Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D Game Poster Image
Role-play with some fantasy violence demands much time.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy and practice reading in this long, complicated role-playing game. The complex combat system requires players to examine battle situations and analyze foes while considering available abilities and commands to come up with effective plans of attack. They'll also practice reading as they work through frequent tutorials that contain vital explanations and information that must be properly understood to win harder battles. If they choose to play with the sound off -- likely when playing in public spaces -- they'll spend a good deal of time reading dialogue in story sequences, too. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D isn't a button-mashing action game; instead, it makes players spend time absorbing information before thinking and acting in a strategic manner.

Positive Messages

Typical fantasy tale puts conflict in context of right, wrong. Themes include friendship, sacrifice, trust.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonists care about, try to protect each other. They engage in combat regularly, seem to take pleasure from it, often joking around as they kill monsters, destroy machines.

Ease of Play

Combat system unusually complex, takes many hours to fully understand, even longer to master. Some long boss fights will take several attempts to successfully complete, even for experienced players. No adjustable difficulty settings to make battles easier.

Violence

Characters fight monsters, robots with swords, magic guns. Enemies, allies stagger, fall when struck. Small sprays of dark red occasionally visible when humans attacked, killed. Cut scenes show humans being crushed, eaten inside metallic pincers, jaws, but without gore.

Sex

Male, female characters sometimes scantily clad. One scene shows much of a man's bottom. 

Language

Mild, infrequent profanity, including "damn." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A side quest includes a fellow who appears to be drunk, talks about drinking alcohol. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a Nintendo 3DS re-release of a Nintendo Wii game originally released in 2012. The content is nearly identical to the older console game. Players engage in frequent sword and gun battles against monsters and machines. There's no gore and only minimal blood, but some story sequences depict humans being eaten or crushed by large metal creatures. Characters of both genders are depicted wearing skimpy outfits, and in one case a man's buttocks are almost completely exposed. Infrequent profanity includes the word "damn," and one side quest includes what appears to be a drunken man.

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What's it about?

XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 3D is a re-released version of the similarly named game available for Nintendo Wii, with only minor adjustments to graphics and the interface. It tells the story of a group of humans and machines who live on the enormous bodies of a pair of fallen godlike titans. So huge are these now-still beings that their body parts take on the appearance of sprawling fields and valleys that stretch almost as far as the eye can see. The humans and machines are at odds with each other, the latter frequently attacking the former and eating them. Players take control of a young man named Shulk who has the ability to wield a mysterious sword with the power to destroy the machines. Journeying through open worlds with old friends and new acquaintances, Shulk has the goal to eliminate the machine menace once and for all, taking time to help nonplayer characters with errands and side quests along the way. Note that this game is made specifically for the New Nintendo 3DS, which launched in early 2015 and is identifiable by the second analog control stick just to the right of the lower screen. It will not work with earlier 3DS consoles.

Is it any good?

Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the very best Wii RPGs ever made, and this port to the New Nintendo 3DS manages to capture much of its magic. The massive, imaginative world has made the transition in all its scope and grandeur, suffering only a little loss of detail along the way. And combat -- a deeply complex real-time system that involves indirectly commanding companions, chaining attacks, and working to achieve advantageous positioning on the battlefield -- is as rewarding as ever. It takes a long time to learn and master, but once you have a proper feel the frenetic battles begin to feel less chaotic and more choreographed. Strategy is paramount, especially in epic boss fights against towering mechs.

But a few things have been lost in the hardware translation. The 3DS's low-resolution screen means it's sometimes harder to distinguish monsters and objects in the environment. Plus, tiny text is slightly blurred and more difficult to read. And the 3DS's greatest asset -- its second screen -- has been put to poor use, serving only as a place for character stats and a small, circular mini-map, which really should have been stretched across the whole screen. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is brilliant, beautiful, and fun, but the game is still better experienced via the Wii and viewed on a big TV.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about friendship. What does friendship mean to you? What limits should friends -- even best friends -- set on what they'll do for each other?

  • Families also can discuss screen time, because a big game such as this takes dozens of hours to complete and encourages long play sessions. How can you fully experience such games without being consumed by them? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

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