Ten years ago the study Monolith Soft, specialized in Japanese role-playing games, approached Nintendo to offer the new chapter of your Xenosaga, Xenoblade Chronicles. We are talking about a time when Wii reigned with family-style games and Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 welcomed open-world games like Mass Effect 2 or Red Dead Redemption.
What happened was history. The game of Monolith managed to penetrate, and well penetrated, in the nintentendero universe forever, being present in a large part of the great games of the house from that moment. And all after having touched their consoles on numerous previous occasions, including with the notable and sadly forgotten Disaster: Day of Crysis. To give us an idea, Monolith Soft, who only works for the Big N, was behind, as main support, of games from the important one of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Animal Crossing. There is nothing.
What did the game have? Mainly, the rarity of being a JRPG that, from many prisms, can be seen as a western role-playing game, for many of its mechanics, without ever losing the touch that makes between a Final Fantasy and The Elder Scrolls there is an insurmountable abyss. It is as if Final Fantasy XII had a child with Dragon Age. A little of each world. Come on, a very classic adventure, with a story that we could find in any Final Fantasy, but a real-time combat system (although with special powers, here called arts, that we execute independently).
As we say, at that time the game caught on perfectly among an audience desperately looking for a powerful and adult game in a catalog in which the familiar prevailed. And Xenoblade Chronicles was the answer to many prayers. Time, as we have discussed, placed Monolith Soft as a constant partner of Nintendo. And thanks to this partnership, we enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii U and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on Switch. That, without forgetting the edition of Xenoblade Chronicles of Nintendo 3DS.
Now, just 10 years later (well, for just under two weeks, since the original was released on June 10, 2010, in Japan) we return to the same story. What does this game offer us new a decade later?
When we first launched Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition on our Nintendo Switch, we found several details that are striking. Obviously, the first drives that we will have with the game are given by the graphic finish. There is more to see the videos that were presented of the game to show that the game is far above what was presented by Monolith Soft the day the game originally came out. Of course, there are many hidden traps here. The original game, mind you, had many, many technical virtues. For example, he was moving in a very large world with a good depth of field at the time. The main problem I had is that it came out in 2010, the final stretch of a console that got stuck at a technical level in what was offered by Gamecube.
In other words, Xenoblade Chronicles was a portent that fully exploited an engine that, in 2006, when Wii came onto the market, was already old. Still, as we say, all these flaws were polished as best they could. In both the Wii and 3DS versions, attempts were made to accentuate the beauty of the setting, in time for facial designs of the characters that left much to be desired seen now. In general, all character and creature modeling were poor and rough. Something that fortune has made us forget. Remastering is a high level. All the texturing of the game has been carefully refined, making the risky design decisions perfectly explained, especially in close-ups. Now each cinematic is much more beautiful and the character designs are perfect.
Of course, a game is more than just texture designs. And here the thing skids a little. The skeleton of the game continues to have many of the defects of its predecessor. We see a game in which the modeling is simple, with forced ammunition in the movements, repetitions, and a pronounced popping problem that we do not expect these days. The result, when we see it statically, is from a game of our day. And a very careful one. When we see it in motion is when we are certain that it has been painted over an old game.
In general, remasters of this type play to change the textures and little else. Redoing all the modeling or working on the engine remarkably would really be doing the game again. Remake and no remastering. In this case, at least we can stress that the work to remaster has been conscientious and that what we see conceals the passage of time quite well. Although what we find below is what we saw ten years ago.
On the other hand, the mechanics are still intact, as well as its sound section and other components. The gameplay is perfect, the story is almost the same and you’re going to get tired of running errands, the vast majority of them quite bland, for all the people we run into. Now, with a Monado sword at our back that has never looked like this in life.