Nintendo held a special Direct for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, revealing details about the game’s story, characters, and combat system, ahead of the game’s launch on July 29. The announcement for a Xenoblade Direct was met with some disappointment, mostly because fans were hoping for a full Nintendo Direct as part of the summer reveal system, but the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Direct turned out to have a good showing. It’s also a lot easier to get excited about Xenoblade Chronicles 3 than other titles, as it’s coming out soon, unlike most of the games showcased over the past month.
The Xenoblade Chronicles series is fast becoming one of Nintendo’s biggest RPG franchises, helped in no small part by a lot of representation in the Super Smash Bros. series. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will actually be the fourth entry in the series, thanks to Xenoblade Chronicles X throwing off the numbering scheme. All of the games have certain elements in common, including real-time battles, conflicts between magic and machines, and incredible overworlds that are full of places to explore. The Xenoblade Chronicles series has slowly grown in popularity over the years, and a relatively dry summer release season means that there are a lot of eyes on the game.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is launching ahead of schedule, its release date pushed forward, most likely to accommodate the release of Splatoon 3 in September, so it won’t be long until fans are exploring the fantasy world of Aionios. The Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Direct helped answer a lot of lingering questions about the game, as well as revealing many of its gameplay systems. Here are the details on what was revealed during the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Direct.
The Story & World Of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Has Been Revealed
The story of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 involves a conflict between the nations of Keves and Angus. The people of Aionios only live for ten years and that span of time is spent in battle. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has six playable characters, with three from each side of the conflict, who must join together against a common foe. Together, they must learn the truth about the war in Aionios, which means turning against their former allies and causing them to be outcasts from their homelands.
Like the other entries in the series, the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is gorgeous to behold, with strikingly different environments that are teeming with monsters. There are colonies throughout the land that belong to the two factions, where the player can buy gear, complete side quests, and eat stat-boosting meals. There are also rest spots in the world, where the player can craft items, cook food, and experience conversations between the characters. The player can unlock fast travel routes as they explore, and set quest routes that show them the quickest path to their objective.
Combat, Classes, & Ouroboros Fusion In Xenoblade Chronicles 3
XC3’s combat system shares elements with previous games, including Xenoblade Chronicles X still only on Wii U, with the battles taking place in real-time, and the player using the characters’ Arts against the enemy. There are different character roles in battle: Attackers specialize in DPS, Defenders draw aggro, and Healers heal their allies. Combat is all about using Arts combos to inflict status effects, in order to increase the damage of the next attacks, with Chain Attacks allowing multiple party members to attack at once. Outside of the six main characters, there is a seventh slot that is filled by different heroes of Aionios, who can be switched out with each other, and each has its own unique classes.
The party members in the series’ narrative concluding Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have their own characters classes: Swordfighter (Attacker) is the everyman combat class, Zephyr (Defender) evades attacks and performs counters, Medic Gunner (Healer) uses healing spells and buffs from afar, Tactician (Healer) uses paper talismans to inflict debuffs, Heavy Guard (Defender) uses the biggest weapons and specializes in drawing aggro, and Ogre (Attacker) deals a ton of damage with slow attacks. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 uses a similar system to Final Fantasy V, where players can learn Masters Arts from one class and apply them to others, allowing the player to unleash Fusion Arts, where two effects are combined in one action. The six main characters can also learn the unique classes of the hero units.
The unique gameplay gimmick is the Ouroboros system, which allows two characters to fuse together into a robot, a feature that might be explored in the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Special Edition art book. These units are incredibly powerful, but the characters can only maintain this form for a short period of time. The player can switch the controlling character, giving them access to both sets of Arts. The Ouroboros units have their own skill trees, allowing the player to unlock new abilities for them. It’s also possible to transform into an Ouroboros unit as part of a Chain Attack.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Will Have An Expansion Pass
Like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 before it, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has an Expansion Pass. The DLC can only be acquired through the Expansion Pass and won’t be sold separately. It doesn’t appear as if the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Expansion Pass will be part of the DLC offered in Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack, though that could change in the future. The content in the Expansion Pass will be released in waves, with the first one arriving on launch day, offering items and color variants for outfits. The second wave will launch by the end of 2022 and the third wave will launch by April 30, 2023, and both offer challenge battles, new hero characters, new quests, and new outfits. The final wave will be released by December 31, 2023, and it will offer a new story scenario, possibly a big one if the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC is anything to go on.
The Shulk Amiibo Will Add The Monado To Xenoblade Chronicles 3
The amiibo figures might have fallen out of favor with Nintendo, but they’re alive with third-party developers, such as Capcom’s Monster Hunter Rise amiibos. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 also has amiibo functionality, with all figures providing helpful items when scanned. If the player scans a Shulk Super Smash Bros. amiibo, then the appearance of Noah’s sword will resemble the Monado blade used by Shulk in the original Xenoblade Chronicles. Pyra and Mythra have yet to receive their Super Smash Bros. amiibo figures, so it’s unclear if they will also unlock content in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 in a future update.