I enjoyed Xenoblade 2 a decent amount, but was never able to finish it because the combat just felt lagging. If you enjoyed it that's awesome, and I am not saying it was bad, it just never felt very good to me. I tried, really. I've started a X2 playthrough several times, the farthest I've gotten being ~45 hours in. I LOVE the world, I was iffy on the anime waifus, but that combat. It just felt so slow.
Before you say I didn't get it, I promise, I did. I know how to set up the whole topple chain, I understand the element orbs, all of it. The systems just felt slow to me. Why have an auto attack system that stops attacking when you move the character? To me it felt like it punished you for trying to get good positioning, or experimenting. Regular low level trash monsters would still take a considerable amount of time to beat. While you can set up big flashy chains, there felt like there was so much downtime in between. I know you can't win fights by doing nothing, but in order to set up doing something I felt the game somewhat mandated long chunks of doing nothing.
Enter Xenoblade 1. I've been very anxious recently and my girlfriend got me the game as a gift, as she knew I had a lot of hours on the last one and it's one of the few games I don't own. Very kind of her, and I knew I liked the lore. Holy moly, this one is, in my opinion, night and day. So. Much. Better.
The world is significantly more grounded and realistic feeling. While the lore is tight in both games, this feels like the Lord of the Rings to X2's Star Wars. Both high fantasy, but where 2 gets very wacky and flamboyant, 1 feels very self-serious without ever going too far. Some people may prefer 2, but I love how much more grounded 1 feels.
But the combat. Oh my god, what an improvement. So much more to do and think about moment to moment. First off, it doesn't stop your auto attacks just for moving! No more punishment for trying to position! But the arts system is totally different, the setups happen a lot quicker, and there's so much more to consider. Add in the future mechanic – where you know if someone is about to die and must act to change your opponents actions asap – and it feels like such a more fair and complex system. I feel like I have more control, choice, and ultimately more strategy to choose from with each enemy. General monsters go down in a few seconds, the big ones feel even more tough, and the chains feel just as fun and flashy.
If you didn't connect with X2, consider doing some research into the first game. It may still not be for you, but almost every nitpick I had with 2 is completely remedied in 1. If you had told me this one came out after, I'd believe you, as I feel it's such a huge improvement on all of the systems.
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