Author Topic: Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed (Switch) Review  (Read 712 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline John Rairdin

  • Director
  • NWR Staff Pro
  • Score: 3
    • View Profile
Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed (Switch) Review
« on: April 30, 2023, 06:48:29 AM »

Resolution for the endless now

Before we dive into Xenoblade 3: Future Redeemed, I want to provide a general spoiler warning for the content in this review, and the game in general. Future Redeemed, more so than any other Xenoblade, assumes you’ve completed the rest of the series. For example if I refer to Xenoblade 1, 2, and 3, as the Klaus trilogy and you don’t know what that means, maybe hold off on playing Future Redeemed. Likewise my review may in a few places reference things from previous games that are absolutely spoilers if you’ve not already played through them (I’m going to straight up talk about the ending of Xenoblade 3). That being said, I will of course not have anything in this review that I feel is a substantial spoiler for Future Redeemed itself.

When I reviewed Xenoblade 3 last year, I gushed about almost everything about the game. It took everything that worked about Xenoblade 1 and 2 and mercilessly threw out what didn’t. It even went and grabbed the Follow Ball and elements of the class system from Xenoblade X. It was an incredibly refined game and easily one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played. That being said, I also noted that the ending fumbles hard in the final moments. Noah is left on a vague cutscene that provides no closure whatsoever for his relationship with Mio. Mio herself and the entire rest of the party are essentially left out entirely of the final moments of the game. Z, our primary antagonist, is never more clearly defined than being “people’s fear” and his motivation to preserve the endless now is vague at best. Outside of a glimpse of the Monado and a photo of Rex and his harem, the stories of Xenoblade 1, and 2 only serve to provide a starting point for the end of the trilogy, not a resolution. I initially held out hope that the DLC story would follow up on the end of the base game and provide a real ending for the trilogy as a whole, but it seemed pretty obvious that the city’s founders would be the natural fit for a prequel story in the vein of Torna ~ The Golden Country. When Future Redeemed was indeed announced as a prequel I feared that my dreams of actual closure for this incredible trilogy were dashed.

I was wrong.

Future Redeemed sees you taking on the role of Matthew, the great-grandson of Noah and Mio before Noah was consumed by loss and became N. Matthew is accompanied by a woman named A after the city (the first one) is destroyed by Mobius. His motivation at the outset is to seek out and help survivors from the city, and to locate his missing sister, Na’el. Matthew is an interesting departure for Xenoblade protagonists as he serves what fans would normally identify as the brutish best friend role. Matthew feels more like Lanz or Reyn than he does like Noah, Shulk, or Rex. This struck me as odd at first but given that you quickly gain Shulk and Rex themselves as party members, Matthew not being that same character type ultimately plays nicely. Shulk and Rex themselves, while I won’t go deep into their role, are excellently realized. Rex has changed a lot. He’s grown from being a youthful child in Xenoblade 2. Future Redeemed does an excellent job of maturing him, and not just making him Rex-but-bigger. Shulk feels more or less consistent with where he was when we last saw him in Future Connected. Wise beyond his years, a man who killed a god and had the self control to turn down the role himself. Watching Rex and Shulk play off each other is delightful and the quiet tragedy of the circumstances you’ll come to realize they’re placed in lands effortlessly.

Future Reedemed’s key deviation from the base game (and the rest of the series) is how it handles character growth. Rather than move, accessory, gem, and ability slots opening up as you level, these things all need to be manually unlocked via items found throughout the world. Want additional moves for fusion arts? You’ll have to make room for them by unlocking slots with art unlocks. These items are scattered in containers and out of the way portions of the world encouraging the player to explore, not just grind, to become more powerful. It's a concept I remember praising in the very first Xenoblade that exploration earns experience points. Here that idea of growing through exploration is spelled out even more plainly. It is also entirely up to you who you give these items to and how aggressively you seek them out. I managed to finish the game without ever unlocking the last move slot on any member of my party. I also carefully prioritized who got new upgrades first. In my case I favored my healers, a tactic that has served me well throughout the series.

The world of Future Redeemed is contained within a single loading zone. It comes off as quite labyrinthian early on but winds up being surprisingly expansive. Future Redeemed doesn’t share any of its map with the base game, so exploring it is an entirely new experience. That being said, it does share several locations with previous Xenoblade titles. It seems to favor the world of the original Xenoblade over Xenoblade 2. Several key locations from the original game appear almost in their entirety, sprinkled with elements of Xenoblade 2 and smashed together in unexpected ways.

Speaking of unexpected, what Future Redeemed does best is recontextualize the ending of Xenoblade 3. Without going into details on Future Redeemed’s late game, it shifts the player’s perception somewhat of what they accomplished in the base game. Shulk and Rex’s direct involvement in the story creates an arc that covers the entire series in a feeling of continuity. This is also the first of the Xenoblade side stories to cause me to pause the game and process story events much like I’d have to do in the mainline numbered entries. In fact I did this multiple times throughout my 18-hour playthrough. More so than Future Connected or Torna ~ The Golden Country, Future Redeemed feels like required reading. This isn’t just a side story to establish some character growth for Melia like Future Connected was, or a backstory for existing characters as Torna ~ The Golden Country was. Future Redeemed feels like a final piece to a story more than a decade in the making. It re-unites old friends, reminds you that N is still one of the best villains the series has ever come up with, and reignites that feeling you had when the original Xenoblade suddenly cut to a space station and your perception of the game permanently shifted. If Takahashi decides to revisit this universe in the future, I’ll happily join in, but if this truely does mark the end for the Klaus trilogy, I leave happy.

Offline jakkaru

  • Score: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed (Switch) Review
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2023, 08:45:13 PM »
I know I’m VERY late to the party, but your review was a WONDERFUL read. I have played all of the games leading up to this and WOW has your review made me excited to play this!!! I start a new job soon so I won’t be able to play soon, but I’ll be back to say how it went once I do! Thank you again and have a blessed day!!!