PAX East 2015: First Impressions—Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Three years ago, Xenoblade Chronicles was released for the Wii in North America. And now it’s been remastered as a 3D version exclusive to the New Nintendo 3DS. Is it worthwhile? Well, we got a hands-on look at it… and yet it’s hard to say if this is worthwhile for those who haven’t ventured into Xenoblade territory before.

The demo shown at the Nintendo booth was fairly trivial in terms of content, but as I said to the guy working the booth, it’s got to be hard to show off the sense of scope for a game like this with a quick 10-15m demo. If you know the story and have a general idea of how things work already, you’ll have no problem being dropped into combat—but if you’re someone who hasn’t played Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii, you don’t have time to comprehend the story and really work out the mechanics of things on the 3DS in such a short period of time.

The demo started out in a little camo, with a fast-travel feature to a few different spots. I had a party of three (including the highly recognizable Shulk) and we took on a variety of enemies and monsters. Without previous experience in this game, it wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped to pick up the controls, but notably no one in my party died, so I think it’d become more intuitive with some progression. For example, after selecting an option to use in battle, it fades until you can use it again—and it’s clear on the screen, which was very helpful, but took a moment to get used to without a tutorial to explain that’s what was happening.

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But that’s not what you’re here for, right? No, veterans to Xenoblade want to know about the graphics. When compared to the Wii version, they aren’t better, but they’re just as good. It looked great, as one might expect for a Wii game on a handheld, without losing any of the dynamics of seeing it on a larger screen.

Perhaps the best feature here—and the thing the guy working the demo booth was incredibly excited about—is that this massive game is now portable. The Wii version was great, but still a huge game that required an exorbitant time investment. It’s not always easy to find the time to sit down and make time to play it, so having the game on a portable system means you can play it on your own time, whenever you have the time. Half hour on lunch break? Go ahead and play! Waiting in line at the DMV? Go for it!

Newcomers to the series, perhaps find someone else who loves the game and chat with them about why they love it before investing, especially if you’re on the fence—but do it soon, because Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is out on April 10th!

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Dave
Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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