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Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed review: a perfect finale

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is a fantastic DLC that wraps up the story of the first three games

The Xenoblade series comes with a lot of emotional baggage for me. The first two games told unforgettable stories that remain some of my favorites in all of gaming, while the third game genuinely broke me, causing me to alter my outlook on life and the world around me. It’s something I still haven’t entirely come to terms with, but I know that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is my favorite game of all time.

That should give you some context of exactly what this story DLC had to live up to. It had to tie up the final loose threads of the saga and bring a beautiful end to a story that was quite literally life-changing to me – a task it absolutely nailed.

Xenoblade 3 Future Redeemed Matthew and A

Xenoblade story DLCs are taken out of the glory days of expansion passes, where these small extras are actually full 20-hour games in their own right. It allows the narrative to have time to breathe in and serve everyone – a tough task given it serves both as a sequel to the first two games, and a prequel to the third. As the finale to the saga, it needed to have heaps of nostalgic references to all our favorite characters and locations, but still stand out as its own story. It strikes this balance perfectly between the six party members.

First, you have Shulk and Rex, the protagonists from the previous games. It’s a move that could be pure fan service, but there’s a lot of new stuff for these characters to chew on. Thanks to their past adventures, they are admired by the people around them and have to bare that burden – and that’s before their kids suddenly show up with no idea who they are.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Glimmer and Nikol

Nikol and Glimmer are fantastic characters who play with some of the underutilized ideas established in the main game. The fact that the soldiers of Keves and Agnus don’t have any concept of family makes their mere presence enough to challenge Shulk and Rex. They have to parent their children without those kids even being able to understand the concept of what a parent is. It’s an idea that the main game approached in one brilliant scene but Future Redeemed really takes the time to interrogate it.

Finally, there is Matthew and A. A’s identity serves as one of the main mysteries of the plot, but there is great care taken to ensure that we value them as a character first, not just as a plot device. Matthew is another great Xenoblade protagonist. His aggressive east-London accent is a little off-putting at first, but his laid-back, kind-hearted nature didn’t take long to win me over, especially when you see how he interacts with the other party members.

To go any deeper into the specifics of the narrative would spoil it entirely, but to put it simply, it’s what Xenoblade fans want. It answers the burning questions we had coming out of the main game (even if it is sometimes in a vague, symbolic way) and brings the saga to a very satisfying end.

Xenoblade 3 Future Redeemed Collectopedia

As for gameplay, there is a huge push to make sure you explore every inch of the world. The game hands you several checklists that make you engage with as much of it as you can. Things like the Collectopedia from the first game are back, alongside things like the Enemypedia – which tasks you with locating every enemy in the world and defeating a certain number of each.

Plus, everything is tracked very clearly on the map screen. Unique monsters, field crafting, containers, chests – you’d be forgiven for thinking you were playing an Assassin’s Creed game with everything it keeps tabs on.

It’s the kind of thing that only works because it’s a shorter experience. Were this in the 100-hour-long main game, it would’ve been a tedious disaster, but in a 20-hour package and smaller world, I’m happy to go out of my way for treasure hunting here and there.

The detailed party building of the main game is still there too. Unfortunately, characters can’t change classes this time around, as there are no Heroes to add to the party, but that has been made up for in other areas. Things like gems, arts, and accessories are all still customizable, but the new “Affinity Growth” system helps to make up for the lack of a class system.

Xenoblade 3 Future Redeemed Rex Affinity Growth treee

Using the Affinity Growth tree, you can unlock new arts and skills for characters, as well as upgrade what they already have. This shifts the focus of party building. In the main game, it’s about using the various classes to mix and match a party that works harmoniously, as where this system is more about min-maxing the specific strengths of each character.

The systems all tie together too, as the only way to earn points for the Affinity Growth tree is to do things like completing entries in the Collectopedia and Enemypedia, as well as ticking items off the other checklists. In case that wasn’t enough though, there is also a community chart, which tracks your relationships with all the named NPCs in the game – this level of hyper-detail may not be for everyone, but it’s exactly what long-time Xenoblade fans want.

It makes the world feel so alive and rewarding to explore. The size of the main game made something like this impossible, but the team behind the DLC took full advantage of the smaller scope to create something that feels different.

It’s not clear what the future holds for the Xenoblade series, but the director, Tetsuya Takahashi has confirmed that the story that started in the first game is officially finished with this DLC. Whether it will go the route of starting a brand new story in the same universe – like what Kingdom Hearts 4 appears to be doing – remains to be seen, but if this did happen to be the final thing we ever got in the Xenoblade franchise, I would be thoroughly satisfied. Future Redeemed is the perfect end to a perfect story.

Score: 10/10

Version tested: Nintendo Switch

  • Story and narrative: 10/10
  • Technical performance: 9/10
  • Art: 10/10
  • Audio and music: 10/10
  • Mechanics and systems: 10/10

Future Redeemed technical breakdown

Future Redeemed’s smaller world means it performs a bit better than the main game. Where the big impressive vistas often tanked the framerate in the main game, Future Redeemed holds steady with no noticeable frame drops, and I didn’t encounter any bugs while I played. The only gripe is that loading up your game from the main menu can still take a bit too long, and fast traveling into Colony 9 will also lead to a longer-than-usual load time.

Buy Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed on Nintendo Switch