Monday, 20 April 2015

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D - First Impressions


If there is one thing Nintendo is good at is making drastic hardware revisions late in a handheld life. We have seen the Gameboy Colour, the Gameboy Advance SP, and the DSi. More recently they have updated the 3DS to the New 3DS. This new revision has had many talked about improvements added to the 3DS system and I have talked about them in more detail here (LINK To 3DS FIRST IMPRESSIONS). There is one addition to the New 3DS that has not been truly tested, that is the new faster CPU found in both New 3DS and New 3DS XL. That is until now...

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is the first title to work only on the New 3DS and will not work on older 3DS or 2DS systems. The reason for this is that extra CPU power is required to bring the expansive world of Xenoblade to the New 3DS. With my brief time with it, I can see that the bringing this game to the handheld was certainly a challenege.

For those who do not know, Xenoblade Chronicles was originally a Wii game, released late in the consoles cycle, but is considered to be the best Role Playing Game on the system. The game won over fans with huge open world's to explore, creatures to hunt and dungeons of explore. With a new look on combat with a focus on chain attacks and a epic storyline, Monolithsoft's 2010 game was destined to be a classic and earn it's main character, Shulk a spot in the recent Smash Bros and a Amiibo of his own.


Now the game has been ported down to the New 3DS and I get to experience this game for the first time. Since getting the game on Wednesday (thanks to The Game Collection) I have managed to sink almost 7 hours in to it. Which is not bad considering I am juggling family life and Easter etc around. Its fair to say that I have had a chequered past with JRPG's and it s fair to say that I haven't found many that I get on with. So it is with great relief that I can say the Xenoblade Chronicles 3d has got me hooked in. There isn't an element of the game that has put me off the playing it at all. The story starts with you in the thick of the action before switching to a more idyllic setting which introduces the main characters and allows you to learn the combat and strategies involved.

The combat is thing that I have to speak about. The best combat in a JRPG to me is the turn based combat of the old Final Fantasy games or Pokemon. Since Final Fantasy tried to go real-time contact things have got complicated and confusing. I found this combat in FFXIII to be the least enjoyable experience in gaming that I had for awhile. This cannot be said for Xenobalde. There is simplicity to the combat whilst also having a layer of strategy that doesn't require to much panic or confusion in the midst of battle. The way it all works is thought the use of Arts (abilities to you and me) . They can be offensive or defensive and have certain conditions attached to them. For example, early on in the game, Shulk's main attack is Backslash, an attack the can cause massive damage to a creature if struck from behind. The tactic here is to get Reynn (Shulk's best friend) to attack and aggro the creature first to draw it towards him, then run in and strike with Shulk from behind, Subsequently, Shulk soon learns a side slice attack and a front break attack.


Then about 5 hours in the game introduces conditions into the mix with certain enemies that have to in toppled stated in order to damage them, To achieve this you must get them into a break state using Shulk's front ward attack, them wait for Reynn to trigger his wild arms attack to topple them and then all pile in before the creature recovers., It sounds confusing, but in play it just seems straight forward. The way the game is gradually sloping it's difficulty and learning curve is perfectly executed. I have never felt that I am being asked to take on too much at once.

The Storyline builds really well and I am expecting to be quite engaged with this in the near future when I go on a long haul flight. If you, like me, have recently got yourself a New 3DS then this exclusive title is going to help show off your new purchase. Lets hope that more Wii titles make it over to the New 3DS. Mario Galaxy please Nintendo!

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