Xenoblade Chronicles 3 reviews

The best JRPG to come out this year, Xenoblade 3 had me up at 2am on launch day to play it
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
XC3 takes every good part of the gameplay from previou games, add some new, mix them and....10/10, that's' it.
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
Xenoblade 3 is the culmination of MonolithSoft's talent so far. It uses the best elements from their previous entries to explore more mature themes in a darker story. 

The combat is the best of the series. It is a literal fusion of XC1 and XC2's combat systems, with half the cast adopting 1's timed cool down arts, and the other half using 2's auto-attack recharge arts. You can have your full party of 6 in every encounter, so there's no need to choose 3 or rotate through them. You can also switch who you control at any time, and choose a 7th guest "Hero" for your team. There are only 3 roles (Attack, Defend, Heal), but the classes within those roles take many many different forms. 

Every cast member can choose any class, albeit with varying levels of proficiency. If a character Ranks Up a class enough, they gain access to its skills in all classes. This opens the way for tons of character growth and tons of customization. You get 3 passive.skills, 7 arts, 3 gem slots, and 3 accessories per character. 

I have one complaint with the class system: you can't save your team comps. It takes a painfully long time to manage all 6 party members' class, skills, arts, gems, and accessories. I wish I could save different setups so I could quickly switch to a better team for Unique Monsters or a better one for exploration. 

The gem crafting system is way way simplified. You gather the materials, then craft them gem ONCE for all your characters to use forever. Cooking is your other resource intensive mini game that gives bonuses to combat rewards, but not any stats itself. The accessory menu could use improvement, since I often forgot to use my best accessories because they were hard to find in the massive one-column list. 

The story is incredible. The chapter 5/6 transition is the best story segment of the series. Every character (except Sena) feels fleshed out. The themes are explored well and connect with me on a personal level. The animations and the voice acting are both great (especially Eunie and Ashera), and the dialogue rarely felt forced. There are a host of side stories for each Hero and cast member that are well worth your time. 

One downside, if you want to call it that, is the length of cutscenes. There were multiple instances where I would watch 2 hours of cutscenes with a few minutes of gameplay sprinkled in. I enjoyed it, but I can see that being a burden if you aren't prepared for a 3 hour play session. 

The explorable world isn't quite Xenoblade X tier, but it is better than XC2 and XC1. It's huge, it's very open, and it's full of secrets to uncover, people to meet, and colonies to explore. The boat in Erythia Sea is reminiscent of piloting X's Skells, which is a huge compliment. The world has tons of references to XC1/2 which are fun to spot while you play. 

The OST isn't my favorite. I don't like the flute. The instrument itself hurts my ears, and one of the battle tracks has the flute front and center. Fortunately, there are several different battle tracks, so I didn't have to listen to it all the time. There are, however, some stellar tracks that get revealed later in the game. I especially enjoyed some XC2 melodies. 

I haven't gone back and done the post-game content yet, but even with 120 hours clocked so far, I can tell I'm going to get another 50-100 more. I have a lot of hero quests to do, super bosses to fight, and entire regions to explore. The difficulty level felt really good playing on Hard and never cashing in on bonus XP. If you're concerned about missing content, know that you unlock the ability to "level down" your characters after completing the main quest line.