Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review

Every now and again, I like to write about something other than personal finance. This normally brings me to one of my favorite hobbies, video games. My last two purchases were clunkers, so it took me a while to get another game.

I don’t normally like to get older games, but I had played the original Xenoblade and liked it enough where I figured I could try the sequel….and I’m glad I did.

I’m not quite finished with the game, but I’m far enough in where I can say with certainty that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is totally worth getting. I’m probably 80% through the main story and I’m loving every second of it. 

The storyline is awesome, the game has great graphics, characters, tons of side quests, and literally hundreds of hours of gameplay if you are a completionist like me.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Storyline

The storyline follows a typical formula, but it works and I can’t wait to see how it ends. A seemly nobody in the world becomes thrust into the role of hero. The hero (Rex) finds that he has a higher calling as does the cast of supporting characters that join him on his quest along the way.

As with other similar RPGs, the story unfolds a little bit at a time, revealing different motives and endgames of all the characters involved. I’m sure I’m in for a few more twists and turns as I finish up the last few chapters of the story, but right now, the story is super engaging and fun to follow.

Fun Battle System

The battle system for XC2 is similar to its predecessor. Real-Time battles (as opposed to turn-based) with a few layers of complexity. 

The battle system is doled out to you a little bit at a time, letting you get accustomed to the new features a little bit at a time. Even with the tutorials, it can seem a little overwhelming at first, but it’s one that you can quickly get used to.

The battle system allows you to customize your characters and blades to specific enemies or a general style of play. Simple enough where casual gamers will be able to customize their teams effectively, but complex enough where you can really dive in if you really want to.

Tons of Blades

So besides your main controllable characters, you are given different “weapons” called blades in the game. These are other mostly human-like characters that provide different battle skills and elements to your playable characters.

These blades range from super common weak blades to your rare or legendary blades. For the most part, the order in which you acquire blades is totally random (there are a few that are just part of the storyline). You might get lucky and acquire some of the strongest blades early in the game, or unlucky and get them later on, but that’s part of the fun!

There is certainly no shortage of strong blades, so no matter who you acquire and when they are certainly useful and you’ll have plenty of time to get them all before the game is done.

Wide Open World

One of the best parts about XC2 is the wide-open and absolutely enormous worlds you can explore. Simply exploring the surface of most of these areas will take a significant amount of time, but there is always more to find. 

Many times, you’ll find small secret areas, but other times, you’ll find another huge section to explore that you didn’t know was there. 

In addition, there are many times there are areas you can’t access until you have certain blades and\or have gotten their field skills to a certain level. No matter how far along in the game you are, there is a reason to revisit previously explored areas. I’m still finding more and more each time I go back.

Side Quests, Side Quests, and More Side Quests

If you like side quests, XC2 is the game for you. There are tons of NPCs that will send you on quests that range from finding a certain item to defeating an incredibly hard enemy. They can also range from taking a few minutes to a few hours to 100% complete.

Similar to exploring areas you’ve already visited to find new areas, revisiting certain places after certain storyline events have happened will unlock more side quests for you. These can be valuable ways to accumulate previous gold and EXP.

On top of your regular side quests, you’ll have quests specific to certain blades. These are normally much longer and more difficult to quests to complete, but will typically unlock further potential or power-ups for your blades. These are almost always worth doing no matter what.

If you are looking for a game that you can spend hours or days at a time not advancing the main storyline even a little bit, then XC2 is definitely the game for you.

XC2 Tips

If you do decide to pick Xenoblade Chronicles 2 up, here are a few tips I’ve found helpful along the way.

Always Be Collecting

While exploring the vast worlds, you’ll come across small blue glowing dots all around the ground. These are called collections points and they are crucial to many parts of the game. 

Most have common items you can use to sell or complete certain side quests, but many will contain other rare items. You never know what will pop out and in order to make many many sidequests that much easier, you should always be collecting!

I’m not saying to stop and each and every collection point along the way, you’d never play the actual game as they are everywhere, but certainly try to stop at most of them if possible. The items you acquire are used for so many aspects of the game that instead of having to backtrack and find certain points, if you’ve been collecting along with your adventures, you should never be in short supply and could save you a lot of time.

Driver and Blade Combos

A big part of the battle system is combos. These can be done by drivers, blades, and both. The more combos you put together, the more massive your damage will be. You should definitely aim to understand the combos and how to put them together right when the game lets you.

For regular battles, it’s not nearly as important, but when fighting bosses or tougher enemies, you’ll 100% need to set up your team in a way to take advantage of all the different types of combos.

You’ll all need to strategize and time different attacks to take full advantage of combos to deal the most damage possible to your foes.

Elemental Orbs

Once you’ve got your combos mastered, it’s time to add another layer to your battle plan. As you complete a third blade combo, an elemental orb matching that of the final blade you used will be created on your current enemy. There are two tips for these orbs.

For one, when fighting difficult enemies, try to get as many different elemental orbs as possible on the foe. Don’t follow the same path for your blade combos as that will result in the same ending element and therefore no additional orbs.

When planning your next blade combo, try to have it end with a different element so that a new orb will be created. This will help with the second tip.

These elemental orbs come into play when using your party’s chain attack. Chain attacks allow you to deal massive amounts of damage on your enemies. The reason elemental orbs are important here is that when you break one of these orbs with your chain attack, you are given another round of attacks. 

So, simply put, the more orbs you have to break, the more rounds you can get in your chain attacks. The more round of chain attacks you have, the more massive your damage. Having three or four orbs on an enemy can let you take down a difficult beast quite easily.

Focus On One Blade at a Time

As mentioned before, there are tons of rare blades to power up and tons of side quests to do so. Many power-ups are accomplished by simply using the blade in regular gameplay, but others require very specific actions to be taken.

This could be to take out a few of a certain kind of enemy, or one powerful enemy. Other requirements might be to find a certain item or a bunch of easier items. 

The point is, I’ve found that focusing on one blade and its requirements makes it much easier to accomplish. Otherwise, you’ll be bouncing around to too many places and have too many goals in your head at once.

By picking one blade, you can easily go through their different requirements and quickly accomplish the goals to power up that blade.

Get Common Blades Leveled Up With Merc Missions 

One of the ongoing parts of the game is Merc Missions. These are other kinds of side quests that you can send your blades on to finish up on their own. By doing so, you’ll earn trust, exp, gold, and other goodies. 

It’s easy to not want to level up your common blades with regular gameplay, but you should 100% always be sending them off on these missions whenever possible. For one, it will power their field skills up which will be invaluable for unlocking many treasures and completing side quests throughout the game.

This is also useful as once you power up a blade completely, you’ll receive items that allow you to gain large amounts of WP which help make your auto-attacks much stronger.

Don’t Forget About Tiger Tiger

The last tip I’ll leave you with is to not forget about the Tiger! Tiger! Game. Yes, this is a silly game within a game, but you need to play it a lot to really power up Tora’s blade Poppi and her many forms. By neglecting this game, you’ll fail to fully unleash her true potential. Evey now and again, dedicate some time to simply playing this game to make her as strong as possible.

Final Thoughts

As far as video game purchases go, I’m very happy with this one. I’ve been playing for hundreds of hours and still have a ton of work to do. I could spend days at a time doing all the different quests and tasks require to get each of my blades to their maximum potential and love doing it.

There is always more to explore and more to do in this game and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great RPG-style game.