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Welsh Anime Cat Girls is back and better than ever

Welsh Anime Cat Girls is back and better than ever

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is massive. It’s no real surprise – Monolith Soft’s beloved JRPG series has always acted on its colossal open worlds and ambitious stories of human triumph at unbeatable odds. The third entry once again follows a group of anime teenagers who seek to escape the sociopolitical systems they were born into in search of something better. They have been exposed to ordinary lies and endless wars for so long that things have to change, and in an instant the narrative conceit is sold with enormous effect.

I can only talk about the first couple of chapters right now, but this already feels like a deep evolution over previous titles that find an aesthetic middle ground between the first game’s more traditional fantasy and the sequel’s gaudy anime fan service. The combat system is faster and more conscious, while exploration is given much stronger priority thanks to optional missions that actually matter. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 continues to push forward one of the most ambitious features the genre has ever seen despite some minor flaws.


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Aionios is a vast landmass home to a duo of distinct factions – Agnus and Keves – who are engaged in an eternal conflict to gather energy resources that not only maintain their dependence on technology, but keep the soldiers on the battlefield alive. Real people are a rarity in this world, with the majority of people born from twisted laboratories with a life cycle of ten short years. They show up ready to train, and eventually come to fight in a conflict that serves an obscure but even greater purpose. People are born to fight, die and repeat this difficult process because there is no way to control them. Good to know that Monolith Soft is strongly antimonarchist and wants to fight for the little guy.

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Colonies across the continent are subject to Flame Clocks. These mechanisms adorn high mechanisms and require that the war continue by all necessary means, otherwise the energy reserves are depleted and those who depend on it fall dead. It is a deliberately dark premise, with the early hours of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 not afraid to confront existential humanism and nature into a life ready to disappear whether we are prepared for it or not. When someone reaches their tenth year, a homecoming is held that sees them rise to a higher plane. In reality, they become little more than small sparks floating into the sky, ready to be replaced by someone just like them again and again until the world ceases to exist.

The main role consists of child soldiers from both nations who find themselves becoming allies when the final hours of a campaign go horribly wrong. A chance encounter with a human survivor – which fans of the series will definitely recognize – has caused our heroes to gain special powers and lose all connection to their homeland. Now they are refugees, and have no choice but to persecute those who rule over them to prolong their lives and make the world a better place. Some have only months left and have no idea what a change in their destiny will bring, but it is better to chase that opportunity instead of accepting death.

Noah is our main character, an off-viewer whose job is to play an instrument that sends the deceased to a better place. Whether this actually does anything remains unclear, but it is a symbolic recognition of loss in a world defined by its own volatile nature. Mio has the same job, a cat girl from the rival faction with only three months left on the internal clock. She has both accepted death and understands that there is a reason to continue fighting, if only to honor those who fell in her place and to build a future that matters. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has a fantastic ensemble of characters, who bond together through shared experiences of trauma as they learn to leave their once dystopian lives in favor of freedom, even if it means further sacrifice and having no way of knowing what lies ahead. in front of them.

The overarching narrative is a narrative of revolution, with more and more colonies coming to join our cause as the true nature of the ruling monarchy becomes clear. People will realize that being born to fight is no way to exist, and learning to have fun, feel empathy and fall in love are experiences that everyone deserves to have, even those whose presence is determined by a constant ticking clock. I so want to immerse myself in the game’s story, but it will have to wait, just knowing that after an epic but intimate story of personal discovery, they will love what Monolith Soft has done here, even if it turns into a bit of a clichéd melodrama. often. But I feel like these anime tropics are coming with the territory.

As I mentioned earlier, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is huge. The first chapter begins with our heroes who have the task of traveling home over a scorched battlefield. Strolls and corpses litter the land, with Noah stopping to take away his fallen comrades as he battles a selection of low-level monsters. I immediately noticed that the characters feel more alive this time, with many of them making contextual comments about the environment or touching on my current goal in a way that feels a little more natural. Hermetic voice lines are still very common, but compared to previous entries, the difference is monumental.

The fight itself does away with the gacha system from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 which relied on chances to draw playable heroes in a full prize product. It sucked, and now what you see is pretty much what you get. The main party consists of six main characters, who all have their own distinct class and can be switched between at any time in the middle of the fight. Classes belong to three different groups – Attacker, Defender and Healer – with a decent mix of them all required unless you want to end each match with a loss.

Being able to switch between characters whenever you want is a game changer, turning matches that were once quite dreadful into faster, more energetic battles that require better reactions and a deeper understanding of the battlefield. Like previous games, the key to victory is to build combinations by linking art together before performing an epic chain attack that can do ridiculous amounts of damage. This pattern will see you through most meetings, but you will also need to adopt new classes as they unlock to learn new skills and keep things fresh.

While the gacha elements I mentioned earlier are not to be seen, they are instead replaced by heroic characters who act as a seventh party member who cannot be controlled or adapted except for a few factors. Many of these characters have search lines that are similar to loyalty missions in Mass Effect, located off the beaten track and provide ample incentive to explore away from the main story. I’re forbidden to mention them explicitly until the release, but it’s wonderful to see the otherwise forgettable side quests from previous games given purpose. There’s so much to do in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and most things justify its presence instead of hanging around like filler.

One of the coolest new combat mechanics is Ouroboros. This ancient power is unlocked by our heroes as part of the story and allows them to manifest an emotional connection and combine bodies to become giant organic mechanisms with all kinds of special movements and abilities. They are absolutely naughty, and are often used as specialties in combat given how much damage you can deal when you take control. When Noah and Mio bond for the first time, we both see witness snapshots of memories, dive into their inner subconscious and gain a nuanced understanding of who the other person is and what makes them tick. It basically runs from Pacific Rim, but with extra anime, if at all possible.

I can not overestimate how many quality of life improvements Xenoblade Chronicles 3 brings to the table. Instead of forcing the player to dig through gathering places and watch a generic animation over and over again to earn resources, they are instead spread naturally across the environment and can be picked up without pressing a button. Fast travel is more streamlined and character customization is no longer a mix of incomprehensible menus that feel determined to overcomplicate things. It all feels iterative and shows how Monolith Soft has taken on feedback from fans to create a game that feels better in every way.

However, I would say that it still feels hampered by the Nintendo Switch. I have not yet received the first day, but the visual quality and performance during docked gaming is far from perfect. Drops are common, and expansive views are often reduced to a blur when inflated on a 4K screen. I understand the intention, with scale being preferred rather than frame rate, and the cost is pretty obvious, but I can not help but imagine how this game would be on PS5 without absolutely any compromise in sight. Still, I learned to deal with its worries, and have already fallen in love with this world and its characters as I push myself forward to uncover the twists and turns that await.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is all I wanted it to be. It removes the overly sexualized characters in the last game without leaving its charming personality, and tries to deliver a story that is strong, emotional and defined by an ensemble crew I can not help but mess with. The combat system is faster and more experimental, while exploration gains greater purpose through meaningful side missions and hero missions that justify the time required to see them through to the end. This momentum may dry up if the game ends up being too long and continues to be welcome, but I’m already 30+ hours in and ready for more.

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