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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Here is my probably-too-long review for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017) – But, like the first one, I love it to death so I just cant be brief about it.

For those unaware, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a vast, open world RPG exclusive for the Switch, an anthology type "sequel" to the original Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii with a whole new story and characters. I normally dont gush about games on here, but I dont see it brought up much and wanted to get it on the radar for RPGs lover that maybe have been on the fence about it.

This is quite long, but the Tl;Dr is that if you are a fan of long, engrossing RPGs you need to play this amazing game with tons to offer.

The good/great:

Setting/World: For anyone that has played the first game, this game carries the tradition of the vast, open worlds that take place on the backs (or insides) of these giant beings called Titans, combining Large cities with huge open world areas. They are beautiful, fun to explore, and are well designed. The game is a joy to travel in and there is lots to explore for those who like doing so.

The story and characters: while kind of a tropey boy-saves-world plot line, it is an epic, sprawling, character heavy affair that takes place across multiple, unique locations that builds genuine affection with the main characters and leads to some tear-jerking moments. I wont spoil anything, but suffice to say if you are a fan of story and character heavy games you will find lots to love in this game.** Expect about 100 hours just for the main story, maybe a little faster if you really ignore all the extra side quests.**

Battle System: While not really explained well in the game, the battle system is quite interesting. It can be as deep or as shallow as you like (although Im not sure how far you will get if you just let it auto attack and occasionally use an Art or Special) It features a combination of auto attacks, targeted attacks, and QTE specials, which all build upon each other to unleash some truly awesome attack power. Fun to master and try out all the combos and try to smash for a million plus damage.

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The bad/neutral/ugly

Honestly I dont have a ton of bad things to say about this game, there isnt anything that stands out as "ugly" to me, but Overall I felt that there was a lot of tedium built into the game.

Background Leveling system: At a certain point in the game you get the ability to send your blades (basically extra characters, something like the pokemon you won but arent using at the moment) on "merc mission", which function as a sort of leveling up system for your non-active party members. It kind of seemed cool at first, but ultimately just became a tiresome task to manage all these blades to send off on missions, which ones to keep in your party… And any function of a game that encourages you to just leave the game on and not play it to me ultimately doesnt add to the fun. Same is true with the trust and affinity charts… Kinda seem cool at first but ultimate filling them up proved tedious for me.

The worlds are so vast that sometimes exploration can be a bit of a slog. I would have liked a bit more fast travel points, or more labeling on the overworld map about where certain things are.

Core Crystal RNG system – this was the only element of the game that put me off. Basically the way you get these extra playable characters is to open these special objects called core crystals, and while the vast majority of them contain "common blades" occasionally you will get a "rare blade" (which are special, unique ones with their own back stories in the game)… Those are really the only ones anyone wants, and getting them comes down to a 1,000 sided dice roll. You can read online of people wasting dozens upon dozens of crystals trying to get a rare blade… Me sitting there hitting "bond core" for 30 minutes with nothing to show for it was a bit frustrating and given my playtime is quite limited I ultimately just ended up giving up on this aspect of the game. I would rather just have a more straight forward way of obtaining those characters. Ultimately these are "extra content" though and in no way essential to the game, one need not encounter any of them to play the game or finish it.

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Tutorials – Some aspects of the game are not laid out well, and watching a few videos online is almost required to understand in detail how the battle system works. This could have been better handled in the game.

Character design – A minor quibble, but aside from the otherwise great character content (design and story wise) I wouldnt have minded a "b cup" option for the main female character, who is packing what appears to be an off the chart breast size with booty shorts on most of the game. Its the kind of thing that makes you hope no one glances at your game while she is on screen some times.

Final verdict – Minor annoyances aside, there is nothing there to distract from the beautiful worlds, expertly written and engaging story and characters. While probably not as good as the first game in terms of the total package, this is an incredibly worthy successor and has earned its place in my heart as one of the best RPGs on the Switch, and perhaps one of my favorites of all time.

How say you r/patientgamers ? Played the game? What did you think about it?


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