Xenoblade Chronicles 3: A SuperParent First Look

A JRPG about mortality and the nature of war.

Released on July 29, 2022 for the Nintendo Switch, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the latest Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) from developer Monolith Soft and publisher Nintendo. 

In this immensely popular franchise, players travel across wide open areas and engage in real-time combat with monsters found out in the field. In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, a series of tutorials does a good job of explaining the basics of combat, which revolves around positioning your character so that attacks do the most damage. 

For the majority of the game’s first chapter, the player only controls one character while the rest of the party members act on their own. You’ll also only have three different attacks in addition to your auto attacks, each one mapped to one of the face buttons on the Switch controller. Two of these attacks do extra damage if your character is behind or to the side of the enemy, respectively. Again, this is covered clearly in some in-game tutorials. 

Gameplay-wise, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 sends players across several large, open landscapes. Each area is littered with collectables and hidden areas. Monsters roam the land freely, some more powerful than others. It’s not uncommon to see creatures that are far stronger than your own party, which usually serves to point players in a certain direction early on.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is set against a backdrop of war, and deals with some pretty heavy themes right from the start. Many of the soldiers wield weapons that drain the enemy of “life energy,” which serves as a sort of currency. In this world, conflict is endless, and much of the social infrastructure is predicated on how well each settlement does in battle, i.e. how much life energy it has won. The governing body rewards settlements that win battles with higher rankings, with the lowest being “Dirt” and the highest being “Gold.”

Another prominent theme throughout the game’s first chapter is mortality. Everyone in the world only lives for 10 years. The goal of every soldier is to make it to the end of that decade and participate in a ceremony called Homecoming wherein their own life energy is given over to the leader of the settlement. In this way, dying after 10 years is considered the ultimate honor.

One of the characters players meet later in the opening chapter is Mio, who only has about three months left until her 10 years of life are up, making her a rather tragic character.

It doesn’t take long for Noah, the protagonist of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, to begin to question this way of life. As an “off-seer,” it is Noah’s job to usher the dead to the afterlife through music. This isn’t just an element of the story, though – while exploring the world, you may come across fallen soldiers that Noah can see off. In this way, loss of life serves as a gameplay mechanic, which might rub some players the wrong way.

Finally, parents should know that early on in chapter one, the main party of characters all recoup from a battle in a bathhouse. Both male and female characters mingle here, but there’s no hint of humor in the form of sexual tension as is common in games of this style. Instead, the scene is a stage for a rather serious conversation about the nature of war.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is now available on Switch for $59.99. The game is rated T for Teen by the ESRB with Content Descriptors for “Language,” “Violence,” “Suggestive Themes,” and “Mild Blood.”

Disclosure: SuperParent received a code for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 for coverage purposes.