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How to switch Xenoblade Chronicles 3 heroes

Here's all you need know about how to switch Xenoblade Chronicles 3 heroes, and change up party members on the fly

Switch Xenoblade Chronicles 3 heroes: Noah and Mio having a conversation
(Image: © Monolith Soft)

You may well find yourself asking, how do you switch Xenoblade Chronicles 3 heroes on the fly. It’s certainly the right sort of question to ask. Battles in Xenoblade 3 are fast-paced, requiring rapid decision-making and diverse strategies. 

Since its release on the Nintendo Switch, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has been warmly received by fans and critics alike. Hailed as a step up in JRPG storytelling, it’s no wonder that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has been doing so well.

Though the title is filled to the brim with memorable characters, it’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s combat system that shines the most. With its wide array of classes to choose from, strong combo system, and a broad range of enemies there’s plenty to get to grips with in Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s battles. To navigate these treacherous combats, you’ll need to know how to switch between Xenoblade Chronicles 3 characters in your party. Fortunately for you, our guide will tell you how to do just that.  

How to switch Xenoblade Chronicles 3 heroes

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 how to switch characters: how to unlock the feature

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 how to switch characters, 2 characters run towards a monster

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Without spoiling too much, once you reach Chapter 2, you’ll be unlock the character switching feature as well as the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 classes system. If you’re looking to access all of the different combat systems as rapidly as possible, we advise getting through Chapter 1 as quickly as possible. 

Follow the main story to the Southern part of the Aetia Region. It’s around this point that you’ll unlock character switching. You'll also unlock character classes around the same time, so be ready to take on a lot of new information at once. 

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 how to switch characters: how to swap party members

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 how to switch characters guide, combat UI with highlighted switching UI

(Image credit: Future)

Now you've unlocked character switching, it's time to learn how to use it. First off, hold down 'ZL' to access the 'Tactics' sub-menu. This is highlighted on the image above in the green box on the left-hand side. You can do this inside or outside of combat, so you don't need to worry about choosing the right character before getting into a prolonged fight. 

As well as the Tactics menu in the bottom left of the screen, a central menu will also appear. This is highlighted in green in the screenshot above. While continuing to hold down 'ZL' you can use 'L' and 'R' to cycle through the character party in real-time. Beware, however, as, depending on how you hold the controller, it can be surprisingly tricky to press the 'L' button while holding down 'ZL'. You may need to build some new muscle memory. 

By pressing 'L' or 'R' while 'ZL' is held down, you'll be able to rapidly shift perspectives in battle. This can be crucial if you need an emergency heal, or if you desperately need to shift Aggro off of one of your squishier and more vulnerable party members.  

Now you know how to switch party members, you'll be able to adapt on the fly to enemy attacks, or revive allies in a pinch. Time to get out there and put your new knowledge to good use. 

Cat Bussell
Cat Bussell

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 


Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge, University College London and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 


Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.