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What You Need to Know Before Playing Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

By Yannis

Despite having far fewer games than other JRPG series like Final Fantasy, Xenoblade Chronicles has a storied history. As has been the case with its predecessors, the latest entry in the series will have heavy influences from previous titles.

From gameplay elements to narrative points, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is shaping up to be a natural follow-up to everything Monolith Studios has learned over the years.

With that in mind, there are a few things you need to know before picking up the game so let’s dive in.

A Darker Story

The Xenoblade series has always skirted the line between being lighthearted and serious. Xenoblade Chronicles 3, though, may be leaning a bit more towards the darker side because of its central theme.

The six protagonists are part of two distinct nations locked in a timeless war against each other. Like all of the soldiers on either side, they have only 10 years to live. When they ultimately band together through the story, it’s clear that each character is at a different point in their life cycle.

This has the potential to lead to a lot of deep themes about what it means to be alive. The trailers so far have also implied that there’s a deep conspiracy afoot so we may be looking at some incredibly heart-wrenching moments in this game.

Connections to Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is looking like a direct sequel to the titles that came before it. Despite having an all-new cast of characters, a fresh new map to explore, and entirely new narrative themes, there are aspects that tie them all together.

It’s been heavily hinted that the Titans have died out so this implies that the events of the third game take place long after 1 and 2.

We’ve also seen the High Entia Melia and Nia appear in the trailers so we know that at least there are ties to the original Xenoblade Chronicles.

Another important key fact is that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 ended with all characters winding up in a different world from their own. Covered in a vast sea, this new place had a striking resemblance to the one found in the original game. This all makes it possible that characters like Rex, Shulk, and their respective comrades may make an appearance somehow.

A Vast Map to Explore

If you’re new to Xenoblade Chronicles, then you’ll need to know about how its game world works. At the heart of the series lies exploration and that’s looking like it’s going to be a bigger part than ever in the upcoming game.

What’ll immediately strike you is how impressive the map around you looks. Each segment of the world will have distinct color palettes and a terrain that makes it feel distinct and intriguing. You’ll be exploring a wide grassy valley and then suddenly find yourself scaling a steep mountain.

Exploring the world is always rewarding in Xenoblade Chronicles as well. Apart from gathering materials and finding items, the series has always made it a point to hide challenging adversaries.

At the same time, you’ll want to check a few of your past open-world RPG experiences at the door. While you’ll typically have pockets of enemies around you that are close to your level, it’s not uncommon to see high-level foes mixed in as well. For instance, there was a giant gorilla-like elite enemy right smack in the middle of what you’d perceive to be the newbie zone of Xenoblade 2.

Complex and Rewarding Combat

The cornerstone element of the Xenoblade Chronicles series is its combat. From the very first game, the series has always employed a unique, multi-layered combat system that’s an experimenter's dream.

For the uninitiated, Xenoblade’s combat is in fact static. Despite appearances, there’s no action combat going on here at all. That doesn’t mean, though, that getting into scuffles against the game’s various creatures and bosses isn’t an active affair.

At its most basic, you’ll be using a mix of auto-attacks and Arts to deal damage. The next layer is comboing between your party members. Most Arts will have a property, such as Break, Topple, and Launch. By following up each status with another, you’ll create powerful Chains that buff your damage further and open up more mechanics, such as Fusion Arts and Ouroboros transformations.

Hero System

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is going to include yet another nod to past games, specifically its direct predecessor.

The Hero system is strikingly similar to Blades from Xenoblade 2 in that they’re NPCs that fight in tandem with your party. It’s like having a seventh party member you can’t control but will undoubtedly support your group’s strategy.

Each Hero will have their own distinct abilities and class. For instance, War Medic Valdi will provide heals and buffs to the party, while Juniper will deal damage from afar and focus on attacking from enemy blind spots, potentially leading to easier chain combos. There are Twelves heroes confirmed so far, but there’s speculation that we’ll be seeing more.

The Return of Gem Crafting

A key feature of Xenoblade Chronicles 1, Gem Crafting will be making a triumphant return in the upcoming third installment.

As you’d expect, these Gems are items that can enhance the capabilities of your characters. They provide added benefits such as increased attributes and a boost to the duration of status effects.

By gathering materials and paying a fee, you can craft these gems and upgrade them to power up your party and take your strategy to the next level. Gems come in four different colors, Red, Green, Blue, and Orange.

Gem Crafting in the original Xenoblade felt somewhat convoluted. Fortunately, the limited information we have seems to show that the process of crafting will be a lot more straightforward in Xenoblade 3.

The Expansion Pass and Past Games

This leads to the next thing you to know and that is the already revealed Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Expansion Pass. Like with the second game, it’s been revealed that this pass will contain a smorgasbord of extra content from the game, including new stories, items, modes, and other goodies.

What’s more important to note is that the cover art for the pass features all three main swords from each mainline game. Part of the feature set of the pass includes new heroes so what’s safe to assume is that either Shulk, Rex, or both will be selectable Heros in the game later down the line.

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