REVIEW: ‘Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition’ (Switch)

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Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition has finally debuted on the Nintendo Switch. Developed by Monolith and published by Nintendo, Xenoblade is an open world, action roleplaying game. You play as Shulk wielding the mighty Monado, a sword capable of taking on the Homs’ worst enemy, the Mechons. Accompanied by friends, you go forth on a journey of revenge.

The last time fans played this beloved game was on the New Nintendo 3DS in 2015. The game originally debuted on the Wii in 2012 in North America. I vaguely remember my time with the game on the New Nintendo 3DS but I am delighted to play this masterpiece on the Switch.

If you have played any of the Xenoblade games, you’re aware the game is big on story and flashy cinematic cutscenes. As you start the game, you get the back-lore of the world and two titans, the Bionis and the Mechonis, locked in a timeless battle. The titans would soon defeat one another and eons would pass, but a new battle rages as the Mechons continue to invade the Bionis titan’s corpse, home of the Homs. And while Shulk may be the star of our adventure, we get to see the real star, the sword Monado in action, and what it’s capable of.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

As beautiful as the cutscenes are, Xenoblade Chronicles’ open world is equally so. You can go anywhere you want, all that’s barring you is the world’s cliffs and high-level enemies that will attack you on sight. You can also enjoy weather effects like rain and traverse during the day or night. With the world so vast, you can fast travel to any area by selecting a landmark you’ve been to. Coupled with the game’s soundtrack, exploring the world of Xenoblade is beautiful.

Aside from exploring and watching amazing cutscenes, Xenoblade Chronicles’ battle system is pretty amazing. In most games, it’s turn-based or constant action where you’re mashing buttons but Xenoblade has a mixture of both. At first, the battles are chill, until you progress in the story and battles start to keep you on your toes. Shulk and the gang will automatically attack your target with basic attacks, but it’s up to you to use certain attacks, known as Arts, that will help turn the tide of battle. One example is creating a combo of using Break to wear down your opponent’s defenses and then inflicting Topple, knocking your opponent, leaving them open for an onslaught of attacks, and you free of damage. By continuing to attack your weakened foe, you can inflict Daze, leaving them open and incapacitated for a longer period of time.

As you use your Arts and do great in battle, you can perform a Chain Attack, adding debuffs to your opponents and linking attacks to deliver massive damage. While the Monado is a great weapon against Mechon enemies, as you progress through the game you will learn Arts that will help you with other enemies too. What makes the battles so great are the different characters you get to control, changing up your playstyle. For example, your best bud Reyn is not only a tank but a powerhouse. While playing with Shulk, it seemed like Reyn would just stand there and take the brunt of the attacks. But once I took control of Reyn, I was thoroughly impressed with his other abilities and the damage he dishes out. At some point in the story, you meet a young woman named Sharla who uses a rifle to attack. While she can inflict damage with her basic attacks, she uses Arts that heal the party and debuff your enemies. The synergy between characters in battle is amazing, keeping combat consistently fresh.

What also makes Xenoblade shine is its massive tutorial library that you can revisit when you don’t understand a game mechanic. The tutorials are displayed in slides with not a lot of text so that you can absorb information at your own pace. There’s also a casual mode in the game. You can activate this at any time, however, if you die multiple times against an enemy, the game will ask you if you would like to lower the difficulty. Changing the difficulty does not change the story and you can change the difficulty at any time. Also, due to the amount of traveling in the game, you can autorun at the tap of a button. The only drawback is that changing the camera angle to slightly go in a different direction stops the autorun.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is an amazingly beautiful game with a great story, coupled with an awesome soundtrack, and cinematics that play out like a movie. There are tons of side quests to keep you busy and level you up, and while there might not be character creation, you can change the way your characters look with different armor pieces and see your style play out in the cutscenes. The characters seem well rounded and are enjoyable, and when it comes to battles, there is never a dull moment due to their roles and abilities. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive edition is a must-have in your Switch library.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is available now on Nintendo Switch

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is an amazingly beautiful game with a great story, coupled with an awesome soundtrack, and cinematics that play out like a movie. There are tons of side quests to keep you busy and level you up, and while there might not be character creation, you can change the way your characters look with different armor pieces and see your style play out in the cutscenes. The characters seem well rounded and are enjoyable, and when it comes to battles, there is never a dull moment due to their roles and abilities. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive edition is a must-have in your Switch library.