In 2012, Nintendo and Monolith Soft delivered a long-awaited role-playing experience to the Wii with the critically acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles, a game that turned many heads for its monumental graphics (especially by Wii standards) and its exciting open-world gameplay. Since that time, it's become one of the most sought-after titles for both the Wii and Wii U – and Nintendo is set to present the experience to its new 3DS system next month with Xenoblade Chronicles 3D.
Like the original game, Xenoblade has players taking control of warriors exploring a vast environment, seeking out new quests that involve everything from finding particular items to battling enemies. Once items are picked up, they are added to what's called a Collectopedia, which players can view at any time by checking out their inventory. New items are added consistently to the Collectopedia, in the form of blue orbs, and if you collect enough of them on a level, you'll be able to earn additional items as well.
Gem-Crafting also plays a vital part in Xenoblade. It's a mini-game that allows you to generate gems, which in turn can be used by in-game characters as power-ups. This raises their attributes and makes them more powerful in battle, with both deflection of enemy attacks and their general techniques. You'll also need to use Affinity systems in some cases, such as finding the right chemistry between particular characters in the game (making them a more effective battle party). In fact, if the relationship becomes deep enough, you can form a "Heart-To-Heart", learning more about a character's personality and making tactics with a particular partner even stronger.
Xenoblade's battle system works in real-time, as players move around the real world searching for enemies, then engage them with the help of their AI-driven partners. General attacks pack a wallop, but it's when you open up Arts techniques that you can really do some damage. With a combination of manual and auto-attacks (by your allies), you can utilize these moves, but you'll want to keep a close eye on your health so that you don't drain yourself completely dry.
There's also a Party Gauge, which fills up as party members land successful attacks on foes. Once filled, you can chain together combos with them, which causes even greater damage against whoever you're fighting. As players fight, they'll also increase their range through the Aggro Ring, which expands as they land more successful hits. So, the longer you stay in a battle – and the more effective you come with Affinity and usage of Gems – the better you'll get at fighting.
Shulk, one of the better characters in the game, can also foresee certain enemy attacks, using Visions. Once activated, the team can work together to avoid said incoming attack (or at the very least warn a teammate to get out of the way), then counter-react with a move of their own, like a general attack or an Arts technique. It sounds like a complicated system, but once you get the hang of how the game plays, you'll see just how effective it truly is.
Along with its outstanding battle system and immense open world, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D will feature several touch-ups with its handheld conversion. Of course, the graphics will look fantastic on the new Nintendo 3DS screen, but there's more than that, as you can use Amiibo support and Streetpass-ing to your advantage.
As you play through the game, you'll be able to use tokens to purchase new items to add to your Collectopedia. Spending one token will allow you to take a chance and maybe get a duplicate item you already have (or perhaps something new), while spending three tokens guarantees you'll get something new each time. It's up to you if you want to take the gamble or not.
So, how do you earn these tokens? Tapping a Shulk Amiibo on the 3DS system will earn you three tokens, but can only be done on a daily basis. In addition, you can use StreetPass once a day to earn three tokens, or exchange Play Coins earned in the Mii StreetPass Plaza for tokens. It's unknown whether the game will support any other Amiibos, but this is certainly a start – especially if you love collecting those items.
With a deep relationship system, a cool battle system, a vast open-world to explore and exquisite visuals, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D should make an amazing transition to the 3DS when it arrives next month. It may not work with older systems, but it's a great excuse to plunk down money for a new one, yes?