Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review – Elysium City, Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty

Xenogears, when it released for the original Sony PlayStation, was one of the games that would not only be the driver for sales of that system, but also help spur a JRPG renaissance. Success with Xenogears led to the game’s mastermind, Tetsuya Takahashi, forming his own studio, Monolith Soft, and recreating that same story he started with, only with different characters and a slightly different world. Banishment from paradise, reincarnation, the ability to shape reality, even God. Every single one of his RPGs shares this core theme, and his latest title, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, is no different.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Monolith Soft
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
Release Date: December 1st, 2017
Players: 1
Price: $59.99

It’s worth nothing that both the Xeno and the Persona series on the original Playstation both pushed the JRPG hobby out of the boring “evil medieval empire takes over the world” cycle, and the announcement of their latest Switch-exclusive iterations were also the only two reasons I bought Nintendo’s new console to begin with.

Yet many “Xeno” fans were hesitant to buy into the game because of the controversy surrounding the previous title in the series, Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Chronicles X came saddled with a meme-infested localization done by an unprofessional team, had to endure unfair censoring (No boob sliders or bunny outfits for the puritan Americans!), and teased the player with giant combat mechs only to lock them off for a dreadfully long amount of time….all combining to make Chronicles X a polarizing game within the larger Xeno series and causing many fans to fear the same would happen with Chronicles 2.

So, did it? I’d say you have nothing to worry about.

Like Xenoblade Chronicles 1, this properly numbered sequel has its people living on the backs of gigantic god-like creatures that jut out from above the clouds, their massive bodies existing on a scale that can be seen (and wow’ed at) by the player as they walk along the perilous edges of their bodies. The only difference this time, and perhaps setting the tone for the game’s story, is that these walking landmasses can – and do – perish.

This is the impetus that drives the game’s hero, Rex, to retire early from his job as junk salvager to instead enter the more dangerous realm of a mercenary. His belief is that the constant wars for land that take place in his world would end if, instead of everyone having to sit on giant creatures that would one day die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, they could instead develop colonies on the large and currently inaccessible treetop paradise, called Elysium, that sits on the horizon.

A noble cause, but one that is seen by many as being impossible…and not just due to no ship being able to make it past the beasts guarding the supposed paradise, but because of the fact that, according to their oral history, mankind was kicked out of it thousands of years ago and is not worthy to return.

All of this impossibility gets thrown out the window when Rex joins a group of mercenaries and discovers a legendary blade that gives him powers no other person has ever seen before. Those powers, which come in the form of a woman named Pyra, grant him the ability to summon “Blades” from the core crystals that fill their world. These blades, which are weaponized lifeforms which bond to and are summoned by a “Driver” that commands them, are immortal beings that represent mankind’s best chance at getting back to the paradise they were kicked out of.

It starts as a very simple story with an understandable setup, but as with any Xeno game, you can expect the “neat and clean” narrative to enter deep and muddy waters relatively quickly, with your party questioning their motives, their mission, and their own allies as the plot progresses.

Though I like where Monolith Soft takes the characters, I’ve noticed some gamers (particularly one of our staff members here at the site) were a little disappointed at how the game seems to “drop the ball” near the end. While this was also true of both Xenogears and Xenosaga and is probably done on purpose so as to convince people their sputtering plots are a purposeful act, I do see their point.

I don’t agree with it, of course, but I do see it.

Chronicles 2 is very much like Xenogears in that the main characters all have secrets, and the expulsion of those hidden truths comes at a horrible price for the people around them, both in terms of their trust and their place within the group. What starts out as a bright, shiny, smile-filled anime romp through rolling green fields eventually becomes a dark and sinister game full of plot twists, betrayal, breaking of the world’s natural laws, and allegiances switching when you least suspect it.

It’s all par for the course when it comes to a “Xeno” game, and while it’s a bit watered down compared to -Gears and -Saga, I think it’s leagues better than the first Xenoblade and its solitary plot twist of “Your view of the enemy is wrong, so you have to switch sides”.

Call me easy to please, but the story really grew on me, as did the characters. I especially loved how each of the game’s few dozen different rare summonable blades have unique after combat conversations they engage your other party members with. It felt dynamic and realistic, at least, when I wasn’t hearing the same quote three times in a row.

And really that’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s greatest strength: Its characterization. The game goes to great lengths to make every PC and NPC in the game worth getting to know. Whether it’s the shopkeeper whose daughter you save from eloping with a dangerous man, or the rare blade you just randomly obtained that has a multi-hour long quest that comes with its own cinema scenes and bosses, Chronicles 2 crams an unbelievable amount of story content into that tiny Switch cartridge. It was enough to where I felt overwhelmed having to play through it all.

Yet I did, simply because the characters were so easy to adore and identify with.

Whether it was the protagonist Rex with his smart mouth and cocky (but just shy of being TOO cocky) attitude, Nia and her tsundere bitchiness, Tora and his nerdy Otaku personality, or Zeke and his Han Solo-esque charisma and perfectly timed comic relief, I felt this was one of the stronger party lineups I’d seen in a JRPG.

The way they spontaneously interact with each other inside and outside of combat, as well as the voice acting itself (Which I felt was good enough to not need the Japanese audio DLC) made up for any shortcomings in the game’s sometimes drawn-out battles and unnecessarily long side quests.

If there’s any downside to the otherwise engaging plotline and colorful characters, it’s the fact that there is so much going on and so much to do that you can easily spend 20 or more hours doing unimportant tasks and completely lose track of where you are or what you’re doing…as well as end up over-leveled for the main quest when you inevitably return to it.

It seems ridiculous to make such a complaint, but I have never felt so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of extraneous tasks in a game as I did here with Chronicles 2. I would often step out of the main quest and do 2-3 days worth of “cleaning up” my quest log because it became unnerving to leave so much behind as the rapidly moving main plot chugged along. Granted, that’s more my fault than that of the game’s, but I’m willing to bet obsessiveness isn’t a rarity among hardcore RPG fans.

This feeling of being overwhelmed extends to the land mass itself, since each of the game’s Titans (The beasts who act as the worlds people live on) are absolutely massive. Walking from one “town” to the next is an hour long affair, and even with the fast travel checkpoint system I found that I did a great deal of walking in the game. Combine that with the constantly re-spawning enemies, the slow running speed, and the exaggerated aggro distance of most enemy mobs and you might begin to understand the anguish I experienced when trying to complete all those sidequests that kept piling up.

To be fair, as much as they aggravated me, the large worlds and the extra quests are one of Chronicles 2’s best features. Sure, I felt obligated to spend a lot of time completing quests to unlock my Blades’ second tier skills, and yes I walked aimlessly around the innards of giant Titans looking for poorly positioned quest markers, but I have a lot of fond memories of doing so. Like panning the camera around and taking screenshots of an impossibly huge crevasse, or discovering a rare upgrade chip in an optional battle while completing a secondary objective…it was laborious, but it wasn’t without reward.

Especially when the game is as gorgeous as this. Say what you want about the Switch, but the visuals in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are a miracle of modern software programming. Sure, there’s some pop-in loading issues when using fast travel and playing the game in portable mode downgrades the visuals a bit too noticably, but the overall graphics are just as good as you’d find on a PS4 JRPG like Star Ocean or Zestiria.

The large multi-tiered levels are hard to navigate, but that also means they’re some of the most fun to explore and content-heavy you’ll find in a modern singleplayer RPG. Which is amusing, since much of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 plays like an MMORPG. Something the series seems to be flirting with ever since its debut on the Wii.

This feeling of it being an offline MMO continues to its combat, which is a remarkably hands-off and passive affair…and has its pros and cons, depending on what you want from a modern JRPG. Though the first Xenoblade used a similar system of aggro building/move linkage and party role dynamics, Chronicles 2 goes one rung deeper into the MMO pool by basing power gain around skills and items that rely on passive boosts that only influence the underlying math rather than actually change the way combat is fought.

To put it in simpler terms, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is all about stacking your chosen abilities and gearing a character up to be one type of class, be it Tank, Healer, or DPS. Your mixing and matching of these roles will change as the game requires it, and the vast majority of the games skills, equipment, and items are specifically tailored to passively boost one of the key aspects of those three roles.

In other words, a tank will select Blades that have damage reflection and absorption on them while equipping items that attract enemy aggro and increase power as their hitpoints decrease, whereas a “DPS” character goes for higher attack rates and healers chase after items that lower their chances of being targeted. It’s easy to understand and work with, even if you aren’t too familiar with western MMORPGs.

So easy, in fact, that I often found myself dozing off during random battles and having to struggle to stay awake. Combat is such an automatic “Set it and forget it” affair that it’s entirely possible to lay the controller down and let the game fight for you, then return after 15 minutes of your party doing chip damage to an enemy’s health bar just in time to hear the victory music.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not too much. Though I love the combo system that requires timed pressing of buttons and linking different elements together to create larger attacks, most of the fights you’ll slog your way through can be won by simply allowing your other two computer controlled party members to act on their own. How you feel about that will ultimately determine how you view the game’s combat as a whole.

Combat is, overall, a bit of a mixed bag. With it being poorly explained in the game and its intricacies only doled out to the player in drips and drabs over the game’s first 25 hours, it can be a bit annoying to have so much left to figure out and no way of obtaining the knowledge outside of Gamefaqs or friends who are further along than you are. Making things worse are strange decisions like having certain moves spawn healing potions and making aggro distribution and “Tanking” methods mandatory in order to survive.

One thing I will say in the game’s defense is that the cinematic interruptions that happen during special moves and combo links never get boring, and seeing the slow-mo zoom-ins with the camera play out as your level 4 combos rip the enemy to shreds is something that sets this combat system apart from the previous two Xeno titles. I mean that in a good way.

Personally, I did enjoy most of the fighting, especially later into the game when I began to hunt down “unique” named mobs and started farming them for rare drops. Switching between blades and setting up long chains of combos while distributing aggro and breaking down an enemy’s resistances is fun work, so long as you’ve been raised on western RPGs and played the first Xenoblade while muttering to yourself, “Gee, if only this was faster and more like Everquest”

What’s enjoyable about the game’s combat is how everything else is tied into it. The way side quests are needed to unlock a blade’s second tier of skills, or how one blade in particular has their combat abilities unlocked by playing an 8bit game-within-a-game. Between that and the wide variety of blades you can equip and the ways different roles and elements play with one another in combat, it’s more than enough to keep the average player occupied for a good 60-80 hours.

You’ll be spending at least that amount of time in the game as well, since with all the quests, material grinding, item farming, rare monster hunting, and core crystal gambling you’ll have plenty to do long after the main quest becomes history.

Want to take a break from combat and walk around town tracking down quests? Maybe hitting up the salvage points and grinding them for materials? Maybe you want to spend money on the shopkeepers and get them to offer you the deed to their business. Or perhaps you want to increase the development level of a town by doing favors for the townspeople.

There is a ton-and-a-half of non-story related content to experience, and people who want the most bang for their buck cannot get any better of a deal than the one you’re getting here.

Ah, but that gambling. That core crystal gambling. I know it’s a point of contention among fans of the game and I find myself siding with those who don’t agree with it. I feel that the randomness of it adds needless frustration to the game.

You see, you gain some Blades normally through the story, but the vast majority of the “good” ones are locked behind core crystals that you obtain randomly from certain tasks, and these core crystals have a certain percentage chance of giving you one of the few dozen “special” Blades that pad out the game’s roster. On the surface, it sounds like a fairly neat feature, but in practice? It’s infuriating to the nth degree.

Sure, you can influence it by having a high luck stat and using higher quality crystals, but myself and many people like me seem to get astronomically horrible RNG, since after using nearly a hundred or so crystals, we barely have enough blades to even fill the empty slots for our starting party members. Yet, there are some that seem to gather every single rare blade by just stumbling into them. To put it bluntly, it’s a disgustingly unfair system that shouldn’t have made it past the testing phase.

Unfair Blade accrual methods aside, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a very solid JRPG with a ton of content, a decent (if a bit watered down for the Nintendo audience) story line and some of the most gorgeous visuals you’ll see on any console. It’s a good reason to buy a Switch, and an even better reason to be glad you have one if you already do. What it lacks in user-friendliness or balance it more than makes up in the personality of its characters, size of its world, and content-heavy questing.

Any fan of the original Xenoblade will find very little to turn them off from this sequel, and to be honest, most JRPG fans in general will walk away with at least a few good memories by the time the credits roll. Though it may aggravate you at times – especially when trying to reach quest markers that seem to continually wiggle out of your reach among the labyrinthine worlds you have to map out – I feel the memorable characters and variety of locales more than make up for that.

Kudos to the translation team and Nintendo themselves who chose not to censor the title when so-called professional critics attacked some of the body proportions of a certain Blade within the game. Having the same group that handled the “localization” for the previous game take this one too would have no doubt resulted in a completely different (and more than likely “Raaaaawr is dragon for I love you”-filled) jumbled mess.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch using a review copy purchased by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

The Verdict: 9

The Good:

  • Huge amount of content to pour through
  • Gorgeously detailed worlds that are a joy (sometimes) to get lost in
  • Memorable characters that stay with you
  • Lots of skills/Blades/Roles to combine and experiment with

The Bad:

  • Combat can feel a bit repetitive/bland at times
  • Sheer size of world and depth of quests can be overwhelming to some
  • That Core Crystal “gambling” system
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Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.

  1. goodbyejojo
    December 22, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    my only complaints are the MC character pants, in the words of Dave Chapelle “what are those?”

  2. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    December 22, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    >Xenogears helped usher in a golden age of JRPGs

    Lol what? I’m pretty sure that was the far superior Final Fantasy VII.

    Your precious chair sitting simulator isn’t all that special.

  3. Punished Crate
    Punished Crate
    December 22, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    You forgot to mention how Legendary core crystals seemingly give you only a 0.01% chance increase of getting a rare blade.

    It’s also fun when you turn a corner at Level 40 or so and BOOM Level 82 Pterox targets yo ass.

  4. RetroGamer
    December 22, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Or when you’re in the middle of a fight and a giant bird comes flying by and joins with the enemies.

  5. Arenegeth
    December 22, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    The high level enemy aggroing while you fighting something else or running around is a trope of the series by this point, and also prevalent in other offline or proper MMORPG’s.

    Not saying that it doesn’t suck when it happens, but is part of the package by this point, it also makes environmental awareness and ‘pulling’ enemies to a safe place part of battle strategy.

  6. CatCouch
    December 22, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Absolutely happy this game was localized in a respectable manner. I wouldn’t play it if it wasn’t. Not as thrilled that getting rare blades is randomized. Give me Dahlia and Kos-Kos dammit! Locking strategy options behind random chance just sucks.

    Time is my biggest issue to fight with here, so many games to play and this is one of the more drawn out ones. Xenogears is still one of my favorite games so I’ll have to put the time in! I’ve put about 6 hours in…

  7. Arenegeth
    December 22, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I’m only 5 hours in, and so far I’m loving the anime titties. Hot anime chicks everywhere! Not really my thing these days, but knowing that every time Pyra’s bosoms jiggle, a SJW somewhere is shedding a tear, it can’t help but warm my heart (and possibly my penis).

  8. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 22, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Love everything about it. Especially the anime tropes while it dials them a back a bit and makes them something a bit its own. Contrary to my previous stance, Pyra’s titties are a non-issue. Love me some anime titties, but in trailers they just seemed distracting and a bit of a focal point. Nope. Totally fitting and aesthetically pleasing along with the rest of the game. The voice acting is really good , but not very fitting for some of the characters. But I got used to it quick and it even feels like it eventually felt like it matches most characters. Except for Rex of course. The game is an absolute pleasure — fun, engaging, and delightful. Can’t put it down. My goty.

  9. orbo
    December 23, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Please, you got Finch.
    You already won the core crystal lottery.

    But to be serious, boost your luck as as much as you can and use the max amount of boosters, I don’t seem to have much trouble pulling rares. (then again I pulled two in a row from common crystals just filling out my merc ranks so I could just be lucky)

    I’ve got over 80 hours and I’m at chapter 5. (there’s well more than just 5)
    I’ve seen other people posting with more time at earlier points.
    This one will last you a good long while if you don’t just do the main story.

  10. sanic
    December 23, 2017 at 12:10 am

    I’m just getting into X, probably won’t get into this till next year at the earliest but glad people like it.

  11. Fear Me I Am Free
    Fear Me I Am Free
    December 23, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Me too. I hope it sells better than XBX and that Nintendo realizes this is how people want it and not the shit that was XBX.

  12. Michael Richardson
    Michael Richardson
    December 23, 2017 at 1:36 am

    The game doesn’t look THAT good. If nothing else, the resolution still suffers in docked mode. It’s 720p normally, but things get a bit chunkier in certain busy areas. I would actually say Super Mario Odyssey is probably the biggest looker on the Switch right now. It’s SERIOUSLY gorgeous in docked mode.

    Still, I’m enjoying Xenoblade 2 a good deal, and it’s the first game in the series that I have no major complaints about on a game design level.

  13. Cwbintn
    December 23, 2017 at 1:47 am

    Nice review Carl
    good stuff

  14. FX102A
    December 23, 2017 at 2:10 am

    Agree 100% on the Blade gacha system. A big black spot on an otherwise great game. I’ve obtained only 3 rare blades thus far and all have been from common core crystals. Too scared to use my rare ones anymore. They should at least show a percentage of obtaining a rare blade when using it to help decide whether to try your luck or not.

  15. Kuraudo
    December 23, 2017 at 2:49 am

    LoL, “far superior,” that’s a funny joke.

  16. Kuraudo
    December 23, 2017 at 2:52 am

    I’m not sure about that; oddysey definitely benefits from more stable graphics, but the sheer scale of even the starter zones in lemonade chronicles 2 are massive pieces of sheer art. Those sunsets man; I’ve crammed my switch full of scenic screen caps thanks to this game.

  17. Kuraudo
    December 23, 2017 at 2:56 am

    People forget that the common blades are actually better we’ll through chapter 3 and beyond depending on their rarity. It’s not until you hit the 4th trust tier that they really get outshines by the rares, save some of the rare/story blade unique field skills like fortitude.

  18. Kuraudo
    December 23, 2017 at 2:59 am

    A lot of it depends more on luck and your drivers’ idea score. The game also claims that only certain drivers can unlock certain blades, but that could be just fluff

  19. Kuraudo
    December 23, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Given the dearth of games on the switch, I would be shocked if it didn’t sell better than prior titles.

  20. RiasRed
    December 23, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Getting to the end is such a trip. Hopefully there’s an X2 to answer all the unanswered questions.

  21. iswear12
    December 23, 2017 at 5:41 am

    >Lemonade chronicles
    This amused me more than it should’ve

  22. Nagato
    December 23, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I’m pretty sure they already did. I mean, look at how the Switch got a full-fledged numbered sequel with a completely new look within the first year of its launch, when the Wii U got what appeared to be more of a HD port graphically and little to no story to it.

    It would be relatively safe to say that once it became clear Wii U would be a failure, priorities shifted towards the game after and just giving the U a token title instead.

  23. Michael Richardson
    Michael Richardson
    December 23, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Well, that’s you appreciating the art direction. I had that same sense of constantly wanting to take screenshots in BotW.

  24. Zack Attack
    Zack Attack
    December 23, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I’m surprised you didn’t say Xenogears since Xenoblade is now on Nintendo platforms and you are a Nintendo Fanboy.

  25. Psichaos
    December 23, 2017 at 9:41 am

    There are scenes where the English VA are clearly not matching the emotion the character is portraying, and that’s really jarring, (there’s one scene where Rex is clearly screaming at the top of his lungs, but the voice over is rather calm in comparison to the “split your lungs with blood and thunder” emotion the character itself is broadcasting.), but I like the voices themselves. Its just that when you play the cutscenes with JP voices, everything feels like it flows so much better, and the emotions line up more.

    As for the random blades, I’m convinced Zeke spent all his luck on core crystal roulette, because despite his canon shitty luck, in my game he just gets handed rare blades easily, even with common cores. Every other character has had a hard time at it, and I’m a little reluctant to spend rare cores or the one legendary core I’ve acquired on them simply due to the fact I don’t wanna be cheagled by pulling a common blade. I don’t necessarily want to have to use what few overdrives there are to reassign blades from unintended draws, but shit Zeke is just too good.

  26. sanic
    December 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Someone recorded a completion time of 3012 hours on “how long to beat” at that point I buckled up.

  27. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    December 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    How is Xenogears better than Final Fantasy VII in any way?

  28. BFG
    December 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I much prefer the visuals & artstyle of Xenogears over FF7, the latter really aged liked milk

  29. totenglocke
    December 23, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Well, the have a long stream of DLC coming out over the course of 2018 and ending sometime in the fall, so waiting a year is the smart choice. I pre-ordered the collector’s edition and it’s still sealed, waiting for the rest of the content to be released.

  30. alex9234
    December 23, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Better story, better characters, better soundtrack, better gameplay. It’s also aged a lot better than FFVII.

  31. Jack Thompson
    Jack Thompson
    December 23, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    “the voice acting itself (Which I felt was good enough to not need the Japanese audio DLC)”

    “So easy, in fact, that I often found myself dozing off during random battles and having to struggle to stay awake. Combat is such an automatic “Set it and forget it” affair that it’s entirely possible to lay the controller down and let the game fight for you, then return after 15 minutes of your party doing chip damage to an enemy’s health bar just in time to hear the victory music.”
    “Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not too much. Though I love the combo system that requires timed pressing of buttons and linking different elements together to create larger attacks, most of the fights you’ll slog your way through can be won by simply allowing your other two computer controlled party members to act on their own. How you feel about that will ultimately determine how you view the game’s combat as a whole.”
    Complete deal breaker.

  32. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    December 23, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Lol FFVII has one of the best stories and characters of any JRPG I’ve ever played. I strongly doubt Xenogears is better than it, especially considering what I’ve heard about the second half of the game.

    At least FFVII was finished.

  33. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    December 23, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    X is the best game in the series, not that that’s saying much.

    Fuck you.

  34. Marc Duarte
    Marc Duarte
    December 23, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks for finally putting my fears to rest regarding censorship being present in this game. Couple this with the inclusion of the original Japanese dub as DLC, and there’s now nothing holding me back from getting this along with my new Switch next year.

    I actually wanted to get into this series earlier with Xenoblade Chronicles X, but the poor job done by Memehouse forced me to back off from purchasing a Wii U. (The censorship was bad enough, but the real deal-breaker for me was the lack of dual-audio.)

  35. OldPalpy
    December 23, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    But to counter that it has bad isometric platforming which ages it quite a bit,

  36. mewnani
    December 23, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Why can’t people like both? If both games are good than people liking one more than the other is purely subjective.

  37. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    December 23, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Because people saying Xenogears is the best ever in its genre is disingenuous and needs to be called out.

    It would be like if I said that Donkey Kong 64 ushered in the golden age Rareware. The company quite simply has released better games before, around the same time, and after.

    Sure you can LIKE Xenogears, but I’m really getting frustrated with Tetsuya Takahashi fanboys who think it’s one of the best things ever. It really has not had the lasting impact that titles like Final Fantasy VII or other PlayStation classics have had.

  38. sanic
    December 23, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Yeah if any game was in need of additional content it probably isn’t this one but I’ll probably snag it.

  39. alex9234
    December 24, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Xenogears was finished too, just not the way Tetsuya Takahashi intended. It was because Square’s management decided to fuck him over at the 11th hour and take the rest of his budget as well as most of his staff for Final Fantasy VIII.

    That’s why the second half didn’t turn out the way Takahashi wanted it to. It’s still not as bad as you may think. Trust me, I’ve played through pretty much the entire game, and I found it to be a lot more engaging than FFVII.

    Takahashi knew what the hell he was doing when he decided to leave Square and form Monolith Soft, and it worked out very well for him.

  40. SLoWMoTIoN
    December 24, 2017 at 1:10 am

    My biggest complaint in the shit resolution and ugly graphics. Like I swear at times it drops to 420p. That and the random blade shit. I think I’ve gone over 300+ cores with only 9 uniques or so.

  41. SLoWMoTIoN
    December 24, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Kos Mos is not random she has her own quest and honestly Hana is WAY better than her in her third form.

  42. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 24, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I love both. Xenogears more. But I think FFVII’s soundtrack is so much better. Alas, personal tastes. ..

  43. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 1:36 am

    The more rare blades you get in one character, the less of a chance you have to get more rare blades apparently.

  44. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 1:39 am

    He exaggerated on the combat system; based on what I read of him constantly hitting on side quests, he was vastly over levelled for all of his fights. You can actually see this in his screenshots where he over levelled a story enemy by 12 levels. This is a game where a difference of two levels greatly influences the difficulty.

  45. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Art direction is definitely on point, but there is also definitely more polygon wizardry going on in your average continent in xenoblade when compared to Odyssey; that probably explains the slightly worse performance when in high traffic areas. For example, New Donk city is like a ghost town when compared to Mor Adain’s bustling capitol city of Alba Cavanich; to be clear that’s comparing an entire zone of oddyssey to a city inside a zone in xenoblade. The difference in scale with some of the continents/titans in xenoblade to other games is oftentimes staggering. That being said, botw beats it for having most of its entire world seamless whereas xenoblade has to load between continents(but, interestingly enough, not dungeons inside said continents!).

  46. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    December 24, 2017 at 1:56 am

    I still think FFVII’s visuals are charming. Yes, it ‘s a goto word for something that’s nice, but ultimately dilapidated, but I like them just the way they are. One of the reasons I don’t care for a full-on remake. That said, Xeno’s will definitely appeal to newcomers more so for obvious reasons. It’s so clean by comparison.

  47. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 2:01 am

    You haven’t even played it? Why bother arguing the point?

    To be fair, final fantasy 7 was amazing to me when it came out for all the reasons you stated, but then Xenogears hit and changed our entire understanding of the heights it was possible for a game to achieve. I would say that it easily surpassed FF7 in terms of story, character (especially character), combat system, and music. This is of course subjective of course and you will easily ship up the democrats internet defense force in the comment section of any xeno game, so don’t take it too personally. I’m sure, for example, that final fantasy 7 reached a larger audience given Stuart’s reluctance to release xenogears in the west. I remember signing a petition to get it out here and the legend goes that’s the only reason we got it at all.

  48. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 2:03 am

    It worked out very well for us too: i would contend that xenosaga 3 was the finest rpg of that generation despite how awful xenosaga 2 was.

  49. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 2:08 am

    leaving aside the fact that you’re in a xeno game comment thread where people are highly likely to share the opinion you’re arguing against, lots of jrpg snobs with blogs have been calling xenogears the finest in the genre for decades now; it’s not exactly a new opinion.

  50. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 2:12 am

    the real horror is that doesnt age it despite how terrib le the idea is: we still get subjected to that nightmare in modern games for some reason.

  51. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 2:16 am

    I dont agree; the review touches on it too, but the game is bursting with almost too much content; some of the “mmo-tier” side quest stuff is even fully voiced. It’s kinda nutts how much crap there is to do really.

  52. Kuraudo
    December 24, 2017 at 2:21 am

    The translation is odd though: theyll change people’s names for seemingly no reason. example: guy named shin gets his name changed to jin; why? Thats just the pointless stuff: one guy will say “got it!” or ” okay! ” and theyll add in a paragraph’s worth of nonsense in the translation. Coming from the anime side of things where even dubs are mostly 1 to 1, its really puzzling to see.

  53. SLoWMoTIoN
    December 24, 2017 at 2:21 am

    Yeah idk about that. I got like 4 with Rex right off the bat before Nia ever got one. I just know I’ll never get boob bunny.

  54. Qwaserzero
    December 24, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Might just buy the Nintendo Switch just for this.

  55. MusouTensei
    December 24, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    My GotY.

  56. alex9234
    December 24, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    “Lol what? I’m pretty sure that was the far superior Final Fantasy VII.” – Tell that to the Final Fantasy VI fanbase.

  57. Jack Thompson
    Jack Thompson
    December 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    So, poorly balanced and unfun if you do the available side quests. I already played FFXII and XIII and have had more than enough of the single player MMO that plays itself after minimal setup. The low rates for collecting rare blades already show their design philosophy for padding playtime. People set up their characters and let the game play itself while doing something else until they have enough materials to roll the blade RNG a few times. Rinse and repeat.

  58. ExplodingPrinny
    December 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    It felt like the first version of Destiny Engrams, where an exotic Engram could give you a common weapon.

    Legendary should guarantee a Legendary, until no more remain.

  59. FrankieL
    December 25, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Xenoblade Chronicles X is still a very enjoyable game despite people’s problems with censorship. To me the changes were so minor that I had no issues with the game at all. Your milage may vary, but definitely give it a chance and get a second hand WiiU. It’s a really great game.

  60. FrankieL
    December 25, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Do IT!!! It’s worth it. Been surprisingly playing it more than my PS4 thanks to this game and Mario Odyssey and Rabbids.

  61. Xinen
    December 25, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Yeah myself as well. I’m a PS fan first and foremost, but the Switch is genuine quality. BOTW, MO, Rabbids, Fire Emblem, and XC2 have kept me coming back for more. At first I was torn between my backlog on both systems, but XC2 is one of the best jrpgs I’ve played in years, reminds me of the fun I used to have back a few console gens.

  62. Xinen
    December 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    You have my sincerest condolences.

  63. Xinen
    December 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Yeah the resolution can suck at times, like watching a freaking cutscene that is decently sharp and then it switches (snap!tm) to a different angle that is too much and the resolution drops hard with major jaggies. Its jarring to say the least, and kind of a bummer because I love the cutscenes.

  64. Marc Duarte
    Marc Duarte
    December 25, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Sorry, but I can’t simply overlook the absence of a Japanese dub in the game, which is an automatic disqualifier for me. Because I’ve exposed myself to far too much subbed anime and games to the point where I can never go back to the amateur-level acting that’s prominent in the majority of these English dubs.

  65. FrankieL
    December 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    The English dub of XCX is actually really good. I’d say delivery is a lot better than XC2’s English dub. Seriously. At least check out some videos if you’re unsure.

  66. True Goddess Reincarnation
    True Goddess Reincarnation
    December 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Same. But Megami Tensei sucks.

  67. MusouTensei
    December 26, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    My name has nothing to do with SMT, it’s from Hokuto no Ken.

  68. heroyaldog
    December 27, 2017 at 11:12 am

    take it back you swine!

  69. True Goddess Reincarnation
    True Goddess Reincarnation
    December 28, 2017 at 6:25 am


  70. Funtime Happysnacks
    Funtime Happysnacks
    December 30, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    The rewritten script was so braindead.

  71. FrankieL
    December 30, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I didn’t get boob bunny until Morag got in my party. So don’t give up. Keep trying and you’ll randomly get her.

  72. Forky
    January 3, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    I like this review, cause I disagree with much of it, but that’s it. They’re not wrong, I just have a very different opinion. Hope you enjoy my upside-down format of summary, followed by article.

    I’d give this game a 6/10 on a critical level, but a 7/10 on the level of plush game reviews that are more standard thanks to underwhelming averages. That still means I find this a fun game that’s better than the playable average. I’d give it a slightly higher rating if it was not compared to other games in the Xenoblade series.

    The Good
    – There is quite a lot of content, and exploration feels rewarding
    – It looks great for the hardware.
    – combat has a flowing feeling that lets you chose how complex you want to make it.
    – The Core Crystal “Gambling” system means that everyone can have a unique first experience to talk about.

    The Bad
    – Characters are just story movers. They never feel like people.
    – It can be hard to go back to Xenoblade 1’s map system of the freedom of X.

    – The story tells you what you should feel instead of showing you to make you feel it.
    – Combat would feel better, if I didn’t play a little Xenoblade X shortly before with the flight pack unlocked.
    – Lack of Robo-Mecha!

    Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an improvement in every gameplay facet of the original, and an improvement on the story facet of X. But there’s so much more to take away from the previous two games. The side-quests a plentiful and feel less like a slog to get through than before. When you explore, you appreciate that you found these secret areas through various means and that they each have a use. When you’re rewarded for screwing around in an open world game, something was done right,

    Let’s not pretend this game is not restricted by it’s console. The switch is new, but it’s no powerhouse. That said, if you’re accepting of games not all being 4k Super Tengen Toppa HD, this game looks great. Characters are blatently meant to draw the eye, but even the ones without watermelon implants are interesting designs. Every rare blade feels unique and every location feels different.

    The part about this game that I found most exciting, was the Core Crystal system; likely because my wife and I were playing the game at roughly the same time. My second common crystal was a lovely book puncher that I kept for the rest of the game. Her first rare was a booby bunny that I still have yet to unlock. We had such different experiences that were beyond our control, it felt exciting to have that for the first time in a long time. A game that’s not afraid to not give people what they want for the sake of different experiences deserves a lot of credit in my book.

    Where this game fell apart for me, is almost everything involving the characters. I quite liked Mia, Dromarch, and Gramps; I had fun with the Zekenator and Pan, and I have a soft spot for characters like Torna and Poppy. Rex was good at first, but fell to alright, Pyra averaged out to being okay, and Mythra I could barely stand. Every character had a mediocre background that felt so disconnected from anything going on except for a way to push the current part of the story, every single moment was mind-blowingly predictable, and every character changed in a scene where they were supposed to show change, and then went back to how they were. The main characters had as much character and story as any rare blade (which is a bad thing). I hated so much dialogue that I blamed on the VAs at first, until I realized how consistant it was. The writer phoned it in and clearly had to interest in the job, while I would be shocked to find if there was ever any voice direction. Lines are often given without any inflection or emotion relevant to the situation. Rex, Pyra, and Mythra are the worst offenders of this.
    Special props to Mia’s VA in this situation. I don’t know how or why, but she felt so out of place in how good she was. She delivered lines that gave great emotion and inflection that felt just write for the situation, and felt just dramatic enough to come from a light-hearted anime game. Dromarch was a hoot as the silly/serious guy. Couldn’t not love nearly every time he opened his mouth.

    The bad guys characters and the story are wrapped in the same awful vortex of lazy writing. The story is a straight line. There’s no avoiding that fact. The main villains are given blatent tropes to separate them as they serve no interest otherwise. Everytime the villains show emotion, it’s to show those villains have that emotion at that time because that’s what they do in stories. If you look a few hours before or after that moment, you realize that they really had no need to feel that way. The final villains motives are, and I mean this in the most literal sense, non-existant. They’re just the strong one and some other character felt that evilness was the way to go. Each villain is given a moment of redemption, that comes straight out of nowhere. Jin is made to be a really complex character, but it feels more like they used that as an excuse to have him act as good or evil as needed.
    The story itself is bland and straight-forward. Using the same simple twists we’ve seen before, and in such low quantity that even expecting that, you’re disappointed. Instant penalties for any story who’s only background story is “because different dimensions”. They tell you Mythra’s power is horrifying, but you never feel it or experience it, and… I just realized that’s nearly the only internal conflict in this entire game.

    I’m gonna be controversial now. I loved Xenoblade X. I enjoyed it more than Xenoblade Chronicles. The open-world gameplay and exploration was everything I dreamed of when people would talk(lie) about those elements in Xenoblade Chronicles. You could literally reach anywhere you can see at some point. Don’t lie and say that about XC. When did you hand like a booger off of the Bionis’ nose? When did you leap off Bionis’ left nippular region, into the sea, and swim to Mechonis’ pinky toe? I’m not saying XC’s open-world gameplay wasn’t great; it was. But X’s open-world blew my mind. Nothing you saw was untouchable. The world had eco-systems. AND YOU COULD DRIVE THROUGH THEM! I would love to go into a tangent about how much I love X; I would write an article about one of my favorite titles that is so criticized, but this is about XC2. My point is just that it’s hard to go back to less freedom from the same franchise, for a story that feels less than mediocre, compared to the original. A sequel from the same graphical generation on a new console, should not feel like less.

    They took so much away for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so they could focus on story and characters. If those feel like failures, that spreads to the entire game. Other minor gripes include, my love of mecha not being satiated by more than 1(mecha, not robots), the aggressive and unnecessary localization of names (I don’t think “Dromarch” is a more recognizable name than “Byakko”), drivers can’t change appearances, when the player gets hit with topple etc. and you just watch the fighting, the length of combat with low level enemy fodder, and anytime you have to fight those damn farting apes!

  73. Chocolate ISISCream
    Chocolate ISISCream
    January 3, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Respect to Nintendo, this game is actually amazing. Nintendo was goddamn smart for buying Monolith Soft. Cheeky motherfuckers.

  74. A Punk Named Katsuya Jonouchi
    A Punk Named Katsuya Jonouchi
    January 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Now all they need is to buy the rights to xenosaga.

  75. Arani Kaeding
    Arani Kaeding
    January 17, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Very much enjoyed this game, sadly could not get into the characters as much as you did, found combat to be the highlight personally, very well wrote review. While I disagree in some areas I understand where you are coming from

  76. SOMEGUY7893
    January 18, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Then you have Hana becoming Poppi while Tora stays the same.

  77. SOMEGUY7893
    January 18, 2018 at 10:17 am

    This, legendary ones are so rare for most of the game they should’be been a guaranteed rare or at least make the Commons you get from it more unique looking.

  78. SOMEGUY7893
    January 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Same here, Nia and Tora are the only ones that I like. Everyone else is just okay.

  79. SOMEGUY7893
    January 18, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Yeah, but that’s not necessarily completely bad design. Without side quests which don’t give actual exp but bonus exp you can choose not to use, you can still find occasional enemies with stats way lower than their level. So you can farm some enemies around 10 levels higher than you until you get a few levels above them. Doing stuff like that got me fighting level 70 enemies outside of the story where I’d fight level 30 enemies.

  80. braneman
    February 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    The one thing that saved this game for me is the “game voice volume” and the “cutscene voice volume” turning those both down to a reasonable level massively improved the game for me. If it wasn’t for that I would have dropped this game the tenth time I heard “SPINNING CUTTER” the characters become so much more bearable when the audio is mixed properly.