Destructoid’s award for Best Switch Game of 2022 goes to…

Destructoid’s award for Best Switch Game of 2022 goes to…

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

I talk about this often in reviews, but one of my favorite parts of the gig is playing games in complete isolation. When the discourse starts with some games it’s impossible to escape, but there’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a massive JRPG in utter silence and taking it all in. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was one of my favorite of those experiences in recent memory: which is why I’m not surprised it’s winning our award for best Switch game of 2022.

Once it actually came out, it was amazing to see the positive reactions folks had, especially the connections many forged with the really strong sidequests and diversions. It’s one thing for a JRPG to give us a strong cast and engaging narrative; but it’s another thing entirely to ensure that the same amount of care is employed from top to bottom.

For me, it was the focus on the cast that did it. Juggling a large party (both mechanically and thematically) is a tall order, but I really connected with every single main character here; and found myself invested in their individual part in the story, on top of their personal relationships. Little moments like witnessing everyone enjoy themselves together helped augment the more tense parts of the narrative: of which there were many. While many JRPGs nail that thematic aspect, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 backed it up with gameplay too.

Xenoblade isn’t shy about including modern tweaks to the RPG formula, but this entry added a ton of quality of life features that expanded upon things the series itself had done previously. My absolute favorite part of the game was the ease of the job system: I spent more time experimenting and maxing out each and every job (including the secret ones) than I have in my 30+ year history with the genre, which is saying something. The synergistic way in which leveling jobs can feed into other opportunities for party members was not only thematic, but fun to engage with.

I’ve said time and time again that Monolith Soft doesn’t get enough credit. But with Xenoblade Chronicles 3, it feels like they finally got there. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Even though this award is honoring Xenoblade, Kirby deserves a shoutout too

Funnily enough, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 wasn’t actually neck and neck with Bayonetta 3 as I expected! Instead, we had to hold a staff runoff between Xenoblade and Kirby and the Forgotten Land. And that was pretty close! The power of Kirby in 2022 is undeniable.

In any case, Nintendo had a few heavy-hitters in 2022, both from a critical and commercial standpoint (Pokemon Scarlet & Violet fit under that latter category). With a new Fire Emblem and Zelda game on the horizon in 2023, it seems like next year could be even more fruitful for them.

Chris Carter
EIC, Reviews Director - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step in January of 2009 blogging on the site. Now, he's staff!