After the completion of God of War, it was only natural I scoped out and took on my next big game. Last December, I picked up Xenoblade Chronicles 2 but it quickly fell out of my line up of games. I felt it was a combination of a couple things. First off, there were simply too many games coming out to keep up with. Second, I felt the early part of Xenoblade 2 kind of dragged on, and I got bogged down with tutorial after tutorial, and in the end just not grasping the combat and not having the story really hook me in.
So naturally, I put the game down. I felt at first that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 carried over quite a few flaws from the previous games. One of those things being that it’s not very accessible. It is hard to grasp everything going on, from the combat, to all the systems that play out as your explore.
I saw people online kind of going through the same thing. It seemed hard to get into at first, but others had come back to it after restarting the game and finding much more enjoyment. I had recently done this with Mass Effect Andromeda and the experiment proved successful. So as I was closing to the end credits of God of War, I got Xenoblade Chronicles 2 back in my sights.
I have to say I’m glad I did. The game feels so much better now that I’m playing it for a lack of better words, on my terms. Playing it on release, I was kind of forcing myself to do so. It’s always a busy time of year in December coming into the holidays, and the list of games out at the end of last year didn’t help.
But the story I feel is really opening up. I’ve just gotten past the point I left off at in my first run, and the characters are really clicking with me. I guess you could say I’m really feeling it. Strangely enough, I am kind of interested in the side quests this time around. I felt in the previous 2 games, especially Xenoblade Chronicles X, there were way too many meaningless side quests. Xenoblade 2 seems to have that tamed pretty well. And although the games many systems can still be daunting, I feel they have been much improved to how messy they felt in previous games. The first Xenoblade Chronicles inventory felt like a mess by the end of the game, and don’t get me started on Xenoblade Chronicles X, just read my review if you are curious enough.
What really has me engrossed thought, is the combat. I’m all about trying to get rare blades and decking out Rex with attack based blades and Nia with healers and so on. Getting that ultra rare blade is super satisfying, and something I’d compare to finding a rare Pokemon. Charging up your blade combos is pretty awesome once you get the hang of it and totally understand what it’s all about. As the game throws chain attacks at you later, things get even crazier.
What is also neat is it seems like you can enjoy doing extra stuff like side quests without really over leveling too much. That’s because completing side quests doesn’t reward you exp directly, but instead it goes into a bank of sorts. You can then spend that stored exp when you rest at the inn, which is totally optional. So as a result, the games been challenging when it should be and forced me to properly strategize my attacks and parties build instead of just spamming attacks all day.
Of course it goes without saying, like the 2 games before, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 features one of the prettiest little worlds I’ve ever laid eyes on. Seeing places just for the sake of it it a big draw in the Xenoblade series I find. Even in XCX, a game that I hated for many things, it’s world was masterfully crafted.
So yea, I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with the game. It was interesting reading certain reviews at launch like Kotaku’s pretty negative take at the time. I didn’t hate the game but certainly understood the complaints and where they came from. As I stated earlier, I felt the earlier games, especially XCX was a total mess. But I find Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to be quite leaner in comparison, and in my opinion, cleans up the combat considerably from the previous games.
There’s still quite a bit to go in this one, but it’s gotten me into a nice JRPG craze. I’ll pumped to keep moving forward, and even plan out what next JRPG I may jump into after this is done.
Are their games you’ve put down and enjoyed so much more coming back to later? Head on over the comments and let’s hear about it!