Hello and welcome to The Starlight Megaphone’s playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, an Action RPG originally released for the Wii in Japan on 10 June 2010, reaching the rest of the world in stages by April of 2012. Later, it was released on the Wii U eShop, and a version was subsequently developed and released for the New Nintendo 3DS. A complete remake of the game, billed as the ‘Definitive Edition’ was released for Nintendo Switch, worldwide, on 29 May 2020.
Xenoblade Chronicles has received extremely positive reviews. It developed a large fanbase, and was a key component of the successful Operation Rainfall campaign. Of the three games in that campaign, The Last Story may have had the highest profile at the time (due to the involvement of director Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu), but aesthetic judgement has sided firmly with Xenoblade Chronicles as the best of the three titles, and its sequels–Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2–have been similarly well-received.
The original game was highly regarded for its expansive world and environments, approachable battle system, impressive soundtrack, excellent sci-fi-fantasy story, and endearing characters. Monolith Soft have remade the Definitive Edition with impressive faithfulness: the main storyline and battle system remain unchanged, but the whole game has been reengineered to bring it visually into line with the later games in the franchise. The developers even brought back the entire voice cast from the original 2010-2012 Wii edition.
Although the Xenoblade games now command a level of fame which is the envy of other role-playing franchises, the initial release in 2010 seemed far less promising. With Nintendo unwilling to take even a modicum of risk on Japanese RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles and the other Operation Rainfall titles looked to be stranded permanently in Japan. When Nintendo of Europe finally shifted position and localised the titles, the villainous Reggie Fils-Aime remained a stumbling block in North America, preferring instead to treat the Wii as an Oprah Winfrey-fueled shovelware device. Only when overwhelming fan demand and undeniable sales of the franchise made Reggie ‘The Chin’ Fils-Aime’s position untenable was the already-localised game finally and grudgingly approved for sale in North America.
And yet, despite the lateness of the moment in the ageing Wii’s console life, Xenoblade Chronicles and the other Operation Rainfall titles still sold comparatively well in North America and other overseas territories. Nevertheless, “The Chin” and his cronies took no lessons from the debacle, and remained obstinately opposed to other laudable and meritorious fan requests, such as the continued and strenuous call for a localisation of Mother 3–a call which goes unanswered to this day! However, Xenoblade is liberated at last, and now exists across four different platforms–Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, and Switch–in English-speaking territories.
The Definitive Edition adds a considerable amount of content, including some extra crossover content connected to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but the main story is the same in all versions of the game. Therefore, anyone with access to a Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, or Switch can join in our playthrough: used copies of the older versions of Xenoblade Chronicles can generally be purchased via sites like eBay and Amazon for around $30. Given the recent release of the Definitive Edition, we are also especially interested in comparative comments from those who have extensively played the original game and who are now playing the Definitive Edition.
Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, secrets and new content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you feel that the Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition art style has been improved by the advent of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, or do you prefer the original visuals? Do you find the open-world and mission-based gameplay liberating, or frustrating and repetitive? Would you like to see Xenoblade Chronicles X similarly ported, or would you prefer for an entirely new game in the franchise, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in three months, ending in late August. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion, and will let us know when it is time to close our site playthrough.
Platforms available are as follows:
• Nintendo Wii (Original Release)
• Nintendo Wii U (the Wii version, distributed via the eShop)
• New Nintendo 3DS (a graphically trimmed-down port of the Wii version)
• Switch (the new ‘Definitive Edition’)
Please join in with us and comment about your experience! The playthrough time frame is intended to allow anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone’s staff members and readers playing Xenoblade Chronicles as we experience Xenoblade Redefined!