Will Xenoblade Chronicles 3 be your first Xenoblade game?

Xenoblade Chronicles Direct

You have to Xeno-start somewhere

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is out this Friday, and already it’s quite a swell behind it. Monolith Soft’s latest is obviously of high interest to RPG fans, but we’re curious to see who else might finally try the series.

This third Xenoblade Chronicles game is the latest Switch game for Monolith, a company that both crafts Xeno– games and supports other projects at Nintendo. The first Xenoblade Chronicles was a big hit for the studio, bringing a massive open-world RPG to the Nintendo Wii. Its follow-up, though, proved a little more divisive. And spin-off entry Xenoblade Chronicles X is still landlocked on the Wii U.

The review embargo lifted for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 today, and the critical consensus seems keen on it. The new entry got an Essential badge over at Eurogamer, high marks at many score-giving sites, and a 9.5 here at Destructoid.

It’s reasonable to guess that some might be considering trying the series, possibly for the first time. And hello, I’m among them.

What’s in a Xeno-name?

I never got around to Xenogears, the first Xeno-prefix game made under Squaresoft. My hop-on point was later, with Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht on the PlayStation 2.

Xenosaga‘s weaving of sci-fi, religion, and bonkers robots hit the bullseye in my heart. It was a staple of my PS2 collection, and I still own a copy to this day.

So years later, when Monolith Soft and Nintendo announced a new Xeno game for the Wii, why didn’t I jump in? Well, for one, I didn’t have a Nintendo Wii. (My family did, but I didn’t get to steal that away to college.)

And once I could actually play it, the MMO-ness of it intimidated me. I’d heard stories about how it handled like an MMORPG, and after not clicking with games like World of Warcraft, I was ready to write it off.

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles 3 2

Thrice upon a time

So what changed? Well, I got really into Final Fantasy XIV, for one thing. And I’ve also long-held the opinion that if something is incredibly popular, it’s probably popular for a reason. And Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was popular enough to cause the Nintendo Store some problems with its collector’s edition.

The story also seems right up my alley, as a war conflict tale in a vast fantasy world. My biggest concern was whether familiarity with the series was necessary for jumping in. Our own Chris Carter allayed my fears with this section of his review:

“Because of the way everything funnels back into the emotional core, this isn’t a bad “first dip into the pool” if you’ve never played a Xenoblade game before. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 didn’t need to do a whole lot to keep me invested, as I was all-in very early on. The cast, the weight of the story, and the freedom of party composition are the power trio that won me over.”

But my question, readers, is simply this: Are you also dipping your toe in the Xeno-water for the first time with Xenoblade Chronicles 3? Are you a longtime Xeno-ficionado with some helpful hints and tricks? Are there still things that concern you? Let us know below!

Eric Van Allen