33 Reviews liked by strenkth

This is a great recommendation for everyone who always wanted to try a city building strategy game, but was too deterred by their complexity or did not want to spend so much time getting behind the mechanics. It takes virtually no time to understand Terra Nil and how to get around. Usual playtime will be 5-8 hours and it is very much worth it for everyone who looks to get into a cozy game that has a low difficulty scale.
I enjoyed my time very much so far and got to 100% quickly. Even compared to other strategy games, there is nothing like it and I look forward to any updates in the future.

A game seemingly misremembered by many, moments such as Storming Athens, Slaying the Hydra and journeying through the Desert come up often in discussion but in truth make up little of the game's actual run time.
Once the game reaches Pandora's temple all sense of pacing collapses to never return leaving only a bloated boring parody of its opening hours in its wake.

this like if a fidget spinner had an upgrade system

Like a Dante or a Sonic, Bayonetta exemplifies the hallmarks from which all the greatest videogame characters are built from, with a characterization and raison d'etre easily expressed and inferred from the moment you pick up the controller. Bayonetta is a constant controllable blitz of unwavering and cathartic violence presented with all the female bravado and sexuality that the character is able to exude, which made Bayonetta 3's relentless propensity to rob the world of what defines the character so disappointing.
While I understand the divide it created within the fanbase, Bayo 2 was never the sore spot to me as it is with some. The indulgence in game breaking overpowered moves and gimmicky boss battle setpieces diminished much of the combat complexity expected of the series, but it was still an engaging exploration of action that still pertained to the pillars that defined the first game and the bombastic and boastful personality of its heroine. Bayo 3 taking 2's route would have been an acceptable compromise in my book, had its central shitck of devil summons not been so half-baked into it.
Bayo 3 fills most of the experience and screen with sluggish summons that disarm the player of their surroundings and control, rewarding button mashing that feels disconnected and completely at odds with the core fast paced Bayonetta gameplay, and while providing some of the most memorable and exhilirating moments of the series, be it riding demon artillery trains, fighting giant kaijus Godzilla style or witnessing the Baal Zebul recital, the inconsistent game language these setpieces demand never fail to feel like the game is being put on hold while the critters have their fun and Bayoneta stands in a corner.
Expecting Bayo 3's story to compensate this shift in protagonism spotlight, it was disheartening to follow along a nonsensical plot devoid of much of the over the top personality and cheeky endeavours Bayonetta had accustomed us to. I'm not gonna pretend that the previous two Bayonettas were bold masterpieces of storytelling, but they managed to cohesively escalate the stakes with the right dosage of stylized larger than life action and portentious melodrama, permeated by a thematically and aesthetically rich set of enemy encounters and environments that would build into a crescendo of satisfying wickedness.
Meanwhile, Bayo 3's underutilized metaverse motif has you world travelling to bland, visually disconnected civilizations meeting alternate versions of Bayonetta that absolutely fail to build any kind of fun, riveting and exciting chemistry with our protagonist, all leading up to a deflating and awkward finale that misses the mark so hard, you have to wonder how it has the Platinum name attached to it. Bayonetta is so absent from the narrative, not even the new fun hairstyle prevents her from being as boring as she was in the previous game (eat it, Bayo 2 hair nerds).
This is the part where we talk about Viola. It doesn't take long before you start to draw parallels between Viola and Nero from DMC, but while that character benefited from being the emotional core that ended up tying the whole series together through the course of 2 full games, Viola is an uncharismatic, tonally deaf, and forced protagonist that Bayo 3 expects us to receive with open arms and without earning her place, and I take personal offense that Platinum would entertain the idea that a character so irrelevant to the narrative of the series would be the one carrying the torch, and not just let it be another weapon in Bayonetta's arsenal.
My bitterness towards Bayonetta 3 stems not from thinking it's a bad game, which I don't. At its lowest, Bayonetta still represents some of the most engaging action you will ever experience, and in the few glimpses the game allows us, the umbra witch shines all the spotlights on her. It's just a shame that what should have been a celebration of one of videogame's greatest instead feel like nails in the coffin of the character and the series. And if you want a clearer indication that the people behind this project didn't understand Bayonetta at all, consider that the traditional credits verses happens during the classy old tune pole dancing and not during the "Let's Dance Boys!" musical act. That's one massive L.

Minor spoilers ahead.
The combat is excellent as always! But that does come with some caveats this time around, which is unfortunate. Thankfully though, most of the game is still the fantastic Bayonetta combat, which is largely the same from Bayonetta 2, but with a few more changes. The Umbran Climax has been removed, in favor of being able to directly summon demons and control them remotely. I found this change to be very fun! As a lifelong Kaiju fan, being able to summon a giant demon to fight mosnters at any time was a treat. The combat is a bit sluggish in comparison to the core combat, which I can definitely see as a problem for people, but I can't say it bothered me. I will stress however, that I didn't use it all that much, only bringing it out if I was in a pinch. I get the impression that if I wanted to get all Platinum ranks, I would need to use it more often, and I can see that definitely being a problem. Many of the chapters also end in massive kaiju battles, which were some of my favorite parts of the whole game. The dev team clearly loves kaiju movies, Sin Gomorrah especially is a walking tribute to both Gamera and Godzilla. You love to see it.
There are also a few chapters where you play as a brand new character, Viola. Viola is kind of rough ti get used to, especially if you're used to the dodge-heavy Bayonetta combat. Viola can still dodge, but she does not receive Witch Time from it like Bayonetta does, instead she has a new mechanic- a parry. The parry kinda sucks, to be honest. The idea is to time a parry right as the enemy attacks to activate witch time. But for some reason, the timing is completely different from Bayonetta's dodge, and is on a completely diffetent button, and I think you have to hold the button down for a little bit to get it to actually activate? I never truly got the hang of it, even after the grueling Witch Time Damage Only challenge she has in Chapter 10. I had to rewire my brain switching back to her after playing Bayonetta and vice versa. I did eventually get a bit better at it because of that terrible challenge, but I never mastered it. On the plus side, I really enjoy her use of Chesire, he gives off big Totoro energy and I am here for it. I also found her moveset to be otherwise really fun to combo with, my only gripe really is that awkward parry.
Jeanne also has occasional short side-scrolling stealth segments, which are inoffensive. They're over pretty quick, and I enjoyed them enough. I feel like my love of Jeanne kind of boosts my opinion of these stages a bit though, so your mileage may vary.
The level design continues the trend started with Bayonetta 2, being even more open and exploration-based than the previous entry. I found this delightful, exploring the environments in the new demon forms was pretty fun, and the optional challenges were (mostly) entertaining. I was compelled enough to do every challenge and find every chest, though I didn't get every Umbran Tear of Blood. Those frogs are easy to miss.
If I were just rating this based on the gameplay, i'd call it Game of the year. But sadly, this game's story really dragged things down.
Bayonetta's stories haven't been all that great to begin with, frankly. Bayo 1's story is nigh-incomprehensible, but had enough fun set pieces and likeable characters to distract from that. Bayo 2's story is half-great, the personal story of Bayonetta rescuing her closest "friend" from the pits of hell and bonding with the father she never knew were genuinely interesting, but the rest of the story fell flat. Bayo 3 goes for a different approach, by barely having a story at all while simultaneously trying to be some epic and grand conclusion to the whole saga. It's structured in an incredibly repetetive way: Bayonetta enters an alternate universe, finds an alternate version of herself, that version dies, Bayonetta has a fun kaiju battle (or rhythm game, which was awesome for the record), then that world collapses. Do that five times, spliced with occasional missions as Viola and side-scrolling spy missions as Jeanne. But during all of that, the characters get little to no development, and we seriously are never told why the hell the main villain wants to combine all universes. To make things worse, we never truly meet the guy until almost the end of the game, and it's presented as some grand twist that the villain is who he is, but since we know nothing about him whatsoever it means nothing to me. The final fight against him is spectacular though, a definite highlight of the game for sure. It doesn't beat Bayo 1's final fight, but really, what could?
And yes, the ending is really as bad as people say it is. It's not earned in the slightest, and the way it's framed makes it seem like nobody on the dev team really thought people were attached to Bayonetta as a character. It's almost like they wanted it to be like Devil May Cry 4, with a brand new character with a brand new gameplay style gets to carry the torch, but it just falls flat in comparison. Very confusing choice. Should there be a Bayonetta 4, I sincerely hope it's like Devil May Cry 5, and everyone is present once again.
I would still recommend the game overall, the gameplay is just that great, but the story is the worst in a series with already pretty mediocre stories. This is definitely the weakest Bayonetta game, but being a weak Bayonetta game still means it's pretty good.
For me, it's 2>1>3.
Bayonetta and Jeanne should have kissed. Fuck you I will die on this hill, I don't mind Bayo getting with a dude (she's always been Bi), but Luka??? Honey, Jeanne is right there. Come on, those egyptian counterparts were totally hinting at it.

Tetsuya Takahashi: "i skimmed the abstract of like 5 different philosophy books and arthur c clarke novels and i'm here to just vomit all that back at you for 70 hours without saying anything meaningful about any of it"
Me: "sounds bad"
Tetsuya Takahashi: "i've also included kung-fu and robots"
Me: "sounds sick"
Yoko Taro: (furiously taking notes)

This review contains spoilers

Finally, after all these years, all this waiting...a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 4.
Less of an elegant melding of the design philosophies of Xenoblade 1 and 2 and more a Burnout-Esque car crash of systems, careening discordant mechanics at each other again and again, piling mechanic upon mechanic upon mechanic, leaving each one shattered by impact, until finally, just when it would be funniest to...another system comes screaming in and collides with the pile-up. On paper, Xenoblade 3 seems like it might really be the best of both worlds, but paper is famously two-dimensional. Practice reveals that Xenoblade 3's complete incoherence, its inability to make any single element of its design work fully with any other results in a game that was, for me, actively unpleasant and frustrating to play through.
So many things about Xenoblade 3 reward you with experience points, be they sidequests, chain attacks, or exploration, and certainly the most fun I had in Xenoblade 3 was the initial thrill of abusing the chain attack to get 1000% extra EXP and go up like 4 levels at once. But because the ability to level down to keep apace with the level curve of the main quest is bafflingly locked behind New Game+, and because fighting enemies below your level substantially slows down the unlocking of your Jobs, which the game encourages you to switch near constantly but also encourages you to remain on a single job so that others can use it too, what gaining that EXP practically means is a short burst of endorphins at seeing Number Go Up in exchange for an hour or two of staid misery as your progression grinds to a halt and you languish in a party composition you aren't enjoying so that you can unlock one you do like later. A game where you are punished for progression, and punished for not progressing by potentially missing out on the first game in the trilogy where there is more than a handful of sidequests with actual stories and meaningful gameplay unlocks in them. Xenoblade 3 represents the point where the memetic maximalism of the series, something I have always enjoyed about it, finally buckles and collapses under it's own weight, the cumulative effect of all this is being that you are left with a game built on systems of rewards that actively work against things the rest of it is doing, that make the game frustrating and unpleasant to play, the RPG design equivalent of being pulled in 4 separate directions by each of your limbs.
The story produces a similar effect. While the pretty great core cast provides a solid foundation for the game, thematically or stylistically there's not a single theme or idea that Xenoblade 3 brings up that it will not at some point contradict or muddy, not a single thing it ever fully commits to. Sometimes this is borderline parody, like the scene where the party rages with righteous fury at members of Mobius for having the temerity to treat killing people as a game, only to then in the very next screen meet a hero character who treats killing people as a game that every single character is completely on board with except for Eunie, who is chided for the crime of consistency and is asked to undergo a sidequest character arc in order to stop committing it. It often has the feel of a first draft, especially in how characters significant to the histories of our crew are introduced in flashback seconds before they reappear in the present to have a dramatic and tearful finale. Down to the very basics, the broad theme that comprises so much of the story and the gameplay, of two disparate peoples doing good by coming together, is shattered by an ending that sees their separation as a tragic necessity. By any conventional standards of narrative or mechanical coherence, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is an unmitigated disaster.
This isn't a unique failing of this game, however. Some of this is not unique to Xenoblade 3, but rather represents a degree of exhaustion I have with elements of Xenoblade that have remained unchanging. Xenoblade has always taken influence from MMORPGs, but it's influences have never really extended beyond the experience of the player character. Playing through raid or even dungeon bosses in an MMO, with their own discrete mechanics and designs that throw wrenches into your rotations you must react to, alongside Xenoblade 3 thoroughly demonstrates that if Xenoblade is a single-player MMO, it is a single-player MMO where every single enemy is a mob, where every single fight plays out almost the exact same way. Whether you are fighting a lowly bunnit or the God of Genesis, you're going to be just trying to execute your rotation all the same. And the rotations themselves are incredibly simple, the actual challenge is navigating around the uniformly terrible AI of your squadmates. The chain attack has always felt like a concession to this, and never more so than here, where at almost any time the + button lets you opt into a mode of play that tosses out basically the entire rest of the battle system to play a minigame that also happens to be a completely dominant strategy that is more powerful than anything else in the game, at the cost of being incredibly drawn-out and boring. Similarly, the world design, which is basically the same as the prior games but much wider, exposes just how uninteresting these spaces are to explore when the visuals and atmosphere aren't doing the heavy lifting. But Aionios is a particularly bland and staid world, with precious little interesting visual scenery and barely buoyed by a soundtrack that, Mobius themes aside, I found almost totally unmemorable. Both in the things it takes away from prior games that may have distracted from it, and the things it does itself, Xenoblade 3 does an admirable job at demonstrating the rot at the core of this entire series, the flaws and failings that have always been there, brought into the light more completely for the first time.
And it almost works. It genuinely, sincerely, almost works.
The world of Xenoblade 3 is a literal mash-up of the worlds of Xenoblade 1 and 2, a staid, in-between world maintained in eternal stasis and backward-looking by a group of (awfully-dressed) manchildren who treat all of this as consequence-less entertainment for themselves, who hang out in a theater watching clips from the world outside as if they are little more than episodes of a weekly seasonal anime. This lack of coherence, the way the writing never takes more than a step without stumbling, the way the ungodly chimera of systems and mechanics makes simply existing in Aionios feel genuinely stressful for me, against all odds does manage to feel resonant with the parts of the story that are about how existing in this singular moment is awful, how we need to forcefully draw a line under all this and move on. When characters talk about how much they hate this world, I sincerely agree with them. I hate it because the time I have spent here, because I have hiked across its vast empty wastes, seeing off dead bodies in a spiritual ritual reduced to a Crackdown Orb, because I have fought the battles of this endless war between Keves and Agnus and found them to be unpleasant and unsatisfying, because I have found the carrots of progression it offers to be hollow and tasteless. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 earnestly and sincerely represents a formal boldness that I genuinely did not think Monolith Soft was capable of, a willingness to produce a game where the act of playing feels terrible in order to underscore its point about how the world it presents must be ended. Even if it's lack of materialism and eagerness to abstract it's themes means it's never going to hit me like games that name their enemy (I've seen people talk about XB3 as an anti-capitalist game and while I can see how it's talk about destroying the Endless Now would be resonant with feelings like that, I'd like to direct your attention towards the early scene where a nopon explains the Free Market to the party and they all go "that's so poggers" and also the unbridled Shinzo Abe-ness of certain scenes, you know the ones) it nonetheless represents Xenoblade going further and reaching higher than, frankly, I ever thought it capable of. When a late-game boss starting randomly spouting contextless lines from Xenogears' theme song, I knew that some part of this game knew what was up.
I wish the rest of it did.
Perhaps Xenoblade 3 would be dishonest with itself if it did not also muddy and fumble the one part of it tying all the disparate strands together, but by indulging in earnest and straightforward nostalgia to an almost comical extent. One of the earliest things that intrigued me about Xenoblade 3 was how each of the two nations is ruled by a figurehead representation of a prominent waifu character from a prior game, where the uncritical worship of these characters is manufactured and exploited in order to maintain the endless war machine. It was cutting, it was incisive, and seemed self-aware, however briefly, of just how wretched the fandoms of these games are. Of course, it couldn't last. By the end, these figureheads are replaced with the Real Versions of these characters, who actually are uncritically good and brilliant and worthy of worship, whose immense power is absolutely necessary to destroy "The Endless Now", and also my willingness to find something that means anything in this mess. The one thing you absolutely cannot do when making a story about clinging to the past being wrong and bad is to parade around that same past as if it's the second coming, to indulge so completely in uncritical fanservice that buries anything interesting beneath tuneless self-indulgence that sounds like a thousand teenage boys yelling "BRO PEAK FICTION". If Xenoblade 3 isn't willing to commit to what it's doing, why should I? Why did I spend 100 hours of my life that I will never get back on a game that's just going to throw away everything interesting it's doing a the final hurdle? What was the point of any of this?
The angry tone of the prior passage is not how I feel now, given time to relax and reflect on the parts of the game that do genuinely work for me, like the main party (Eunie and Taion prove that Monolith Soft is in fact capable of writing a good romance, they have thus far simply chosen not to) and, of course, the parts that Really Don't Work, which are the things that worked most of all. But I'm not really able to get over that the one thing I found was truly interesting and exceptional about this game was something it just couldn't resist the allure of Servicing Fans enough to bring home. With Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Monolith Soft set out to prove that Xenoblade cannot continue the way it is, and the worst part is that they succeeded...just in a way that convinced me that the problem might lie deeper within Monolith Soft, not simply with Xenoblade itself.
Ultimately, I just think these games aren't for me anymore. I really gave it the best try I could, but I'm content to let the people who do still love them enjoy it themselves, whilst I let time turn it into a faded memory. The best Xenoblade, on paper? Definitely. But then, cardboard cut-outs don't make for great company, do they?

There are multiple reasons why this game shouldn’t have been enjoyable to me. While I respect detention I don’t love it, the only horror game series I really like is silent hill and I don’t really like first person horror either. This game defies all of that and is incredible in just about every way. The atmosphere and plot are stunningly executed and the game has striking visuals. I have a lot of respect for red candle and their defiance of imperial China. I hope the Taiwanese people know true peace and safety someday.

100% completed in 92 hours.
An exercise in disappointment. Xenoblade 3 is worse than the previous two entries, and even X, by a large margin.
There are a lot of bizarre choices, but most of all for me were the battle system, balancing and story in general.
The battle system is questionable in that it tries to be far, far simpler than 2's but it ends up being too messy. You have easier to understand gimmicks, but the gimmicks end up taking 0 brain power and are what consist of 99% of your battles. In every single boss battle, 90% of my damage were from the gimmicks and the regular combat just felt like a waste of time. This was sort of the case in 2 as well, but in 2 there was a sense of depth to the gimmick at least.
As far as the balancing goes, it punishes you if you do side content at all. I was consistently 10-20 levels above every story boss, and I wasn't even doing all of the side content, just a bit. What's funny is I completely skipped side content in the last third of the game and I was still vastly overleveled -- even for all of the side content. Once I hit level 65~ at the end of the midgame the only things left were the superbosses. While I was occasionally overleveled in 1 and 2, it was never that off.
The story's just kinda a dumpster fire, I'm not sure what to say that hasn't already been said to death. The pacing is glacial and every single conflict is stupid, they were lazy enough to make it so 'muh macguffin' was the context for nearly every fight in the entire game.
I ended up doing every sidequest and all the superbosses, but not without plenty of regret. The only area this game shines in is content. It's packed, but that's not saying it when most of it's hollow.
Anybody telling you this game is good or worthwhile probably hasn't finished or is trolling you. I refuse to believe otherwise. This game needs plenty of patches to even become average in quality.

I've dreaded to come out and say it...
Xenoblade isn't my thing. I found the gameplay stimulating only during short occasions. Maybe I'm just too impatient. Maybe I just don't get Xenoblade.
This game does feature fantastic music as well as strongly produced cutscenes, but I seemed to enjoy the action present in the cutscenes more than a lot of the actual gameplay. Can't say this is a bad game at all, but maybe it was my pride that got the better of me that wanted to finish it all the way after paying nearly full retail for it, even though I was ready to move on within 20 hours.
I wanted to have come away with a better experience for a beloved jrpg series. But, the final potent and moving scenes did leave a good taste in my mouth, and even though it probably won't be for a LONG time, I'm open to someday potentially trying out X1DE.

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