Over a month later, and I’m finally done! I’ve completed Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition! And I can say with confidence that it lived up to that title!
The original XC was one of my favorite games of all time. It means so much to me that I actually cried when they announced this version! Naturally, I lunged on it the moment the preorder became available. Similarly, I started playing the instant my Switch would let me. I literally sat there trying over and over for an hour until it let me!
I’m like a fucking dog begging to go for a walk, aren’t I? Point is, I love this shit! Expectations going into it were high!
And I was not disappointed!
Story: Reclaiming Home
I’ve already reviewed the original game’s story, so I won’t bother doing it again. Long story short, it’s really good; I love every character and it explores some interesting themes about whether we need gods, among other things. Now, let’s talk about the new stuff: Future Connected.
One year after the end of the original story, Shulk and Melia take the Junks up to the Bionis shoulder (which is still floating there for some reason) to find the High Entia capital: Alcomoth. When they arrive, they’re knocked out of the sky by a strange black laser. After some exploring, they find out from a small band of survivors that the city’s been conquered by the mysterious Fog King, a seemingly unstoppable monster that can’t even be hurt. Now Shulk and Melia, along with stowaway Nopon Kino and Nene (Riki’s kids), must find a way to defeat the Fog King and reclaim the High Entia homeland!
While I certainly wouldn’t say this story is bad, it is still a huge downgrade from the first story. The villains are significantly less interesting, the conflict just kind of ends without any answers, and most of the characters didn’t even need to be there. It has a satisfying ending and some great character development for Melia. But all in all, it was only okay.
My main complaint is the characters. Aside from Melia and some new characters, none of them needed to be there! Shulk’s only role was ‘get a weapon that kills the final boss’. Kino and Nene are fun, decently written characters (if you partake in the Quiet Moments; we’ll get to that), but they contribute nothing to the plot! Why is the only member of my party that matters Melia?!
Granted, Melia’s stuff is great! Her arc picks up right from the last game and gives her a proper, satisfying resolution! This is the story of her stepping up to plate and becoming a true empress and it’s amazing! Granted, I might be biased; Melia is my favorite character by a landslide. But let it be known: she is phenomenal in this story!
The villains, however… no. Just no. The Fog King has literally no character; it’s just a silent, faceless monster with no motivations or personality whatsoever. The other villain is so predictable and boring that he gets relegated to a side quest before the end! I don’t even need to compare them to the original villains (who are all amazing, by the way); even on their own, these villains are kind of pathetic.
It doesn’t help that the story just kind of… ends. The minor conflicts are resolved in a satisfying way, but it does end too quickly. The epilogue is incredibly satisfying and I’ll fully admit it brought a tear to my eye, so no complaints there. But the resolution of the Fog King and the Rift? None. There’s no answer to any of the questions hanging over our heads from the beginning. It just ends.
Well, I guess it makes sense. If you can’t surpass Metal Face, Egor, or Zanza, you may as well just avoid trying.
This story is pretty rough around the edges. But it is still enjoyable! Watching Melia come into her own is incredibly satisfying! It makes the whole thing well worth the purchase!
That, and getting to replay the old story again. And the gameplay improvements. And the next part.
Presentation: Better Models, Lower Resolution
Normally, I don’t talk about resolution. I never even bother, cause I never usually care. But in this case, I do think it’s worth mentioning. This game can look a bit… blurry for lack of a better word. Especially in portable mode, though that one makes more sense.
Aside from that one, this is a huge improvement! The character models are much cleaner, especially in their faces; they don’t look like mud anymore! Some of the clothing textures look the same, but they still look decent. The environments are much more detailed, the enemies look great, everything here looks amazing!
My personal favorite is the music. This game features a few remade tracks from the original game. While I do still love the original tracks, these remakes are all incredible! Plus, all the new tracks introduced in Future Connected are amazing! It’s absolutely amazing!
Still, it is a Switch game. If you’re expecting something like a PS5 game, you’re looking in the wrong place. I was about to say it’s one of the better-looking games on the system; but then I remembered that Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild all exist on this thing. So… I kinda can’t.
Gameplay: Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke
In case you were worried, rest assured. It’s still Xenoblade Chronicles. They’ve just made a few gameplay adjustments to improve the quality of life.
The biggest one for me is the side quests. I can actually track them now! Everything you need is marked on your map, so you can actually tell where to go and what to do! It makes side questing so much easier and less time-consuming!
It’s also a much cleaner game. The menus have been cleaned up, making them much easier to read and navigate. Navigation has been made significantly easier, as you don’t need to follow a fickle, ever-changing arrow anymore. Plus, if you aren’t a fan of the messy armor from eight different sets, you can customize what each one looks like! It’s just so much easier to work with!
Now, it is worth noting that the Future Connected stuff has some changes. For one, you can’t see the future anymore. Nor can you use Link Attacks; in their stead are the Nopon Ponspectors, a group of Nopon you gather through side-quests. These guys can heal you, stun the enemy, or just do a massive amount of damage. While gathering them is a huge pain in the ass, it’s absolutely worth it; not only do they do a ton of damage, but the animations that come with them are amazing!
And… yeah, that’s about it. Aside from those few changes, it’s still the exact same game. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. In fact, I’d argue that’s a good one! If they’d try to change too much, people would have thrown a fit!
Myself included, of course. Hell, I’d be leading the charge!
What more do I need to say? It’s Xenoblade fucking Chronicles! It’s one of the greatest RPGs of all time, except now you can play it on the toilet and there’s more stuff in it! What more could you want?!
Buy this game! If you’re a long-time fan, get it and play the new stuff. If you’re a newcomer, jump on the hype train with me! This is a game I don’t think anyone should miss! It is a true modern classic, one that I’ll happily play time and time again for years to come!
Because I need some excuse not to play Xenoblade 2.
*Sigh*… I’ll get around to it. Eventually. Probably.