Welcome to The Starlight Megaphone‘s playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Monolith Soft’s sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, released exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on 29 July 2022.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the highly-anticipated sequel to a blockbuster title which was released early in the life of the Nintendo Switch. The success of the preceding game was so significant that Monolith Soft had to undertake significant expansion in order to build on audience expectations for a sequel, culminating in this most recent title on the Nintendo Switch. Pre-sales and early reviews have been so positive that Monolith Soft has already confirmed a DLC expansion and plans for future Xenoblade titles.
The worldwide release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 continues to build upon a series which goes from strength to strength. The original game experienced significant success and interest (sufficient to generate an eventually successful localisation campaign in the form of Operation Rainfall). Later, the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was attended by rave reviews and instantaneous fan accolades. To this day, it remains one of the standards by which Switch games are judged. Now, Monolith Soft has pushed the boundararies of expectations once again with the latest game in the Xenoblade series.
Although Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes place in the same universe as the other games in the Xenoblade Chronicles series, the link between the games remains somewhat unclear ahead of a deep dive into the storyline of the third title. The series developers have indicated that future games in the series will draw upon this connexion, so Xenoblade Chronicles 3 may well elaborate upon the shared world in some detail. Key to all of the games so far have been blades–whether in the form of the Monado or the multiple ‘Blades’ of the second game. The third game will almost certainly continue the tradition, which has become as identifiable as Final Fantasy’s summons and Dragon Quest’s slimes.
As in earlier Xenoblade Chronicles games, the battle system relies on a high degree of player mobility, with various moves intended to be used from the front, sides, and rear of an enemy. AI is designed to help control multiple party members with a relatively high degree of competence. However, all of the characters are completely customisable. The new system is rumoured to be as complicated or even more complicated than that found in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which will prove tantalising for technical gamers who are interested in deep and synergistic combat systems.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 promises to be as vast as the previous games in the series, but the earlier games both did a fine job of establishing the setting before throwing the player into the vast expanse of the world. Certainly, this latest game will also have a world replete with opportunities that award exploration: plants to harvest, minerals to delve, secret enemies to find, and treasure waiting to be found, all in addition to the game’s numerous sidequests and forthcoming DLC. In many ways, the content of Xenoblade Chronicles titles are on the scale of that found in top-shelf MMORPGs, and the presentation is suggestive of that approach as well. Although the main story of the Xenoblade games can usually be completed in the typical thirty-to-sixty-hour JRPG timeframe, the additional content pushed the earlier games well over a hundred hours, and that will be true of this third title as well.
Please use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, strategies and content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you believe that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will set the standard for epic JRPGs on the Switch? Do you prefer this latest title to the preceding games? Do you find the battle system liberating, or too complicated? What sorts of changes would you make to the game? What features would you add or remove? 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 by 16 September 2022. 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 encourage other players to complete the game, and it will guide us to know when it is time to close our playthrough. Please also make use of our official Discord channel, where we have an #events channel dedicated to playthrough chat.
Please join in with us and comment about your experience! Our playthrough is intended to encourage anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the genre. Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone‘s staff members and readers in XenoSummer, Part II: a Xenoblade Chronicles 3 playthrough!