Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed Review – Closing the Act with a Bang

    Title: Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed
    Developer: Monolithsoft
    Release Date: April 26, 2023
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Genre: Action RPG

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 saw the introduction of a new cast of characters and systems that expanded the universe of this series. Now, the scope of this entry is expanding further with the release of the Future Redeemed DLC. As the game’s final wave of story content, players get to finally wrap up this adventure, but a lot depends on whether it will be as memorable as the previous DLC expansions.

In Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Redeemed, we meet Matthew, a young survivor from the City. Following an attack by Moebius, he finds himself joining up with A to find any survivors that might’ve escaped the assault. This includes his missing sister, Na’el. It’s here that he meets Nikol and Glimmer, two soldiers who just had their Colonies decimated by the flames of war.

I should mention that Future Redeemed DLC does not require you to have cleared Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and can be accessed directly from the title screen. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There are references and story nodes to key moments of the base game, which you should definitely finish before playing this.

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The narrative is no slouch. It wastes absolutely no time dishing out terms and lore from across the Xenoblade series, which might leave some players confused. Even as I played, I had to pause sometimes to try and remember what was being referred to or called back to because there are cutscenes that dump out lore from scenes mentioning Alvis’s true identity to bringing up terms such as Pneuma and the Trinity Processor. It even extends past the series with a reference to Xenosaga.

One of the unique features of Future Redeemed is the Affinity Points system. You can earn points in various ways, such as defeating enemies, completing the Collectopaedia, and clearing side quests. These points can then be used to upgrade Arts and your stats. This manages to be a handy feature since Class and Skill Points are absent. Perhaps one of my favorite things about this system is how your progress is meticulously tracked as you go, from how many Landmarks remain to even the number of Enemies you have yet to register.

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Another feature is Matthew’s X-Finder device. While it can only track City survivors at first, you can upgrade the device to ping you for Treasure Chests, relics, and more. The indicated will begin to glow in specific spots on the mini-map, and a sound will audibly get louder the closer you are. It is possible to disable this noise from the settings, though. Further, you can display an enemy’s weakness and even show recommended Arts to use during Battle. The only limitation is that the X-Finder cannot find certain key items, which limits its usability.

In the case of this expansion, the English audio direction feels exceptionally flat. I’ve always preferred Japanese dubs, but I decided to rewatch some of the cutscenes through the Event Theater with English dub enabled and couldn’t connect with the cast. Some characters seem to suffer from some weird intonation, and the delivery is sometimes all over the place. Shulk and Rex’s voices sound good in comparison, but the Japanese voice acting has almost no issues. This also ties into the translation, where when comparing to the original Japanese, I can tell that some interesting choices were made, but the intent and idea behind them were preserved.

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Unfortunately, when it comes to combat, Future Redeemed is missing the party flexibility present in Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The primary battle party comes down to Matthew and Rex as your attackers, A and Glimmer as Healers, and Nikol and Shulk as Defenders, with no way to change that. Having only two Healers means that if both A and Glimmer die, you’ll most likely be forced to retry the battle or cross your fingers that the members still standing can persevere.

Still, despite the lack of Classes, there are Unity Combos, where after charging the Special Gauge, you can deal a special attack with two characters. From the main menu, you can select characters to pair up with, and the UI offers a comprehensive way of understanding what effect your combination will result in. In addition, the Ouroboros power works differently in this DLC, where instead of transforming, Matthew and his party can fuse their Arts (known as Fusion Arts) or use them individually.

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Accessories and Gems are present, but there’s a small catch. Instead of unlocking slots by meeting specific requirements, a key item called a Growth Kit is required. They can be found in the overworld or obtained as rewards from Side Quests. Utilizing these will open slots in the Affinity Growth tree, Gems, and everything else. My only gripe is that the X-Finder cannot track the items themselves, but most of them can be found inside Containers and Relics, which can be tracked, but you must be cautious, lest you use it on someone by mistake.

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When I first started Future Redeemed, I expected that it wouldn’t be as long as Torna: The Golden Country but not as short as Future Connected. On average, you should expect to take around 19 hours with Future Redeemed if you wish to complete a good number of side quests and grind. Still, if you rush it and do what’s required, you’re looking at approximately 15 hours, which is slightly in line with how long Torna was but with significantly more content.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed pulls from key narrative moments across the series and creates a magnificent narrative that ties up loose ends. It relies heavily on series knowledge, making it the perfect expansion for fans who have stuck with the series for so many years. The unique features allow it to differentiate itself from the base game, but the lack of party variety seems like an oversite. Still, this was a fantastic conclusion to this adventure, and it has me eager to experience the next chapter.

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