Introducing: Xenoblade Chronicles: Deluxe Edition Preview
Having spent two wonderful weeks rediscovering The Bionis and Mechonis, I can safely say one thing – Shulk, Reyn, Melia and all have never looked this good. Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition sees Monolith Soft’s inaugural offering grace the Nintendo Switch family of systems bringing with it a fresh lick of paint, an absurd amount of new textures and some utterly luminescent lighting effects that elevate this grandiose titan spanning journey
Basic Game Specs
- Cloud Saves (Requires Nintendo Online Subscription)
- Pro Controller Support
- Download Size: 13.6 GB
I’m Really Feeling It
Satorl Marsh at night was a thing of beauty in standard definition on the Wii. In Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, Satorl Marsh is even richer and more radiant, with neon hues illuminating the sky. The lighting effects put in place, pun very much intended, make this remaster shine. Crossing a bridge in Makna Forest, with the foliage of the trees swaying gently in the wind up above, while dinosaurs and giants roam the ground below is a sight to behold and the nature of the remaster allows these locales to really prosper on the Nintendo Switch. All the work Monolith Soft has done with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is evident, as this remaster not only holds its own but also transcends the aforementioned title. Even in handheld, while still a little grainy and rough around the edges, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is superior to the experience of XC2.
It’s not all good though. The animations remain from the original Wii offering, and anyone who has played it will know that they can be a little robotic. Given how opulent the new features of the remaster are, it can feel a little jarring seeing Shulk glitch his way over an obstacle.
You said it, Shulk!
On my way to Prison Island, the area of the game that is permitted to be spoken about in this preview, I experienced a solid hour of cinematic cutscenes. This is where Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition really comes into its own. The story, and the subsequent character development that you experience is paramount to XC:DE and each and every gorgeous moment is as smooth as a soft sea cucumber. Considering the gameplay loop consists of walking a few hundred metres, fighting an enemy, and watching a mini-movie, this is a very good thing indeed.
On top of that, quality of life improvements are generously sprinkled throughout that make Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition feel a lot more accessible than it ever has before. As an example, side quests are infinitely more accessible due to the game’s new tracking system. Whereas before you would get a marker on your map that directed you to the location of the various pickups required to proceed, the addition of a dotted line now shows you the best route to travel in order to get there. Think Google Maps, right down to real-time route adjustment and you’re on the right track.
It’s Reyn Time!!
Battle mechanics have also benefited hugely from these new tweaks and all-new prompts as to what move to use next, making achieving the Break-Topple-Daze stack an absolute breeze. Long gone are the days of memorising what combat action to perform next. While this might seem like a dumbed down experience, what it actually does is allows you to appreciate just how enjoyable the battle system put in place is. Enemies that have certain attack augments now have distinct markings by their names when highlighted. As an example, a monster that can paralyse you now has an electricity effect and monsters that might spike you have a wavy purple line. What this means is you can equip relevant gems before going in blind and ultimately getting frustrated when you’re inexplicably hit with a one hit kill move.
Monolith Soft’s penchant for creating new battle systems, rather than augmenting their current one, is evident in the game’s additional story content Future Connected, the events of which take place an entire year after the epic conclusion of the base game.
Back to the battle system. While very familiar; Shulk and Melia’s movesets are the same as in the base game and Future Connected’s new protagonists, Kino and Nene – the offspring of Heropon Riki – offering the tank and healer roles previously adopted by Reyn and Sharla, the culmination is just a little different this time. Gone are the chain attacks that could be utilised to deal huge amounts of damage and in its place is the new Ponspector system, which makes use of the Ponspectors you find scattered throughout the Bionis’s Shoulder, the area of the game that Future Connected takes place in.
The future is ours to decide
Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, as the name suggests, is shaping up to be the best way to enjoy Monolith Soft’s Magnum Opus, with a complete graphical overhaul, QOL tweaks a-plenty and new story content that even further pushes this already all-encompassing adventure. With game production halted almost to a standstill and Nintendo’s own release window frugal as a result, to say the least, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition could well be the perfect tonic to these ever changing uncertain times.
Xenoblade Chronicles releases on May 29th, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch family of systems. Stay tuned to Nintendad for a full review, coming soon.
If you’re itching for some more Xenoblade Chronicles content while you anxiously await our review, check out our recent article on the significance of Operation Rainfall to not just Monolith Soft, but to Nintendo too.