The road to Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed releasing has been interesting. While I originally thought it would arrive in June or July closer to the soundtrack release, Nintendo released it late last month after a trailer that had me very excited. While I will try and avoid major spoilers for the prior games, you really shouldn’t be playing this DLC unless you’ve already completed all three Xenoblade games on Switch. I featured Xenoblade Chronicles 3 as our runner-up for the best game of 2022. Read my review of it here. After a few waves of DLC that didn’t interest me enough to get back to the game, the meat of the expansion pass arrived with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is Nintendo’s best DLC ever, and a phenomenal finale for the Xenoblade Chronicles trilogy. I’m going to cover the story, gameplay, music, and more in my Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed DLC review.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is set before Xenoblade Chronicles 3, but it very much assumes you’ve played prior entries. If you do happen to play this beforehand, expect a lot of spoilers for the main games. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed follows Matthew and A, who soon meet up with Glimmer and Nikol. Having seen some trailers and screenshots prior to playing the expansion, I had some theories in mind, but the team managed to surprise me constantly with reveals, throwbacks, and references to moments from prior games. I already liked Xenoblade Chronicles 3 a lot, but Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is my favorite story in the series alongside Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It feels like the best of all games with some quality of life and excellent pacing to bring it all together.
On the character side, A is a new favorite for sure alongside Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed’s versions of Shulk and Rex. While Matthew is the perfect frontman for this DLC, the cast and interactions are top notch here. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is full of fanservice through its affinity scenes, quips in dialogue as you encounter new and old areas, and also with its side quests. The side quests aren’t all amazing, but the DLC is a lot longer and more content-packed than I expected. I initially thought the lack of a retail release meant this would be a few hours long. I’ve spent 26 hours on the DLC and still haven’t managed to 100% every aspect of it. I’m going to savor it over the next few months because I love this world and the characters.
On the gameplay side, it feels like every new Xenoblade Chronicles release builds on the prior entry with quality of life improvements. That holds true for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed as well. While you don’t get the massive customization Xenoblade Chronicles 3 had, everything about the gameplay and structure was better and didn’t waste any time. The building element might annoy some who don’t explore or pick up items in locations, but I never really felt like I had to go out of my way to pick up items to use in these situations. Combat is brilliant as well. Having preset roles for the cast meant I was experimenting with specific builds rather than worrying about which class works best for which character.
You can change difficulty as with the base game, but I’m impressed with how the developers took the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 combat system, and evolved it here. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed feels like it takes the best of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and brings its own flair. The likes of Unity attacks (and how pairing works) only amplify how much fun I have with the combat. You can use auto-battle against all enemies barring the Unique ones and bosses. Difficulty options are also present which you can adjust during gameplay as well. While this DLC was obviously not going to aim to be a 100 hour long experience, it led to some streamlining in the combat that makes everything snappier. Chain attacks are still here, but strategizing for combo finishers as Unity attacks never got old. I haven’t played Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in a long time, but Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed did feel like it had some of that influence brought into combat that used the base of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 to deliver one of the best we’ve seen in an RPG.
Exploration is still a huge part of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed. I’m surprised at how big the main map is, and how seamless moving through the biomes is in this expansion. It is gorgeous and has stunning art direction. All of this is elevated by the superb music. While I didn’t find the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 soundtrack to be as good as prior games overall, I still respect the direction the team went with it. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed’s music is exactly what I want from a Xenoblade Chronicles soundtrack. The location music is perfect, battle theme phenomenal, and the boss themes are what I want from this series. The only issue I have with the music in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is the use of the Moebius theme from Xenoblade Chronicles 3. That might be my least favorite song in the entire series.
As you explore, collect items, take down groups of enemies, and find new locations, the game’s affinity system and side content come into the picture. I love how everything of note is made clear to you so you can revisit locations to just take on specific enemies rather than look up menus on what you need next. Interacting with NPCs results in new dialogue or even quests sometimes. There are also other aspects like gem crafting, upgrading weapons, and more present here to satiate those looking for the best builds. I found the implementation of all these systems here never felt overbearing like they do in some other RPGs. I’m very pleased to see Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed not suffer from the forced community aspect Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country had. An otherwise perfect expansion was held back by that aspect.
With returning characters and a new set of faces, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed continues to raise the bar with its voice acting. I spent all my time playing with the English voiceover option, and loved every single voiced line in the DLC. The later moments leading up to the final boss in particular were masterful. I hope Nintendo eventually does a Xenoblade Warriors game just so we can spend more time with this cast while the team works on a brand new Xenoblade in the future.
I don’t want to spoil this DLC or prior games for newcomers, but I will say how certain story beats played out in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed made me appreciate Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Xenoblade Chronicles a lot more. The former in particular with this DLC might cement itself as one of my favorite games of all time now, but I’ll see how I feel about it after replaying like I do with any game I consider as good.
Hopefully Nintendo gives this a retail release in the future because it is that good. Despite only being one wave of an expansion pass for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is as good as a full blown RPG, and one I can’t wait to talk about with series fans for a long time. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed is a phenomenal expansion and perfect finale for the Xenoblade Chronicles trilogy. It is brilliantly-paced and has none of the issues prior releases have, making it even better than Xenoblade Chronicles 3. I can safely say that the Xenoblade Chronicles trilogy and Trails from Zero to Azure (the latter of which I recently played for the first time) feature some of my favorite stories in any media.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Expansion Pass with Future Redeemed (Wave 4 DLC) are both available on the eShop. Grab the expansion pass here.