I haven’t done a list in a while and with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I thought this would be a perfect way to get back to doing them. Now I want to start off by saying that regardless of where everything falls on this list I think each and every game is an absolute masterpiece. There is a reason why this series is second only to Fire Emblem in my fandoms, but naturally, a game will have to be first, and as such one has to come in last. Additionally, I am going to count Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected and Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna The Golden Country separately as well as they were released separately from the games they are connected to and honestly feel like different experiences. Additionally this list is going to go with the assumption that readers have a general idea of what happens in these games so it will dive a bit into spoiler territory.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected
I just love how well this game ties into the story of Xenoblade Chronicles 1. It gives a great look at what life is like after the events of the game and gives us so many awesome things. In the original game we see younger versions of Riki’s children but in Future Connected two of them are old enough to actually be part of the party. These two new Nopon characters are hilarious and add character development for Riki; however, the most important part of this game is how it gives Melia the finale she deserved. I truly believe that Xenoblade Chronicles 1 has the best ending of any game I’ve ever played, but as amazing as it was a relatively sad ending for Melia. She was friend-zoned hard and lost her people, but in Future Connected she managed to find survivors of her race of High Entia and assumed her rightful place as their queen in a very epic story to keep them safe from a new threat. Overall this was an amazing experience the only reason why this falls in last place is simply that it doesn’t have as much content as the other games.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna the Golden Country
The full game that came as DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 really adds so much to the whole experience for the game. You get to see how the great country of Torna was destroyed, why Addam’s name carried such respect in the main game and it explored the bond between Jin and Lora. The cast is very lovable and it was so much fun to really get to know them after seeing brief moments of them in the main game the tragic ending really makes this game stand out among the other titles. It’s also nice how this game managed to tweak the gameplay a bit to make that part also stand out from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It really is a very unique experience that does exactly what it was supposed to do. It showed the weight of the destruction of Torna and the justification needed as to why the characters here were revered as heavily as they were. This game really only suffers from two main things that keep it low on the list. It also doesn’t have as much content as the rest of the games and it locks main quests by making it mandatory to complete so many side quests. Now I love side quests but when it’s mandatory to complete so many for the main story it destroys the play at your own pace mentality you normally get from these games. Really overall it was neck and neck for this one and Future Connected but this one came on top because we got to see characters that were teased for a while and did not disappoint.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Now we get to the main series of games that were not add-ons or DLC and first off is Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The weapon system was really cool with your weapons being living creatures you form a bond with. It reminded me a bit of the anime Bleach, which I love. The story has many heartfelt moments and the characters for the most part are really enjoyable. The places included in this game are a sight to behold and I had a wonderful experience playing the game. It’s placed here on the list simply because the stories of the other games were done better and this game suffers from an in-game free gatcha system that locks some of the best side quests. Having to find and unlock blades to equip your characters is a cool idea but where you have to just randomly collect core crystals to unlock blades and hope that it’s a rare blade with an actual personality and side quests is frustrating. I’ve beaten the game twice and I still don’t have the Kos Mos blade I really wanted which is disappointing.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Xenoblade and giant mechs you can fly in is a combination that made me buy a huge TV on a black Friday sale just to fully enjoy the experience, true story. X stands apart from all the other Xenoblade Chronicles games because it doesn’t tie into the other stories, at least right now, and tonally it’s a very different experience. Rather than focus on character-driven narratives, the nature of this game is all about surviving in an unknown world so a lot of the big epic moments come from world-building. Seeing the various races that inhabit the world you crash landed on and finding all the required pieces to ensure humanity’s survival. From a gameplay perspective X is actually by far my favorite of the entire series as the gameplay is so much fun. Piloting and customizing giant mechs on a huge world map, the hours of explorations, and the quick changes from sword to gun combat for your character led to an incredible winter that year. The story could have had more grand moments that we have grown used to in the other titles but the world-building really made up for that.
Xenoblade Chronicles 1
As I stated before I stand by the fact that I feel this game has the best ending of any game I’ve ever played. Something about it makes me tear up every time it’s just beautiful, hopeful and charming that it just resonates so well with me. The story is amazing as well with twists and turns that are just impossible to fully predict and confrontations that constantly up the scales of the previous encounters. This is our introduction to the series and because of how well it was done we got several more games as a result. The world is grand the story is amazing and the characters are all lovable with quotes you just can’t forget. The only real flaw is that the side quests are boring and feel like busy work when everything else about the game has an incredible sense of purpose.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
I went into this game knowing that I would love it and that it would just blow me away and yet still in spite of that this game dwarfed my incredibly high expectations. Never before have I seen a game address so many complex issues such as finding a purpose for living, making each moment count, love, loss, grief, survival, life, and death. This game takes several elements that have been used to make entire games and managed to make one very cohesive narrative that blends all of these complex topics together. Not only that but it manages to make so many references to Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2 and does a great job wrapping up the story that brought the worlds of both these games together. The characters are all so well done and there were a ton of moments that had me on the edge of my seat. Chapter five in particular really provided one of the hardest-hitting emotional gut punches that I’ve ever felt and this game had yet another ending that moved me to tears. This game is not just a work of art it’s a masterpiece that somehow connects perfectly to other masterpieces to create something truly extraordinary. To put it a different way. It’s as if you were dealing with two legendary works of art with Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2 that you know were connected but ultimately functioned as separate images and then here comes Xenoblade Chronicles 3 that you add to show it’s actually all one picture this whole time.