A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
Typical fantasy tale puts conflict in context of right, wrong. Themes include friendship, sacrifice, trust.
Positive Role Models
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Male, female characters sometimes scantily clad. One scene shows much of a man's bottom.
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Mild, infrequent profanity, including "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A side quest includes a fellow who appears to be drunk, talks about drinking alcohol.
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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.
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.
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