Feature: Xenoblade Redefined

Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition Box Art
Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition Box Art

Hello and welcome to The Day Tonight’s playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, an Action RPG originally released for the Wii in Japan on 10 June 2010, reaching the rest of the world in stages by April of 2012. Later, it was released on the Wii U eShop, and a version was subsequently developed and released for the New Nintendo 3DS. A complete remake of the game, billed as the ‘Definitive Edition’ was released for Nintendo Switch, worldwide, on 29 May 2020.

Xenoblade Chronicles has received extremely positive reviews. It developed a large fanbase, and was a key component of the successful Operation Rainfall campaign. Of the three games in that campaign, The Last Story may have had the highest profile at the time (due to the involvement of director Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu), but aesthetic judgement has sided firmly with Xenoblade Chronicles as the best of the three titles, and its sequels–Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2–have been similarly well-received.

The original game was highly regarded for its expansive world and environments, approachable battle system, impressive soundtrack, excellent sci-fi-fantasy story, and endearing characters. Monolith Soft have remade the Definitive Edition with impressive faithfulness: the main storyline and battle system remain unchanged, but the whole game has been reengineered to bring it visually into line with the later games in the franchise. The developers even brought back the entire voice cast from the original 2010-2012 Wii edition.

The original Wii edition art style still has its charms for some players, of course.
The Definitive Edition includes an artistic direction consistent with XBC 2.

Although the Xenoblade games now command a level of fame which is the envy of other role-playing franchises, the initial release in 2010 seemed far less promising. With Nintendo unwilling to take even a modicum of risk on Japanese RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles and the other Operation Rainfall titles looked to be stranded permanently in Japan. When Nintendo of Europe finally shifted position and localised the titles, the villainous Reggie Fils-Aime remained a stumbling block in North America, preferring instead to treat the Wii as an Oprah Winfrey-fueled shovelware device. Only when overwhelming fan demand and undeniable sales of the franchise made Reggie ‘The Chin’ Fils-Aime’s position untenable was the already-localised game finally and grudgingly approved for sale in North America.

And yet, despite the lateness of the moment in the ageing Wii’s console life, Xenoblade Chronicles and the other Operation Rainfall titles still sold comparatively well in North America and other overseas territories. Nevertheless, “The Chin” and his cronies took no lessons from the debacle, and remained obstinately opposed to other laudable and meritorious fan requests, such as the continued and strenuous call for a localisation of Mother 3–a call which goes unanswered to this day! However, Xenoblade is liberated at last, and now exists across four different platforms–Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, and Switch–in English-speaking territories.

SiliconNOOB will surely lower the game difficulty in order to make battles more 'respectful of his time'! ~.^
The updated battle graphics add sophistication and polish to an already-exceptional experience.

The Definitive Edition adds a considerable amount of content, including some extra crossover content connected to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but the main story is the same in all versions of the game. Therefore, anyone with access to a Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, or Switch can join in our playthrough: used copies of the older versions of Xenoblade Chronicles can generally be purchased via sites like eBay and Amazon for around $30. Given the recent release of the Definitive Edition, we are also especially interested in comparative comments from those who have extensively played the original game and who are now playing the Definitive Edition.

Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, secrets and new content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you feel that the Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition art style has been improved by the advent of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, or do you prefer the original visuals? Do you find the open-world and mission-based gameplay liberating, or frustrating and repetitive? Would you like to see Xenoblade Chronicles X similarly ported, or would you prefer for an entirely new game in the franchise, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.

Playing the Xenoblade games is one of the surest cures for those afflicted by MMO addictions.
The Xenoblade series abounds in astonishing vistas and landscapes to behold.

The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in three months, ending in late August. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion, and will let us know when it is time to close our site playthrough.

Platforms available are as follows:
• Nintendo Wii (Original Release)
• Nintendo Wii U (the Wii version, distributed via the eShop)
• New Nintendo 3DS (a graphically trimmed-down port of the Wii version)
• Switch (the new ‘Definitive Edition’)

Please join in with us and comment about your experience! The playthrough time frame is intended to allow anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Comment and tell your friends!

Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Day Tonight’s staff members and readers playing Xenoblade Chronicles as we experience Xenoblade Redefined!

48 comments

  1. My copy arrived today. I had to write up this feature post, but now that I’ve done so I can finally spend a few minutes with the game before bed! :)

  2. Yay finally time for the playthrough!! :D About nine hours in and in chapter three. Taking my sweet time lol. Love it! I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the new style on the characters, but I don’t care too much either. It’s just a joy to have it on Switch!

    Now Monolith please work on porting Xenoblade Chronicles X. Don’t make me buy a used Wii U for one game. Pleeeaaaase!!

  3. Haha! That’s what I said on the podcast, too! I think they’ll do XCX next. Here’s hoping!

  4. I don’t think XCX needs a remaster ot needs a straight port. You can put all of the gamepad stuff in a menu, like XBC

  5. Really really hope so. It makes no sense to have every game but one on the same system. That would kick off my ocd if I were the developer at the very least xD Let’s hope they feel the same!

  6. I spent an hour or so with the game today. On its original launch, I never finished the game (I remember quitting after reaching some sort of swamp area). My thoughts so far:

    – The music is great.
    – The UI is improved, though part of it still look like it was designed for a mobile device (the art buttons for example).
    – The open areas feel quite spartan in their decoration, which makes it kind of a slog to get from point A to B.
    – I’m skipping a lot of dialogue and cutscenes. Partly because I have a vague recollection of events in this part of the game, but also because I feel like it’s written for a very young audience and kind of dumbed down. The voice acting is entertaining though!
    – I’m not gonna pick up any side quests if I can help it. I fear that’s what made me drop the game the first time around.

  7. I received my copy of the Definitive Edition yesterday, and am thoroughly enjoying replaying the beginning section of the game. The use of the side quest indicators on the minimap is a significant and much needed improvement, and though the quests remain fetch-questy, not having to aimlessly search for the locations makes them much more tolerable. The graphical upgrades make the game look at times gorgeous, however the character animations are still the same wii tier caricatures they were in the original release. The newly arranged soundtrack is beautiful and preferable to the original, for example the Colony 9 music that plays outside of the town during the day is now flourished with piano accompaniment, and added instrumentation in other tracks enhances the experience of an already exceptional soundtrack. Suffice to say, I am quite pleased with this new edition of Xenoblade.

  8. Reached chapter four this morning session! 13 hours and level 18. Things die fast lol.

  9. I am at chapter 6 currently. I played the game on the new 3ds up until a section after long bridge where you have to do a boss fight alone with Shulk (from what I remember). I put the game down to play a new game and when I came back I couldn’t beat the boss and didn’t want to level with only one character, or go back to a previous save. I am enjoying the game an switch with the quality of life improvements. I am annoyed that, at least on the joycons, you can’t move and select an art without making a claw with your hand because both functions are on the same one. I usually end up standing still when fighting more than you would want to because of this.

  10. Don’t laugh i’m playing it on wii u with the gamepad. I find the resolution horrible on a tv. I’m past the marsh in the temple. I’ve had to take a few days off from playing.

  11. I reached chapter 3 this afternoon; work has kept me pretty busy, and, when I do play, I’ve been doing all the side quests and exploring every inch of the map, so I’m not exactly flying through the game. XD

  12. That’s the fun part though! I’m about 16 hours now and still in chapter four lol. This area has tons of quests and map to explore so I’m definitely staying here for a while xD

  13. I just started chapter 5 of Side Quest Simulator. I sometimes forget this game has a story. I’m quite enjoying making gems with the Chuckle Brothers.

    I’m actually enjoying the game a fair bit. It seems like it could have been an MMO from the size of the maps. The number of sidequests make you want to explore the vast areas. Gear and gems seem to be handled in a similar way. Looking forward to playing more of this!

  14. Chapter 4–it took me two hours last night to fill out the maps for the knee upper and lower areas! VAST.

  15. Chapter 9 and level 34, I would be further along but real life takes precedent

  16. Reached Chapter 5 (level 26) this afternoon. All quests completed so far!

  17. I am at chapter 9, Level 41, I am enjoying the game a lot more after getting the 4th-6th party members. I am finding them more fun to fight with than the first three. I am also finding the quests to be alright now that there are indicators for them. It must have been a nightmare that would be trying to do all these quests without them. I am annoyed though with the huge stretches of unnecessary nothingness in the game. The city you reach in chapter 8 is the worst offender of this for me. I get that it is supposed to be a grand city, but don’t make me waste minutes of my time running through empty space to get where I want to go.

  18. Haha! That great hall is way too big. I was huffing and puffing in rl after that haul.

  19. The quest indicators help a lot–they basically make doing the quests an easy and pleasant thing to do on your way from A to B. I dislike some of them being sequences, though, leading to a lot of back and forth between town and questing. Complete a quest, turn it in, get the next quest in the sequence, repeat.

  20. Well I’m getting close to 20 hours and *drumroll* yup that’s right still in chapter four. Level 24 laying flat most things except big gorillas. Love it, it’s so good!

  21. I’m at about 12 hours (as usual, this includes probably an hour or so with the game running unplayed), and I have completed all quests and maps up to Chapter 7. There’s SO MUCH SIDEQUEST CONTENT. At this point, I honestly feel that it detracts from the game, because I’ve certainly spent more time on side quests than on the main story.

  22. I would only do the Colony 6 rebuild quests to level 1 then move along..

  23. @TacticsJack: yeah, in chapter 6 I only had the materials to raise everything to level one. I didn’t have to do any looking for them – I had them all already, probably because I’m being so thorough in exploration. I’ll check back on colony six now and again, and when I have the materials will upgrade it, but it’s not the sort of thing that it would interest me to spend a lot of time on unless I get the items in the course of play like I have been doing.

  24. Completed all the sidequests up to Chapter 8, and got Colony 6 up to L.2. I think I probably spent about four hours doing all of that! The amount of sidequest content is honestly ridiculous.

  25. @Caspius Upgrading Colony 6 probably involves Maybe the most annoying “Fine rare item X” requirements, as it turns out most of the items you need to upgrade the different structures have about a 8-15% discovery rate, though much of this can be circumvented by trading items. For example a “monkey fossil” is one of the rarer materials you can find in the jungle area, but you can save yourself a lot of trouble by upgrading the noppon village to 2 stars, then trading it with one of the names characters in the village as a “bonus trade item” where you trade something of much greater value than the item needs. I find this whole process to be rather tedious, but the rewards can be nice by allowing rate items to spawn inside of colony six, at the farm or park, which can help you if you managed to miss a MacGuffin in one of the now closed off areas like the Ether Mine. Overall, I can understand why in XC2 they made the sidequests a bit more involved, but the problem with that game was you’d get quests that would require items from much further in the game. Monolith Soft could benefit from rethinking how they design these side quests, because it doesn’t seem like any game in the Xenoblade series has gotten it quite right as of yet.

  26. @Fumunshu: Yep, I have loads of materials because of my obsessive exploration of every area of the map, and the affinity system makes it easy to keep track of who can trade what, so I haven’t had any problems upgrading as long as the items are available at this point.

    SIDE QUESTS:
    I am at 22 hours, and I’ve completed all of the quests through chapter 9. Chapter 9’s quests almost broke me: I must have gotten about 60 different quests, or at least that’s how it felt. And then, when I would go turn them in, I’d get 10 more. With that said, when I actually set about doing them, it only took a couple of hours. Many of the enemies are grouped together, so in completing one quest I would end up completing three or four at the same time.

    At this point I’ve definitely done more than 100 side quests, although it feels like 200. The side quests in this game need a lot of work: they really do feel like filler for the most part, and although they try to build story hooks around them – that is, why the characters in the world want these items – they haven’t really done a very good job. It all feels very WoW-like, which is a bad thing. This is a pity, because the main story is genuinely interesting, the characters are likeable, and the world is jawdroppingly beautiful, even for an upgraded Wii game. Luckily, the side quests are not important enough to really harm the overall experience too much.

    MAP COMPLETION:
    A very frustrating realisation this evening was that my aforementioned obsessive map exploration has been partially unnecessary. In exploring the ABSOLUTELY VAST Eruyt Sea, I did what I always do when I come to a new zone, and I circumnavigated the entire area. It took an hour. It was so large that I despaired of having to fill in the map, especially because it is all water. Even with my speed up skills and gems, I figured that it would take several hours at least to slowly fill in the entire map. So I decided to put it off until I had done all the quests.

    Imagine my surprise when, in discovering the final landmark/location in the zone, the entire map filled in automatically! This is not just true for this zone alone (it also happened in the High Entia city), so all I ever needed to do was visit all the named landmarks and locations in a zone, and the map would have completed itself. Instead, I’ve been slowly filling it in manually, mowing back and forth across it like a lawnmower. I could have saved hours!

    GEM FORGING:
    Right now I’m at level 50. I don’t think I’ve ever forged a gem since the very beginning of the game, and the system for doing so has not been well explained, and is totally mystifying to me. Even rereading the tutorial several times hasn’t clarified things. I looked up a couple websites online which purported to give a beginner rundown of it, but it’s still a bit hazy. I haven’t needed any stronger gems yet because I’m so over levelled, but it would be nice to know how to crank things up another few notches.

    Tomorrow, prison island!

  27. Pokemon expansion out today, so Xenoblade has to share my attention. But it should get the better part of it because I really want to complete it soon!

  28. I am level 63 and on chapter 14. I’ve been doing all the quests from named characters along the way and completing the kill X monsters type quests if I encounter the enemies naturally or need to level up anyway. I’ve mainly been using Melia as my main character because I have heard she has the worst AI but is useful in a players hands. I have found this to the case.

  29. @LC11: I noticed the same thing about her AI, and have been playing her myself for just that reason!

  30. Finally reached chapter six! Had a couple of things to finish before a trip, but I’m back now! Tomorrow I head into the new area for this chapter!

  31. Reached Satorl Marsh and level 29 now after questing there for a while. Still questing around. One thing about this game I always miss from XC2 is that plays more like a mmo in that one day you might just want to sidequest, one day you try to get rare blades and one day you work on their charts. It’s a bit more varied. You do have many of these things here, but in a more repetetive package I feel. That said it’s still an incredible game and a joy to play ^^

  32. I should be able to get back to the game Thursday. Gaming is a hobby remember.

  33. I beat the main story line. I really stopped doing the quests once I reached the final chapter because after almost 70 hours I just didn’t care about them anymore and wanted to just finish the main game. Overall, I really enjoyed the game after I got over the first few chapters which were just ok to me. I enjoyed Xenoblade 2 a bit more than this one because of the variety Winter mentioned and a battle system which I enjoyed more.I think I am going to take a break for a couple of days before I do the bonus story.

  34. Wow congrats! Well done :D

    Finally reached chapter seven lol. Taking my time doing every quest I can so far. It’s A LOT of quests! But I enjoy crushing bosses or scripted enemies. Reached Makna Forest. Excited for another green area. I definitely enjoy those the most. 31 hours now and party is level 35. Really enjoying my journey. Such a nice game to play with my morning coffee and yesterday I played it outside during evening. We’re having summer weather here now. Warm for Norway. The music in the game is really soothing if not as catchy as XC2 I think. Perfect for relaxing.

  35. Comments have been reopened and should remain open until the end of our playthrough. Enjoy!

  36. Finally getting back into XBC this week–I reached Chapter 11 today, and finally cleared up the one outstanding Colony 9 quest I had (raising affinity between Sharla and Melia to purple). I also raised Colony 6 to L.3 (further upgrades require access to new areas).

    I was pleased to see that Ch. 10 had an appropriate number of sidequests–about 6-8 or so, which is a massice improvement over the ridiculous Alcanoth/Eruyth Sea deluge of sidequests. If the rest of the game stays like this it will be much better (but I expect it won’t).

  37. Made it to Ch. 12 and the latest city (‘Junks’, really!?) If I am given a trillion sidequests to do here, I may explode.

  38. Apparently, I was at the end of chapter 12, because when I started the game today I played for about two minutes and it was chapter 13.

  39. And now I am into Chapter 14. Still completing every quest, but finding that increasingly tiresome–we’ll see how long I can keep it up.

    Stil haven’t forged any gems.

  40. Back! I have been in babyland in fact xD I’m at my sisters place helping her a bit while her fiancé is starting up his new job. My nephew is only a couple of months soon so it’s been busy and very social. Some gaming though, but not much writing comments.

    I’m continuing today, so still in chapter seven. Had a friend over who started playing XC2 for the first time so I picked it up in solidarity and so did my sister. But from today we’re back on :D

  41. I think she did! She might need some more time with it, but I think she liked it. My sister and I love it so we were super excited for her :D

    Picked up XCD again yesterday. I’m in the Nopon treevillage. It’s so tall! Just goes up and up and up. Picked up a bazilliard quests and off we go!

  42. I want to spend more time on XBC, but work–yes, in the summer :(–is taking up a lot of my weekday time. This coming weekend I should be able to finish or get very close!

  43. I finished Future Connected, the bonus story-line for the definitive edition. It took around sixteen hours, and I did all the quests and other content that I could find. I enjoyed it, it was solid. I liked that after some of the quests they added a cut-scenes that further developed the characters and the evolution of heart-to-hearts into 3-4 minute cut-scenes. It was disappointing that the two new characters had the exact same arts as Reyn and Sharla who I found to be the most boring characters to fight with in the main game. I would have wanted them to have their own fighting style to learn and enjoy. In conclusion, I would say the bonus content is enjoyable but not anything worth buying the game for on it’s own.

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