Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Koenig

The Architect
So I kinda hate the story so far. I really hope it gets better, but so far it feels like the worst parts of every anime, jrpg, and bad fan fiction congealed into a sentient mass. The voice acting is also horribly out of sync most of the time; I suspect it only matches in the Japanese dub?

The game mechanics seem nice so far though, although the tutorials are awful.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
Also, hot tip for something that took me forever to figure out:

When you do the 1 or 2 rank special attack (as in, not the attack that goes full cutscene on ya), you don't have to stand still to do the B button prompts. You can run around and collect health potions or items already defeated enemies had dropped while doing the QTE at the same time.
 

theMightyME

Owner of The Total Screen
So I kinda hate the story so far. I really hope it gets better, but so far it feels like the worst parts of every anime, jrpg, and bad fan fiction congealed into a sentient mass. The voice acting is also horribly out of sync most of the time; I suspect it only matches in the Japanese dub?

The game mechanics seem nice so far though, although the tutorials are awful.
so in other words, still better than assassin's creed, call of duty, and like 90% of the drivel that takes itself way to seriously in gaming today

it never stops being anime-like.. though I am very annoyed when that is used to describe a story negatively... that is the tone they are going for.. but as it progresses it becomes more gundam and less naruto, if you know what I mean... in that the hope and friendship stuff persists but the more political, theological, and philisophical aspects begin to surface.

as for the dub... WHY IN THE HELL WOULD ANY SELF RESPECTING PERSON PLAY A SECOND LANGUAGE DUB ... if given the choice that is... it isn't even about english vs japanese acting... the original track is recorded to match the emotions of the characters, it is directed with supervision by the people who actually made the game and wrote the scripts... it is the truest emotional connection to the material... it can go the other way too... like no more heroes was recorded in english, later it was dubbed into japanese, but the original language was english, so the english dub is a perfect fit and the right choice... if you look at the western agmes they use performance capture and such which means the foreign tracks will never live up...

THAT BEING SAID... there is some mismatch here and there even on the japanese track.. some moments where the mouths keep moving after the dialog stops.. Is ee this as a sign that the game was a bit rushed... along with a few other problems... the game has some bugs and such that are worse than we got from the original and x... and there are parts that are just not as well polished as they should be.


I'm looking at the Pro right now. It's like a centimeter at most.
goign to measure this tonight... from the center of the + button to the center of the x button, as thta is what matters, it is where he thumb presses... you might be thinking of the y button... even not going center to center, the x is over an inch from the +
 

theMightyME

Owner of The Total Screen
Take a chill pill @theMightyME ; you are being way to defensive about this.
internet doesn't translate the playfulness of my reprimand

though I do think the stories of most modern non japanese games are utter shit that are given a pass that japanese games are not for whatever reason, and part of that is likely this strange anti-anime backlash mentality we have... the same thing that has geeks insulting other geeks by calling them weebs and such, even though their geek properties are typically just as bad or worse...

I do feel strongly about that... BUT if you heard my voice saying those words you would detect a smile in it
 

Koenig

The Architect
On the note of dubbing, I actually quite liked the dub for XC and XCX (especially the former), but so far I am loathing the dub in XC2. How does the sub compare? I am seriously considering downloading the data for it.
 
Last edited:

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
The japanese dub sounds kinda flat to me, like most of the cast was phoning it in.

Also the Japanese Malos VA can't compare to the American one.

praisegrima
So basically, it's no different than any other dub is what you're saying? So it's neither good nor bad, only that it is just there.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
On the topic of the anime-ness of the story, I mean...the original was anime as hell, too. But it also got its hooks in early (it's a compelling revenge tale*), and it simply didn't waste time in some of the slice-of-life ways that XBC2 does**. The original used its source material to launch a relatable "avenge my personal tragedy" mission that became an elaborate mythological story; through 4 chapters, the sequel is marinating in more tropes***. It's an entirely legitimate genre exercise, and I like it for what it is so far. But you take away the original's revenge plot, you spend a few dozen hours before you get any real exposition, and you trot out a trope check list the whole time? I grok why some people will get a bit cringe-y. I, on the other hand, have no taste and enjoyed TMS#FE, so I'm alright with it.

In XBC2, Rex is flat-out murdered, and we're kinda over it in 10 minutes.
I'm supposed to care about Tora's daddy issues? I mean...did Reyn even mention his family?
A hot spring with a robot and a crotch shot?
I've beaten it.

145 hours.
Well?! Don't leave me in suspense. Overall impressions?
 
Last edited:

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
So basically, it's no different than any other dub is what you're saying? So it's neither good nor bad, only that it is just there.
There have been some good Japanese voice acting in video games (they do have the benefit of that industry being HUGE over there), I'm just saying that the seiyuu either weren't very good or seemed like they were phoning it in compared to the English VA cast.

Well?! Don't leave me in suspense. Overall impressions?
Very fun combat. I like how they limited the QTE prompts to the same button, and that all the minute little game mechanics can make a huge difference in how you play the game. For instance, pouch items don't seem like that big a deal, until you unlock the ones that increase party gauge gains and add meter to the arts every second. That really transformed not only my ability to put on blade combos by myself, but also upped the reliability of my companions in that regard as well.

I get why they added the RNG mechanic for Rare blades, as it would make each playthrough semi unique, and I like that, but collection-ists are gonna have problems and I think they should've taken steps to mitigate that. (so, basically a pity timer/counter)

The compass is a bit borked. Like, it can't decide whether or not it wants to show you the path to your destination, or just be a general area guide, and that's annoying. That I can't just open a map with the press of a button is annoying as well (although it should be a bit better after the patch).

The story isn't perfect, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it was far more enjoyable than, say, the Last of Us or games of its ilk. This comes down to two things: Likable characters (yes, I like the main cast) and a fairly interesting world. It can be a bit cliche, but cliches don't bother me.

At the end of the day, the game was highly enjoyable to just play, and I enjoyed the settings, the characters, and the story. (and to those saying that this is bad fanfiction, I say that you've never read bad fanfiction. Or even good fanfiction) There was never a wall I felt frustrated with, as the game was more than willing to give you so many options to make things more manageable.

Okay, enough rambling.

praisegrima
 

Koenig

The Architect
In regards to blades, Xenoblade 2 is the best 3D Pokemon game I have played. (And I mean that in a good way)

I think i've mentioned this before while playing XCX, but I do think that a Pokemon game styled after the gamepaly and mechanics of Xenoblade would work very well.
 

simplyTravis

Lamer Gamers Podcast Co-Host
There have been some good Japanese voice acting in video games (they do have the benefit of that industry being HUGE over there), I'm just saying that the seiyuu either weren't very good or seemed like they were phoning it in compared to the English VA cast.



Very fun combat. I like how they limited the QTE prompts to the same button, and that all the minute little game mechanics can make a huge difference in how you play the game. For instance, pouch items don't seem like that big a deal, until you unlock the ones that increase party gauge gains and add meter to the arts every second. That really transformed not only my ability to put on blade combos by myself, but also upped the reliability of my companions in that regard as well.

I get why they added the RNG mechanic for Rare blades, as it would make each playthrough semi unique, and I like that, but collection-ists are gonna have problems and I think they should've taken steps to mitigate that. (so, basically a pity timer/counter)

The compass is a bit borked. Like, it can't decide whether or not it wants to show you the path to your destination, or just be a general area guide, and that's annoying. That I can't just open a map with the press of a button is annoying as well (although it should be a bit better after the patch).

The story isn't perfect, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it was far more enjoyable than, say, the Last of Us or games of its ilk. This comes down to two things: Likable characters (yes, I like the main cast) and a fairly interesting world. It can be a bit cliche, but cliches don't bother me.

At the end of the day, the game was highly enjoyable to just play, and I enjoyed the settings, the characters, and the story. (and to those saying that this is bad fanfiction, I say that you've never read bad fanfiction. Or even good fanfiction) There was never a wall I felt frustrated with, as the game was more than willing to give you so many options to make things more manageable.

Okay, enough rambling.

praisegrima

The bigger question is....how do you rate the Xenoblade Chronicle games from worst to best? The world needs to know...
 
to me its where if there was any "flatness" to the performance, it sure as hell wasnt shown there. They put a lotta effort to those probably very repetitive battle dialogue.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
so when you turn off battle sound does it get rid of it all, or just the filler nonsense... I would want to keep the grunts, and on like the level 3 and up specials where it is practically a cut scene
There are two options that turn off battle related dialogue.

The battle sounds is the announcer voice during battle, game sound is all voices in battle, post battle, the voices the blades give off when going to merc missions, the things they say when released, etc. So basically if it's not a heart to heart or a story related sequence cutscene it's not voiced.

praisegrima
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom

A is the special gauge
B is the special tree
C is the prompt for allied specials
D is your Special
E is the Party Gauge
Tora used an Earth attack, so the enemy is inflicted with Stone
That means that if Tora gets two bars he can do a Gaia Crash, going to the second part of the special tree
Or Pyra can do a level 2 special for the top part of the tree, called Volcano.
Then after that has been applied, one of the three elements on the side at level 3 can then be applied as well, however at this point they trigger a cutscene and do bonus damage and place an orb
 

Koenig

The Architect
I am really starting to enjoy the combat now that I have access to multiple blades, the chain attack, combo's, and the like. Sure it is a cluster fuck, but this stuff should have been available much sooner in the story. Granted, I wish regular enemies were less spongy to accommodate it. Likewise I just don't understand why the "Blades" had to be humanoid characters for any good reason other than "Because Anime"; aside from the absurdity of it, it makes combat too much of a cluster fuck for my taste, and that is if there is only one enemy on the screen!

As for the story, just made it to chapter 4. The glimpses of lore and larger things in the world give me hope for the story, but every character and line of dialogue up to point has been the epitome of things I do not like about "anime", cranked up to 11. I guess it was not the art style that had me so weary, but the crap that tends to come with it. But alas, I have it good authority things get much better after this chapter, so I owe to myself to steam through!

With that said, I do wan't to complement the game on two other things right now. The inclusion of action commands a la the Mario RPG's makes combat so much more engaging; both in the form of "cancel" attacks and the various QTE's during special attacks.

Secondly the Affinity System for blades is almost exactly the kind of things I have been looking for in a weapon system, mirroring the design document I wrote a while back on the matter. The idea of a weapon (common or otherwise) with set and variable potential unlocked through various skill tree upgrades, combined with the randomized nature of the blades acquisition. (I just wish there was a way to over-forge them, but I digress, Ill get more into that later if any of y'all are interested)
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
Bonus tip about Chain attacks that I figured out yesterday before switching to XC1:

When you burst an elemental orb, you get a bit of meter for the meter in the top left. If you burst an element with the opposite one (Fire/Water) (Wind/Ice) (Earth/Lightning) (Light/Dark) you get a bonus to this.

What happens when you fill up the meter? You get something called a "full burst", which is an extra button prompt cutscene that is specific to each Rare Blade + Driver, that can inflict millions of damage to an enemy.

4 is the minimum amount of orbs you can use to get a full burst (and only if you do opposite bursting), while I believe bursting 6 without opposites will get you there regardless.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

THE MONKEY IS DEAD!

So glad I decided to do the Water level 3 special, as that is Seal Stench and rendered his most dangerous status move next to useless until I could get that fourth orb.
 

theMightyME

Owner of The Total Screen
Haven't played in a while... But let's be constructive, here are my issues with the game
1. The map, mostly just the way it is organized... Instead of breaking a total into segments with nothing to tell you where they connect, please just make each Titan a single full map, with perhaps different elevation levels accessed with a button push, but in that case have a transparent market to show where you are... Also, how about letting you drop POIs on the map for later, or seeing a destination unrelated to quests by just moving the cursor over an area you want to go to, and then setting a beacon of sorts, learn from BotW

2. In relation to the map, the compass... Let me turn off the main quest some times, so I can see the f'n side quest beacons, also, why not place the beacons on the map, so I can more easily figure out where to warp to, but most of all, how about some indication of elevation on the compass points... And while we are at it, bring back the ONE thing I miss from xcx... The follow ball

3. Not being able to change costumes is annoying, for some the ridiculous sexualization about them, for me it is just Rex's stupid costume

4. Stop overstepping translation boundaries... Playing in Japanese is made a little odd by knowing some Japanese and constantly thinking "that's not what he said"... They noppon calls Rex the equivalent of Big Bro, which is done in Japan with the leader of a click being addressed by a lower person... But in English subtitles it says Rex Rex... Why?

Then there are the number of character names that were changed... That sounds odd when a character screams it a name, and the wrong name is subtitled... Localization should be less involved, only adjust things that are lost in translation so that they make sense, or how about just give us a second subtitles track for the Japanese audio.

5. I wish it was a little less tropey, and the characters less sexualized, not because u care myself, but because I am fucking tired of the criticisms against it, in particular the use of the word anime, as a pejorative

6. They helped so much with BotW, I had hoped the knowledge would have followed both ways, The way Link navigates the environment is so much cleaner and natural, even besides climbing.

7. The controller layout, already mentioned the bad use of the x button, but how about a quick easy to change the lead driver, since they move differently and are better suited for revving some areas than the others.

8. Every Nintendo game after Mario Odyssey needs a photo mode, or at the very least a way to quickly toggle the UI on and off

9. Those load ins, first the polygons, then the base textures, then the texture effects, then the lighting, never seen it so transparent in a game before, and it can take me it of the experience.

10. Battles against weak enemies are often to involved and take too long, something should be out in place to improve this... Like maybe weak aggressive enemies running away, they seem to stop attacking, but only when your level like doubles theirs... Or maybe they could add in a field action that auto kills if the enemy is significantly weaker

I love the game though, don't get me wrong
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
I literally never heard any of the Scottdanian Empire's soldier battle dialogue until after I had finished the game.

I wish I could say the same for Reyn time.
 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator

THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?
DON'T FORGET ME


And so on and so forth. I'll need to flip the language to Japanese and see if their battle banter actually sounds worse one day.

Not that the rest of the banter is better. "Flora heals an aching soul." Shuddup, tiger.
 
Last edited:

Koenig

The Architect
I am a little over 90 hours in so far, however outside of the skiner box desin of the blade tree and the promise of the story getting better, I can't tell you why I have played this far. This game simply has not grabbed me like X1 or XCX did, and I have found plenty of things that I absolutely hate. I owe it to myself and you guys to finish the game, but I am simply not looking forward to playing this anymore; it feels more like a chore to play than it does a game.

Setting the "Too anime" argument aside for a moment (Although I think it is worth mentioning that it is more a case of too much "bad" anime cliches and tropes that come with it than the art style itself) I would like to say that the game does have a lot of good ideas. The blade combo system along with the various fusion combo's and elemental bursts that come with it are a stroke of genius and are a blast to pull off. The inclusion of "action" commands (Cancel attacks) a la Paper Mario to the combat also makes it much MUCH more engaging. The new blade affinity tree makes leveling up weapons much more interesting than the vast majority of games, and syncs well with the game's pokemon-like collection system and merc missions. While little things like the new collection points, salvage cliffs, and development levels make the world feel a bit more lived in. I also adore how Bonus XP can be gained by using an inn, as it really makes leveling up a lot easier.

However these neat ideas are, at least to me, completely overshadowed by the various questionable design choices that surround them. Ill spoiler the following so I don't blot out the sun with theses gripes. (And so y'all don't have to look at them either unless you are actually interested)

A blade combo is fun to pull off, but that's if the numerous enemies you are fighting don't shackle/stench/topple or otherwise prevent you from using them in the first place thus rendering the entire thing pointless; nevermind that all the enemies in the game have been given triple the amount of HP and attack power they had in previous games to try and balance it out. I get that bosses and elite monsters should have lots of HP so you can have a challenge and have to pull off a fusion combo/elemental burst, but WHY does a friggin Bunnit six levels lower than me have more HP than my entire party combined and multiplied by a factor of 5? Even though I love the new combo, cancel attack, and elemental burst system the most out of any Xenoblade game, the games over reliance on it and the fact that strategies surrounding it can be completely removed by shackle/delay based attacks is a source of pure frustration from me. The combat has the potential to be very fun, but 90% of the time it is either a boring slog or an exercise in hatred.

Blades are fun to collect, but since they are generated at Random and permanently bound to the character than bonded with them it makes creating a team of your own liking a bout of gambling; it is a completely arbitrary design choice that hurts the game far more than it helps it. Granted there are overdrive protocols to hep fix this, except for the fact that they are functionally finite for anyone but the most devout players of the game. (The only way to get more is by maxing out and releasing 4 star blades, which are in practice even rarer than the actual 5 star rare blades; even 90 hours in I have yet to get a SINGLE one!)

The story is a mess of the worst shonen cliche's and asspulls. The early hours are the worst offenders, but it never really fixes itself out completely later on either (at least up to chapter 8). The majority of characters are 1-dimensional cardboard cutouts, while every line of dialogue comes either sounds like it is coming from an alien who has heard of human emotion and speech but never actually witnessed it first hand, (and) or comes off like a group of children fighting with make believe weapons:

TO me, the majority of "serious" dialogue comes off like this

Character A: "I will beat you with this".
Character B: " Nuh uh! I have the magic thing that is better than that"
Character C: " Oh no, what will we ever do now?!"
Character A: "Don't worry! I can beat you with the Super magic thing that can stop even that!"
Character B: "Impossible, it can't be!"
Character A: "AAAAAAAAH!"
Character B: "Time for me to use my other secret special power you did not know I had!"
etc.etc.etc.

Or I could just point out that "We can beat them, with the power of FRIENDSHIP!" is an actual and repeated line of dialogue in the game and leave it at that.

On that note: Dear God is the voice acting in this game bad. Maybe it is just the translation and dub, but everything from the timing, to the lip syncing, to the dialogue itself is in general just plain bad. It is baffling to me that this is the same series that Xenoblade 1 came from (Which although hammy in its own right, was consistently good across the board). It is worst during the cutscenes, but even the combat dialogue tends to suffer a similar fate, granted the combat dialogue of all Xenoblade games have been a bit...funny - it's part of their charm at this point. Still, an option to turn down the frequency of combat dialogue would go a long ways to keep the audio of a fight from turning into an all out cluster fuck....

"THINKYOUCANTAKEMEDONTFORGETMETHINKYOUCANTAKEME"

Then there is the matter of missing features from the game. Why on Alrest are things like NPC map and Collecctopedia MIA? Or the even some of the unique aspects like the trade-able skill tree and probe networks from X1 and XCX respectively?

I know that the NPC map was poorly implemented in XCX, but it was one of the (many) crowning jewels of the original Xenoblade game. It's inclusion made keeping track of and relating to each of the MANY npc's in the game so much easier. Knowing their location, times, and relations to other NPC's were a huge motivator to me, especially since they were updated over time. It is something that virtually any RPG could benefit from, and yet as far as I know something exclusive to the Xenoblade series, until now.

Same goes for the Collectopedia. Granted, this too was a Skinner box, but one that was much more passive and rewarding by design. By giving you a list of how many items were in an area and rewarding you for filling them out, it gave you both an idea of the scope of items within each area and motivated you to explore it, with the exploration and collecting itself often being a reward enough, despite the fantastic bonus's that the game gave you for filling each area out completely.

Both of these things I considered to be staples of the Xenoblade series.


And finally there are all the little things that drive me crazy.

When a blade level's up, WHY do I have to navigate through the menu and check each blades affinity tree for every single upgrade before it will unlock it or even start counting the next tier? isn't that something that could be entirely automated and leave only the visual effect behind?

Similarly, why does the menu take so long to navigate between submenus?

Why is the D-pad WASTED on a controller map instead of hot keys that could easily alleviate the menu navigation problem?

Why are the quest markers so utterly borked?

Why doesn't bringing up the map start in the area you are actually in? (Thankfully this one has been fixed).

Why is the fast travel system unreliable? With certain areas blocked off until I back out of the menu and bring it back up again? (Seems more like a bug, but one that I get roughly 2/3 of the time I am trying to travel)

Why are there light platforming sections in this game when Rex jumps about as well as a Goomba?

Why do I have to listen to the voice clip for every field skill to conclude before the action actually goes through?

Likewise why can't the game just select the right blade skills from your inventory to activate certain field actions instead of me having to manually put them in my team each time? (If it is a question of having too many at once and brute forcing it, it could still be automated to take only the 3 best per character bonded)

And countless others that are too many and too small for me to remember in the here and now, but yet somehow drive me utterly mad while playing.

But to put a long story short. In lieu of all of these things, I am finding that I am not only NOT having fun with Xenoblade 2, but I am instead frequently experiencing pure frustration with it.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I am a little over 90 hours in so far, however outside of the skiner box desin of the blade tree and the promise of the story getting better, I can't tell you why I have played this far. This game simply has not grabbed me like X1 or XCX did, and I have found plenty of things that I absolutely hate. I owe it to myself and you guys to finish the game, but I am simply not looking forward to playing this anymore; it feels more like a chore to play than it does a game.

Setting the "Too anime" argument aside for a moment (Although I think it is worth mentioning that it is more a case of too much "bad" anime cliches and tropes that come with it than the art style itself) I would like to say that the game does have a lot of good ideas. The blade combo system along with the various fusion combo's and elemental bursts that come with it are a stroke of genius and are a blast to pull off. The inclusion of "action" commands (Cancel attacks) a la Paper Mario to the combat also makes it much MUCH more engaging. The new blade affinity tree makes leveling up weapons much more interesting than the vast majority of games, and syncs well with the game's pokemon-like collection system and merc missions. While little things like the new collection points, salvage cliffs, and development levels make the world feel a bit more lived in. I also adore how Bonus XP can be gained by using an inn, as it really makes leveling up a lot easier.

However these neat ideas are, at least to me, completely overshadowed by the various questionable design choices that surround them. Ill spoiler the following so I don't blot out the sun with theses gripes. (And so y'all don't have to look at them either unless you are actually interested)

A blade combo is fun to pull off, but that's if the numerous enemies you are fighting don't shackle/stench/topple or otherwise prevent you from using them in the first place thus rendering the entire thing pointless; nevermind that all the enemies in the game have been given triple the amount of HP and attack power they had in previous games to try and balance it out. I get that bosses and elite monsters should have lots of HP so you can have a challenge and have to pull off a fusion combo/elemental burst, but WHY does a friggin Bunnit six levels lower than me have more HP than my entire party combined and multiplied by a factor of 5? Even though I love the new combo, cancel attack, and elemental burst system the most out of any Xenoblade game, the games over reliance on it and the fact that strategies surrounding it can be completely removed by shackle/delay based attacks is a source of pure frustration from me. The combat has the potential to be very fun, but 90% of the time it is either a boring slog or an exercise in hatred.

Blades are fun to collect, but since they are generated at Random and permanently bound to the character than bonded with them it makes creating a team of your own liking a bout of gambling; it is a completely arbitrary design choice that hurts the game far more than it helps it. Granted there are overdrive protocols to hep fix this, except for the fact that they are functionally finite for anyone but the most devout players of the game. (The only way to get more is by maxing out and releasing 4 star blades, which are in practice even rarer than the actual 5 star rare blades; even 90 hours in I have yet to get a SINGLE one!)

The story is a mess of the worst shonen cliche's and asspulls. The early hours are the worst offenders, but it never really fixes itself out completely later on either (at least up to chapter 8). The majority of characters are 1-dimensional cardboard cutouts, while every line of dialogue comes either sounds like it is coming from an alien who has heard of human emotion and speech but never actually witnessed it first hand, (and) or comes off like a group of children fighting with make believe weapons:

TO me, the majority of "serious" dialogue comes off like this

Character A: "I will beat you with this".
Character B: " Nuh uh! I have the magic thing that is better than that"
Character C: " Oh no, what will we ever do now?!"
Character A: "Don't worry! I can beat you with the Super magic thing that can stop even that!"
Character B: "Impossible, it can't be!"
Character A: "AAAAAAAAH!"
Character B: "Time for me to use my other secret special power you did not know I had!"
etc.etc.etc.

Or I could just point out that "We can beat them, with the power of FRIENDSHIP!" is an actual and repeated line of dialogue in the game and leave it at that.

On that note: Dear God is the voice acting in this game bad. Maybe it is just the translation and dub, but everything from the timing, to the lip syncing, to the dialogue itself is in general just plain bad. It is baffling to me that this is the same series that Xenoblade 1 came from (Which although hammy in its own right, was consistently good across the board). It is worst during the cutscenes, but even the combat dialogue tends to suffer a similar fate, granted the combat dialogue of all Xenoblade games have been a bit...funny - it's part of their charm at this point. Still, an option to turn down the frequency of combat dialogue would go a long ways to keep the audio of a fight from turning into an all out cluster fuck....

"THINKYOUCANTAKEMEDONTFORGETMETHINKYOUCANTAKEME"

Then there is the matter of missing features from the game. Why on Alrest are things like NPC map and Collecctopedia MIA? Or the even some of the unique aspects like the trade-able skill tree and probe networks from X1 and XCX respectively?

I know that the NPC map was poorly implemented in XCX, but it was one of the (many) crowning jewels of the original Xenoblade game. It's inclusion made keeping track of and relating to each of the MANY npc's in the game so much easier. Knowing their location, times, and relations to other NPC's were a huge motivator to me, especially since they were updated over time. It is something that virtually any RPG could benefit from, and yet as far as I know something exclusive to the Xenoblade series, until now.

Same goes for the Collectopedia. Granted, this too was a Skinner box, but one that was much more passive and rewarding by design. By giving you a list of how many items were in an area and rewarding you for filling them out, it gave you both an idea of the scope of items within each area and motivated you to explore it, with the exploration and collecting itself often being a reward enough, despite the fantastic bonus's that the game gave you for filling each area out completely.

Both of these things I considered to be staples of the Xenoblade series.


And finally there are all the little things that drive me crazy.

When a blade level's up, WHY do I have to navigate through the menu and check each blades affinity tree for every single upgrade before it will unlock it or even start counting the next tier? isn't that something that could be entirely automated and leave only the visual effect behind?

Similarly, why does the menu take so long to navigate between submenus?

Why is the D-pad WASTED on a controller map instead of hot keys that could easily alleviate the menu navigation problem?

Why are the quest markers so utterly borked?

Why doesn't bringing up the map start in the area you are actually in? (Thankfully this one has been fixed).

Why is the fast travel system unreliable? With certain areas blocked off until I back out of the menu and bring it back up again? (Seems more like a bug, but one that I get roughly 2/3 of the time I am trying to travel)

Why are there light platforming sections in this game when Rex jumps about as well as a Goomba?

Why do I have to listen to the voice clip for every field skill to conclude before the action actually goes through?

Likewise why can't the game just select the right blade skills from your inventory to activate certain field actions instead of me having to manually put them in my team each time? (If it is a question of having too many at once and brute forcing it, it could still be automated to take only the 3 best per character bonded)

And countless others that are too many and too small for me to remember in the here and now, but yet somehow drive me utterly mad while playing.

But to put a long story short. In lieu of all of these things, I am finding that I am not only NOT having fun with Xenoblade 2, but I am instead frequently experiencing pure frustration with it.
Spoilering out, just in case.

I like this game and am having fun with it, but I can't say you're wrong.

-I'm "only" at chapter 7 (in which everyone decided Rex needed to be slapped), but I think that's far enough along to surmise that the story in this one doesn't measure up to the original. Even when I wasn't in love with the gameplay mechanics (y'know, for 5 years) I still appreciated XBC's story. It hooked me in. Sure, it had its own predictable tropes here and there, but not quite the same...cringe as parts of 2. But I can deal with cringe. I think the original was plotted better, too, and that's the more important thing.

-The battle system is brilliant. It mixes strategy with actual involvement in a way most command-based RPGs don't. But to get to the meat of it, you have to get into blade combos. It seems like Morag can charge her's up damn quickly (I think if you time a button press at the end of her four-hit combo, it fully charges one special), but you're inevitably gonna be waiting on your party to deliver some II or III level blade combos. To get there, they gave enemies a ton of health.

-...but it doesn't feel as difficult. XBC had too many difficulty spikes, but this one...doesn't feel as challenging. I think Lila was the only spot so far where I felt under-leveled in the main story. Mikhail and Patroka gave me a little trouble after that, but I slept at an inn, gained two levels, then they were toast. The cables on the back mech thing with Jin was a little hairy, I suppose, but that was just a matter of strategy (get it down to half health, then chain it).

-The world design is too much "no." I just finished chapter 6 on Tantal. The whole time I was thinking "oh this is gonna be awesome - it's like having Alcamoth above Eryth Sea all over again." And it's a truly beautiful level, don't get me wrong; I really do appreciate it. But there were very few times in the original where I said "I want to go there" and the game said "no." I wanted to get down to lower Tantal, but no...you can't jump like you could off of a rope bridge in Makna Forest or diving back into Eryth. I want to go to the lower levels of Mor Ardain...but no, it's fast travel or elevator. What I loved about the original was walking toward something, knowing I could get there, and getting distracted and finding something else awesome on the way. That doesn't happen as much in XBC2. The maps feel segmented - "alright, here's a town, there's a connecting area in between, and a big field after that" - in a less organic way. Vertical level structure is a big deal in this game, but it makes exploration a little frustrating.

-I was talking with @Juegos about this before. It's sort of the Metroid Prime 3 problem - how do you follow-up one GOAT game and an acclaimed sequel? You try to switch things up. You can tell that Monolith wanted to make this game feel distinct, and that probably explains so many of the choices they made. They went for a more obviously anime art style and a more shonen plot, because they didn't want to outright copy the first two games. They made a whole new battle system. They revised and simplified armor and menus. They don't overwhelm you in the opening hours with info dumps. In short, they succeeded in making XBC2 feel very different from its predecessors. But that means they may alienate some fans along the way.

:shrugs: I still do like it. But thus far, this one will probably go down in the "flawed masterpiece" file, for me.
 

Koenig

The Architect
It might just be me, but it seems that all the areas in the world a significantly smaller than their counterparts in X1 and XCX. It could just be that they feel that way due to how much the exploration has been toned down. Either way, with the exception of one area
Tantal
, none of the various Titan's have struck me in the same way as the majority of the locals from the previous games.
 

theMightyME

Owner of The Total Screen
It might just be me, but it seems that all the areas in the world a significantly smaller than their counterparts in X1 and XCX. It could just be that they feel that way due to how much the exploration has been toned down. Either way, with the exception of one area
Tantal
, none of the various Titan's have struck me in the same way as the majority of the locals from the previous games.
I should hope not, nobody hits our posters, NOBODY!
 
Top