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Engaging and compelling

Daniel Lim

On June 10, 2010, a role-playing game called Xenoblade Chronicles was released late in the lifecycle of the Nintendo Wii in Japan, which was remastered on subsequent Nintendo platforms and also followed up with sequels in the form of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 released in 2017 and 2022 respectively.

Each iteration and remaster brings players and fans into the deep world and lore established in the Xenoblade world, which culminated with the story of the third Xenoblade Chronicles game, which loosely references both the previous titles in both gameplay improvements and story moments.

This was most evident in the latest standalone downloadable content (DLC) released for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, titled Future Redeemed.

The base game of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 sees players able to control six unique characters from two separate factions, each with their own equally unique playstyles along with an interchangeable hero and class system that allows player expression with a diverse amount of options available to customise each character for certain roles. 

The Future Redeemed expansion, on the other hand, is a more focussed experience aims at telling a compelling story that fleshes out the main story of the game.

ABOVE & BELOW: Screenshots of ‘Xenoblade Chronicles 3’ gameplay. PHOTOS: MONOLITH SOFT/NINTENDO

Through the adventure in the main game, players can stumble upon a fictional location, ‘The City’, established by six founders to fight against the antagonist of the game, Moebius.

In Future Redeemed, the story takes place in an unknown time in the past that features these six founders. As such, while knowledge and skills from the first two games are not fully required to play the DLC, certain plot points that are revealed in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are discussed and shown in the DLC.

This also extends to the gameplay as Future Redeemed shared many of the gameplay mechanics found in the main game, such as the eight equippable skills bound to the directional pad and the ABXY buttons, with each of the skills capable of being fused together to form a stronger attack, as well as being able to quickly swap to another character in battle as the player quickly adapts to the unfolding action using each of the three classes – Attacker, Defender and Healer – to their full advantage.

While in the base game, players are free to choose and equip various classes for each of the six characters along with an additional hero slot into the party lineup, Future Redeemed implements a more linear approach with characters locked into their specific roles and classes, with only the equipped accessories making a discerning difference in the available choices for the player.

Still, the gameplay loop in Future Redeemed is exceptionally intuitive, with players being rewarded for everything that they do on the large map that feels just as expansive as the maps found in the base game, which on the outside might look tedious but is surprisingly engaging as the rewards tie to giving players’ points to further level up their characters, as well as more powerful accessories to equip. For completionists, however, it can perhaps drag on for just a bit too long.

While some of the mechanics are carried over from the base game, some function significantly differently in Future Redeemed, with one key difference being the Unity Combo which replaces the Interlink system from the base game.

This plays a role in both gameplay as well as story, as two characters from the party of six in Future Redeemed can be paired with each other to create varying effects in addition to damaging enemies, while also providing context as to how the powers are seen in the base game evolved over time in the story of this new expansion.

The story told over the course of 15 hours brings players even closer to the lore established in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, while also paying homage to not only the whole Xenoblade series but also referencing titles beyond that.

Future Redeemed also has side content that tells engaging side stories which help to further immerse players in the world, as the characters that appear in these side stories populate the player’s home base named Colony 9, a reference to the first Xenoblade Chronicles title.

While Future Redeemed might not have the prestige and history associated with the first Xenoblade Chronicles, as well as the wealth of content updates found in the second title, it nevertheless stands as a proud bookend to the Xenoblade series as a whole in showcasing how the series has evolved over time, while also looking forward to the future with expanded possibilities.

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