A strong first impression can go a long way, as the saying goes. This may be most commonly used to describe a job interview, or even firing up a random indie podcast about video games, but it also holds true for long video games. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (MonolithSoft) made a STRONG first impression, detailing its world of Aionios, its forever-warring nations of Agnus and Keves, its toy soldiers with artificial lifespans, and its flame clocks looming both over and inside all of the inhabitants. I was absolutely floored by the worldbuilding done in the first hour, and the momentum continued as the main cast was revealed and their quest began.
But then 5 hours went by with the momentum maintained via inertia alone. Then 5 more hours went by, and the friction started to slow things down. Then 10 more hours went by, and by this point I started to question myself. The dreaded question that a video game should never prompt of its players- "Am I having fun?" The combat did little to evolve from its opening hours (and truthfully never really did for the rest of the game), and the fantastic worldbuilding gave way to uninspired mustache-twirling villains and room-temperature oatmeal combat. But despite all of this, the promise of the first few hours remained as enticing as always. The payoffs that were teased, the mystery that was introduced...I still wanted to see them through. So I gritted my teeth, paced out my play sessions, and made it to the biggest climax moment of the game (if you know, you know), and from that point on, the ball started rolling downhill again, all the way until it smashed through everything in its path to the ending.
Joining me to discuss all of that in episode 57 is Kolby from Switch it Up. Switch it Up is a mostly Nintendo-focused podcast where Kolby and his co-host Tyler discuss the Nintendo games they're playing, list and re-evaluate their favorite games of all time, and dive into whatever Nintendo topic or game strikes their fancy. You can, and should, find their show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Twitter!
You can listen to episode 57 of Tales from the Backlog (Xenoblade Chronicles 3) of Tales from the Backlog in the player below, or you can follow the links to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts or search "Tales from the Backlog" in your favorite podcast app!