A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is a remastered edition of a popular Japanese role-playing game on originally released for Nintendo Wii exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. It contains plenty of fantasy combat against monsters and machines. Heroes attack with swords and magic, and enemies simply disappear once defeated. A few key dramatic scenes show blood spatter. Expect, as well, to see a character smoking, another drunk, and occasional mild profanity in text and spoken dialogue. Players can change the outfits of the protagonists, including stripping them down to their underwear. The heroes are clearly good, dutiful, courageous people fighting to help and protect those they love, but they're also perhaps a little over eager to fight, sometimes attacking groups of creatures that appear to be minding their own business simply to harvest resources or complete a quest.
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What's it about?
XENOBLADE CHRONICLES: DEFINITIVE EDITION brings one of the most beloved role-playing games released for Nintendo Wii and 3DS to Switch, along with some significant augmentations and additions. Players take control of a group of heroes traveling across a fascinating world composed of the frozen bodies of a pair of titanic gods locked in combat, fighting both wild monsters and fearsome machines along the way. Aided by the Monado, a magical sword capable of showing the future to its wielder and slicing through machine bodies like butter, the group, led by a teenager named Shulk, tries to discover the secrets of their strange world while seeking to bring down the ageless machines that attack human colonies. The Definitive Edition leaves the story, combat, and exploration more or less alone, enhancing the experience via improved character models and environmental textures, as well as a lightly redesigned user interface, which makes it easier to understand what's going on and manage your team. The addition of casual and expert modes, meanwhile, allows players to customize the experience to their skill and ability. The biggest change is the addition of an entirely new post-game chapter set a year after the events of the original game within a previously unseen part of the world. Focused largely on Melia (a companion of Shulk's), it takes between 15 and 20 hours to complete, and can be accessed from the main menu without the need to finish the original game.
Is it any good?
Remastered versions of classic games labelled "definitive editions" don't always live up to their names, but this one does. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is far and away the most technologically advanced version of the game, with sharp looking characters, improved environmental objects, great draw distances, and fast loading times. It's not quite on par with modern games developed specifically for Switch, but it looks lovely for a 10-year-old game originally designed for an underpowered console. And the developers didn't just spruce things up and call it a day. The changes made to the interface help simplify the game's complex and at times intimidating combat and management systems, and should go a long way towards ensuring the game's accessible to a modern audience. And the addition of a casual mode -- which you can switch to and from as necessary throughout the story -- will keep players from growing frustrated while simultaneously cutting down the length of field battles and increasing the pace of exploration.
The real draw, of course, is the entirely new epilogue chapter, which is the length of the entire story of many single-player games. It provides not just a bit of additional lore and character development, but also the chance to explore a brand new part of one of the warrior gods' bodies -- Bionis' shoulder. It's gorgeous, mysterious, and huge. Plus, the epilogue introduces a new type of chain attack that gives fans of the game's sophisticated combat a chance to learn and tinker with new strategies. Players who return simply to give this expansive new chapter a go are unlikely to be disappointed. Bursting with technical enhancements and new content, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition serves as a case study for how remastered games ought to be done.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. With its open world and overlapping quests it's easy to keep playing Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition for long stretches and lose track of time, so how do you decide when to stop playing?
What are some of the qualities you expect in a good friend? Do you try to embody these qualities yourself?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: May 29, 2020
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Robots
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
- Last updated: June 24, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.