A Brief Addendum about Weird Swords

Also, a sense of looming dread at the realisation I’m going to have to expand my original recommendation.

First things first: ‘xeno‘ means strange, ‘blade’ means … blade.

And, with that in mind, allow me to quickly noted that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 came out yesterday.

A promotional image for "Xenoblade Chronicles 3."
Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Monolith Soft and Nintendo.

I’m about 5 hours in, which is enough to get a sense of how the gameplay works at the most fundamental, but not really enough sense of how either the story or the high-level gameplay is going to go.

So, it’s not really enough to write a meaningful recommendation about. Though, naturally, I feel like I’m going to have to add a section on 3 to my original recommendation of the series.

So, yay for more work for me, I guess…

Anyway, the gameplay is pretty much the same as it’s ever been. Xenobalde still feels like a single-player MMO, which is good because other people is indisputably the worst aspect of MMOs.

There are however, a few quality of life improvements and tweaks. Any character can freely switch (storyline-mandated restrictions notwithstanding) between any class, equipment is limited to one initial slot, then several more unlocked with level progression, rather than full sets of armor. Healers are more important because they’re now the only ones who can revived downed party members — sidebar: I actually really enjoy playing healers in RPGs.

Most significantly, the total number of playable party members has been raised to seven, which is tactically interesting but feels like it makes certain encounters too easy.

Also there are recruitable, non-playable “Hero” characters that are sort of like the Blades from Xenoblade 2. I only know this reading about the game and haven’t reach the point of the game where they actually get involved, so I’m unclear on how these characters actually function.

Now, in terms of the story, I think the worlds of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade 2 have somehow ended up merged together into a single universe where the two worlds are now locked in a hopeless Forever War not unlike the Mechonis and Bionis in Chronicles.

There are other callbacks and even appearances from past characters, but nothing that I think requires having played the previous games. Xenoblade games have pretty high-concept, convoluted plots dealing with pretty deep philosophical ideas that are pretty hard to understand irrespective of knowledge of the previous games.

Also, I’m convinced that the main character’s fat, inept childhood friend who seemingly died will end up turning out to be one of the major bad guys.

If that is what happens, please don’t get mad at me for spoilering you. I’m predicting this is how it’s going to go based solely on my past experience with the series and with anime in general.

Also, because, it’s exactly how I would write it…

Finally, I haven’t heard much of the soundtrack yet, but 3 has so far continued the trend of strong soundtracks. 3 seems to be more flute-centric, given that the two protagonists have plot-relevant roles as people who essentially put the souls of the recent dead to rest by playing flutes.

But, anyway: so far, so good.

I’ll report back with a more substantial, um, report when I’ve gotten deeper into the game.

And then add a section to my Xenoblade recommendation about 3.

So, yay for more work for me, I guess…


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