Xenoblade Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii is already one of my favorite games for the system and possibly of all time.  I remember getting the game at launch not knowing exactly what to expect.  With more than 80 hours in my initial playthrough, Xenoblade Chronicles is undoubtably an epic experience.  Unfortunately, with such a limited production on the Wii, many people missed out on playing Xenoblade Chronicles altogether.  To solve this problem, Nintendo, Monolith Soft, and Monster Games have now ported the Wii classic to the New 3DS and New 3DS XL.  Let’s take a look at how the game faired in the transition from console to handheld.


I usually don’t focus on the story very much in reviews because I want the reader to be surprised when they finally play the game.  I still want you to be surprised, but you should know that the story in Xenoblade Chronicles (and 3D) unfolds very well for a game of its scope.  Even in the 80+ hours of gameplay, they manage to arrange events very well throughout.  In most games, players might go through 20 hours and be done with the core plot.  They might even play 20 more hours going through post-game content and side-quests.  Xenoblade Chronicles takes at least 70 hours just to finish the main storyline.  The game also does a tremendous job with character progression.  There were very few spots where I had to grind to beat a boss or get past an area.  The leveling system is very well balanced throughout.  The story and experience of Xenoblade Chronicles is definitely worth the price of admission.

The gameplay in Xenoblade Chronicles is fantastic.  It’s easily the most enjoyable JRPG I’ve played in a very long time.  Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is no different.  The core gameplay translates very well to the New 3DS XL.  I’m not so sure how the experience would be on a regular New 3DS because the screen can get pretty crowded in some battles.  I would definitely opt for the bigger screen to fully appreciate what the game has to offer.  The new C-Stick works really well and the new ZL/ZR buttons add some handy shortcut functions like accessing the in-game map.  One area I was expecting to enjoy more was the addition of stereoscopic 3D.  I was disappointed that the 3D doesn’t add much, if anything, to the game.  I should rephrase that.  The way they implemented the 3D in the game doesn’t add much.  If any of you have played Super Mario 3D Land, you know how well stereoscopic 3D can look on the 3DS.  They even provide the option to have the 3D graphics pop out of the screen or pop in.  With Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, the 3D is already in the ‘popped in’ mode and there is very little differentiation between the background and the foreground.  Admittedly, there is a lot of differences in the visual style of Xenoblade and Super Mario 3D Land.  However, it would’ve been nice to see more emphasis given to the 3D capabilities of the 3DS.  Visually speaking, the game is a very impressive port of the Wii version.  The visual fidelity is not as good as the Wii version, but the game still manages to impress on the 3DS.  I also didn’t notice any difference in frame rate when playing with 3D on or off.

Overall, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a great port of the already classic Wii version.  The game plays remarkably well on the New 3DS/New 3DS XL and it’s great to have Xenoblade Chronicles in a handheld format.  If you’re like me and have played through the original, there’s really not much incentive to getting the 3D version unless you want to have it with you wherever you go (which is a good reason for sure).  If you have never played the original (cue the Reggie Fils-Aime ‘what’s wrong with you?’ gif) or never found a copy at a decent price, I would highly recommend getting Xenoblade Chronicles 3D.  It is an epic adventure that will satisfy the most avid RPG fans and even the crowd that may not consider themselves fans of the genre.  While the 3D effects are not the most impressive on the system, the game more than makes up for it with its incredible gameplay and story.