A few weeks after the release of its third part, I can’t help but remember its wonderful previous chapter. I was fascinated by Xenoblade Chronicles 2; and that has more than enough reasons for many not even dare to touch it. Today I review all the good things about it… without forgetting the bad.
I think that all of us who love the JRPG have one thing clear: not everything that is published is good in this genre today, although it looks like it because of how beautiful it is. Not to be nostalgic or retro, but the truth is that the quantity and quality of outstanding JRPGs that we had in 16-bit and 32-bit do not reach the stores. Independent studios try to bring us back to that time, to those epic journeys that had you hours and hours and hours traveling through magical worlds, enjoying stories with a thousand plot twists and enjoying like a fool leveling up fight after fight. But there is much abuse of trying to repeat, reproduce or imitate without any grace what was done before. Neither the indies nor proposals like Bravely Second, Octopath Traveler or many others are capable of even approaching those emotions; at least, in my humble opinion. And this doesn’t just happen with these “neo-retro” games, also with those that are in 3D. It seems to me that I am always playing a bad copy of those titles, salt-free versions of Final Fantasy VII or Chrono Trigger. Until Xenoblade Chronicles 2 came into my life.
I already liked the first Xenoblade Chronicles, but it had things that failed me. The rhythm of his story was stumbling, his combat system was not entirely deep and he abused a lot of script twists that were too forced. Also, that Wii version made your eyes cry blood because of its poor resolution. No, I didn’t fall in love with the original, but its second part did because it was like the first but much better in everything. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 doesn’t have a particularly original starting story. We control a chosen boy who carries a magic weapon and who has to protect a girl from the attack of some villains. The base is very simple, but what gives it strength are the rules of its world. His name is Rex and she is Pyra, he is a pilot and she is the most powerful Blade; an aegis In the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, pilots are those who can call the Blades into combat. And between the two something more powerful than a friendship is forged. But these Blades have a peculiarity: they come from crystals and, if they die, they return to it and lose their memory.
The story of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes place in the present tense, but as we already know from all JRPGs where there is a rule that involves losing your memory: let’s cry. And like in One Piece, the happier a character seems, more tears has shed in his past. Con One Piece, the last straw is the fruit Smile, But that’s another story. Just like in Eiichiro Oda’s manga, what happens today is based on various past wars and disasters, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 manages to tell you all that history, from the end to the very beginning, with a lot of art and coherence. Before I said that the first Xenoblade Chronicles was somewhat tricky with its way of twisting the plot, but this sequel does not make that mistake: everything goes around, turns and new features are added with quality and good taste… despite the fact that sometimes everything gives some shame. Oh Japan.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 goes overboard with its jokes and necklines
We all know what a JRPG is like and how its female characters are usually presented in them, but this game has always seemed too much to me. Pyra’s breasts don’t stop moving throughout the adventure, and the camera is always looking for them. Sometimes there is more theta than elements to look at on the screen. And since the protagonist is a child, quite rare situations are generated. But Pyra is not the only character with this problem. The Blades are something like Pokémon… like Digimon, rather, but the vast majority end up being cute girls who respond to some manga erotic stereotype. And it’s not that I have any problem with sensuality, more would be missing, but it’s that they take away a lot of truth from many dramatic scenes. Stop talking to me about the end of the world in a tango bikini, please.
I still remember how good Final Fantasy X was at getting his summonsAnother topic that I also hope will be reviewed for the next installment is his way to get new Blades. First you have to farm crystals of different rarity and then use them as if they were loot boxes to see which Blade you get. Some are earned through main and side quests, but not the majority. This system is very unsatisfying, having to kill enemies to get loot boxes is boring. I still remember how good Final Fantasy X was at getting his summons or fighting the dark aeons. But despite these two really annoying issues, Xenoblade Chronicles has a set of hours of game of maximum quality. Its beautiful settings, the good rhythm it has to give you cinematics, explore, find new friends and fight, make it one of the most addictive JRPG of the last decade, DLC included that is worth paying for. Special merit for his stupendous combat.
If you’ve seen the latest trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, you may have had your head in your hands when you saw his combat. If so, you have been horrified by the sheer amount of text, colors, lights, and markers during battle. But if you have enjoyed the fights of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, surely you have put as happy as me. The reason is that their combats are neither turn-based nor in real time; not quite. They are actually more like songs from a dance game. Things happen in the fight, that activates others. You attack with a specific type of blow, which connects just with another very specific type of another character.
That is to say, more than being aware of what is happening in the game, you are concerned that your strategy will work out; and your strategy is something you’ve carefully set up beforehand and is better understood with the HUD. That is: what Blades you have, how they are configured, what attacks they have equipped and In what order do you run them?. So a denser HUD means this system will have more options. They have already announced that it will be inspired by Final Fantasy 5, which means that when we master a class we can inherit skills to the next one that we equip. That’s a lot of possibilities to launch into battle.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is not a JRPG for everyone, but it is for me
But all these virtues are just those that for many make it abominable. His fight is weird it’s extremely japanese in his character designs with an unleashed Nomura as a collaborator. He’s got goofy loot boxes, some really weird and gimmicky side quests, and he doesn’t exactly play well on Switch in his handheld version. But I recommend that you give it a try. And someone who has two children and very little time to waste with JRPGs that are not of quality tells you. Hopefully more video games like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that, despite their imperfections, are capable of bringing back those incredible sensations of traveling through a magical world, full of fantastic beings, and role-playing Japanese style.