Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Walkthough

Posted by

Large-scale Japanese RPG, disappointing in both story and gameplay

The first Xenoblade Chronicles was an ingenious, outstanding JRPG. She proposed an original setting, woven MMORPG mechanics into the JRPG, linking them together with the rest of the game into a harmonious whole. It was the last truly innovative JRPG: alas, its sequels took only steps back. Among them is Xenoblade Chronicles 3 .

Two countries, Keves and Agnus, are at war for no reason, no reason, no beginning and no end. Their population – all soldiers – emerge from test tubes as teenagers, with a lifespan of ten years. But only a few survive to this age – and honorary farewells – most die on the battlefield, and their vital energy goes to the victorious side.

Soldiers from both sides live in small colonies, each of which is actually a row of tents near a giant robot. In the center of which is the Fire Clock, a device that absorbs the energy of dead enemies. If the colony’s soldiers don’t kill enough, then its clock runs out, the center sends it fewer resources, and it becomes more and more difficult to survive.

During one of the sorties, three soldiers of Keves collide with three of Agnus. Their battle is interrupted by a representative of a third party: he gives them the superpower of Ouroboros and explains that there is no need for them to fight, because they have a common enemy, against which it is necessary to rally. This enemy is the Mobius, eternal creatures that feed on the energy of the Fire Clock and control both warring countries. The Moebiuses immediately turn the heroes into outcasts, forcing them to unite and go around the world in search of answers.

And this journey turns out to be extremely routine. The heroes quickly find out that Noah’s unique supersword is capable of destroying the Fire Clock, without which the colonies lose all value for the Mobius, and spend much of their time liberating the settlements of Keves and Agnus. This liberation follows the same pattern each time: the heroes get to know the commander of the colony, find out what he needs, help him out, and then beat the local Mobius, who runs the colony like a gray cardinal. After that, they break the Clock and get the commander for themselves as a guest character.

This pattern is played with minor discrepancies a good dozen times. Of these, only four are obligatory in the plot (?), but the general pattern of events hits the sense of adventure very hard. However, the setting itself is not particularly conducive to it: it is initially fictitious, artificial, superficial. It has nothing but two countries with a bunch of colonies and an endless, senseless war that no one is really happy about. There is no history, no culture: one colony collects robots, while the other hunts and gardens – these are all their differences. Over time, you realize that you won’t meet anything interesting ahead.

The landscapes themselves are not very attractive either. The first two parts had a concept: their events unfolded on the bodies of huge titans, and each location had its own peculiarity. The setting of the third one combines both of the previous ones into some kind of shapeless mass without zest, without any charm of its own. He has nothing to captivate, nothing to surprise. Especially in light of the fact that many locations look like analogues from past parts and are inhabited by the same fauna.

The characters in Xenoblade 3 talk a lot, and that’s why it’s especially striking that they have absolutely nothing to say. After all, they are artificially created entities that knew nothing but war, and began to think independently only after they became outcasts for the whole world by the will of fate. In such conditions, in fact, the only thing that they can find in their biographies is the cliché “a friend tragically sacrificed himself for me”: it occurs here several times, and everything is usually exhausted by it.

But the worst thing is that the game goes out of its way, trying to squeeze emotions out of the player with all the grace and talent of David Cage, dressed in feathers. The first victim of the Möbius is a friend of the heroes, who had just a couple of days left until his “retirement”. The commander of one of the colonies, before the eyes of the heroes, assembles a robot, which in the very next scene is smashed by the villain – to the loud sobs of the commander. In another colony, the villain disguises himself as one of the ordinary inhabitants of the colony – so that the fight with him goes under tears. The hysteria of the narrative far exceeds any previous Xenoblade title, and that’s not a compliment.

The staging also tries to increase the drama of each scene – using the same clumsy methods. It is worth sounding some phrase, even if it is not interesting in any way, as the camera shows a close-up of the face of some hero who gasps loudly. In special situations, all six gasp in turn: the lines are interrupted, the stage helpfully waits until each hero makes the appropriate sound. Or, for example, someone delivers a fiery speech: it is imperative that between remarks another character looks at him and says his name – pathos, with ellipsis. And nothing more: like, he was so shocked by what he said that there were no words.

The above would be appropriate in some major story scene with world-changing revelations, but the writers and directors of Xenoblade 3 have neither taste nor sense of proportion, and therefore the characters gasp pathetically and become speechless in every second scene. If you drink every time one of these two things happens, you’ll plant your liver by the end of the game.

After all, the timing of cutscenes in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is more than a dozen hours, although important events in it can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The authors of the game do not hesitate to repeat themselves, chew on the same thing, pour pathetic monologues that set the teeth on edge again and again. It’s like watching a bad tokusatsu series, the authors of which think that the content of the previous series has already been forgotten by itself. This is especially painful to see, given that the game’s writer/director Tetsuya Takahashi created Xenogears in the 90s, a JRPG that is still unsurpassed in the quality of the script and the staging of important and dramatic scenes. From a masterpiece for all time to this vulgar, passable, third-rate anime – how ?! Why?!

Many will rightly note that Xenoblade was pretty anime in terms of script and production from the first part, but most of the problems described above were not in it. And in general, from the sequels I want to develop the best ideas of the original, and not exacerbate its problems. And it turns out exactly that: literally every shortcoming of the first part of the third has been preserved and multiplied. Including the gameplay.

The combat system of Xenoblade Chronicles was heavily inspired by MMORPGs. Each of the heroes plays a specific role: damage dealers deal a lot of damage, tanks keep the attention of enemies, and healers maintain the team’s health. Instead of the usual JRPG MP system, skills in Xenoblade have different cooldown times; in addition to them, the heroes constantly inflict auto-attacks on the enemy, if they are close enough to him.

The battles take place in real time, and only one character can be controlled: the rest of the team members make decisions automatically. As the battle progresses, the chain attack scale fills up: when it is activated, the battle is paused, and the heroes get the opportunity to make several moves in a row, for example, to wind a chain of debuffs on the enemy and inflict a lot of damage.

This applies to all parts of the series. And you probably already guessed what the cross-cutting problem of Xenoblade Chronicles is: if you control only one hero, then the rest, under the control of AI, will not always act optimally. Final Fantasy XII showed the whole world how to use gambits to achieve the ideal behavior of the entire team in this case, but not everyone, alas, wound it on their mustache. So yes, there were moments in Xenoblade Chronicles when teammates did stupid things.

But only in XC1 there were only two characters under AI control in battle. And in XC3 there are SIX of them. Instead of allowing the player to subjugate this chaos, the developers tripled it. In a team of three characters, you could learn to follow what was happening – for example, by animations and cries of heroes. In a team of seven, an endless Babylon is going on: an unintelligible hodgepodge of screams, effects, arrows, circles with buffs. It’s impossible to follow, it’s impossible to control. If you win, congratulations, your contribution to this victory is 1/7. If you lose, try to understand who is your weakest link and what went wrong. You cannot slow down the battle or put it on a tactical pause.

As for chain attacks, they were deeply optional in XC1: opponents could be defeated without them, while maintaining a gauge for other things, such as resurrecting fallen heroes and warning teammates of an impending attack. There are no warnings in XC3, only healers can resurrect (if they died, consider everything is lost), and chain attacks do incomparably more damage than simple ones.

In XC3, there is another way to twist the damage to the maximum: use the power of Ouroboros. Then two characters from a pair turn into uh … some kind of robot for a short time. The longer the Ouroboros scale accumulates, the longer you can stay in this form. At the maximum level, you can use this form in a chain attack for absolutely prohibitive damage.

And instead of better balancing normal moves and enhanced ones, the developers simply turned the health of bosses and special monsters to the maximum. When simple attacks inflict several thousand damage, and one chain with Ouroboros deals a million, the choice becomes obvious: either gnaw at the enemy for half an hour, or repeat the same tactics over and over again, the same sequence of actions. Listen to the same chain attack music, choose the same commands of the same characters. Dozens of times. Hundreds.

For the role-playing system, XC3 decided to borrow the class system familiar from many parts of the Final Fantasy series. Each character, both main and guest, has its own profession with a set of passive skills and combat skills. Six heroes can choose any profession they like and, having mastered it at a certain level, they get the opportunity to use her chosen passives and skills for other classes.

So, each hero can take three skills of his current class and three “strangers” into battle. At first, the highlight of the combat is the need to activate moves in time with auto-attacks: this cancels the long transition between two animations and saves up the chain attack bar. But the main task appears a little later: if the skills opposite each other in the interface have rolled back and are available at the same time, they can be activated at the same time, charging the Ouroboros scale at the same time. So, this is the only way skills should be applied: this is the most profitable. Why even think about what technique does, if the effect of their combined use is more important than themselves?

On the class system, the compliments to the role-playing system end. Equipment, so familiar to RPGs, has disappeared almost completely – only accessories remained in XC3. The relationship between the characters is not pumped, it is impossible to give gifts to each other, as in the first part. There aren’t even Achievements here.

The developers tried to sacrifice the number of quests for the sake of their quality, but the result is still not enough stars from the sky. In XC1, numerous quests could be collected in an armful in each settlement, receiving small rewards as the locations were cleared. In XC3, in order to take even one quest, you need to find NPCs talking to each other in the colony, eavesdrop on their conversation, go to the dining room or to the fire, discuss what you heard, and only then the quest will appear in the list. So it is necessary to do with each task, even completely prosaic and banal.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 as a whole has a huge problem rewarding the player for their work. This problem is especially aggravated by the lack of equipment: why rummage through the corners of the caves, why kill powerful unique monsters, if you definitely won’t be able to get new cool clothes for them? Fountains of loot gush from the chests, but there is no joy from it: I have no idea what these items are and why I need them. Sell? Why, if there is absolutely nothing to buy in the game? Once every ten hours, a new accessory will be found that will give a 30% increase in the characteristic instead of 25% – that’s the whole joy.

Yes, and all these things can be completely ignored. I didn’t buy anything from shops, I didn’t care about my team composition (other than the default 2 tank, 2 healer, and 2 dps), skills, or trinket selection: I hit the “do it all for me” button and it worked. Just like in battles, I don’t have to do anything, and outside of them.

The reason for such an excessive simplicity of the game is the huge amount of experience that falls on the team. By doing less than a quarter of all the quests and just walking around the world, I instantly began to overtake the story quests by five levels, and by the end of the game the gap exceeded ten. And since XC3 steps on all the old rakes, the levels here are of great importance, much more than the skills of the heroes or the player himself. So most of the passage I just missed.

However, the fact that the levels are very important, there is a downside. At the beginning of the game, when I had not yet had time to level up, I faced a boss who was only three levels higher than me – a trifling matter in general in theory. Yes, but my heroes in half the cases missed him with auto-attacks, without which the skills of Agnus’ soldiers do not accumulate. Including healers. Losing a protracted battle, because at the right moment, due to randomness, the healers simply did not have the means to treat, is not enough fun, as you understand. But they raised several levels, and immediately another thing.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 did not develop any of the ideas of the first part, but exacerbated absolutely all of its shortcomings. In the script and staging, this is a ridiculous and overly snotty anime, in the setting – a faceless repetition of past parts, in battles – either an unbearable burden, or a repetition of the same scenario for mega-damage. Even the soundtrack has dipped noticeably and can only please with a few combat themes. Yes, it’s one of the prettiest games on the Switch, but in every really important aspect, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a crushing disappointment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *