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The best Jrpg of the 8th generation

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    Xenoblade Chronicles 2

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    The best Jrpg of the 8th generation

    After the disappointment that was FFXV and it’s dlc ridden story and paint by the numbers characters and world Xenobladees 2 is a shining reminder of what Jrpg’s should be. It’s not perfect with a few new annoying mechanics and a slight overabundance of anime tropes but at the end of the day it is a amazing adventure with a compelling story and cast that any Jrpg fan wouldn’t want to miss out on.

    The story:

    Similar to the original xenoblade chronicles 2 takes place in a universe similar to the original with life taking place on the backs of titans. However this time around there’s more than two titans and instead of being surrounded by a vast ocean your now surrounded by a vast cloud sea. Fans of the original should feel most at home with xenoblade 2’s setting and overall plot themes. Our story stars a headstrong but good hearted boy named Rex who lives his life as a salvager on the back of a small Titan named adzura. One day Rex takes on a odd job that eventually leads him to meet a girl named Pyra. Through a series of very heavy plot details rex decides to take pyra’s request in taking her to the legendary paradise known as Elisyeum. The first half of the game under the 30-40hr mark will have you meet up with other characters who will join your party as well as the antagonists you will fight against. The half of the game is primarily dedicated to fleshing out the main cast as well as giving out lore to the world’s you explore. Admittedly the first while very revelent to the plot is slow in terms of action or drama. Things happen in those hours for sure but so do side plots that involve silly arcs around the nopon and mascot characters that might drive someone who doesn’t care for "cutesy" things a bit irritated. The game makes up for this slowness in it’s second half which involves all of the plot twists, action scenes and emotional scenes the original offered. Fans of the original xenoblade will especially love the second half of the game along with all of it’s callbacks and tie in’s to the original and past xeno games. The plot to xenoblade chronicles 2 is superb and leaps and bounds better than xenoblade X.

    The game play:

    xenoblade chronicles 2 goes back to the gameplay roots set forth by the original rather than x. The areas in xc2 are cutoff from one another like the original and only accessable by progressing the story. Those who started the series with xenoblade x might feel that this is a step down from X’s huge sandbox box but xc2’s linear area progression means that the a much more tighter and fluid narrative can be told. The starter areas of xenoblade chronicles 2 feel very reminiscent of areas in the original almost like they were remixed versions of the original’s areas. Certainly not the same areas mind you but similar in their geography and art design. Some will find this a nice call back to the original while others might think xc2 is relying a bit to much on nostalgia. This doesn’t last for long though as xc2 eventually finds it’s own identify with it’s environments. Exploring in xc2 is very much the same as it was in the original however xc2 introduces field skills. Field skills are abilities that your blades (a topic we’ll cover in a second) can preform based on their attribute and class type. These skills unlock certain parts of the world or open treasure chest’s and locked doors. At first this might seem like restrictions on exploring but this is actually a good way of giving incentive to revisit areas at later points in the game. However field skills can be tedious when they are used as gates to the main story. It can be frustrating at times when just want to continue the story but now have to reconfigure your blades to find blade specific abilities to progress the story. Xenoblade 2 also introduces a new a new form of weapons with the "blades". Blades are creatures, monsters and human like beings that are collected throughout the world and used as your main arsenal. Blades are not only your weapons but also your arts as well. Every blade has 3 arts attached to them and your allowed to have 3 blades attached to one character. This means you have nine arts to use at the flip of a button. Like the original you can preform chain attacks followed along with mini qte prompts for extra damage however the new spin on chain attacks come from the elements you inflict on your enemies. As battles rage on your party and blades can do linked fusion combo’s with one another that attribute to one turn in a full chain attack. the more elements you inflict the more turns for a chain you can preform. The systems at play here are complex but the game takes it’s time to explain all of them to you making you a matter of the system over the course of your playthrough. Grinding has been made much easier in xc2 with the inclusion of the new Merc system. You can send out blades to preform missions that reward you exp and items. You can then take that exp along with the exp from doing regular side quests and go to sleep at an inn in which you can level up your party by a sizeable amount! This is also a benefit for the blades assigned to the missions as completing them unlocks parts of their affinity chart which in terms helps you in battles and world activities. Other than this xc2 remains fairly the same game as the original with some of the tedium of the original as well such as the aggro system. It might just be me but throughout all the xenoblade games so far xc2 seems to have me fight unintentional swarms of monsters at once. This becomes a pain because whenever I want to fight a creature or a random mob I will suddenly aggros a whole sworm of uninvited guests into the battle which destroys a victory I had within reach. This is especially annoying when fighting an areas boss.

    Summary:

    If you were let down by xcx’s spare story and more down to earth cast then xenoblade chronicles 2 will feel almost like an apology to you. With an engaging story, likeable cast, and dozens of hours of gameplay to be had xenoblade chronicles 2 is a jrpg that should be on every Jrpg fans shelf. It is a sequel deserving of it’s name and numbering and not a game you want to miss out on if your a fan of the original.

    Verdict: 8/10

    Overall xc2 doesn’t make a whole lot of changes to the formula but the changes it makes are big and mostly enhance the game for the better.

    Rating:   4.5 – Outstanding

    Product Release: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Special Edition) (US, 12/01/17)

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