that the small troop is powerless against this terrible opponent. This chapter, therefore, focuses on this struggle by playing with the events – for example via flashbacks – of the main story.
The gameplay, if it stays true to the original structure, still brings new features. It is thus possible to recruit punch spectators, Nopons, from a guild specializing in the topography of the places. Each inspector is linked to a color that determines his tactical approach. Red for the offensive, blue for the cure, and eventually yellow for the handicap caused by enemies. Real little soldiers, they also benefit from a state of anger if the relationship you have with them is strong. There is no doubt that the chapter as a whole has a few more secrets in store for us. The day/night cycle affects the monsters you meet, but in some cases your characters as well. It can sometimes be useful to change the time in the menus.
The skirmishes, meanwhile, are based on a new attack system. The characters’ abilities have disappeared (it is no longer possible to perform sequences with the rest of the group) and Shulk has lost one of his abilities – which we’ll avoid revealing on pain of spoiling those who don’t did do the main adventure. It is therefore essential to be constantly on guard to survive the most virulent attacks of enemy creatures.
As before, placement is essential and there are several ways to improve your level, including improving the arts or extracting gems from the scattered ether deposits. Every character has a high level from the start, but we are soon confronted with imposing and much more resistant opponents. In addition to all this, Kino and Nene, the Nopons who guide you, have their part to play, as do the punch spectators you will have recruited. The combat structure is therefore close to that of Xenoblade Chronicles, but benefits from tweaks and optimizations that should deliver their share of surprises. For example, some allies no longer fight in the same way and forcing to redefine the group’s approach to bosses.
In short, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition will not disturb the habits, but reworking it with small details and the extra chapter should give it good longevity. Without revealing the early days of history, we can only melt for the duo Kino and Nene. The translation is excellent and some of the dialogues are earthy, adding to the protagonists’ very disparate atmosphere and personalities. Knowing that the animations have been improved, this produces funny scenes that promise some giggles during the adventure. And inevitably we can’t wait to see what the whole chapter has in his gut. Activate the Monado, the fight is coming!
This first contact with Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is very promising. More beautiful, more colorful, and with sublimely re-orchestrated music, the remaster meets expectations and remains worth its original basis. It is enough to relaunch the 2010 title to realize the significant gap of the developers. For those who have turned the main game around, the addition of the extra chapter is the good news in this Switch edition. With its new characters, its screenplay that promises to be quite pleasing and its environments as sprawling as it is exotic, this very last iteration should win many hearts. See you at the end of the month for the final judgment.