Lately, the voice of the so-called “gamers” has become one of the most negative and sour aspects of all this wonderful medium, forming strong hate campaigns without any kind of justification or sense against different productions. This, of course, tells us a lot about the current state of society and how it is that it constantly searches for exhaust valves everywhere, regardless of the way in which the work and life of other people may be affected. If you review history, you can see that this terrible phenomenon is actually quite new, because a few years ago, that same voice had a completely different face and managed to make companies make events that seemed impossible come true. An example of the above was the famous Operation Rainfall, a fan initiative that managed to get three fabulous Wii RPGs that were not considered for our region, to arrive fully located, we are talking about The Last Story, Pandora’s Tower and of course, the legendary Xenoblade Chronicles.
The latter was the one that quickly began to gain a very special place among Japanese RPG enthusiasts, as it carried an important pedigree, basically being the rebirth of the so-called Xeno Saga of Tetsuya Takahashi that, at the end of the years Nineties blew our minds in that golden age of RPG on the PlayStation. Yes, we could definitely consider Xenoblade Chronicles to be part of that royalty within the genre, thanks to the very special way in which it came to pose a completely different approach in combat and narrative themes, falling deeply in love with its world and characters. By its very nature, its circulation on the Wii after it was launched in April 2012 in our region was extremely limited, causing many to miss it. After the poorly accomplished port of New Nintendo 3DS, the Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition has finally arrived on the Switch, which definitely lives up to its name.
What is Xenoblade Chronicles?
Before going on to tell you in a timely manner what this Definitive Edition adds and improves, I think it is important to clearly define what Xenoblade Chronicles is, since I am completely sure that for many it will be their first time with this game or even with the saga.
As I was saying, Xenoblade Chronicles was born from the so-called Xeno Saga games, an RPG franchise that after seven games between 1998 and 2006, was completely shut down because in reality, it never had a commercial takeoff. Don’t get me wrong, the series is extremely important to Japanese role-playing games and its artistic contributions are invaluable, however, it never found its market outside of the Japanese island. At the moment that Nintendo acquires Monolith Soft, the idea is raised to bring back to the saga under a new concept, same that had already been conceived by Takahashi himself under the name of Monado: Beginning of the World. Nintendo was fascinated with the idea and decided to finance the new Monolith game, only adding the term “Xeno” and “Blade” to honor the work of Takahashi, in addition to “Chronicles” for marketing issues and thus “Xenoblade” was born. Chronicles ”.
But hey, what kind of video game does Xenoblade Chronicles represent? To not make the story so long, I tell you that we are facing a very dense RPG. Yes, this is a title that is definitely not intended for newbies or new players of the genre. Xenoblade Chronicles represents all that complexity that many have always distanced from this form of video game. The number of pieces that are moving around all of its mechanics is truly overwhelming and generally causes quite a bit of confusion even among the most experienced. Despite having very clear tutorials, it is easy for you to overlook something and not understand why it is that you are not playing well. If you add to all this a gigantic world and history that will take at least 90 hours to complete, you have as a result the JRPG stereotype extremely difficult to digest.
I don’t want to dig too deep into how Xenoblade Chronicles behaves like an RPG, as this is a review of its Definitive Edition, not the base title as such. However, I can tell you that we are facing a game that comes to put on the table completely new and fresh combat ideas. No, we are not facing a traditional turn-based RPG, but neither are we facing an action RPG. The way the game works is completely different from any of its similar ones. That’s why when you watch gameplay in a video without context, you just don’t understand anything of what’s going on in a battle.
In Xenoblade Chronicles you take control of a Party of up to three characters, however you are only in direct control of one of them. Our individual launches regular attacks automatically as long as he is within acceptable range of the enemy. Our work as players rather comes to order when and how to use their different arts or special attacks. These movements have a cool down and sometimes conditions to be able to be used again, in addition to which they usually generate different effects. The way, and especially the order in which you execute them, will turn out to be crucial to obtain or not the victory.
All this brings me to the topic of chain attacks. The affinity of our Party is a very important element. Every time you hit a hit correctly, this stat goes up and at a certain point allows you to make a chain attack, where you have to order each member of your team what art to use. The interesting thing is that for this whole process to be truly effective, your attacks must make sense among themselves; that is, if you start with a movement that does physical damage, the best thing to do is accompany it with two others that have the same type of damage. We also have to, for example, stun an enemy, you must use a series of related arts. Yes, it is a game in which strategy is everything and in which you must understand very well its rules if you want to progress.
Sound complicated? I would be surprised if it were not. Of course, those who have already enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will understand much better what I am talking about. The above just leads me to several of the most constant questions “Can I enter Xenoblade Chronicles if I only played two?” Or “Is it a good idea to play Xenoblade Chronicles now if I have never tried the series before?” We go in parts. If you played Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and you liked it, then the answer would be yes, you definitely have to play Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, you are going to love it. Although the combat is similar, it is not completely the same. The one in this title may be more difficult to understand than the one in its sequel, which could be clearer about how its also complex machinery worked.
Moving on to the second question, I would tell you to be careful because, as I was saying, we are facing a very dense RPG. If you have experience with the genre and have the humor to learn many, but many new things, you will surely like it. If, on the other hand, you don’t usually play RPG titles and the whole topic of spending a lot of time reading complicated tutorials and understanding for yourself how many parts of the game work, I think it would be a better idea to stay away, Well, you may run into a great wall of frustration that will give you a hard time. Xenoblade Chronicles is and still is a title for advanced players.
It’s also very important to note that as a franchise, Xenoblade Chronicles closely resembles Final Fantasy or The Legend of Zelda. I say this because in reality, there is no direct relationship between their games. Sure, they share elements and mythologies, but they’re actually separate products, so it doesn’t matter much where you start.
On the side of the story, Xenoblade Chronicles presents us with an extremely epic story that is very difficult not to fall in love with, thanks to a very well-achieved consistency and character development that is rarely seen in between. Here we take control of a young man named Shulk, who, for reasons unknown at first, has the power to control a legendary weapon known as the Monado, which is the only answer humanity has against a machine race called Mechons. who wants to exterminate it. The conflict dates back thousands of years where two Titans, who are basically the worlds we live in, faced each other in a battle to the death. The plot may not sound very original, however, I assure you that the way it is built, has a very unique and enjoyable personality.
Substantial improvements in all sections
Now, since we have described in a fairly general way what type of video game Xenoblade Chronicles is, it seems to me that it is prudent to go on to talk much more in depth about the changes and modifications that this Definitive Edition puts before us, which are mainly focused on Presentation and Quality of Life themes to make our tours of these massive stages a little more bearable.
Let’s start with what is probably what interests most most: the visual and sound presentation of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. After the bad results that were had in the New 3DS, the expectation to finally have a truly improved version of this fabulous RPG, was quite high. I am happy to tell you that the objectives have been fully met, although I think that you should bear in mind a couple of things that we present below so that you do not form a mistaken idea of the type of product you will be receiving.
At least to my understanding, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is a remastering of a game originally released in Japan in 2010. What I mean by this is that we are not facing a much deeper treatment that the title of remake could give it. The general geometry of the game, textures and animations, remain the same as that of the original title, not to mention that its entire structure, gameplay of other elements, also remain intact. What was done with this new version was an excellent scaling job in high definition, as well as a re-recording of your amazing music and the addition of interface improvements that I’ll talk about later.
Understanding that we are still facing a 2010 game, I tell you that Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition runs at 30 frames per second very stable and at a resolution of 720p when you have the Switch in TV mode connected to the dock. Despite the fact that we do have modeling that we could currently consider simple, the graphics of the game in general look sensationally well, with bright colors and very sharp edges. When you switch to portable mode, the performance of the game is kept in a very good way, that is, the frames per second continue at 30 even in times of much action. What does suffer is the issue of resolution, which is clearly not 720p (some sources claim that the resolution is 540p). I don’t know exactly which one it is, but it is certainly lower, because it shows a somewhat blurred image. Nothing too dramatic, but I think Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is designed to be played on the biggest TV you have at home.
Yes, the super stiff animations of the time remain and on more than one occasion you will have to see not so complex geometry and little detailed textures, because I repeat, we are facing a remastering of a game originally released 10 years ago. Speaking of remastering, I tell you that all the music was recorded from scratch and the result is impressive. In itself, Xenoblade Chronicles was already super highlighted in this section, but now, everything sounds much better. It is a real delight to hear any of the multiple pieces that accompany this epic adventure.
Moving on to the many quality of life improvements that come with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, I would like to tell you about the one I have enjoyed the most, the quest tracker. Xenoblade Chronicles is an overwhelming game not only for its complex combat system and imposing scenarios, but also for the gigantic number of sidequests that are presented to us. Throughout your adventure, you will come across dozens of NPCs that will entrust you with all kinds of tasks. In the original version of the game, it was a real nightmare to keep track of what you needed to complete these important tasks, which in addition to giving you resources and items, give you important experience that helps you not to have to grind as much. Well, now, automatically, on the map you are marked where is what you need to complete those assignments, even a dotted line is put on the mini map to know where to go. It is also very simple to switch between the side quest that you have active, and that of the main story.
This may take some of the adventure out of the experience for some, but I think something had to be done on interface issues to make managing so many tasks much more manageable. At least for me, it has been extremely comfortable to accept all the quests that are available without fear of forgetting them, because now the game is in charge of telling me which monsters I have to eliminate to get those materials that are being asked, for example.
Continuing with the theme of maps and interfaces, now we have to press the left analog of the control, you can display an amplified version of a part of the area in which you are. This makes navigation much simpler and saves you from having to constantly open the menu to see the map. By the way, the loading times when you do fast travel are practically non-existent. I was really very impressed. On its side, we have menus that have been rethought and redesigned in various parts so that controlling the complex Xenoblade Chronicles systems is a much simpler task. The autorun also makes an appearance and although it is not a functionality that I used, I am sure some will appreciate that Shulk can run automatically.
In combat we also have very important improvements. While that aspect of the game remains essentially the same, assists have now been added which in my opinion were completely necessary. The correct use of the arts in Xenoblade Chronicles also depends a lot on the position you are in, for example, the Shulk’s back slash does much more damage and increases the affinity of our team if it is executed just when we are on the backs of an enemy . Now, in the Definitive Edition, a symbol of admiration is placed in the art that we must use depending on the point in which we are in battle, in addition to a sign that says “Chance” appears. These are very helpful, especially with those enemies who were more difficult to know which was its rear and which the front. Another great detail is that normally before a major match, the game asks if you want to change any member of your Party.
If you get addicted to battles in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, which wouldn’t surprise me, you’ll be happy to know that additional challenges called Time Attack were added. At certain points on the map, you will encounter special icons that will transport you to an arena where there are different challenges to finish off a series of enemies before time runs out.
Finally, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition sports aesthetic items. We know that one of the problems of the original game is that many times, for loading the equipment that best suited our characters, they wore combinations of armor, clothing, etc., quite bizarre. Now, it is possible to place objects that only impact its stats but that do not affect its visual appearance and vice versa.
Maybe my only real complaint about all the changes we have in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, is that in Gallery Mode you are not given the option to listen separately to the wonderful soundtrack of the game. From there on out, I think a great job was done in improving the experience in the areas that definitely needed improvement, making it feel like the definitive edition of this RPG indeed.
A connected future
Of course, another big question about Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition has to do with how attractive it could be to those who have already spent tens of hours in any of the past versions of the Monolith Soft game. Well, as I already told you, we are actually facing exactly the same game that debuted on the Wii, however, it comes with extra content that will probably make it very attractive to some. I’m talking about Future Connected, an expansion that could be considered the equivalent of Torna: The Golden Country that we saw for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Future Connected is an epilogue to Xenoblade Chronicles, meaning it’s a story that kicks off almost right after the end of the main game’s story. It is very, very important that you are not going to try to consume this content if you have not finished the main story before, because in effect, it is possible to access it without the need to play the campaign, this of course, keeping in mind that probably, many Players don’t want to go through that whole adventure of almost 100 hours or more.
When you start Future Connected, you are presented with a video recap of the events that happened in Xenoblade Chronicles, with all the spoilers you can imagine. For this I repeat, it is not advisable to play this without having completed the main game first. Another question that I would like to clear once and for all is the one that has to do with whether it is possible to transfer your campaign progress to this expansion. The answer is no, except for aesthetic items. In Future Connected you start at level 60 with all the arts and abilities unlocked, so this could also be super counterproductive for the new ones, since the content assumes you already know how to play Xenoblade Chronicles. What I want to underline with this is that this expansion is almost completely independent of the main title.
Leaving all of the above aside, we have that in Future Connected we are presented with a completely new area called Bionis Shoulder (it is precisely the shoulder of the titan that we travel) and that in Xenoblade Chronicles it was inaccessible, in fact, representatives of Monolith revealed that the idea Original is that this area was in the main game, but that for different reasons it was cut. The design of this place is very similar to the others we have already seen, only it has the peculiarity that it is not divided into levels as such. On the map everything is presented as a plain, which, I think, invites a little more exploration. Something that I would have liked is that new flora and fauna had been introduced and not that it was only populated with creatures that we already know.
From the story I would not like to tell you too much, because it is really very easy to ruin several surprises for both Xenoblade Chronicles and Future Connected, but I can tell you that the story is mainly focused on Melia and how her actions affected the end from the main game. There has been a lot of completely understandable speculation about the title of this expansion, but I think the best thing is for you to discover for yourself what that “Connected Future” has to do with it. How about its duration? Well, it is very similar to that of Torna: The Golden Country, that is, on a normal tour, it will take you between 15 and 20 hours to complete it, which seems to me a quite adequate extension.
En el combate tenemos que todo también está prácticamente intacto, aunque se hizo un cambio muy agradable. En lugar de los chain attacks, ahora tenemos algo llamado Union Strikes. Estos movimientos especiales que se comportan de manera muy similar a los ataques en cadena, solo que ahora son ejecutados por una serie de Nopons que puedes ir reclutando por medio de divertidos side quests a lo largo y ancho de la nueva zona de Future Connected. Cada Nopon tiene una diferente clase y entre más tengas de ellos, más devastadoras son tus agresiones. Nada tan especial, pero sin duda un cambio interesante.
La pregunta del millón ¿vale la pena comprar Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition si solo me interesa jugar Future Connected? Complicado cuestionamiento sin duda. Pues si jugaste y pagaste por Torna: The Golden Country, expansión independiente de Xenoblade Chronicles 2 que se sigue vendiendo a preció casi completo, pues sabes bien más o menos a qué atenerte. A mi parecer, Future Connected es un sensacional añadido que sí aporta al ya de por sí gigantesco lore de Xenoblade Chronicles y claro, agrega varias horas extra a la titánica aventura. Espero que la descripción que te he presentado de este contenido en específico te sirva para decidir si es que estás en esta posición.
De esos juegos especiales
Xenoblade Chronicles es de esos juegos que hacen época. Es de esas aventuras que se te quedan grabadas en la memoria para siempre y de las que es verdaderamente apasionante hablar cuando hay oportunidad. Formar parte de esta llamada realeza del RPG no es sencillo y creo que Monolith Soft lo consiguió hace 10 años, trayendo de vuelta a la vida a una saga que ya había forjado su propio legado. Sin duda alguna un clásico de este tamaño merecía recibir la manita de gato que se le dio y volverse más accesible para que quien no la disfrutó en su momento, lo pueda hacer en la comodidad de un Nintendo Switch.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition es una oportunidad inmejorable para disfrutar de uno de los más grandes JRPG de todos los tiempos, seas nuevo a la serie o un veterano con muchas horas de vuelo. Lo anterior lo digo porque más allá del excelente trabajo que se hizo mejorando sustancialmente la presentación audiovisual de un juego originalmente lanzado en 2010, los encargados de este reedición entendieron perfectamente qué puntos se debían de modificar para que hacer más llevadera nuestra relación con un juego que consumirá decenas de horas de tu tiempo.